A Middlesex University resource provided by Andrew Roberts

Quotes from
Robert Park - Ernest Burgess Roderick McKenzie and Louis Wirth

Concepts for Human Ecology

Park, R.E. and Burgess, E.W. 1921 Introduction to the Science of Sociology .

Note: Extracts credited to Introduction to the Science of Sociology are taken from another web site, which does not credit them. I believe the credit is correct, but have not obtained a copy of the original to check.

Competition a Process of Interaction

Of the four great types of interaction - competition - conflict - accommodation, and assimilation - competition is the elementary, universal and fundamental form. Social contact ... initiates interaction. But competition, strictly speaking, is interaction without social contact.

... in human society competition is always complicated with other processes, that is to say, with conflict, assimilation, and accommodation.

It is only in the plant community that we can observe the process of competition in isolation, uncomplicated with other social processes. The members of a plant community live together in a relation of mutual interdependence which we call social probably because, while it is close and vital, it is not biological. It is not biological because the relation is a merely external one and the plants that compose it are not even of the same species. They do not interbreed. The members of a plant community adapt themselves to one another as all living things adapt themselves to their environment, but there is no conflict between them because they are not conscious. Competition takes the form of conflict or rivalry only when it becomes conscious, when competitors identify one another as rivals or as enemies.

This suggests what is meant by the statement that competition is interaction without social contact.. It is only when minds meet, only when the meaning that is in one mind is communicated to another mind so that these minds mutually influence one another, that social contact, properly speaking, may be said to exist.

On the other hand, social contacts are not limited to contacts of touch or sense or speech, and they are likely to be more intimate and more pervasive than we imagine. Some years ago the Japanese, who are brown, defeated the Russians, who are white. In the course of the next few months the news of this remarkable event penetrated, as we afterward learned, the uttermost ends of the earth. It sent a thrill through all Asia and it was known in the darkest corners of Central Africa. Everywhere it awakened strange and fantastic dreams. This is what is meant by social contact.

a) Competition and Competitive Co-operation.

Social contact, which inevitably initiates conflict, accommodation, or assimilation, invariably creates also sympathies, prejudices, personal and moral relations which modify, complicate, and control competition. On the other hand, within the limits which the cultural process creates, and custom, law, and tradition impose, competition invariably tends to create an impersonal social order in which each individual, being free to pursue his own profit, and, in a sense, compelled to do so, makes every other individual a means to that end. In doing so, however, he inevitably contributes through the mutual exchange of services so established to the common welfare.
b) Competition and Freedom
The economic organisation of society, so far as it is an effect of free competition, is an ecological organisation. There is a human as well as a plant and an animal ecology.

If we are to assume that the economic order is fundamentally ecological, that is, created by the struggle for existence, an organisation like that of the plant community in which the relations between individuals are conceivably at least wholly external, the question may be very properly raised why the competition and the organisation it has created should be regarded as social at all. As a matter of fact sociologists have generally identified the social with the moral order, and Dewey, in his Democracy and Education, makes statements which suggest that the purely economic order, in which man becomes a means rather than an end to other men, is unsocial, if not antisocial.

The fact is, however, that this character of externality in human relations is a fundamental aspect of society and social life. It is merely another manifestation of what has been referred to as the distributive aspect of society. Society is made up of individuals spatially separated, territorially distributed, and capable of independent locomotion. This capacity of independent locomotion is the basis and the symbol of every other form of independence. Freedom is fundamentally freedom to move and individuality is inconceivable without the capacity and the opportunity to gain an individual experience as a result of independent action.

On the other hand, it is quite true that society may be said to exist only so far as this independent activity of the individual is controlled in the interest of the group as a whole. That is the reason why the problem of control, using that term in its evident significance, inevitably becomes the central problem of sociology.

c) Competition and Control
Conflict, assimilation and accommodation as distinguished from competition are all intimately related to control. Competition is the process through which the distributive and ecological organisation of society is created. Competition determines the distribution of population territorially and vocationally. The division of labour and all the vast organised economic interdependence of individuals and groups of individuals characteristic of modern life are a product of competition. On the other hand, the moral and political order, which imposes itself upon this competitive organisation, is a product of conflict, accommodation and assimilation.

Competition is universal in the world of living things. Under ordinary circumstances it goes on unobserved even by the individuals who are most concerned. It is only in periods of crisis, when men are making new and conscious efforts to control the conditions of their common life, that the forces with which they are competing get identified with persons, and competition is converted into conflict. It is in what has been described as the political process that society consciously deals with its crises. War is the political process par excellence. It is in war that the great decisions are made. Political organisations exist for the purpose of dealing with conflict situations. Parties, parliaments and courts, public discussion and voting are to be considered simply as substitutes for war.

d) Accommodation, Assimilation, and Competition
Accommodation, on the other hand, is the process by which the individuals and groups make the necessary internal adjustments to social situations which have been created by competition and conflict. War and elections change situations. When changes thus effected are decisive and are accepted, conflict subsides and the tensions it created are resolved in the process of accommodation into profound modifications of the competing units, i.e., individuals and groups. A man once thoroughly defeated is, as has often been noted, "never the same again." Conquest, subjugation, and defeat are psychological as well as social processes. They establish a new order by changing, not merely the status, but the attitudes of the parties involved. Eventually the new order gets itself fixed in habit and custom and is then transmitted as part of the established social order to succeeding generations. Neither the physical nor the social world is made to satisfy at once all the wishes of the natural man. The rights of property, vested interests of every sort, the family organisation, slavery, caste and class, the whole social organisation, in fact, represent accommodations, that is to say, limitations of the natural wishes of the individual. These socially inherited accommodations have presumably grown up in the pains and struggles of previous generations, but they have been transmitted to and accepted by succeeding generations as part of the natural, inevitable social order. All of these are forms of control in which competition is limited by status.

Conflict is then to be identified with the political order and with conscious control. Accommodation, on the other hand, is associated with the social order that is fixed and established in custom and the mores.

Assimilation, as distinguished from accommodation, implies a more thoroughgoing transformation of the personality--transformation which takes place gradually under the influence of social contacts of the most concrete and intimate sort.

Accommodation may be regarded, like religious conversion, as a kind of mutation. The wishes are the same but their organisation is different. Assimilation takes place not so much as a result of changes in the organisation as in the content, i.e., the memories, of the personality. The individual units, as a result of intimate association, interpenetrate, so to speak; and come in this way into possession of a common experience and a common tradition. The permanence and solidarity of the group rest finally upon this body of common experience and tradition. It is the role of history to preserve this body of common experience and tradition, to criticise and reinterpret it in the light of new experience and changing conditions, and in this way to preserve the continuity of the social and political life.

The relation of social structures to the processes of competition, conflict, accommodation, and assimilation may be represented schematically as follows:

Competition The economic equilibrium
Conflict The political order
Accommodation Social organisation
Assimilation Personality and the cultural heritage

The Concept of Conflict

The distinction between competition and conflict has already been indicated. Both are forms of interaction, but competition is a struggle between individuals, or groups of individuals, who are not necessarily in contact and communication; while conflict is a contest in which contact is an indispensable condition. Competition, unqualified and uncontrolled as with plants, and in the great impersonal life-struggle of man with his kind and with all animate nature, is unconscious. Conflict is always conscious, indeed, it evokes the deepest emotions and strongest passions and enlists the greatest concentration of attention and of effort. Both competition and conflict are forms of struggle. Competition, however, is continuous and impersonal, conflict is intermittent and personal.

Competition is a struggle for position in an economic order. The distribution of populations in the world-economy, the industrial organisation in the national economy, and the vocation of the individual in the division of labour - all these are determined, in the long run, by competition. The status of the individual, or a group of individuals, in the social order, on the other hand, is determined by rivalry, by war, or by subtler forms of conflict.
In general, we may say that competition determines the position of the individual in the community; conflict fixes his place in society. Location, position, ecological interdependence - these are the characteristics of the community. Status, subordination and superordination, control - these are the distinctive marks of a society.

The notion of conflict, like the fact, has its roots deep in human interest. Mars has always held a high rank in the hierarchy of the gods. Whenever and wherever struggle has taken the form of conflict, whether of races, of nations, or of individual men, it has invariably captured and held the attention of spectators. And these spectators, when they did not take part in the fight, always took sides. It was this conflict of the non-combatants that made public opinion, and public opinion has always played an important role in the struggles of men. It is this that has raised war from a mere play of physical forces and given it the tragic significance of a moral struggle, a conflict of good and evil.

Adaptation and accommodation

The term adaptation came into vogue with Darwin's theory of the origin of the species by natural selection. This theory was based upon the observation that no two members of a biological species or of a family are ever exactly alike. Everywhere there is variation and individuality. Darwin's theory assumed this variation and explained the species as the result of natural selection. The individuals best fitted to live under the conditions of life which the environment offered, survived and produced the existing species. The others perished and the species which they represented disappeared. The differences in the species were explained as the result of the accumulation and perpetuation of the individual variations which had "survival value." Adaptations were the variations which had been in this way selected and transmitted.

