I have been slowly plodding through Lewis Mumford’s classic work The City in History. I was reflecting on this tendency described by Mumford below:
“Thus both the physical form and the institutional life of the city, from the very beginning of the urban implosion, were shaped in no small measure by the irrational and magical purposes of war. From this source sprang the elaborate system of fortifications, with walls, ramparts, towers, canals, ditches, that continued to characterize the chief historic cities, apart from certain special cases—as during the Pax Romana—down to the eighteenth century. The physical structure of the city, in turn, perpetuated the animus, the isolation and self-assertion, that favoured the new institution.” (Mumford, The City in History, 58)
Since the trend began to change in the eighteenth/nineteenth century, I was pondering on the current trend. My undeveloped thought is that the cities are still fortified, but not physically or militarily, rather economically. Cities still operate with hierarchies and classes except that now lineage and coat of arms mean little. Networking and resumes signal pedigree.
“Throughout the greater part of history, enslavement, forced labour, and destruction have accompanied—and penalized—the growth of urban civilization.” (Mumford, The City in History, 56)
The industrial age transformed the traditional practices of slavery to economic slavery. It seems that economics has become the primary determinant of a society.