Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Project Proposal

Ryan Cooley
November 18, 2014
Seminar in Composition
cAdam Johns
Final Project Proposal
              In my final project I will be touching upon one of the great questions of the human race – was urbanization good for our species or should we have stayed ruralized? Ever since the creation of the city-state (approximately 3500 BCE, Sumerian civilization), as a species, humanity has moved towards increased urbanization. In 2008, for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population resides in towns and cities (cite this for validity). Is it better that we have moved into this form of living or should we have stayed in a more ruralized society? Personally, I find that increased urbanization is the best direction we have taken as a species.
              So, how exactly is this important? In our class studies of humanity interacting with their environments, I find one of this to be one of the more important questions. In comparing rural life versus urban life, have we overall chosen the right path? True, rural living is in no means under extinction but you cannot doubt that cities are constantly growing. Urbanization has brought some of the best qualities of our race; trade, technology…
              The obvious counter argument is that urbanization is possibly the worst thing that we have done as a species because of; spread and creation of disease, greater interaction causes war and destruction of the environment. We have undeniably hurt the Earth in more than one way and I find greater communication to be the best symptom of urbanization because of trade, it too has brought some of the worst tragedies in human history; slavery and war. Nonetheless, I would like to argue that some of these negatives overshadow the greatness of our technological advancements and movement forward as a whole race. We have made great strides in the past two hundred years alone, the future seemingly is getting brighter.   
 In my quest for recourses to perform research from for this project I have found luck in a couple books; Frontiers in Resource and Rural Economics by JunJie Wu, Paul W. Barkley, Bruce A. Weber and Urban Centers and Rural Contexts in Late Antiquity by Thomas S. Burns and John W. Eadie. To start off, I chose “Frontiers” because it runs down all the different aspects that I was planning on writing about which range from the environment to politics. The book seems to focus on human drive and logic behind the actions taken in different fields of society. As for choosing “Urban Centers,” it brings the historical aspect to my argument and at the same time bring form to a counterargument. As I interpret from the books summary, it is the collection of many volumes of books by in a series that analyze just regions and time periods, all in one centralized paperback. I also, plan on using Wilder and Abbey as sources, specifically in what context I am unsure but it does not seem difficult for they are opinionated in their beliefs of urbanized world.

Burns, Thomas S., and John William. Eadie. Urban Centers and Rural Contexts in Late Antiquity. East Lansing: Michigan State UP, 2001. Print.

Wu, JunJie, Paul W. Barkley, and Bruce A. Weber. Frontiers in Resource and Rural Economics: Human-nature, Rural-urban Interdependencies. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future, 2008. Print.

Abbey, Edward. Desert Solitaire; a Season in the Wilderness. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968. Print

Wilder, Laura Ingalls, and Garth Williams. By the Shores of Silver Lake. New York: Harper & Bros., 1953. Print.

Project Outline:

Introduction –

·       Give background history on the topic and why it matters

·       Explain personal ties and interests to the topic

·       Explain the problem or argument

·       Give thesis

Body Topics –

·       Possibly a tad more historical background for clearance

·       Organize by social, economic, and political changes

·       Explain the positives of my side of the argument

·       Counter – lay out the negatives, explain the negatives

·       Counter the counter

·       Refer to in class books

Conclusion –

·       Give a full circle without literally repeating myself

·       Explain where we are today as a society and where we may be headed in the future

·       Give the best ending that I can possibly come up with because the audience always remembers a great ending and it is the best way to get a great grade!


  1. This seems like it's in the early stages, so it's hard to comment on it too much yet. I like the topic a lot (for two classics on the history and meaning of the urbanization, you could check out Lewis Mumford's *The City* or Jane Jacobs' *The Death and Life of Great American Cities*; I'm a great fan of Mumford's book). However, I can't add much more than that at this point - for a topic like this presumably you'll want to do a good deal of research and then somehow find a focus within this very large topic (are you interested in the early impact of urbanization? In the impact of Pittsburgh on the tri-state region? In what urbanization did to the American west both hundreds of years ago during the Hohokam (sp?) era and during contemporary times? While doing some general research isn't a bad idea, you will probably do better if you rapidly focus on a region and/or time period. Even if your real interest is in the big, general question, you'll do better if you can pick something to focus upon within that gigantic topic.

    1. I am having trouble narrowing the topic and the only one that comes to mind is; an urbanized and industrialized society like the U.S. versus a more agricultural based nation or region. But even then I cannot think of any nations that still rely heavily on agriculture. I wouldn't suppose that you know of any?


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