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Name: Benjamin Tan Zi Hern ID No.: 0324857

Lecturer: Mr. Prince Favis Isip Tutorial Time: 10-11
Reader/Text Title: Urbanism as a Way of Life Synopsis No: 1
(1938) Author: Louis Wirth
Louis Wirth argues that to constitute a definition of city, people cannot solely rely on
the quantitative characteristics. He also argues that the shift from a rural society to an
urban society is caused by the shift from agricultural to industrialism. Wirth presents the
sociological propositions comprising the theory of urbanism are the numbers of
population, density of settlement and heterogeneity of inhabitants and group life.

As a result of industrialization, the need to develop specialized task and roles are
created, thus a community can become more heterogeneous. According to Wirth,
superficial relationships are aggravated when the population in a city increases. Wirth also
state density thus reinforces the effect of numbers in diversifying men and their activities
and in increasing the complexity of social structure. The complexity of social structure
often leads to dissolution of organization and solid relationship. Next, Wirth also stated
that due to the increase of density of people in the city, different group of people in the city
are puts to use to yield the greatest economic return. The competition and mutual
exploitation created a segregation in a city, resembling a mosaic of social worlds.
According to Wirth, the heterogeneity in group life plays an important role in the urban life.
The failure of urban population to reproduce itself appears to be caused by the complex
of urban life and decline in birth-rate of urbanities. Wirth also stated when groups are less
homogenous in urban settings, adjustment must be made to the facilities and institutions
to the needs of average person rather than those particular groups.

Louis Wirths Urbanism as A Way of Life take the subject of urbanism on a

perspective to show the way people live in city in comparison to way of life in the rural
town. In my opinion, the focus of social characteristics on urbanism in this text is the main
reason that it is still lifelike in the 21st Century despite the text was written in 1980s.

Word Count: 328 Mark Grade

Assessed by: Date Page No.