In the mid-eighteenth century the British city became host to a new scale of mech-

anized production which was to provoke unprecedented change, leading to a rapid

expansion in the size and complexity of the urban situation. Manufacturing centres

developed through the proliferation of mechanical processes, and goods were

exchanged through new transport systems. The commodification of urban property, in

parallel with the industrial preference for the production of standardized goods, was to

lead to a revolution in the way the city was conceived. A utilitarian and ostensibly

progressive development was the veil behind which the ethos of the traditional city

discussed in the previous chapter was destroyed. Regardless of the social conse-

quences, urban populations began to increase at the same time as the traditional

urban fabric came under strain from the increase in building size, and the erosion of

the traditional grain through the cutting of canals and then the building of railways.