analyse the ways in which cities can be characterised by a tension between movement and settlement

This assignment will use the example of transport to analyse the ways in which cities are characterized by a tension between movement and settlement. In the academic world the process of movement and settlement is regarded as a tension, which is ongoing process, which contributes to the changing nature of cities. Movement represents the fluidity of a city through the rhythms and interconnections.

These involve flows of money, information, migrants and ideas, which are linked to wider spatial connections.The term settlement can be defined in two forms, firstly a social form whereby a mainstream set of values or attitudes hold a sense of place and in the physical form as buildings and infrastructure. However settlements have been built on movements and these movements will continue to shape the city’s future. By adopting the relational perspective reminds us that cities are places of intersections covering all spatial scales and fundamentally appreciates the tension this causes.

This assignment will initially explore the term tensions and how they manifest and then focus on the importance of transport in making a city, the example of Liverpool will be used to illustrate this. The following section will analyse the growing trend of car ownership and nature of privatisation and what implications that holds. The example of General Motors and their attempt to monopolize the American transport network will be illustrated.In concluding this assignment an analysis will be drawn mainly on access, which is the integral tension in transport between movement and settlement Understanding the nature of tensions Cites have always been heterogeneous sites, creating tension over the competition of resources, commodities, products, information and even identity.

Historically tensions have been centred on ownership, moreover class. However contemporary tensions are a result of the current era of intensified globalisation. Cities have become increasingly diverse and as a result tensions have become increasingly ambivalent.Fundamentally tensions are a product of unequal power relations and an individual or collective plight for security and settlement.

These tensions are mapped out in settlements. Gated communities, spatial segregation and ghettoization are all negative responses to diversity. A positive response would encounter tolerance to diversity whereby mutual trust emerges. Reluctantly responses have no set patterns and manifest themselves in different forms.

Certainly access to power conveys the mainstream patterns of society and dictates which urban spaces are created, maintained, marginalized or destroyed.In addition transport is considered as a public space whereby it provides a stage for tensions to be played out. Therefore it is prone to vandalism, expression and protests and is increasingly being surveyed and monitored. These public spaces provoke planners to market gated communities, which are out priced to prevent specific groups from residing there.

Liverpool and the importance of good public transport By adopting a relational perspective it is evident that settlements expanded into cities due to their geographical location on rivers or coastline.This illustrates their earlier dependency on sea faring interconnections. Liverpool has played an integral role in sea faring days. However surrounded by bogs and marshland it was completely dependable on ships.

In 1763 a canal was built which aided goods, mainly cotton to travel down to Manchester. The canal owners exploited their dependency by raising the charges. Robert Stephenson borrowed knowledge from Ireland and was successful in being able to build a railway Pinch et al, 2003, pg53. This allowed Liverpool to continue its pivotal economic role.

With the success of industrialization and subsequently urbanization, infrastructure has increased. This has reformed our landscape and changed our notion of distance. Public transport delivers umpteen benefits to a city, but it also has disadvantages too. A good transport system can be defined as a frequent, clean, safe, reasonable priced with good logistical pick up and drop off points connecting all of the city.

By incorporating this model attitudes towards transport become less stigmatised and usage increases and car numbers drop.Congestion will be reduced and the city would become a cleaner, more environmentally friendly and sustainable place. Indeed this is a costly process, and knowing that cities face their own trajectories it could be criticised as being to optimistic, although academics do argue that transport holds the promise of urban sustainability. The disadvantages of transport are largely equated from the planners belief that everyone has access to car.

The development of roads, roundabouts, bridges and so forth can act as barriers.They may cut through residential areas, dividing up communities. What once may have been the local shops is now a motorway and the local shops is now a shopping precinct which is 5 miles away. Old, disabled and parents of young children would find this very difficult if not impossible to negotiate.

Furthermore the division and connection or disconnection of the land, which transport delivers, has psychological impacts. People may be thought of as being from the wrong part of town and conform to identities endemic to that area.In addition people may not be able to afford the fares, or may have a disability, which prevents them form boarding such services. There are also questions of safety as people are extremely susceptible to fear.

Women tend to travel during the day and parents constrain their children’s independence by forbidding them to travel on transport. All these factors evoke division, exclusion and disconnection from a public service, which causes tension. Ultimately it excludes people from opportunities and life chances.The most harrowing example of disconnection is when an area is not served by transport at all like in the Parisian suburb of Aulany.

This area has been subject to the rise and fall of the car manufacturing industry. The estate was built in 1971 to service 11000 jobs; migrants were bought in from Algeria and Turkey. It was agreed that transport was not required. as the estate provided crèche, schools, and community clinics and was promoted ironically as a paradise.

Within four years Citroen made 2960 employees redundant and more redundancies followed.With no transport connections to the city unemployment followed accompanied by drug abuse, alcoholism and gang warfare and consequently a whole generation has missed out Pinch et al, 2003, pg 120. Ultimately a poor transport system encourages social polarization. Car obsession Road traffic has been increasing all over the world.

The car popularity is a product of a consumer-based society whereby it celebrates status and privacy. Increasingly the will to provide for the community is switching to the individual nature of privatisation creating the ownership of a car as a great divider .Car ownership only represents a minority, grouped as middle aged, affluent males Pinch et al, 2003, pg72. In many ways cars can be considered as spin offs from gated communities as they provide privacy, safety, freedom and the ability to pick and choose your companions, to a certain degree satisfies speed addiction and moreover provides instant access.

Speed, coveys power and carries a high status. The annihilation of distance through time is paramount in contemporary globalisation.This transpires to the streets of the city, however due to congestion and speed restriction remains counter-productive. In actual fact speed has not changed over a hundred years, moreover a car travels at the same speed as a horse and carriage.

Pinch et al, 2003, pg 60. However on longer journeys outside the city a degree of speed be achieved. The success of car has reduced everyone’s mobility rich and poor. Previously we have talked about how the presence of infrastructure can limit the mobility, in addition public space is being turned to private space through car parks and motorways.

In the early part of the 20th century much of Americans public transport largely consisted of street cars. This tram like network was almost idealic it provided a smooth, clean, comfortable and frequent service whereby other vehicles had to give way to streetcars. However in 1926 and spanning over a decade several automobile companies merged and took it upon themselves to destroy the tracks and encourage a trend towards cars. They were actively turning a public service into a privatised opportunity and fundamentally widening the gap between rich and poor.

In 1946 after investigation the following verdict was reached ‘general motors and others had set out to destroy the streetcar system and were found guilty of conspiring to monopolize the local transportation field’ Pinch et al, 2003, pg 78To reinstate the eliminated systems which were destroyed would cost $300 to restore. Overall this example illustrates the need for tough regulations and planning strategies and poses questions over the privatisation of transport. The nature of privatisation is more vulnerable to take a profiteering role then a good accessible service.In concluding this assignment transport holds many tensions between movement and settlement.

By exploring the geography of tensions we had encountered all social structures class, gender, ethnicity and mobility. This not only warrants tension as a worthy concept but also equips us with a stronger understanding of cities. Undoubtedly transport empowers people, however it can also disempower. The financial districts, tourist attractions, affluent suburbs, airports and so forth have an economic value and are subsequently well connected and unsurprisingly are more powerful.

Poor communities with a low skill base are largely disconnected and are consequently less connected. The tension of movement and settlement illustrates this effectively in transport and will continue to change accordingly. If action is taken in the form access, the city would be more integrated place and populations within specific areas would have opportunities and become less stigmatised. Though movements feed the city and it will be the dominant evolving rhythms that will shape the city’s future.

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