Nader George A Cities of Canada Volume One Theoretical

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character is unfortunate and simplistic and demonstrates the necessity. for improved relations between amateur and professional historians. As Mr O Neill says St John s is a truly interesting city. with a very definite character It has long needed an historian and even. if Mr O Neill fails to satisfy he has performed a valuable task One. hopes that this book will help awaken in the citizens of St John s an. awareness of their heritage and a determination to save it from the. ravages of arterial roads and Trizec,Professor J K Hiller. Department of History,Memorial University of Newfoundland. Nader George A Cities of Canada Volume One Theoretical Historical. and Planning Perspectives Toronto Macmillan of Canada 1975 Pp. ix 404 Maps illustrations 15 95, Nader George A Cities of Canada Volume Two Profiles of Fifteen. Metropolitan Centres Toronto Macmillan of Canada 1976 Pp xii. 460 Maps illustrations 18 95, Although these books are certainly a valuable contribution to the. growing field of Canadian urban studies they are also a disappointment. Their value lies in the sweep of the subject covered in two volumes making. them strong candidates for use as textbooks in a wide variety of urban. study courses across the country It is disappointing however that. such a major effort should yield only this limited dividend and not break. much new ground in terms of approaches to the study of the Canadian city. As the title of Volume One suggests this book is divided into. three equal parts reflecting the goals Professor Nader had in mind in. preparing this study Part I is a description of the major forces which. operate on the contemporary urban system in terms of both inter urban. relationships and the internal structure of cities It includes a. discussion of current theories relating to such areas as the external urban. system internal city structure urban land use structure and the city. centre Part II is an overview of the historical evolution of the. Canadian urban system It deals with the Canadian city from the period. of forts trading posts and missions to the metropolitan centres of today. Part III concentrates on current urban problems in the areas of finance. planning and government Volume Two consists of a description of fifteen. metropolitan areas under the headings of historical development economic. base land use structure and planning policy The fifteen metropolitan. centres included in this volume were selected on the basis of both size. and geographical location and were chosen from among the twenty two census. metropolitan areas defined by Statistics Canada for the 1971 census. According to the author the number of centres was limited to fifteen in. order to produce a book of moderate length while the need to include a. geographically representative cross section made the elimination of some. metropolitan areas in Quebec and Ontario unavoidable11 p ix The seven. metropolitan areas that were not included are Chicoutimi Jonqui re. Kitchener London St Catherines Niagara Sudbury Thunder Bay and Windsor. The principal value of Cities of Canada is that together the two. books are the most complete general urban studies textbooks produced to. date and as such will be welcomed by the growing number of teachers. involved in urban studies courses Since the books discuss such a wide. range of topics and cities and bring together so much recent research in. the field they should appeal to a wide audience Whether urban studies. are being taught in a geographic planning or historic context the. teacher and student will find something of value in these volumes They. are also attractive for these uses since they contain over one hundred. maps and figures over seventy five tables and almost eighty illustrations. Cities of Canada have many weaknesses however both as. textbooks and as pieces of scholarly research They are written in a. terse style with little effort made to touch on all the varied dimensions. of urban Canada While some topics such as population growth economic. development and even the city centre as a unique functional zone are. dealt with in great detail others such as the social and political. development of the cities discussed are virtually ignored In the. section on the historical evolution of urban Canada in Volume One for. example there is a glaring lack of material on such topics as urban. society politics and the physical environment No where is mention. made of the fact that cities in pre confederation Canada were generally. dirty and cluttered with crowded and unpaved streets miserable shanties. in back allies few gas lights or sewers and much hardship and poverty. And these omissions are not corrected to any major degree in the second. volume profiling fifteen metropolitan centres Indeed lack of material. of this kind is general throughout the volumes A judicious attempt to. include some mention of the social and political development of urban. Canada would have added immeasurably not only to the readability of these. books but also to their claim as exhaustive11 studies. The author s decision to dispense with footnotes while. understandable from the point of view of their use as textbooks is also. regrettable Not understandable is the fact that neither book contains. the comprehensive11 bibliography proclaimed on the dust jacket The author. states in Volume Two that the primary emphasis was on the inclusion of. generally available material p x This was an unfortunate decision. since it effectively excludes a listing of most unpublished thesis work. an area where a great wealth of material has been produced in recent. years Indeed the author could well have included not only a more. extensive bibliography but some comments based on his own research. experiences on the primary sources available for the study of the. Canadian city would have been most welcome, The books have many other problems as well and it would be.
