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Economic Forces that Influenced the Historical Development of Chicago and Communities

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Part 1. The Economic Forces that Influenced the Historical Development of your City and Communities.

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           The central places’ theory is a geographical theory that seeks to explain the number, size, and location of settlements in the urban system. The German geographer Walter Christaller created that theory. He claimed that the solutions function as a “central place,” providing services in the surrounding area. Due to this theory, settlements have a certain network structure. The central element is access to service objects and the most rapid movement between settlements. Between points, there is a specific hierarchy, with the growth of the level of which a particular locality, rising “above,” provides more and more services to points, standing “below.” The central place theory has been criticized for unreality. The static method, not taking into account the temporal aspect in the development of the primary areas, was also criticized.

Furthermore, the theory is well illustrated in practice, when it comes to agricultural areas, but not for industrial or post-industrial regions due to the diverse nature of the various services and the distribution of a variety of natural resources. Numerical studies of the evolutionary model, based on Christaller ‘s ideas, have shown that the symmetrical distribution is unstable. Small fluctuations are enough to areas with a high concentration of activity appear and cause an outflow of population and reduction of activity in other zones. 

           The theory of production location (the method of the site) studies the placing of productive forces as the allocation process on the territory of objects and phenomena; it is included in the subject of the regional economy. The location theory describes the geographical placement of economic activity; it has become an integral part of economic geography, regional economics, and spatial economy. The method examines which commercial business is located there, where, and why. The theory is based on the whole accommodation on microeconomics, assuming that agents act in their interests. Companies select locations that maximize their profits and private individuals select places that maximize their usefulness.

Economic Forces that Influenced the Historical Development of Chicago and Communities

           According to these two theories of the urban and rural structure, Chicago and his nearby settlements partially fit them. Chicago’s spatial changes did not reflect the process defined by the central location theory and the position of the Industry and the concept of Von Thunen to urban land. The real situation of urban and rural relationships is more complicated than the theory describes. (Cronon, W., 1991, p.51) As a geographical entity, Illinois does not contribute to the centralization of Chicago. Instead, settlements within Illinois provide; they interact with Chicago and value the central place structure. The structure of Chicago shows a small number of links that cover long distances. It is somewhat surprising, considering the high density of the population in that area. The results vary considerably, depending on the population density and natural features. The principal settlement in the urban system, Chicago, is located near a large lake, Michigan, and river Chicago. (Cronon, W., 1991, p.23) These natural features coincide with one of the theses of the theory of the central place. However, the use of “Christaller ‘s urban grid” is unrealistic since there are many historical, political, and geographical factors that break the symmetry and strict distribution hierarchy. Besides, symmetrical, “cellular” resettlement unstable: small change is enough to cause migration and move business activity areas. 

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           During the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth phases of the industrial revolution, societies in Chicago and itself metropolis grew rapidly. For example, the opening of the channel in 1848, connecting Chicago to the South, was the first major shift for the growth of this city and its economy. This made it possible to expand the market and trade with the East. The Chicago market is evolving rapidly in this regard. Another significant change that makes Chicago was able to adopt its position was the construction of 10 miles of the railway, which funded the farmers and cities along its line in 1848, and already in 1850, the fastest expansion of the railway in American history occurred. (“Chicago’s History. A History of Choices and Improvements, “2000, p.5-16) All railway lines led to Chicago, leading to Chicago’s transformation into a metropolis and its settlements in a coordinated system. Chicago’s Indian and French inhabitants had been involved in the trade even before all the necessary conditions for significant business and industrial development were achieved. The city became the metropolis. (Cronon, W., 1991, p.53) Chicago is rightly one of the first cities that took the position of the marketplace. Besides, the field of education is an essential achievement in Chicago.

Chicago has great significance as a cultural and scientific center, along with well-developed transportation and industry. Among its numerous higher education (in the Chicago metropolitan area 58 universities are located), the University of Chicago, one of the best in the US, which occupies a prominent place in the publication of scientific literature, enjoys an exceptional reputation. It also had a positive impact on the development of the city and its economy. 

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           Industry and commercial activity were centralized Chicago near transport interchanges and river port, as these conditions are essential for the development of production and the distribution of goods and raw materials. The companies are located close to a transport corridor, as this condition is necessary for workers and customers and ensures the successful operation of enterprises. As a cheap water transport is a perfect option for transportation, manufactures are located along the river and Lake Michigan, in the vicinity of the port on the river Chicago. The most popular local business, farmers, are also situated near transport nodal points like railways. (Brake E., p.4)

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           The location of commercial and industrial places influence the transportation and position of residential communities. All these components of the metropolis are closely related to each other. The site of transportation and residential areas is directly dependent on the fact that commercial and industrial enterprises are situated. Thus, sleeping accommodation areas are not in proximity to industrial zones. In its turn, the transport system is well developed near the commercial and industrial sectors. It connects them to the residential areas of the city. Especially the organized mode of transportation has become after the development of the railway and water transport.

Part 2. The economic forces are influencing your city and communities of focus

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           The zone of the economic impact of Chicago is very extensive. It is the strongest in the region between Lake Michigan and the Rocky Mountains, where agriculture is dominated, and there are not many cities. Over half the volume of trade in Chicago occurs with the help of mail, to which mainly farmers, who live far away from major shopping centers, reported. Chicago Industrial corridors comprise about 12 percent of the urban land. Their location coincides with the boundaries of railways, waterways, roads, and main streets. For industrial distribution, this fact provides convenient transportation, and it is possible to separate industrial distribution from the retail delivery and residential areas. Thus, retail activity usually takes place away from the large industrial areas and transportation hubs, which they use. The retail distribution occurs locally within the city limits and close to residential areas. 

