Friday, December 17, 2010

The rise and fall of Urban Sociology (?)

Google has scanned 15 million books originally published from 1800 on. And they have also developed the Google Books Ngram Viewer. It's a tool that charts the usage of any word over time in literature and other books (Google books database). One could irresponsibly use it as a proxy for the popularity of words in literature. And I did!

This chart above shows how often "Urban Sociology" has appeared in the literature (Google database - english literature only) since 1800. It looks to me that the Chicago School have had played an important role in the rising 'popularity' of Urban Sociology*. And it looks that Urban Sociology is not as 'popular' as it used to be....

*obviously, it would be necessary to scrutinize other keywords to conclude this (such as the major researchers in the first Chicago School)

And here are some queries of other keywords of interest:

And my favorites:

Traffic Jam:

Urban sprawl, compact city, smart city, smart growth, compact growth, New Urbanism.

Thanks Vinicius Netto for the tip!


usefulcommunitydevelopment said...

Very interesting! Urban sprawl continues to be much discussed, although the trend I see as a student of the use of language is that it now has such broad meaning that many are using it to describe any development characteristic they don't like.

Personally I think it's lamentable that we have stopped talking as much about urban sociology, as certainly the study of behavior in groups, within cities, is critical to the future of cities.

Eduardo Pegurier said...

Obrigado, Rafael. Usei também

Anonymous said...

You have to wonder, though, how the volume and genre of books published and sampled affects these trend lines. Could a surge in the publishing of fantasy and fiction novels push down the frequency of such topics, even if the trend increased among books published in the non-fiction category, where this subject is relevant?