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BACKDROP ON SOCIAL

TRANSFORMATION
1.0 INTRODUCTION

focus on the following:
Industrial revolution
Social reformers
New Towns
While the discussion may be following
the above sequence, we must not loose
sight of the fact that there is an interplay
between the three topics mentioned
2.0 INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
Urban geographers (Hall, 1974;
Johnson, 1975, Knox, 1996) are not
quite clear as what conclusive factors
contributed to industrial revolution per se
that spurred towns and cities, but they all
agreed that a multiplicity of factors
together impacted such process:
colonialism and international trade in the
15th century (Johnson, 1975 : 11-12),
residence of a substantial proportion of
non-rural workers in nucleated
settlement (ibid : 2)
expanding commerce and
commercialization (monetary wealth)
Use of fossil fuels (coals) (ibid : 13)

Improvements in agriculture (ibid : 13)
Development of improved means of
transport (ibid : 13), the railway and the
steamship (ibid : 14)
International trade
All these factors contribute radically to
increase population in urban areas, growth
of cities, industries, growing affluence and
widespread use of manufactured goods.
As a result of the above, societys values
shifted towards a more refined taste.
Power holders in society, similarly, had
The Urge to Build in a Grand Manner
What does this mean?
This is simply means (ibid: 29) the role
of a particular social situation is the
repeated tendency for certain cities to be
laid out in grand manner. The most
common reason for this style of town plan
has been the desire of the ruler to show
his affluence and splendoura visual
expression of worldly powerthe artistic
concepts of a particular time and place
City planners in turn looked further a field
to justify this craze.
3.0 SOCIAL REFORMERS

Settlement and city designers always look up
to men of ideas. The earliest and the greatest
of ideas definitely come from social reformers,
who sometimes happened are prophets and
saints, writers and artists. We must not forget
that the first built structure erected in Bakkah
(Mecca) was in honour of God. It was for
religious reasons.
Most settlements, towns and cities in the
past were built at sacred sites functioning
as intellectual, military and art and craft
centers (Seyyed Hossein Nasr, 2001: 3-
10).

3.1 The Islamic City
The greatest social reformer was prophet
Muhammad S.A.W. He brought with him
not only religion, but a new way of life or
civilization. Islam began in the holy city
of Makkah, then its ideals of a city-state
grew in as al Madinah. The city of
Madinah was a perfect model city of
human freedom, happiness and social
peace. From here, Islam spread far and
wide.
What distinguishes Islam and the role of
the city is that of its missionary role. The
missionary of an Islamic city is to produce
an Islamic Man: educated and enlightened
to be worthy citizen of the world. All fellow
men within the city are indeed his
brothers in faith as Islam prohibited
money power that hitherto enslaved and
oppressed.
Even the ruler/s are enjoined to be
trustworthy custodians of the poor and the
helpless. In the quest for better culture,
art and handicraft were encouraged. Thus
an Islamic city is inclined to have higher
social standards for its citizens.

The centre of this city is the main mosque,
functioning as an educational centre. The
bazaar or market come next, while city
functions was invested with many
institutions of government (dar-al-imarah).
The people live within neighbourhoods
(qariah) of 40 people each. And the city
has open spaces for recreation and
grazing of animals.
An ideal Islamic city is one that is inspired
to be prosperous yet blessed and mindful
of God at all times (Saba: 15-17).
The first planned city was Bahgdad
established in 145 Hijrah 762 A.D. It was
called Madinat al Salam or The City of
Peace. It was a round city, built 800 AD
(Beg, 1986: 270).
It has four main gates at the centre of
which occupies a mosque and the Caliphs
palace. It was founded by Caliph Abu
Jaafar al-Mansur.
It was a fortified city against invaders. Its
built-up area was 7,000 hectares.
Perhaps the conscious round plan of the
city described how creative has been its
architects, builders, labourers, workmen
said to be 100,000 used for five years.
3.2 Renaissance City
The religious wars between the Muslim
and the Christians brought not only armies
but scholars, artists and philosophers to
view aspects of material culture in display.
The Europeans learnt many great works written
by Plato and Aristotle through their Arabic
translations (Burke, 1971 : 68). Platos The
Republic, Aristotles Politics, Sir Thomas Mores
Utopia (1516), Tommaso Campanellas City of
the Sun (1623), Johann Valentin Andreaes
Christianopolis, Vitriviuss Architectura; all had
great effects in tempering ideals cities. One of
them is Antonio Filarete (1565), who drew
Storzinda, another a hexagonal one. Other,
their own creative imaginations.
The creative impulse to make cities more
beautiful and livelier did not stop there.
The plans presented by Burke (ibid: 77)
testifies in that of Willemstad 1583 and
Charleville, 1608.
4.0 NEW TOWNS

New towns are planned self-contained
communities, with all the modern
facilities where their inhabitants work
within their own accessible
environments.
The concept of new towns arose from poor
overcrowdings of people huddling around
factories and industrial zones assumed
unsanitary places causing diseases to
spread. The only answer is to plan all
anew. The town plan should be complete
ready even before people move in.

The new towns should serve a central city
according to Ebenezer Howard (Hall,
1974: 50).
PJ is the first satellite town of KL.
Shah Alam is the planned city.
Putrajaya is the Malaysian new town
based on the Total Planning and
Development Doctrine.
Tomorrow a Peaceful Path to Real Reform (1898),
Howard advocated the development of the garden city to
check the deplorable living conditions of people streaming
into the already over-crowded cities. Garden City
Association was established in 1899. Howard republished
his book as Garden Cities of Tomorrow (1902). The garden
city was to be achieved by a satellite town of 30k people,
built at a distance from the parent city, and self-supporting
by its own industry. Between the two towns, there should
be a permanent belt of open land used for agriculture.
Perhaps most important of all, the municipal council should
be the owner of the land in the satellite town and the
unearned increment from the appreciation of prices of town
land should be reserved for the community as a whole.
Garden City
Skyscraper Cities
Skyscraper cities are cities conceived by
the architect, Le Corbusier.
He has his ingenious way to build tall
buildings so that space on the ground can
be saved for greenery and recreational
areas.