The term accommodation is a kindred concept with a slightly different meaning. The distinction is that adaptation is applied to organic modifications which are transmitted biologically; while accommodation is used with reference to changes in habit, which are transmitted, or may be transmitted, sociologically, that is, in the form of social tradition.
The term accommodation, while it has a limited field of application in biology, has a wide and varied use in sociology. All the social heritages, traditions, sentiments, culture, technique, are accommodations - that is, acquired adjustments that are socially and not biologically transmitted. They are not a part of the racial inheritance of the individual, but are acquired by the person in social experience. The two conceptions are further distinguished in this, that adaptation is an effect of competition, while accommodation, or more properly social accommodation, is the result of conflict.

The outcome of the adaptations and accommodations, which the struggle for existence enforces, is a state of relative equilibrium among the competing species and individual members of these species. The equilibrium which is established by adaptation is biological, which means that, in so far as it is permanent and fixed in the race or the species, it will be transmitted by biological inheritance.

The equilibrium based on accommodation, however, is not biological; it is economic and social and is transmitted, if at all, by tradition. The nature of the economic equilibrium which results from competition has been fully described in chapter viii. The plant community is this equilibrium in its absolute form.

In animal and human societies the community has, so to speak, become incorporated in the individual members of the group. The individuals are adapted to a specific type of communal life, and these adaptations, in animal as distinguished from human societies, are represented in the division of labour between the sexes, in the instincts which secure the protection and welfare of the young, in the so-called gregarious instinct, and all these represent traits that are transmitted biologically. But human societies, although providing for the expression of original tendencies, are organised about tradition, mores, collective representations, in short, consensus.. And consensus represents, not biological adaptations, but social accommodations.

Social organisation, with the exception of the order based on competition and adaptation, is essentially an accommodation of differences through conflicts. This fact explains why diverse-mindedness rather than like-mindedness is characteristic of human as distinguished from animal society.

The City R.E. Park 1925/1 "The city: suggestions for the investigation of human behaviour in the urban environment" Chapter one in The City (pages 1-46)

The city , from the point of view of this paper, is something more than a congeries of individual men and of social conveniences - streets, buildings, electric lights, tramways, and telephones, etc.; something more, also, than a mere constellation of institutions and administrative devices -courts, hospitals, schools, police, and civil functionaries of various sorts. The city is, rather, a state of mind, a body of customs and traditions, and of the organised attitudes and sentiments that inhere in these customs and are transmitted with this tradition. The city is not, in other words, merely a physical mechanism and an artificial construction. It is involved in the vital processes of the people who compose it; it is a product of nature, and particularly of human nature.

The city has, as Oswald Spengler has recently pointed out, its own culture:

"What his house is to the peasant, the city is to civilised man. As the house has its household gods, so has the city its protecting Deity, its local saint. The city also, like the peasant's hut, has its roots in the soil." (Oswald Spengler, Der Untergang des Abendlandes, 4. Munchen, 1922, p.105.

The city has been studied, in recent times, from the point of view of its geography, and still more recently from the point of view of its ecology. There are forces at work within the limits of the urban community - within the limits of any natural area of human habitation, in fact - which tend to bring about an orderly and typical grouping of its population and institutions. The science which seeks [p.2] to isolate these factors and to describe the typical constellations of persons and institutions which the co-operation of these forces produce, is what we call human, as distinguished from plant and animal, ecology.

Transportation and communication, tramways and telephones, newspapers and advertising, steel construction and elevators - all things, in fact, which tend to bring about at once a greater mobility and a greater concentration of the urban populations - are primary factors in the ecological organisation of the city.

The city is not, however, merely a geographical and ecological unit; it is at the same time an economic unit. The economic organisation of the city is based on the division of labour. The multiplication of occupations and professions within the limits of the urban population is one of the most striking and least understood aspects of modern city life. From this point of view, we may, if we choose, think of the city, that is to say, the place and the people, with all the machinery and administrative devices that go with them, as organically related; a kind of psychophysical mechanism in and through which private and political interests find not merely a collective but a corporate expression.

Much of what we ordinarily regard as the city - its charters, formal organisation, buildings, street railways, and so forth - is, or seems to be, mere artifact. But these things in themselves are utilities, adventitious devices which become part of the living city only when, and in so far as, through use and wont they connect themselves, like a tool in the hand of man, with the vital forces resident in individuals and in the community.

"The city is, finally, the natural habitat of civilised man. It is for that reason a cultural area characterised by its own peculiar cultural type:"
"It is a quite certain, but never fully recognised, fact," says Spengler, "that all great cultures are city-born. The outstanding man of the second generation is a city-building animal. This is the actual [p.3] criterion of world-history, as distinguished from the history of mankind: world-history is the history of city men. Nations, governments, politics, and religions - all rest on the basic phenomenon of human existence, the city." (Oswald Spengler, Untergang des Abendlandes, 4, p. 106)

Anthropology, the science of man, has been mainly concerned up to the present with the study of primitive peoples. But civilised man is quite as interesting an object of investigation, and at the same time his life is more open to observation and study. Urban life and culture are more varied, subtle, and complicated, but the fundamental motives are in both instances the same. The same patient methods of observation which anthropologists like Boas and Lowie have expended on the study of the life and manners of the North American Indian might be even more fruitfully employed in the investigation of the customs, beliefs, social practices, and general conceptions of life prevalent in Little Italy on the lower North Side in Chicago, or in recording the more sophisticated folk- ways of the inhabitants of Greenwich Village and the neighbourhood of Washington Square, New York.

We are mainly indebted to writers of fiction for our more intimate knowledge of contemporary urban life. But the life of our cities demands a more searching and disinterested study than even Emile Zola has given us in his "experimental" novels and the annals of the Rougon-Macquart family. We need such studies, if for no other reason than to enable us to read the newspapers intelligently. The reason that the daily chronicle of the newspaper is so shocking, and at the same time so fascinating, to the average reader is because the average reader knows so little about the life of which the newspaper is the record. The observations which follow are intended to define a point of view and to indicate a program for the study of urban life: its physical organisation, its occupations, and its culture.


II. Industrial organisation and the moral order

The ancient city was primarily a fortress, a place of refuge in time of war. The modern city, on the contrary, is primarily a convenience of commerce, and owes its existence to the market place around which it sprang up. Industrial competition and the division of labour, which have probably done most to develop the latent powers of mankind, are possible only upon condition of the existence of markets, of money, and other devices for the facilitation of trade and commerce.

An old German adage declares that "city air makes men free" (Stadt Luft macht frei). This is doubtless a reference to the days when the free cities of Germany enjoyed the patronage of the emperor, and laws made the fugitive serf a free man if he succeeded for a year and a day in breathing city air. Law, of itself, could not, however, have made the craftsman free. An open market in which he might sell the products of his labour was a necessary incident of his freedom, and it was the application of the money economy to the relations of master and man that completed the emancipation of the serf.

Vocational classes and vocational types. - The old adage which describes the city as the natural environment of the free man still holds so far as the individual man finds in the chances, the diversity p of interests and tasks, and in the vast unconscious co-operation of city life the opportunity to choose his own vocation and develop his peculiar individual talents. The city offers a market for the special talents of individual men. Personal competition tends to select for each special task the individual who is best suited to perform it.

"The difference of natural talents in different men is, in reality, much less than we are aware of; and the very different genius which appears to distinguish [p.13] men of different professions, when grown up to maturity, is not upon many occasions so much the cause, as the effect of the division of labour. The difference between the most dissimilar characters, between a philosopher and a common street porter, for example, seems to arise not so much from nature, as from habit, custom, and education. When they came into the world, and for the first six or eight years of their existence, they were perhaps very much alike, and neither their parents nor playfellows could perceive any remarkable difference. About that age, or soon after, they come to be employed in different occupations. The difference of talents comes then to be taken notice of, and widens by degrees, till at last the vanity of the philosopher is willing to acknowledge scarce any resemblance. But without the disposition to truck, barter, and exchange, every man must have procured to himself every necessary and conveniency of life which he wanted. All must have had the same duties to perform, and the same work to do, and there could have been no such difference of employment as could alone give occasion to any great difference of talent...

As it is the power of exchanging that gives occasion to the division of labour, so the extent of this division must always be limited by the extent of that power, or, in other words, by the extent of the market...

There are some sorts of industry, even of the lowest kind, which can be carried on nowhere but in a great town." (Adam Smith - The Wealth of Nations, pp. 28-29)

Success, under conditions of personal competition, depends upon concentration upon some single task, and this concentration stimulates the demand for rational methods, technical devices, and exceptional skill. Exceptional skill, while based on natural talent, requires special preparation, and it has called into existence the trade and professional schools, and finally bureaus for vocational guidance. All of these, either directly or indirectly, serve at once to select and emphasize individual differences.

