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Human ecology is a functionalist field of study that looks at on the relationship between people and their built and natural physical environments (Park 1915). Generally speaking, urban land use and urban population distribution occur in a predictable pattern once we understand how people relate to their living environment. For example, in the United States, we have a transportation system geared to accommodate individuals and families in the form of interstate highways built for cars. In contrast, most parts of Europe emphasize public transportation such as high-speed rail and commuter lines, as well as walking and bicycling. The challenge for a human ecologist working in U.S. urban planning is to design landscapes and waterscapes with natural beauty, while also figuring out how to provide for free-flowing transport of innumerable vehicles, not to mention parking!

The concentric zone model    (Burgess 1925) is perhaps the most famous example of human ecology. This model views a city as a series of concentric circular areas, expanding outward from the center of the city, with various “zones” invading adjacent zones (as new categories of people and businesses overrun the edges of nearby zones) and succeeding (then after invasion, the new inhabitants repurpose the areas they have invaded and push out the previous inhabitants). In this model, Zone A, in the heart of the city, is the center of the business and cultural district. Zone B, the concentric circle surrounding the city center, is composed of formerly wealthy homes split into cheap apartments for new immigrant populations; this zone also houses small manufacturers, pawn shops, and other marginal businesses. Zone C consists of the homes of the working class and established ethnic enclaves. Zone D holds wealthy homes, white-collar workers, and shopping centers. Zone E contains the estates of the upper class (in the exurbs) and the suburbs.

A model of the five zones is shown here.
This illustration depicts the zones that make up a city in the concentric zone model. (Photo courtesy of Zeimusu/Wikimedia Commons)

In contrast to the functionalist approach, theoretical models in the conflict perspective focus on the way urban areas change according to specific decisions made by political and economic leaders. These decisions generally benefit the middle and upper classes while exploiting the working and lower classes.

For example, sociologists Feagin and Parker (1990) suggested three factors by which political and economic leaders control urban growth. First, these leaders work alongside each other to influence urban growth and decline, determining where money flows and how land use is regulated. Second, exchange value and use value of land are balanced to favor the middle and upper classes so that, for example, public land in poor neighborhoods may be rezoned for use as industrial land. Finally, urban development is dependent on both structure (groups such as local government) and agency (individuals including businessmen and activists), and these groups engage in a push-pull dynamic that determines where and how land is actually used. For example, Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) movements are more likely to emerge in middle and upper-class neighborhoods as engaged citizens protest poor environmental practices they fear will affect them, so these groups have more control over the use of local land.

Summary

Cities provide numerous opportunities for their residents and offer significant benefits including access to goods to numerous job opportunities. At the same time, high population areas can lead to tensions between demographic groups, as well as environmental strain. While the population of urban dwellers is continuing to rise, sources of social strain are rising along with it. The ultimate challenge for today’s urbanites is finding an equitable way to share the city’s resources while reducing the pollution and energy use that negatively impacts the environment.

Short answer

What are the differences between the suburbs and the exurbs, and who is most likely to live in each?

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How will the growth in urban populations affect the world over the next ten years?

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Considering the concentric zone model, what type of zone were you raised in? Is this the same or different as that of earlier generations in your family? What type of zone do you reside in now? Do you find that people from one zone stereotype those from another? If so, how?

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Further research

Interested in learning more about the latest research in the field of human ecology? Visit the Society for Human Ecology web site to discover what’s emerging in this field: (External Link)

Getting from place to place in urban areas might be more complicated than you think. Read the latest on pedestrian-traffic concerns at the Urban Blog web site: (External Link)

References

BBC. 2005. “Timeline: French Riots—A Chronology of Key Events.” November 14. Retrieved December 9, 2011 ( (External Link) ).

Burgess, Ernest. 1925. “The Growth of the City.” Pp. 47–62 in The City , edited by R. Park and E. Burgess. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Chandler, Tertius and Gerald Fox. 1974. 3000 Years of Urban History . New York: Academic Press.

Dougherty, Connor. 2008. “The End of White Flight.” Wall Street Journal , July 19. Retrieved December 12, 2011 ( (External Link) ).