impossible to deal with all of them here From the point of view of the. urban historian however the sections in both books dealing with historical. development and the use of this material in viewing the contemporary. urban system from an evolutionary viewpoint I p ix are woefully. inadequate Several examples of the author s neglect or inadequate grasp. of historical material may be given although urban historians could. certainly add others In the discussion of Saskatoon s development in. Volume Two Professor Nader makes note of that city s unique experiences. in the area of municipal investment in undeveloped land He states that. the possession of large inventories of land from these periods Cthe post. 1913 boom era and the Depression was not unique to the city virtually. every other western Canadian city had acquired land in a similar way. During the housing boom after the war however most municipalities. including Edmonton and Calgary disposed of their land holdings but in. 1953 Saskatoon formally adopted a policy of continuous land acquisition in. order to maintain a land reserve sufficient to meet its development needs. for fifteen to twenty years ahead11 p 330 Having made this important. point the author does not then make any attempt to explain it The. important questions left unanswered are why did Saskatoon adopt this. course of action while other cities did not And did Saskatoon s successful. experiment in this area have any impact on land policies in other cities. By leaving these and many other questions hanging the author is treating. the historical dimension as window dressing not as an integral part of. the explanatory process, Another example of the author s narrow view of significant. factors in the development of Canadian cities is his complete neglect of. the role of individual and group decisions The reader is not told. whether he agrees or disagrees with recent historical studies which. stress the importance of the initiatives taken by business groups in the. rise of Winniepg to metropolitan status or with the lack of dynamism. among the business leaders of maritime cities and those cities decline. in the late nineteenth century Although the historical studies that. deal with these cases may well over emphasize the internal human factors. as opposed to external factors in the rise and decline of respective. cities Professor Nader takes the opposite extreme by concentrating almost. exclusively on the external forces And this tendency to ignore internal. A detailed account of Saskatoon s experiences in this area is Don Ravis. Advanced Land Acquisition by Local Government The Saskatoon Experience. Ottawa Community Planning Association of Canada 1973. factors is common to both books it is certainly one of the major. weaknesses of this study, These examples point out one of the major differences that still. divide social scientists and historians in their accounts of urban. development Urban geographers and economists still tend to overstress. theories of city location and growth with the result that cities most. often are seen as the creation of complex economic and geographic factors. that focus in a particular time space dimension In terms of this kind of. analysis the rise or decline of particular cities appears logical and. even inevitable But as historians continually point out men also play. an important part in making cities and the success or failure of one city. relative to another is never solely determined by impersonal external. forces Man interacts with his environment and shapes the character and. form of the city through his beliefs needs and actions In short. cities are founded and develop in distinctive ways as much because of. deliberate decisions by individuals and groups as because of external. forces And until some scholar goes to the trouble of giving due. attention to both these obviously important factors our understanding. of urban development in this country will be limited Unfortunately. Professor Nader has not suceeded in these books in bringing the two areas. A further flaw that deserves comment is that one of the author s. major goals for Volume Two namely to ensure a consistent and systematic. examination of each metropolitan centre for the purpose of permitting. comparisons between cities p ix is virtually ignored in practice. Although each metropolitan area is discussed under similar headings the. material presented in each is rarely comparable With the exception of. tables on population growth and labour force by industry the statistical. material presented on each metropolitan centre varies considerably Data. presented on the value of building permits in Saskatoon from 1910 1974. for example is not repeated for any other city And material on each. city s ethnic religious and age composition is also not included The. maps contained in the book while generally excellent do not always allow. for comparison The author apparently took the maps he discovered in. various planning studies and simply reproduced them in the book An attempt. to provide a set of standard original maps for each city would have given. his study an avenue for comparison which it simply does not have in its. present form, Far more regrettable than these flaws however is the fact that. the author did not devote any attention to the conceptual or methodological. problems faced by those interested in the study of the Canadian city. After having completed the vast amount of research that obviously went. into the preparation of this book it is certainly unfortunate that. Professor Nader did not choose to share with the reader any of the lessons. he must have learned along the way It would have been enlightening for. example to have had Professor Nader an urban geographer comment. precisely on the role he believes the historical dimension plays in the. development of theories of urban evolution Since one of the great. attractions of urban studies as a research area is its ability to bring. together the approaches and insights of a large number of disciplines some. mention of the problems and potential of inter disciplinary urban studies. would have been most welcome Instead these two books only indicate how. far off we are from any integrated history of the Canadian city Hopefully. Professor Nader will comment on the subjects of methodology. conceptualization and interdisciplinary communication in future. publications,Alan F J Artibise,National Museum of Man. Harney Robert and Troper Harold Immigrants A Portrait of the Urban. Experience 1890 1930 Toronto Van Nostrand Reinhold 1975 Pp. x 212 14 95, In terms of its stated objectives Immigrants is an ambitious.
much new ground in terms of approaches to the study of the Canadian city As the title of Volume One suggests this book is divided into three equal parts reflecting the goals Professor Nader had in mind in preparing this study Part I is a description of the major forces which 41 operate on the contemporary urban system in terms of both inter urban relationships and the internal structure

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