Social Science / Sociology Essay

The City and Human Ecology

Many people move from the country to the urban areas mainly because they want a better life and would like to escape their different localities for one personal reason or the other. So, naturally, they envisage better living conditions through such things as better jobs, improved movement and transportation, and so on. The city is then positively viewed as a place where rapid and comfortable development occurs. And this is because of the urban environment offered, the beautiful structures as well as a myriad of favorable opportunities that you stand to enjoy to make living as smooth as you have always imagined your life to be.

But, beyond the conveniences of the city; good roads, electric lights, magnificent structures, telephones and so on, city life also offers so much more in terms of social living and human co-existence. Even more than the regular internal organization of urban centers that we see; medical care, court, security, civil functionaries and other administrative devices, we have so much more to enjoy living in the city.

The city is more than an entity. Rather, it is a state of mind (Park et al., 1952). According to Park et al. (1992), the city is more of “a body of customs and traditions and of the organized attitudes and sentiments that inhere in these customs are transmitted with this tradition”. What they are trying to present with his description here is that the city represents so much more than what people generally view it to be; probably as a convenient place for artificial development and physical mechanism. In the real sense, the city — and its devices — is key in the formation of human nature, especially for those who live in it.

In this article, we'll be discussing the city and human ecology, basically the relationship between urban dimensions and externals, and how human nature is formed.


Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world, there are only individuals — Oscar Wilde.

The city is what it is because our citizens are what they are — Plato


As mentioned, the city is not an entity to be appreciated for its aesthetics; rather it is a state of mind of different individuals. These are individuals who unconsciously come together to form thoughts and beliefs about how things should be. Just as the second quote says, without the citizens, their thoughts and ideas, the city is nothing and vice versa.

The city, right from time, has always been described by scholars from its geographical and economic aspects. The focus has always been on the magnificent structures and the economic opportunities that one is presented with as a member. However, in this article, the focus presented is from the aspect of human ecology which studies the relationship humans establish with their environment (Hawley, 1950). The concern is on how humans are functional in the development and evolution of the communities they live in. It also concentrates on how values that change human priorities are shared and transferred within the city, and the society in general (Steiner, 2018).

Before we go on to understand the city and human ecology, we must first understand that the city is not just a place with beautiful structures, and better academic or career opportunities, it is also a place where human relationships with their environments are inexorably formed. It can be viewed more than a process through which values, beliefs and attitudes are that change human priorities are promoted to derive value (Freese, 2001).

What we generally refer most as the “city” are in the real sense functional utilities or devices which form the city through use and adaptation. These devices, without the operation of humans, are in themselves useless. They only become vital tools in the hands of humans when citizens decide to operate or adopt them.

The city is also in itself home to civilization, and with civilization comes progressive politics that determines how the affairs of man should be. Everything that makes the human existence urban is inherent in the civilization that we see in urban areas (Spengler, 1922)

Civilization has always been an object of investigation in many fields. Ecology is an interdisciplinary field aims to explain, in its way, how civilization affects man. The fundamental and complicated conceptions of human life in civilization are also put into perspective to understand the city.

Beyond all the geographical and economic layouts of the city, other determining factors seem to promote the organization and orderliness that is typical of the structure of urban societies, its populationThe City and Human Ecology, and social structures. And the field that studies all these factors in isolation to describe the relationship that has been confirmed to occur between humans and the society in which they live in is ecology.

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