Every device which facilitates trade and industry prepares the way for a further division of labour and so tends further to specialize the tasks in which men find their vocations.

The outcome of this process is to break down or modify the older social and economic organisation of society, which was based on family ties, local associations, on culture, caste, and status, and to [p.14] substitute for it an organisation based on occupation and vocational interests.

In the city every vocation, even that of a beggar, tends to assume the character of a profession and the discipline which success in any vocation imposes, together with the associations that it enforces, emphasizes this tendency-the tendency, namely, not merely to specialize, but to rationalize one's occupation and to develop a specific and conscious technique for carrying it on.

The effect of the vocations and the division of labour is to produce, in the first instance, not social groups, but vocational types: the actor, the plumber, and the lumber-jack. The organisations, like the trade and labour unions which men of the same trade or profession form, are based on common interest* In this respect they differ from forms of association like the neighbourhood, which are based on contiguity, personal association, and the common ties of humanity. The different trades and professions seem disposed to rt. group themselves in classes, that is to say, the artisan, business, and professional classes. But in the modern democratic state the classes have as yet attained no effective organisation. Socialism, founded on an effort to create an organisation based on "class consciousness,'*^-has never succeeded, except, perhaps, in Russia, in creating more than a political party.

The effects of the division of labour as a discipline, i.e., as means of molding character, may therefore be best studied in the vocational types it has produced. Among the types which it would be interesting to study are: the shopgirl, the policeman, the peddler, the cabman, the nightwatchman, the clairvoyant, the vaudeville performer, the quack doctor, the bartender, the ward boss, the strike-breaker, the labour agitator, the school teacher, the reporter, the stockbroker, the pawnbroker; all of these are characteristic products of the conditions of city life; each, with its special experience, insight, and point of view determines for each vocational group and for the city as a whole its individuality.


Secondary relations and social control

Modern methods of urban transportation and communication- the electric railway, the automobile, the telephone, and the radio- have silently and rapidly changed in recent years the social and industrial organisation of the modern city. They have been the means of concentrating traffic in the business districts, have changed the whole character of retail trade, multiplying the residence suburbs and making the department store possible. These changes in the industrial organisation and in the distribution of population have been accompanied by corresponding changes in the habits, sentiments, and character of the urban population.

The general nature of these changes is indicated by the fact that the growth of cities has been accompanied by the substitution of indirect, "secondary," for direct, face-to-face, "primary" relations in the associations of individuals in the community.

"By primary groups I mean those characterised by intimate face-to-face association and co-operation. They are primary in several senses, but chiefly in that they are fundamental in forming the social nature and ideals of the individual. The result of intimate association, psychologically, is a certain fusion of individualities in a common whole, so that one's very self, for many purposes at least, is the common life and purpose of the group||Perhaps the simplest way of describing this wholeness is by saying that it is a "we"; it involves the sort of sympathy and mutual identification for which "we" is the natural expression. One lives in the feeling of the whole and finds the chief aims of his will in that feeling..." (Charles Horton Cooley - Social Organisation, p. 15)


Touch and sight, physical contact, are the basis for the first and most elementary human relationships. Mother and child, husband and wife, father and son, master and servant, kinsman and neighbour, minister, physician, and teacher-these are the most intimate and real relationships of life, and in the small community they are practically inclusive.

The interactions which take place among the members of a community so constituted are immediate and unreflecting. Intercourse is carried on largely within the region of instinct and feeling. Social control arises, for the most part spontaneously, in direct response to personal influences and public sentiment. It is the result of a personal accommodation, rather than the formulation of a rational and abstract principle.

The church, the school, and the family

In a great city, where the population is unstable, where parents and children are employed out of the house and often in distant parts of the city, where thousands of people live side by side for years without so much as a bowing acquaintance, these intimate relationships of the primary group are weakened and the moral order which rested upon them is gradually dissolved.

Under the disintegrating influences of city life most of our traditional institutions, the church, the school, and the family, have been greatly modified. The school, for example, has taken over some of the functions of the family. It is around the public school and its solicitude for the moral and physical welfare of the children that something like a new neighbourhood and community spirit tends to get itself organised.

The church, on the other hand, which has lost much of its influence since the printed page has so largely taken the place of the pulpit in the interpretation of life, seems at present to be in process of readjustment to the new conditions.

It is important that the church, the school, and the family should be studied from the point of view of this readjustment to the conditions of city life.
This is important because it is, in the last analysis, upon these institutions in which the immediate and vital interests of life find a corporate expression that social organisation ultimately rests.

It is probably the breaking down of local attachments and the weakening of the restraints and inhibitions of the primary group, under the influence of the urban environment, which are largely responsible for the increase of vice and crime in great cities. It would be interesting in this connection to determine by investigation how far the increase in crime keeps pace with the increasing mobility of the population and to what extent this mobility is a function of the growth of population. It is from this point of view that we should seek to interpret all those statistics which register the disintegration of the moral order, for example, the statistics of divorce, of truancy, and of crime.


The moral region. - It is inevitable that individuals who seek the same forms of excitement, whether that excitement be furnished by a horse race or by grand opera, should find themselves from time to time in the same places. The result of this is that in the organisation which city life spontaneously assumes the population tends to segregate itself, not merely in accordance with its interests, but in accordance with its tastes or its temperaments. The resulting distribution of the population is likely to be quite different from that brought about by occupational interests or economic conditions.

Every neighbourhood, under the influences which tend to distribute and segregate city populations, may assume the character of a "moral region." Such, for example, are the vice districts, which are found in most cities. A moral region is not necessarily a place of abode. It may be a mere rendezvous, a place of resort.

In order to understand the forces which in every large city tend to develop these detached milieus in which vagrant and suppressed impulses, passions, and ideals emancipate themselves from the dominant moral order, it is necessary to refer to the fact or theory of latent impulses of men.

The fact seems to be that men are brought into the world with all the passions, instincts, and appetites, uncontrolled and undisciplined. Civilisation, in the interests of the common welfare, demands the suppression sometimes, and the control always, of these wild, natural dispositions. In the process of imposing its discipline upon the individual, in making over the individual in accordance with the accepted community model, much is suppressed altogether, and much more finds a vicarious expression in forms that are socially valuable, or at least innocuous. It is at this point that sport, play, and art function. They permit the individual to purge himself by means of symbolic expression of these wild and suppressed impulses. This is the catharsis of which Aristotle wrote in his Poetic, and which has been given new and more positive significance by the investigations of Sigmund Freud and the psychoanalysts.


No doubt many other social phenomena such as strikes, wars, popular elections, and religious revivals perform a similar function in releasing the subconscious tensions. But within smaller communities, where social relations are more intimate and inhibitions more imperative, there are many exceptional individuals who find within the limits of the communal activity no normal and healthful expression of their individual aptitudes and temperaments.

The causes which give rise to what are here described as "moral regions" are due in part to the restrictions which urban life imposes; in part to the license which these same conditions offer. We have, until very recently, given much consideration to the temptations of city life, but we have not given the same consideration to the effects of inhibitions and suppressions of natural impulses and instincts under the changed conditions of metropolitan life. For one thing, children, which in the country are counted as an asset, become in the city a liability. Aside from this fact it is very much more difficult to rear a family in the city than on the farm. Marriage takes place later in the city, and sometimes it doesn't take place at all.

Burgess, E.W. 1925/2 "The growth of the city: an introduction to a research project". Chapter two in The City (pages 47-62)


Expansion as a process

No study of expansion as a process has yet been made, although the materials for such a study and intimations of different aspects of the process are contained in city planning, zoning, and regional surveys

The typical processes of the expansion of the city can best be illustrated, perhaps, by a series of concentric circles, which may be numbered to designate both the successive zones of urban extension and the types of areas differentiated in the process of expansion.

This chart represents an ideal construction of the tendencies of any town or city to expand radially from its central business district - on the map "The Loop" (I).

Encircling the downtown area there is normally an area in transition, which is being invaded by business and light manufacture (II).

A third area (III) is inhabited by the workers in industries who have escaped from the area of deterioration (II) but who desire to live within easy access of their work.

Beyond this zone is the "residential area" (IV) of high-class apartment buildings or of exclusive "restricted" districts of single family dwellings.

Still farther, out beyond the city limits, is the commuters' zone - suburban areas, or satellite cities-within a thirty- to sixty-minute ride of the central business district. [V]

This chart brings out clearly the main fact of expansion, namely, the tendency of each inner zone to extend its area by the invasion of the next outer zone. This aspect of expansion may be called succession, a process which has been studied in detail in plant ecology. If this chart is applied to Chicago, all four of these zones were in its early history included in the circumference of the inner zone, the present business district. The present boundaries of the area of deterioration were not many years ago those of the zone now inhabited by independent wage-earners, and within the [p.51] memories of thousands of Chicagoans contained the residences of the "best families."

