chapter  7
21 Pages

Colonial Regime Change and Urban Form: How Russian Novo-Arkhangel’sk Became American Sitka

ByMichael P. Conzen

In all but dynastic civilizations, urban form throughout history has been to some degree in flux. The rates of change have varied by region and historical period, but changes to the built environment at whatever pace have usually come through evolution rather than revolution. Changing requirements of urban populations, however imperfectly and with whatever delay, have inevitably brought pressure on the physical fabric to adjust. It is commonplace to assume a time lag between pressing social needs and actual reconstruction, because of cost and organization. It is also common to assume that such overall change is relatively routine in the case of mature cities, quite rapid in the case of new cities, and perhaps even radical in the case of cities overtaken by wars, natural catastrophes, or revolutionary changes in political regimes.