The idea of the European city comes from Max Weber and Middle Ages historians. The Europe of cities included early capitalism, merchants, intellectuals, universities, and Renaissance culture. The physical features of the city encouraged mechanisms for social difference brought about by closeness, invention and dissemination, quick accumulation, behavior change, and the interaction of competition and cooperation.
Features of the city – Max Weber
In “The City,” Weber describes the medieval western city as having the following characteristics.
1. A market
2. The consumption, trade, and production economies of cities
3. A court of law and the mechanism to enact laws
4. Rules about landed property
5. A system based on guild affiliations
Western city model – Max Weber
The “western city” paradigm developed by Weber establishes a unique set of analytical vantage points for sociological city analysis.
In contrast to the Oriental city, in particular, the “western city” is first described as an ideal kind. There is no overarching theory of urbanization and city convergence; variations and intricate causal chains are examined. Weber describes a certain social structure and its development by comparing it across time and geographical areas.
Second, the role of the European city as a political player is examined. Weber examines the mechanisms of aggregation and representation of interest and culture that unite local social groups, associations, organized interests, private businesses, and urban governments in politics and institutions. He also examines the rivalry between various powers, such as bishops, lords, burghers, and occasionally the state, between the elite families or cities.
Thirdly, the city in western Europe is considered a unique social structure controlled by a brand-new social class known as the burghers. The city is a complex social development and an integrated local community, sometimes a local society.
European city – Transition between eras
Europe has had a constant majority of medium-sized cities, a few huge metropolises, and industrial cities since the nineteenth century.
The European city was not a significant concern throughout the 20th century. European societies, including cities, have only been studied within nation-states.
In the 1980s, there was a rebirth of interest in the topic of European cities for two reasons.
A. Middle-sized cities throughout Europe are developing and dynamic, according to the expanding comparative empirical urban research area. They were thriving in certain places, such as France or Scandinavia.
B. It also had to do with the issue of European societies, which was brought up by the political project of European integration’s acceleration, the growing interdependence of national societies, the acceleration of globalization, and the conflicts within national societies.
These characteristics best describe modern European cities. They are a component of an ancient urban structure that dates back to the Middle Ages and has maintained a degree of stability throughout time.
The contemporary definition of a European city
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) defined “a city” in 2011 for European and other OECD members based on the existence of an “urban center,” a new spatial concept based on grid cells with dense populations.