Chart one: The Growth of the City zones

It hardly needs to be added that neither Chicago [p.52] nor any other city fits perfectly into this ideal scheme. Complications are introduced by the lake front, the Chicago River, railroad lines, historical factors in the location of industry, the relative degree of the resistance of communities to invasion, etc.

Besides extension and succession, the general process of expansion in urban growth involves the antagonistic and yet complementary processes of concentration and decentralisation. In all cities there is the natural tendency for local and outside transportation to converge in the central business district. In the down-town section of every large city we expect to find the department stores, the skyscraper office buildings, the railroad stations, the great hotels, the theatres, the art museum, and the city hall. Quite naturally, almost inevitably, the economic, cultural, and political life centres here. The relation of centralisation to the other processes of city life may be roughly gauged by the fact that over half a million people daily enter and leave Chicago's "loop." More recently sub- business centres have grown up in outlying zones. These "satellite loops" do not, it seems, represent the "hoped for" revival of the neighbourhood, but rather a telescoping of several local communities into a larger economic unity. The Chicago of yesterday, an agglomeration of country towns and immigrant colonies, is undergoing a process of reorganisation into a centralised decentralised system of local communities coalescing into sub- business areas visibly or invisibly dominated by the central business district. The actual processes of what may be called centralised decentralisation are now being studied in the development of the chain store, which is only one illustration of the change in the basis of the urban organisation.1

1 See E. H. Shideler, The Retail Business Organisation as an Index of Community Organisation (in preparation).

Expansion, as we have seen, deals with the physical growth of the city, and with the extension of the technical services that have made city life not only livable, but comfortable, even luxurious.

[p.53] Certain of these basic necessities of urban life are possible only through a tremendous development of communal existence. Three millions of people in Chicago are dependent upon one unified water system, one giant gas company, and one huge electric light plant. Yet, like most of the other aspects of our communal urban life, this economic co-operation is an example of co-operation without a shred of what the "spirit of co-operation" is commonly thought to signify. The great public utilities are a part of the mechanisation of life in great cities, and have little or no other meaning for social organisation.

Yet the processes of expansion, and especially the rate of expansion, may be studied not only in the physical growth and business development, but also in the consequent changes in the social organisation and in personality types. How far is the growth of the city, in its physical and technical aspects, matched by a natural but adequate readjustment in the social organisation ? What, for a city, is a normal rate of expansion, a rate of expansion with which controlled changes in the social organisation might successfully keep pace ?

R.D. McKenzie 1925/3 "The ecological approach to the study of the human community" Chapter three in The City (pages 63-79)

The young sciences of plant and animal ecology have become fairly well established. Their respective fields are apparently quite well defined, and a set of concepts for analysis is becoming rather generally accepted. The subject of human ecology, however, is still practically an unsurveyed field, that is, so far as a systematic and scientific approach is concerned. To be sure, hosts of studies have been made which touch the field of human ecology in one or another of its varied aspects, but there has developed no science of human ecology which is comparable in precision of observation or in method of analysis with the recent sciences of plant and animal ecology.

1. The relation of human ecology to plant and animal ecology

Ecology has been defined as

"that phase of biology that considers plants and animals as they exist in nature, and studies their interdependence, and the relation of each kind and individual to its environment." Encyclopedia Americana, New York (1923), p. 555.

This definition is not sufficiently comprehensive to include all the elements that logically fall within the range of human ecology. In the absence of any precedent let us tentatively define human ecology as a study of the spatial and temporal (*) relations of human beings as affected by the selective, [p.64] distributive, and accommodative forces of the environment.

As indicated later on in this paper, ecological formations tend to develop in cyclic fashion. A period of time within which a given ecological formation develops and culminates is the time period for that particular formation. The length of these time periods may be ultimately measured and predicted, hence the inclusion of the temporal element in the definition.

2. Ecological classification of communities

From the standpoint of ecology, communities may be divided into four general types: first, the primary service community, such as the agricultural town, the fishing, mining, or lumbering community...

The next type of community is the one that fulfils the secondary function in the distributive process of commodities. It collects the basic materials from the surrounding primary communities and distributes them in the wider markets of the world. On the other hand, it redistributes the products coming from other parts of the world to the primary service communities for final consumption. This is commonly called the commercial community...

The third type of community is the industrial town. It serves as the locus for the manufacturing of commodities. In addition it may combine the functions of the primary service and the commercial types. It may have its local trade area and it may also be the distributing centre for the surrounding hinterland. The type is characterized merely by the relative dominance of industry over the other forms of service...

The fourth type of community is one which is lacking in a specific economic base. It draws its economic sustenance from other parts of the world, and may serve no function in the production or distribution of commodities. Such communities are exemplified in our recreational resorts, political and educational centres, communities of defense, penal or charitable colonies...

3. Determining ecological factors in the growth or decline of community

The human community tends to develop in cyclic fashion. Under a given state of natural resources and in a given condition of the arts the community tends to increase in size and structure until it reaches the point of population adjustment to the economic base. In an agricultural community, under present conditions of production and transportation, the point of maximum population seldom exceeds 5,000.(1)

1 See H. P. Douglass, The Little Town, p. 44.

The point of maximum development may be termed the point of culmination or climax, to use the term of the plant ecologist. (2)

(2) F. E. Clements, Plant Succession, p. 3. Carr-Saunders refers to the point of population adjustment to resources as the "optimum."

The community tends to remain in this condition of balance between population and resources until some new element enters to disturb the status quo, such as the introduction of a new system of communication, a new type of industry, or a different form of utilisation of the existing economic base. Whatever the innovation may be that disturbs the equilibrium of the community, there is a tendency toward a new cycle of adjustment. This may act in either a positive or negative manner. It may serve as a release to the community, making for another cycle of growth and differentiation, or it may have a retractive influence, necessitating emigration and readjustment to a more circumscribed base.

The evolution of new types of industry is another feature that becomes a determining factor in the redistribution of the country's population. As we review our census reports we see the emergence each decade of one or more important industries; first, the textile industry causing concentrations of population in the eastern states, then the development of the iron and steel industry with its centre of operations gradually shifting farther and farther west, and more recently the advent of the automobile and oil industries making for enormous concentration of population in certain states of the Union, also the motion-picture industry with its concentrated centre in southern California. The emergence of a new industry has a . far-reaching effect in disturbing the status quo of communal life. Competition soon forces the new industry to concentrate its productive enterprises in one or two communities; these communities then serve as great magnets drawing to themselves the appropriate population elements from communities far and near.


4. The effect of ecological changes on the social organisation of community

Population migrations resulting from such sudden pulls as are the outcomes of unusual forms of release in community growth may cause an expansion in the community's development far beyond the natural culmination point of its cyclic development, resulting in a crisis situation, a sudden relapse, disorganization, or even panic. So-called "boom towns" are towns that have experienced herd movements of population beyond the natural point of culmination.

On the other hand, a community which has reached the point of culmination and which has experienced no form of release is likely to settle into a condition of stagnation. Its natural surplus of population is forced to emigrate. This type of emigration tends to occasion folk-depletion in the parent community. The younger and more enterprising population elements respond most sensitively to the absence of opportunities in their home town. This is particularly true when the community has but a single economic base, such as agriculture, lumbering, mining. Reformers try in vain to induce the young people to remain on the farms or in their native villages, little realizing that they are working in opposition to the general principles of the ecological order.

Again, when a community starts to decline in population due to a weakening of the economic base, disorganization and social unrest follow.1 Competition becomes keener within the community, and the weaker elements either are forced into a lower economic level or are compelled to withdraw from the community entirely.

5. Ecological processes determining the internal structure of community

In the process of community growth there is a development from the simple to the complex, from the general to the specialised; first to increasing centralisation and later to a decentralisation process. In the small town or village the primary universal needs are satisfied by a few general stores and a few simple institutions such as church, school, and home. As the community increases in size specialisation takes place both in the type of service provided and in the location of the place of service. The sequence of development may be somewhat as follows: first the grocery store, sometimes carrying a few of the more staple dry goods, then the restaurant, poolroom, barber shop, drug store, dry-goods store, and later bank, haberdashery, millinery, and other specialised lines of service.1

The axial or skeletal structure of a community is determined by the course of the first routes of travel and traffic. 2

Houses and shops are constructed near the road, usually parallel with it. The road may be a trail, public highway, railroad, river, or ocean harbour, but, in any case, the community usually starts in parallel relation to the first main highway. With the accumulation of population and utilities the community takes form, first along one side of the highway and later on both sides. The point of junction or crossing of two main highways, as a rule, serves as the initial centre of the community.