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           Chicago area’s economy is based on commercial production, such as publishing and printing, finance and insurance, and the food industry as the primary sectors. For the development of a large industrial base, a major river port that provides national transportation of goods is required. The commercial production of goods and products distributed throughout the country includes magazines, educational materials, catalogs, specialized publications, and encyclopedias. (“Chicago: Economy”, 2009)

 Chicago, after New York, is the second-largest publishing sector. The city is the center place to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. For the successful distribution of commercial production products, the port of Chicago, which provides a direct link to the Great Lakes Region to the Atlantic Ocean, is required. It carries out sea, rail, and land transport, which allows us to sell items in large quantities and constantly. The development of railway interchanges is more suitable for the Chicago area’s industrial activities, as they allow transporting raw materials and products along with the settlements near Chicago and further to the east. It is an important vector in the direction of the industrial activity of Chicago. 

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           Because Chicago is part of the industrial zone, which was emerged at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and it is known as a region, in which the availability of resources combined with the availability of water transport, in the future it will be possible to continue using the precious natural resources of the region. In Chicago, there was a rapid development of the steel industry and valuable support of fuel and raw materials, in connection with which major transportation hubs appeared. These pre-existing conditions will allow the developing industry successfully in this direction. In this case, the location of the sectors will depend on the site of natural resources. 

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            Because Chicago is considered the city of progress, it is possible to assume that it will develop positively. Chicago is a metropolis with established structures and the economy, and the economy will improve and evolve, making the city even more powerful. Chicago is a major transportation hub in North America, and it undoubtedly will occupy this position in the future. Chicago is also a massive knot of highways and major centers of the US domestic airlines. The exceptional transport position of Chicago made it the center of trade and the primary market of a large agricultural area. Trade-in farm products and their processing remain relevant and till now. The Chicago grain market is one of the largest in the world. Chicago is also a significant center of the meatpacking and agricultural machinery, which has not ceased to develop. Chicago is also an important financial center, which operates one of the most influential groups of financial-monopolistic capital of the United States. All these types of industry and manufacturing have potential and can evolve in the future. In this case, their position will depend on the required resources and transport interchange. Considering that the Chicago carries through the communication between East and west by the robust railway network and it is the gateway to the Great West. (Brake E., p.2) Over time the region’s economy will continue to grow, by transporting goods of its developed industry and agriculture. Especially big breakthrough in economic development is expected in the implementation of green technologies, which have been already developed in Chicago actively. 

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           Currently, many countries are increasingly focusing on green technologies in the industry, construction, agriculture, production of environmentally friendly materials, and fundamentally new services aimed at improving the quality of life support. It is possible that soon this tendency will be introduced in the production of Chicago and its region that will affect the priorities at Chicago’s market. Such changes will have an impact on the industry, associated with the fuel because green technologies are aimed at sustainable development that meets the needs of modern society and contributes to the emergence of the problems that may face future generations that is, associated with the depletion of the resources that nature provides. Thus, such an industry in this area will be discontinued. However, some alternatives required for the creation and use of green technology will appear.

Furthermore, the emergence of such modern technologies will have a significant effect on agriculture, an essential part of the economy of Chicago communities. In this case, for the agricultural sphere, the removal of subsidies that pay farmers is possible. This policy is artificially kept low food prices. At the same time, the way agricultural products are treated with changes. The purpose will be to cultivate and distribute organic food, grown without pesticides and other harmful chemicals and additives. The same applies to meat. It will enable agriculture to reach a new level. However, the farmers won’t have to spend money on chemical substances, and in this case, the number of crops can be somewhat lower. In any case, these new technologies will positively affect Chicago’s economic market, as this tendency is worldwide and is actual sufficiently. However, it is worth considering that the most central place in Chicago’s industry now takes heavy industry: steel, a variety of mechanical engineering, and chemical industry. Primarily it is focused on the development of electrical engineering, in the first place the production of communications equipment, various electronic equipment, including radios and televisions. Oil refining is quite significant, which is the raw material for oil produced in the state of Illinois (where Chicago is located), or it comes from the countries of South-West Center. Thus, with the introduction of new green technologies, the industry of Chicago will fall under significant changes; plants will need to be rebuilt. However, given the strong history of producing of Chicago, its settlements, and its funding, it can be assumed that the metropolis will be able to change the concept and industry and break new ground. There are many projects for the municipalities, and Chicago can entirely successfully become one of them, without losing its power. 

References
  • “Chicago: Economy.” (2009). City-Data.com. Retrieved November 25, 2015, from http://www.city-data.com/us-cities/The-Midwest/Chicago-Economy.html
  • “Chicago’s History. A Timeline of Choices and Changes”. (2000). DePaul University Center for Urban Education. Retrieved November 25, 2015, from                       http://teacher.depaul.edu/Documents/Chicago%20History%20Timeline%2018 00-2008%20updated%204-12-12.pdf 
  • Brake, E. Annihilating Space: A Review of William Cronon’s Nature’s Metropolis.  Retrieved November 25, 2015, from http://people.duke.edu/~ekb6/Review,%20Nature’s %20Metropolis-3.pdf
  • Cronon, W. (1991). Nature’s metropolis: Chicago and the Great West. New York: W.W. Norton, 23-54. 

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