Feagin, Joe, and Robert Parker. 1990. Building American Cities: The Urban Real Estate Game . 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

France24. 2010. “Sarkozy Promises War without Mercy for Paris Suburbs.” France 24 , April 10. Retrieved December 9, 2011 ( (External Link) ).

LeBlanc, Adrien Nicole. 2003. Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx . New York: Scribner.

Park, Robert. 1934 [1915]. “The City: Suggestions for Investigations of Human Behavior in the City.” American Journal of Sociology 20:577–612.

Park, Robert. 1936. “Human Ecology.” American Journal of Sociology 42:1–15.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online. 2011. “Population History of London.” Retrieved December 11, 2011 ( (External Link) ).

Sciolino, Elaine, and Ariane Bernand. 2006. “Anger Festering in French Areas Scarred in Riots.” New York Times , October 21. Retrieved December 11, 2011 ( (External Link)&sq=paris+suburb&st=nyt ).

Sjoberg, Gideon. 1965. The Preindustrial City: Past and Present . New York: Free Press.

Talbot, Margaret. 2003. “Review: Random Family. Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx.” New York Times , February 9. Retrieved December 12, 2011 ( (External Link)&src=pm ).

United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. 2014. “World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014 Revision, Highlights” (ST/ESA/SER.A/352). Retrieved November 3, 2014 (http://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/Highlights/WUP2014-Highlights.pdf).

United States Census Bureau. 2014, "2010 Census Urban and Rural Classification and Urban Area Criteria." Retrieved December 16, 2014 (http://www.census.gov/geo/reference/ua/urban-rural-2010.html).

