|V. Gordon Childe at Skara Brae in Orkney|
|Pyramid at Teopanzolco, an early Aztec city|
While Childe's model of the Urban Revolution remains important and influential today, I now tend to see urbanism as a broader phenomenon that just cities in state societies. I think that a number of non-state level societies (many chiefdoms) have urban centers, and that the various characteristics of the "Urban Revolution" in fact developed at different rates in different areas. That is, they did not come as a single package, all developing at the same time. But still, the end result of the transformation from small-scale societies to early urban states was a radical new kind of society. The Urban Revolution was, in my mind, the single greatest social transformation in the history of our species.
Check some of my former posts on the Urban Revolution, check out Childe's paper, and take a look at mine too:
"Myths of the Urban Revolution"
"Was the Urban Revolution really a revolution"
Childe, V. Gordon (1950) The Urban Revolution. Town Planning Review 21:3-17.
Smith, Michael E. (2009) V. Gordon Childe and the Urban Revolution: An Historical Perspective on a Revolution in Urban Studies. Town Planning Review 80:3-29. You can get this paper on the TPR site, or on my website.
|Ur, one of the earliest cities|