As the community grows there is not merely a multiplication of houses and roads but a process of differentiation and segregation takes place as well. Residences and institutions spread out in centrifugal fashion from the central point of the community, while [p.74] business concentrates more and more around the spot of highest land values.

Each cyclic increase of population is accompanied by greater differentiation in both service and location. There is a struggle among utilities for the vantage-points of position. This makes for increasing value of land and increasing height of buildings at the geographic centre of the community. As competition for advantageous sites becomes keener with the growth of population, the first and economically weaker types of utilities are forced out to less accessible and lower-priced areas. By the time the community has reached a population of about ten or twelve thousand, a fairly well-differentiated structure is attained. The central part is a clearly defined business area with the bank, the drugstore, the department store, and the hotel holding the sites of highest land value. Industries and factories usually comprise independent formations within the city, grouping around railroad tracks and routes of water traffic. Residence sections become established, segregated into two or more types, depending upon the economic and racial composition of the population.

The structural growth of community takes place in successional sequence not unlike the successional stages in the development of the plant formation. Certain specialized forms of utilities and uses do not appear in the human community until a certain stage of development has been attained, just as the beech or pine forest is preceded by successional dominance of other plant species. And just as in plant communities successions are the products of invasion, so also in the human community the formations, segregations, and associations that appear constitute the outcome of a series of invasions.1

There are many kinds of intra-community invasions, but in general they may be grouped into two main classes: .those resulting in change in use of land, and those which introduce merely change in type of occupant. By the former is meant change from one [p.75] general use to another, such as of a residential area into a business area or of a business into an industrial district. The latter embraces all changes of type within a particular use area, such as the changes which constantly take place in the racial and economic complexion of residence neighbourhoods, or of the type of service utility within a business section. Invasions produce successional stages of different qualitative significance, that is, the economic character of the district may rise or fall as the result of certain types of invasion. This qualitative aspect is reflected in the fluctuations of land or rental values.

The conditions which initiate invasions are legion. The following are some of the more important:

  1. changes in forms and routes of transportation;1 (1 For good discussions of the effect of new forms of transportation upon communal structure see McMichael and Bingham, City Growth and Values (1923), chap, iv; also Grupp, Economics of Motor Transportation (1924), chap, ii.)

  2. obsolescence resulting from physical deterioration or from changes in use or fashion;

  3. the erection of important public or private structures, buildings, bridges, institutions, which have either attractive or repellent significance;

  4. the introduction of new types of industry, or even a change in the organisation of existing industries;

  5. changes in the economic base which make for redistribution of income, thus necessitating change of residence;

  6. real estate promotion creating sudden demands for special location sites, etc.

Invasions may be classified according to stage of development into

    (a) initial stage,

    (b) secondary or developmental stage,

    (c) climax.

The initial stage of an invasion has to do with the point of entry, the resistance or inducement offered the invader by the prior inhabitants of the area, the effect upon land values and rentals. The invasion, of course, may be into an unoccupied territory or into territory with various degrees of occupancy. The resistance to invasion depends upon the type of the invader together with the degree of solidarity of the present occupants. The undesirable [p.76] invader, whether in population type or in use form, usually makes entry (that is, within an area already completely occupied) at the point of greatest mobility. It is a common observation that foreign races and other undesirable invaders, with few exceptions, take up residence near the business centre of the community or at other points of high mobility and low resistance. Once established they gradually push their way out along business or transportation thoroughfares to the periphery of the community.

Park R.E. 1925/6 "Community organisation and the romantic temper" Chapter six in The City (pages 99-122)

2). The community defined

But what is a community and what is community organisation? Before assessing the communal efficiency one should at least be able [p.115] to describe a community. The simplest possible description of a community is this: a collection of people occupying a more or less clearly defined area. But a community is more than that. A community is not only a collection of people, but it is a collection of institutions. Not people, but institutions, are final and decisive in distinguishing the community from other social constellations.

Among the institutions of the community there will always be homes and something more: churches, schools, playgrounds, a communal hall, a local theater, perhaps, and, of course, business and industrial enterprises of some sort. Communities might well be classified by the number and variety of the institutions - cultural, political, and occupational-which they possess. This would indicate the extent to which they were autonomous or, conversely, the extent to which their communal functions were mediatized, so to speak, and incorporated into the larger community.

There is always a larger community. Every single community is always a part of some larger and more inclusive one. There are no longer any communities wholly detached and isolated; all are interdependent economically and politically upon one another. The ultimate community is the wide world.

a) The ecological organisation. - Within the limits of any community the communal institutions - economic, political, and cultural - will tend to assume a more or less clearly defined and characteristic distribution. For example, the community will always have a center and a circumference, defining the position of each single community to every other. Within the area so defined the local populations and the local institutions will tend to group themselves in some characteristic pattern, dependent upon geography, lines of communication, and land values. This distribution of population and institutions we may call the ecological organisation of the community.

Town-planning is an attempt to direct and control the ecological organisation. Town-planning is probably not so simple as it seems.

[p.116] Cities, even those like the city of Washington, D.C., that have been most elaborately planned, are always getting out of hand. The actual plan of a city is never a mere artifact, it is always quite as much a product of nature as of design. But a plan is one factor in communal efficiency.

b) The economic organisation. - Within the limits of the ecological organisation, so far as a free exchange of goods and services exists, there inevitably grows up another type of community organisation based on the division of labour. This is what we may call the occupational organisation of the community.

The occupational organisation, like the ecological, is a product of competition. Eventually every individual member of the community is driven, as a result of competition with every other, to do the thing he can do rather than the thing he would like to do. Our secret ambitions are seldom realized in our actual occupations. The struggle to live determines finally not only where we shall live within the limits of the community, but what we shall do.

The number and variety of professions and occupations carried on within the limits of a community would seem to be one measure of its competency, since in the wider division of labour and the greater specialisation - in the diversities of interests and tasks - and in the vast unconscious co-operation of city life, the individual man has not only the opportunity, but the necessity, to choose his vocation and develop his individual talents.

Nevertheless, in the struggle to find his place in a changing world there are enormous wastes. Vocational training is one attempt to meet the situation; the proposed national organisation of employment is another. But until a more rational organisation of industry has somehow been achieved, little progress may be expected or hoped for.

c) The cultural and political organisation. - Competition is never unlimited in human society. Always there is custom and law which sets some bounds and imposes some restraints upon the wild and [p.117] wilful impulses of the individual man. The cultural and political organisation of the community rests upon the occupational organisation, just as the latter, in turn, grows up in, and rests upon, the ecological organisation.

It is this final division or segment of the communal organisation with which community-center associations are mainly concerned. Politics, religion, and community welfare, like golf, bridge, and other forms of recreation, are leisure-time activities, and it is the leisure time of the community that we are seeking to organise.

Aristotle, who described man as a political animal, lived a long time ago, and his description was more true of man then than it is today. Aristotle lived in a world in which art, religion, and politics were the main concerns of life, and public life was the natural vocation of every citizen.

Under modern conditions of life, where the division of labour has gone so far that-to cite a notorious instance-it takes 150 separate operations to make a suit of clothes, the situation is totally different. Most of us now, during the major portion of our waking hours, are so busy on some minute detail of the common task that we frequently lose sight altogether of the community in which we live.

Park R.E. 1925/7 "Magic, mentality, and city life" Chapter seven in The City (pages 129-141)

During the past year two very important books have been published, in English, dealing with the subject of magic. The first is a translation of Levy-Bruhl's La Mentalite Primitive, and the other is Lynn Thorndyke's A History of Magic and Experimental Science during the First Thirteen Centuries of the Christian Era.

In venturing to include two volumes so different in content and point of view in the same general category, I have justified myself [p.124] by adopting Thorndyke's broad definition, which includes under "magic"

"all occult arts and sciences, superstition and folklore."

Levy-Bruhl's book is an attempt, from a wide survey of anthropological literature, to define a mode of thought characteristic of primitive peoples.

Thorndyke, on the other hand, is interested mainly, as the title of his volume indicates, in the beginnings of empirical science. The points of view are different, but the subject-matter is the same, namely, magical beliefs and practices, particularly in so far as they reflect and embody a specific type of thought.

Levy-Bruhl has collected, mainly from the writings of missionaries and travellers, an imposing number of widely scattered observations. These have been classified and interpreted in a way that is intended to demonstrate that the mental life and habits of thought of primitive peoples differ fundamentally from those of civilised man.

Thorndyke, on the other hand, has described the circumstances under which, during the first thirteen centuries of our era, the forerunners of modern science were gradually discarding magical practices in favour of scientific experiment.

There is, of course, no historical connection between the culture of Europe in the thirteenth century and that of present-day savages, although the magical beliefs and practices of both are surprisingly similar and in many cases identical, a fact which is intelligible enough when we reflect that magic is a very ancient, widespread, characteristically human phenomenon, and that science is a very recent, exceptional, and possibly fortuitous manifestation of social life.