Questions & Answers

This morning you are doing good
Swarray Reply
still sleeping
rameez
How did Emile Durkheim defined sociology
Larweh Reply
Durkhiem gv broadly three definitions of sociology respectively viz. Sociology is the science of collective representation (in div. of labour 1893), sociology is d science of social institutions and sociology is the science of social facts( in his rules of sociological methods 1895 )
rameez
what are some branch of sociology?
Kollie
sociology of health and medicine sociology of Education
DIY
Sociology is a braod subject of social science it has different sub fields i.e Sociology of Education, Sociology of Politics, Medical Sociology, Social Anthropology, Social Psychology, Criminology, Sociology of Law, Population Studies, Rural Sociology, Urban Sociology, Social Change, Biological Soci
Sadiq
Evolutionary Theory ?
Madiha Reply
theories that describe how culture and societies change over time.
manisha
evolutionary theories given by August comte and Herbert spencer ?
Madiha
comte describes 3 stages social evolution theory. there is drawin theory of evolution also.
manisha
comte hs talked abt three evolutionary stages theological, metaphysical & positive respectively thr societies, sciences, mind's or even individuals has passed as per him, whl as per Spencer societies has pssd frm military to industrial societies.
Rameez
thr which.... societies
Rameez
thankx all of u
Madiha
The first stage, the theological stage, illustrates a time prior to 1300 where all phenomena is explained by divine and supernatural forces or beings that are given concreteness through the symbolism of priestly castes.[10,6] The social and physical world is viewed as being produced by God. 
manisha
The second stage, the metaphysical stage, occurrs between 1300 and 1800, and is characterized by a belief that the divine powers illustrated in stage one become abstract forces
manisha
The last stage, the positivistic stage, occured from 1800 to the present and employs only empirical facts and scientific laws to explain the phenomena that the divine and abstract forces explained previously. 
manisha
Comte believed that groups, societies, sciences, individuals, and minds all go through these stages.[3] Each step one takes in these three stages is a step towards a more complete level of knowledge.
manisha
still alive.. 🙄 gonna late. erly to bed erly to early to rise makes man, healthy, wealthy n wise. Only Men ap yha b safe hai.
Rameez
reservation khub ml rhe hai.. aish kru.. Enjoy n estay blssd.!
Rameez
thankx both of u
Madiha
what do we means by sociology
Kollie
what the students of sociology do for the society?
Kollie
sociology in simpler terms is the subject which deals wd the systematic, analytic and scientific study of society.
rameez
welcome Madiha
rameez
rameez sir ap kal bol rahe the na UGC k notes k bare mai vo apko KU ki website pe b kuch mile ge ...
Madiha
achh...thank you so much Madiha.. at least ksi ne kal ki query ka reply krra. Allah blss! 😊
rameez
its ok ...ap notes b lasakhte hai ..kisi institute se..asani se mile ge ...
Madiha
institute se..?
rameez
I mn NET k coaching institute sociology me... h khe pe srinagar me
rameez
UGC k notes bol rahi hu ...
Madiha
ji Madiha.. UGC NET huta actually, in other words unv grants commission, NET ka, (national eligibility test ka) ka exam conduct krta h.
rameez
aur so UGC NET khlata h.
rameez
ahh. superficially bt um always serious how can I go, I think I shd start from Basics preferably ignou BA material.......aphi ne bola tha ns kal ...aphi ki commnt hai :p ....UGC ...under graduate course b hota hai na :p
Madiha
आप में से कौन मध्यप्रदेश की अस्सिस्टेंट प्रोफेसर की exam दे रहे है ? sociology subject से
virendra
ohh, yh btt h. Madiha..
rameez
ji huta h yu are rt Madiha.
rameez
bt bt Madiha ws talking abt ignou BA, and I feel ignou BA study material are far bttr then KU,.
rameez
is...
rameez
ok sir ...i was just trying 2 hlp u ...
Madiha
waise b ap ne complt kra. Kh chunne, you don't wanna give Madiha, No problem, it's ok!
rameez
ok Mam Madiha. Nice of you. . humbled n pleased. thanx alot.!
rameez
one can easily get ugc net of sociology on mrunal site. just type sociology mrunal notes. u will get complete notes. all the best for ugc net.
manisha
these are ignuo notes free download available on mrunal site.
manisha
ignou notes for ma n ba plus 12th ncert notes.
manisha
thanx mam Manisha definitely will search for mrunal.. Thanx alot.!
rameez
wow.! ol ignou notes n ncert also. .. dtz really good.
rameez
nice,thnxx much. God blss mam!
rameez
m happy to help you. my thanks is to mrunal who is providing notes.
manisha
I see, thanx, thank you All
rameez
hello sociologists
MANJI
hlo
Sajad
Hello
Rong
what is epistemology?
owolabi Reply
epistemology is the branch of philosophy . it is the study or science of knowledge
Madiha
epistemology is the branch of philosophy that study the theory of knowledge with its nature.
Floxy
what is kinship
Sukesh Reply
it can also be referred as relationship or closer relative of a person or things
Michael
bunch of relationship and relatives, these are based on blood relationship or marriage.
manisha
refer to relation ship i think
Musawir
a group of people related by either blood or marriage. ...kinship
vivek
right
Naqeeb
It is one of the basic social institutions . In simple words it is the bond of blood or marriage which binds people together in group
Madiha
kins are classified into 3 types ... primary secondary and tertiary kins primary are like husbNd -wife , father - son bla bla secondary like mothers brother , sisters husband bla bla tertiary like wife's brother's son ..bla bla
