Evolution of Cities
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For most of human history, the small population found around the world lived in nomadic groups, moving as they depleted vegetation or searched for migratory game.  Small settlements marked the emergence of civilization in the Middle East some ten thousand years ago, but they held only a small fraction of the earth's people.  Today each of the largest cities contains as many people as the entire planet did then.
Urbanization is the concentration of humanity into cities.  Urbanization both redistributes population within a society and transforms many patterns of social life.  We will trace these changes in terms of the first urban revolution-the emergence of cities beginning ten thousand years ago.
The Evolution of cities
Cities are relatively new development in human history.  Only about ten thousand years ago did our ancestors begin creating permanent settlements, initiating the first urban revolution.
Preconditions of cities.
The first precondition of urban development was a favorable ecology.  As glaciers melted at the end of the last ice age, people were drawn to warm regions with fertile soil.  The second was changing technology.  At about the same time, humans discovered ho to cultivate animals and crops.  Whereas hunting and gathering demanded continual movement, raising food required people to remain in one place.  Domesticating animals and plants also produced a material surplus, which freed some people from concentrating on food production and allow them to build shelters, make tools, weave clothing, and lead religious rituals.  Thus the founding of cities was truly revolutionary, raising living standards and magnifying specialization.
The first cities.
Historians identify the first city as Jericho, a settlement to the north of the Dead Sea in disputed land currently occupied by Israel.  Around 8000 B.C.E. (Before Christian Era), Jericho had a permanent population of about six hundred.  By 400 B.C.E., numerous cities were flourishing in the Fertile Crescent between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in present day Iraq and, soon afterward, along the Nile River in Egypt.  Some, with populations as high as fifty thousand, became centers of urban empires.  Priest-kings wielded absolute power over lesser nobles, administrators, artisans, soldiers, and farmers.  Slaves, captures in frequent military campaigns, labored to build monumental sculptures like the pyramids of Egypt.
Humans independently developed cities in at least three other areas of the world.  Several large cities bordered the Indus River of present-day Pakistan starting about 2500 B.C.E. Scholars date Chinese cities 2000 B.C.E.  And in Central and South America, urban centers began about 1500 B.C.E.  In North America, however, Native American societies rarely formed settlements; significant urbanization did not begin until the arrival of European settlers in the sixteenth century.