Levy-Bruhl described the intelligence and habits of thought characteristic of savage peoples as a type of mentality. The civilised man has another and a different mentality. "Mentality," used in this way, is an expression the precise significance of which is not at once clear. We use the expression "psychology" in a similar [p.125] but somewhat different way when we say, for example, that the rural and urban populations "have a different 'psychology,'" or that such and such a one has the "psychology" of his class-meaning that a given individual or the group will interpret an event or respond to a situation in a characteristic manner. But "mentality," as ordinarily used, seems to refer to the form, rather than to the content, of thought. We frequently speak of the type or grade of mentality of an individual, or of a group. We would not, however, qualify the word "psychology" in any such way. We would not, for example, speak of the grade or degree of the bourgeoise, or the proletarian "psychology." The things are incommensurable and "psychology," in this sense, is a character but not a quantity.

The term "mentality," however, as Levy-Bruhl uses it, seems to include both meanings. On the whole, however, "primitive mentality" is used here to indicate the form in which primitive peoples are predisposed to frame their thoughts. The ground pattern of primitive thought is, as Levy-Bruhl expresses it, "pre-logical."

As distinguished from Europeans and from some other peoples somewhat less sophisticated than ourselves, the primitive mind "manifests," he says, "a decided distaste for reasoning and for what logicians call the discursive operations of thought. This distaste for rational thought does not arise out of any radical incapacity or any inherent defect in their understanding," but is simply a method-one might almost say a tradition-prevalent among savage and simple-minded people of interpreting as wilful acts the incidents, accidents, and unsuspected changes of the world about them.

What is this pre-logical form of thought which characterises the mentality of primitive people? Levy-Bruhl describes it as "participation." The primitive mind does not know things as we do, in a detached objective way. The uncivilised man enters, so to speak, into the world about him and interprets plants, animals, the changing seasons, and the weather in terms of his own impulses [p.126] and conscious purposes. It is not that he is lacking in observation, but he has no mental patterns in which to think and describe the shifts and changes of the external world, except those offered by the mutations of his own inner life. His blunders of interpretation are due to what has been described as the "pathetic fallacy," the mistake of attributing to other persons, in this case, to physical nature and to things alive and dead, the sentiments and the motives which they inspire in him. As his response to anything sudden and strange is more likely to be one of fear than of any other emotion, he interprets the strange and unfamiliar as menacing and malicious. To the civilised observer it seems as if the savage lived in a world peopled with devils.

One difference between the savage and the civilised man is that the savage is mainly concerned with incidents and accidents, the historical, rather than scientific, aspects of life. He is so actively engaged in warding off present evil and meeting his immediate needs that he has neither time nor inclination to observe routine. It is the discovery and explanation of this routine that enables natural science to predict future consequences of present action and so enable us to prepare today for the needs of tomorrow. It is the discovery and explanation, in terms of cause and effect, of this routine that constitutes, in the sense in which Levy-Bruhl uses the term, rational thought.

What the author of primitive mentality means by "participation" is familiar enough, though the expression itself is unusual as description of a form of thought. Human beings may be said to know one another immediately and intuitively by "participation." Knowledge of this kind is dependent, however, upon the ability of human beings to enter imaginatively into one another's minds and to interpret overt acts in terms of intentions and purposes. What Levy-Bruhl's statement amounts to, then, is that savage people think, as poets have always done, in terms of wills rather than forces. The universe is a society of wilful personalities, not [p.127] an irrefragable chain of cause and effect. For the savage, there are events, but neither hypotheses nor facts, since facts, in the strict sense of the word, are results of criticism and reflection and presuppose an amount of detachment that primitive man does not seem to possess. Because he thinks of his world as will rather than force, primitive man seeks to deal with it in terms of magic rather than of mechanism.

Burgess, E.W. 1925/8 "Can neighbourhood work have a scientific basis?" Chapter eight in The City (pages 141-155)

The term "community" is widely used by sociologists, neighbourhood workers, and others, but often with widely divergent meanings. In research in any field it is necessary to define our concepts and to make relevant distinctions. In the literature of the subject there is a growing disposition to emphasise as one of the fundamental aspects of the community its geographical setting. Whatever else the community may be, it signifies individuals, families, groups, or institutions located upon an area and some or all of the relationships which grow out of this common location.

" Community is the term which is applied to societies and social groups where they are considered from the point of view of the geographical distribution of the individuals and institutions of which they are composed." (Park and Burgess, Introduction to the Science of Sociology, p. 163)

Upon reflection it is evident that markedly different social relationships may have their roots in the conditions of a common territorial location. Indeed, it is just these outstanding differences in communal activities, viewed in relation to their geographic background, which have caused much of the confusion in the use of the term "community." For community life, as conditioned by the distribution of individuals and institutions over an area, has at least three quite different aspects.

First of all, there is the community viewed almost exclusively in terms of location and movement. How far has the area itself, by its very topography and by all its other external and physical characteristics, as railroads, parks, types of housing, conditioned community formation and exerted a determining influence upon the distribution of its inhabitants and upon their movements and life? To what extent has it had a selective effect in sifting and sorting families over the area by occupation, nationality, and economic or social class? To what extent is the work of neighbourhood or community [p.145] institutions promoted or impeded by favorable or unfavorable location? How far do geographical distances within or without the community symbolise social distances? This apparently "natural" organisation of the human community, so similar in the formation of plant and animal communities, may be called the "ecological community."

No comprehensive study of the human community from this standpoint has yet been made. A prospectus for such a study is outlined in an earlier chapter by Professor R. D. McKenzie, in this volume, under the title, "The Ecological Approach to the Study of the Human Community."1 Yet there are several systematic treatises and a rapidly growing literature of scientific research in the two analogous fields of plant ecology and animal ecology. The processes of competition, invasion, succession, and segregation described in elaborate detail for plant and animal communities seem to be strikingly similar to the operation of these same processes in the human community. The assertion might even be defended that the student of community life or the community organisation worker might secure at present a more adequate understanding of the basic factors in the natural organisation of the community from Warming's Oecology of Plants or from Adams's Guide to the Study of Animal Ecology than from any other source.

In the second place, the community may be conceived in terms of the effects of communal life in a given area upon the formation or the maintenance of a local culture. Local culture includes those sentiments, forms of conduct, attachments, and ceremonies which are characteristic of a locality, which have either originated in the area or have become identified with it. This aspect of local life may be called "the cultural community."

The immigrant colony in an American city possesses a culture unmistakably not indigenous but transplanted from the Old World. The telling fact, however, is not that the immigrant colony maintains its old-world cultural organisation, but that in its new environment it mediates a cultural adjustment to its new situation. How basically culture is dependent upon place is suggested by the following expressions, "New England conscience," "southern hospitality," "Scottish thrift," "Kansas is not a geographical location so much as a state of mind." Neighbourhood institutions like the church, the school, and the settlement are essentially cultural institutions...

There remains a third standpoint from which the relation of a local area to group life may be stated. In what ways and to what extent does the fact of common residence in a locality compel or invite its inhabitants to act together? Is there, or may there be developed upon a geographical basis, a community consciousness? Does contiguity by residence insure or predispose to co-operation in at least those conditions of life inherent in geographic location, as transportation, water supply, playgrounds, etc.? Finally, what degree of social and political action can be secured on the basis of local areas? This is the community of the community organisation worker and of the politician, and may be described as "the political community." It is upon this concept of the community as a local area that American political organisation has been founded.

These three definitions of the community are not perhaps altogether mutually exclusive. They do, however, represent three distinctly different aspects of community life that will have to be [p.147] recognised in any basic study of the community and of community organisation. A given local area, like Hyde Park in Chicago, may at the same time constitute an ecological, cultural, and political community, while another area like the lower North Side in the same city, which forms a distinct ecological unit, falls apart into several cultural communities and cannot, at any rate from the standpoint of a common and effective public opinion, be said to constitute a going political community. The Black Belt in Chicago comprises one cultural community but overflows several ecological areas and has no means of common political action except through ward lines arbitrarily drawn.

It follows that the boundaries of local areas determined ecologically, culturally, and politically seldom, if ever, exactly coincide. In fact, for American cities it is generally true that political boundaries are drawn most arbitrarily, without regard either to ecological or cultural lines, as is notoriously the case in the familiar instance of the gerrymander. Therefore it is fair to raise the question: How far are the deficiencies in political action through our governmental bodies and welfare action through our social agencies the result of the failure to base administrative districts upon ecological or cultural communities?

This analysis of the community into its threefold aspects suggests that the study of social forces in a local area should assume that the neighbourhood or the community is the resultant of three main types of determining influences: first, ecological forces; second, cultural forces; and third, political forces.

Wirth, L. 1925/10 "A Bibliography of the Urban Community" Chapter ten in The City (pages 161-228)


The city... may be regarded as the product of three fundamental processes: the ecological, the economic, and the cultural, which operate in the urban area to produce groupings and behaviour which distinguish that area from its rural periphery.