Madiha
nice, madiha 👍
Rameez
by the way um learning sociology at ignou Sopore, any recommendations for ugc net plz. you are welcome n thanx much! 😊
Rameez
Is a relationship between the members of the same family
Floxy
whom u r asking rameez ?
Madiha
oh um xcused mam, forgot to mention ua name. was asking you mam Madiha
Rameez
i m doing BA at srinagar ...my BA is going to complete after 2 months ..i m not an experienced prsn ...soo i cant suggest u anything 😛
Madiha
ohh 😊.. nice wish you best of luck!
Rameez
thankx
Madiha
I would suggest you... Study first all the sociological thoughts... get your concept clear...
sociological thght frm whr. thnx anonymous user. 😓😓😓
Rameez
when are you planning to write...
write wht? Um writing but none understand ma.... Do you mn Sir, abt to appear in Exam?
Rameez
now then go superficially...
ahh. superficially bt um always serious how can I go, I think I shd start from Basics preferably ignou BA material
Rameez
is ignou BA material available in pdf. Anybdy plz
Rameez
Ohh.. I hv high respects n regards for HIJAB. hatsoff.. the truth is sometimes I intentionally wish to break barriers and meet Soul//s otherhalf..ok nt this day let smwhr else or otherday.. InshaAllah.. . thanx anonymous, thanx everybody!! um learner xcused for rubbish Allah blss!
Rameez
can anyone tell me ...which subject is best for masters ... Sociology or psychology?
Madiha
sure sociology thn psychology
Rameez
bt I feel English is the best in terms of various parameters
Rameez
thankx for ur suggestions sir
Madiha
Kinship means blood relationship. Madiha has explained it well. For a meticulous reading I would suggest Kinship and Marriage: An Anthropological perspective by Robin Fox
APA
kinship is nt jus blood relatnshp, it includes affinal as well as putative or fictive relationships - the hallmark of primitive or anthropological studies,wch forms the base wdout which sociological studies are incomplete.. 😊
Rameez
Rameez... You do not have so much time... so you better see in general...
what is the post modernist view on society?
onno Reply
what is deviance
Karamat
the gap between institionalized means and culturally approved goals is called deviance.. the violation of norms ia called deviance. every criminal can be deviant but not all deviant can be crimanl
Mohsin
Truth is a matter of subjectivity. It varies from one person to another. There isn't anything like absolute truth for the post modernists
sagar
@onno lisa
sagar
what is reality
Miatta
means Actions or behaviors that violate formal and informal cultural norms such as laws and customs.
Stephanus
What is hypothesis?
Suti Reply
hypothesis is a process where by scientists makes their guess
Gideon
statement created by researchers to speculate the outcome of a reasearch or experiment.
manisha
It is a created statement that can predict the outcome of the reasearch
Stephanus
Have this app is not in hindi medium
mukesh Reply
yes true its not
manisha
define culture in terms of material and non-material aspects.
pervious Reply
culture is an art of living in one's own society by sharing the same values and norms. These sentiments are accentuated through & reflected in certain clothing styles, eating habits & totems of the members of the society
sagar
thanks dey. now how can you define it in terms of material and nonmaterial?
pervious
Material culture is the physical aspect of culture in the objects and architecture that surround people. It includes usage, consumption, creation, and trade of objects as well as the behaviors, norms, and rituals that the objects create or take part in.
sagar
non-material culture does not include any physical objects or artifacts. Examples of non-material culture include any ideas, beliefs, values, norms that may help shape society.
sagar
thanks Sagar
pervious
no problem dear
sagar
Sagar explain Herbert Spencer's theory on sociology
Clara
Social control is attributed to whom?
Moses
@clara - ***study.com/academy/lesson/herbert-spencer-theory-social-darwinism.html
sagar
@Moses - Ivan Nye
sagar
briefly describe the nature of siciology with example?
funny Reply
The nature of sociology is dynamic. It encompasses the administration, politics, economy, geography, religion, morality & psychology of various societies. It is a subject of perspectives, and therefore celebrates the art of looking at our society from different dimensions, thus making it fascinating
sagar
identity the relevance of family background to learner's education aspirations
pervious Reply
what do we call a blood relations
Adoubou Reply
family
pervious
disuss the idea of social differentation reintingration and adptation (durkheim weber parson smalser difine how these three postulate's can be a scaffolding of neonvolutionism (smith anthory D 1973
niruta Reply
how are the rights of weman greatly affecting production in all sectors e.g economic , political and social sector
luther Reply
bb
niruta
what is a neonvolutionism
niruta
Neoevolutionism is concerned with long-term, directional, evolutionary social change and with the regular patterns of development that may be seen in unrelated, widely separated culture
ede
identity the relevance of family background to learner's education aspirations
pervious
How can I download haralambus
danielle Reply
with an internet connection
sagar
haaaa....Right
RAJES
socialization and social interaction ism , how can we relate ?
Anil

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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