V. The ecological organisation of the city

Just as the city as a whole is influenced in its position, function, and growth by competitive factors which are not the result of the design of anyone, so the city has an internal organisation which may be termed an ecological organisation, by which we mean the spatial distribution of population and institutions and the temporal sequence of structure and function following from the operation of selective, distributive, and competitive forces tending to produce typical results wherever they are at work. Every city tends to take on a structural and functional pattern determined by the ecological factors that are operative.

1. Plant ecologists have been accustomed to use the expression "natural area" to refer to well-defined spatial units having their own peculiar characteristics. In human ecology the term "natural area" is just as applicable to groupings according to selective and cultural characteristics. Land values are an important index to the boundaries of these local areas. Streets, rivers, railroad properties, street-car lines, and other distinctive marks or barriers tend to serve as dividing lines between the natural areas within the city.

2. The neighbourhood is typically the product of the village and the small town. Its distinguishing characteristics are close proximity, co-operation, intimate social contact, and strong feeling of social consciousness. While in the modern city we still find people living in close physical proximity to each other, there is neither close co-operation nor intimate contact, acquaintanceship, and group consciousness accompanying this spatial nearness. The neighbourhood has come to mean a small, homogeneous geographic section of the city, rather than a self-sufficing, co-operative, and self-conscious group of the population.

[p.191] 3. The local community and the neighbourhood in a simple form of society society are synonymous terms. In the city, however, where specialisation has gone very far, the grouping of the population is more nearly by occupation and income than by kinship or common tradition. Nevertheless, in the large American city, in particular, we find many local communities made up of immigrant groups which retain a more or less strong sense of unity, expressing itself in close proximity and, what is more important, in separate and common social institutions and highly effective communal control. These communities may live in relative isolation from each other or from the native communities. The location of these communities is determined by competition, which can finally be expressed in terms of land values and rentals. But these immigrant communities, too, are in a constant process of change, as the economic condition of the inhabitants changes or as the areas in which they are located change.


4. The city may be graphically depicted in terms of a series of concentric circles, representing the different zones or typical areas [p.193] of settlement. At the canter we find the business district, where land values are high. Surrounding this there is an area of deterioration, where the slums tend to locate themselves. Then follows an area of workmen's homes, followed in turn by the middle-class apartment section, and finally by the upper-class residential area. Land values, general appearance, and function divide.these areas off from each other. These differences in structure and use get themselves incorporated in law in the form of zoning ordnances. This is an attempt, in the face of the growth of the city, to control the ecological forces that are at work.

5. The needs of communal life impose upon the city a certain degree of order which sometimes expresses itself in a city plan which is an attempt to predict and to guide the physical structure of the city. The older European cities appear more like haphazard, [p.194] un-planned products of individualistic enterprise than the American cities with their checkerboard form. And yet, most European cities were built according to some preconceived plan which attempted to take account of the needs of the community and the limitations of the environment. There is a tendency, however, for the city to run counter to the plan which was laid out for it, as is seen, for instance, in the problems of city-planning of the city of Washington. The fact is that the city is a dynamic mechanism which cannot be controlled in advance unless the conditions entering into its genesis and its growth are fully known. City-planning, which has grown into a highly technical profession, is coming to be more concerned with studying the problems of a changing institution, with city growth, and the forces operating in city life than with the creation of artistic schemes of city structure. On the one hand the importance of devising a scheme of wholesome, orderly existence in the city is being recognized, on the other hand, the limitations of any attempt to make the city conform to an artificial plan impresses itself upon the experience of the technicians engaged in this work.


IX. Human nature and city life

The city is remaking human nature and each city is producing its own type of personality. These influences of city life are of prime interest to the sociologist. The materials bearing on this question are not primarily those collected by the scientist, but by the artist. It requires insight and imagination to perceive and to describe these deep-seated changes which are being wrought in the nature of man himself.

1. The division of labour and the fine specialisation of occupations and professions that is so distinctly characteristic of city life has brought into existence a new mode of thought and new habits and attitudes which have transformed man in a few generations. The city man tends to think less in terms of locality than he does in terms of occupation. In a sense he has become an adjunct of the machine which he operates and the tools he uses. His interests are organised around his occupation, and his status and mode of life is determined by it.


2. There is a city mentality which is clearly differentiated from the rural mind. The city man thinks in mechanistic terms, in rational terms, while the rustic thinks in naturalistic, magical terms. Not only does this difference exist between city and country, it exists also between city and city, and between one area of the city and another. Each city and each part of the city furnishes a distinct social world to its inhabitants, which they incorporate in their personality whether they will or no.

Simmel, G. Die Grossstadte und das Geistesleben, in "Die Grossstadt" (Dresden, 1903) - The most important single article on the city from the sociological standpoint.


3. The medium through which man is influenced and modified in the city is the intricate system of communication. The urban system of communication takes on a special form. It is not typically the primary, but the secondary, contact that it produces. The public opinion that is built up in the city and the morale and ésprit de corps growing out of it relies on such typical media as the newspaper rather than the gossip monger; the telephone and the mails rather than the town meeting. The characteristic urban social unit is the occupational group rather than the geographical area.


4. The final product of the city environment is found in the new types of personality which it engenders. Here the latent energies and capacities of individuals find expression and locate themselves within the range of a favorable milieu. This possibility of segregating one's self from the crowd develops and accentuates what there is of individuality in the human personality. The city gives an opportunity to men to practice their specialty vocationally and develop it to the utmost degree. It provides also the stimulus and the conditions which tend to bring out those temperamental and psychological qualities within the individual through the multiple behavior patterns which it tolerates.


X. The city and the country

The city and the country represent two opposite poles in modern civilisation. The difference between the two is not merely one of degree, but of kind. Each has its own peculiar type of interests, of social organisation, and of humanity. These two worlds are in part antagonistic and in part complementary to each other. The one influences the life of the other, but they are by no means equally matched. The analysis of these differences, antagonisms, and interacting forces has not passed even the descriptive stage.

i. The ancient city was regarded as a parasitic growth. It dominated the country by skill and by force, but contributed little to its welfare. The modern city, too, is often regarded as a superfluous burden which the rural sections are carrying. This view of the matter is fast passing away, however, as the city extends its influence, not by force, but by fulfilling a set of functions upon which the rural population has become dependent. The economists have been especially concerned with the antagonistic interests which the city and the country have presented. These antagonisms have come to play a political role which influences local, national, and international affairs.


2. As a result of city life new forms of social organisation have been developed which are foreign to the country. The family, the neighbourhood, the community, the state have become transformed by city needs into new institutions with a different organisation and with a different set of functions. The social processes that characterise rural life do not apply in the city. A new moral order has developed which is fast breaking down the precedents of an earlier epoch of civilisation.


3. The rustic and the urbanite not only show certain fundamental differences in personality, but the variations found in the city far exceed the country, and the rate at which new types are constantly being created in the city far exceeds that of the country. The rural man still is to a great extent the product of the nature which surrounds him, while the urbanite has become a part of the machine with which he works, and has developed as many different [p.225] species as there are techniques to which he is devoted. The attitudes, the sentiments, the life organisation of the city man are as different from the country man as those of the civilised man are from the primitive. As the city extends its influence over the country the rural man is also being remade, and ultimately the differences between the two may become extinguished.

Park, R.E. 1944 "An Autobiographical Note"
(Dictated to his secretary at Fisk University and found among his papers after his death)

I can trace my interest in sociology to the reading of Goethe's Faust. You remember that Faust was tired of books and wanted to see the world - the world of men. At any rate, after leaving college I gave up a position as teacher in a high school at Red Wing, Minnesota, and went to Minneapolis on the chance of getting a job as a reporter. I got the job, and I saw a lot of the world-the kind of a world that a reporter does see. I finished with Minneapolis in about three years and started out for New York. New York was the mecca of every ambitious newspaperman. I did not get to New York at that time but stopped six months in Detroit; went from there to Denver, finally got to New York. But once there I was shortly disenchanted with the prospect. The life of the average newspaperman seemed, at that time to be about eight years. After that if he remained in the profession his value steadily declined.

Meanwhile I had gained an insight into the functioning of the newspaper. The newspaper and news became my problem. About that time I was introduced by John Dewey, who was then at Ann Arbor, to a very interesting man named Franklin Ford. Ford had been a newspaper reporter. He had reported Wall Street and gained a conception of the function of the press by observing the way in which the market responded to news. The market price was, from his point of view, a kind of public opinion, and, being a man of philosophic temperament, he drew from this analogy far-reaching inferences. I cannot go into that. Suffice it to say he came to believe, and I did too, that with more accurate and adequate reporting of current events the historical process would be appreciably stepped up, progress would go forward steadily, without the interruption disorder of depression or violence, and at a rapid pace.

It was interest in the newspaper that sent me back to the university I had graduated at Ann Arbor. I decided to go to Harvard. I studied philosophy because I hoped to gain insight into the nature and function of the kind of knowledge we call news. Besides I wanted to a fundamental point of view from which I could describe the behaviour of society, under the influence of news, in the precise and universal language of science.

I spent a year at Harvard and then went abroad. I intended to stay abroad for a year, but I remained for four years. There, listening to the lectures of Georg Simmel, at Berlin, I received my only formal instruction in sociology.

While I was in Berlin I ran across a little treatise on the logic of the social sciences by a Russian, Kistiakowski. It was the first thing had found anywhere that dealt with the problem with which I was concerned in the terms in which I had come to think of it. Kistiakowski had been a student of Wilhelm Windelband, so I went to Strasburg and later to Heidelberg, when Windelband succeeded Kuno Fischer in the chair of philosophy in that university. I wrote a the under Windelband. I called it Masse und Publikum ("Crowd an Public"). I returned in 1903 to Harvard, giving my thesis the final touches there. It was during that period that I was assistant, " assistant professor, in philosophy.

By this time, however, I was sick and tired of the academic world and I wanted to get back into the world of men. I had never given the ambition I gained from reading Faust - the ambition to know human nature, know it widely and intimately.

While I was at Harvard, William James read to us one day essay on "A Certain Blindness in Human Beings." I was greatly impressed at the time, and, as I have reflected upon it since, the ideas suggested there have assumed a steadily increasing significance.

The "blindness" of which James spoke is the blindness each of is likely to have for the meaning of other people's lives. At any rate what sociologists most need to know is what goes on behind the faces of men, what it is that makes life for each of us either dull or thrilling. For "if you lose the joy you lose all." But the thing that gives zest! life or makes life dull is, however, as James says, "a personal secret" which has in every single case, to be discovered. Otherwise we do not know the world in which we actually live.

Well this is merely to suggest how, after I had grown tired of books and while I was looking about for something more thrilling than a logical formula, I discovered a new interest in the study of the Negro and the race problem.

This new interest grew out of meeting Booker Washington. The result of that meeting was that I spent seven winters, partly at Tuskegee but partly roaming about the South, getting acquainted with the life, the customs, and the condition of the Negro people.

It happened in this way: While I was living outside of Boston, having just completed the writing of a Doctor's thesis and having lost for the moment any ambition to teach, as I had once intended to do, I was invited to become secretary of the Congo Reform Association. There were at the time reports of great scandals in the Congo, and the secretary of the Baptist Foreign Missions, Dr Barbour, wanted someone to help him advertise the atrocities in order to prepare for some sort of political action which would insure reform. I was not, at that time, strong for missions, but I undertook the job. Eventually, however, I became genuinely interested. I discovered what I might have known in advance - that conditions in the Congo were about what one might expect, what they have since become, though not by any means so bad, in Kenya. They were, in short, what they were certain to be whenever a sophisticated people invades the territories of a more primitive people in order to exploit their lands and, incidentally, to uplift and civilise them. I knew enough about civilisation even at that time to know that progress, as James once remarked, is a terrible thing. It is so destructive and wasteful.

I was so interested by this time that I was about to go to Africa to study the situation at first hand. It was at this moment that Booker Washington invited me to visit Tuskegee and start my studies of Africa in the southern states. I think I probably learned more about human nature and society, in the South under Booker Washington, than I had learned elsewhere in all my previous studies. I believe in firsthand knowledge not as a substitute but as a basis for more formal and systematic investigation. But the reason I profited as much as I did from this experience was due, I am sure, to the fact that I had a long preparation. As a result I was not, as I found later, interested in the Negro problem as that problem is ordinarily conceived. I was interested in the Negro in the South and in the curious and intricate system which had grown up to define his relations with white folk. I was interested, most of all, in studying the details of the process by which the Negro was making and has made his slow but steady advance. I became convinced, finally, that I was observing the historical process by which civilisation, not merely here but elsewhere, has evolved, drawing into the circle of its influence an ever widening circle of races and peoples.

Since then I have been around a good part of the world. I was a year in Honolulu as research professor, at the University of Hawaii I was in Peiping a few months, where I learned a great deal about China from the members of my class at Yenching University. I attended the Fourth Pacific Science Congress in Java in 1929. Two years later I visited India, South Africa, and South America. In July, 1937, I went again to Brazil, to visit the city of Bahia, which is a kind of centre of African culture, so much as remains of it, in Brazil.

I have told you how I came to be interested in the newspaper, in the crowd and the public, in collective psychology, generally. I have indicated how I came to get interested in the races and racial attitudes and the incidental problems of cultural conflict and cultural change. There remains the studies of the city, of urban and rural communities, what R. D. McKenzie and I call, quite properly I believe, "human ecology."

While I was a newspaper reporter I used to do a good deal of writing for the Sunday papers. In those days the daily papers wrote their own Sunday papers and did not depend to the extent they do now upon syndicated articles.

I found that the Sunday paper was willing to publish anything long as it concerned the local community and was interesting. I wrote about all sorts of things and became in this way intimately acquaint with many different aspects of city life. I expect that I have actually covered more ground, tramping about in cities in different parts the world, than any other living man. Out of all this I gained, amongst other things, a conception of the city, the community, and the region not as a geographical phenomenon merely but as a kind of social organism.

My interest in the newspaper had grown out of the discovery that a reporter who had the facts was a more effective reformer than an editorial writer who merely thundered from his pulpit, no matter how eloquently.

According to my earliest conception of a sociologist he was to be a kind of super-reporter, like the men who write for Fortune. He was to report a little more accurately, and in a manner a little more detached than the average, what my friend Ford called the "Big News." The "Big News" was the long-time trends which recorded what is actually going on rather than what, on the surface of things, merely seems to be going on.

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dictionary -
1921 A - 1921 B - 1925, p.24 - 1925, p.63 -

dictionary - 1921 -

animal ecology
dictionary - 1921Ab - 1925, p.63 -

dictionary - 1925, p.3 - 1925, p.124 -

timeline - 1925, p.3 -

dictionary -
1921 -

dictionary - 1925, p.43 - 1944 -

p.68 - p.74 -

ecology - 1925, p.68

dictionary - 1921 - 1925, p.114 - p.144

dictionary - 1921 - 1925, p.187

dictionary - 1921 -

dictionary - 1921 conflict - 1921Ac war - 1921Ad - 1921B - 1925, p.126 (conscious purposes) -

1925, p.23

1925, p.68

dictionary - 1921 - 1925, p.1 (Spengler) - p.3 (anthropology) - p.3 again - p.124 - 1944 -

cultural process
1925, p.160

cyclic development:
1925, p.68


1921 - 1944

distributive and distribution

distribution of commodities
1925, p.64

distribution of people
1921Ab - 1921Ac - 1921B - 1925, p.23 - p.43 -

distribution of people and institutions
1925, p.115 - p.144 - p.187

ecological organisation
1921Ab - 1925, p.187

ecological process
1925, p.160

dictionary -

dictionary -
1925, p.52

economic base
1925, p.68

economic cooperation
1925, p.53

economic conditions
1925, p.43 -

economic equilibrium
1921 table - 1921B

economic interdependence

economic order:
dictionary - 1921Ab - 1921B -

economic organisation 1921Ab - 1925, p.2 -

economic process
1925, p.160

dictionary -
1921 table - 1921B - 1925, p.68

1925, p.50

1925, p.24 - p.44 - p.187 - p.223 - 1944 -

1925, p.43

human ecology:
dictionary - 1925, p.63 -

dictionary -
1921A - 1921B -
1925, p.24 -

ecology - 1925 p.50

timeline - 1925, p.3

latent impulses:
1925 p.43

moral region
1925, p.43

natural area:
1925, p.2 - p.188 -

1925, p.24 -

1925, p.14 - p.24 - p.43 - p.52 - p.144 - p.188 - p.191 -

1925, p.68

plant community
1921 -

plant ecology
1925, p.50 - p.63 - p.68 - p.188 -

primary relations:
1925, p.23

dictionary - 1925, p.187

1925, p.68

secondary relations:
1925, p.23

1925, pp.12-13

dictionary - 1921Ab - 1921B - 1921B again -

society and community synonymous or not - 1925, p.191 -

space and time

dictionary - 1921Ab - 1925, p.63 - p.187 - p.188 -

1925, p.1 - p.3 -

dictionary - 1925, p.187

dictionary - 1925, p.44

1916, Clements - 1925, p.50 - p.68 - p.74 -

successive zones:
1925, p.50

dictionary - 1925, p.63 - 1925, p.187 -

dictionary - 1921 (not conscious) - 1921B -

1921 - 1921 Mars -

1925, p.50 - 1925, p.192 -