Urban sociology is the study of the social organization and interaction of population groups within the built environment–the physical superstructure of highways, abandoned factories, suburban housing development, shopping malls, gated communities, public housing, manufacturing areas and the like created by modern capitalism. It also deals with the historic forces, which have produced the industrial and corporate cities of the present era; the location of industrial and commercial areas within the contemporary city; the lifestyles of racial and ethnic groups within urban neighbourhoods; and the effect of social, economic, and political forces on patterns of everyday life in cities of suburbs. Urban sociology examines social structures and processes of modern urban ways of life and its implications for city dwellers with the socio –cultural milieu.

This rapid expansion of urbanism requires a comprehensive understanding of urban relevant phenomena, and urban sociology attempts to focus on the urbanized social way of life and its impact on the surroundings, the suburbs in particular.


  1. According to Jary and Jary (2000)- ‘The study of social relationships and structures in the city’.

  2. According to Haggerty (2000)- ‘Urban sociology studies human groups in a territorial frame of reference….with an emphasis on the interplay between social and spatial organization and the ways in which changes in a spatial organization affect social and psychological well-being,…[and] are tied together by a common curiosity about the changing dynamics, determinants, and consequences of urban society’s most characteristic form of settlement, the city’

  3. According to Flanagan (2010) ‘A cohesive sub-discipline within sociology, related in some systematic manner to a particular kind of social space, the urban arena.’

  4. According to Barker [?] Urban Sociology deals with the impact of city life on social action, social relationships, social instruction and the types of civilization derived from and based on urban modes of living.’

  5. Professor House has defined urban sociology as ‘the specialized study of city life and problems’.

Urban sociology is the sociological study of the various statistics among the population in cities. Chiefly, the study of urban areas, where industrial, commercial and residential zones converge. This practice sheds light on the influence of the cityscape environment in burghal areas of poverty in response to several different languages, low quality of life, several different ethnic groups and a low standard of police guardianship that all amount to social disorganization.


Sociology is not an ancient study. Indeed it began its career as a science in the last century only. Urban sociology, being a branch of sociology, is naturally much less old than the parent study. As matter of fact, the systematic discipline of urban sociology came into being in the 20th century only.

As in the case of Rural Sociology, maximum work in the field of urban sociology has also been done in the United States of America.

In the 20th century, much intensive work has been done in the specialized field of urban sociology. For example, many books have appeared on the classification of towns, citizenship, development of towns, urban environ­ment, social disorganization in cities, demographic trends, community life and its impact on person­ality, family, marriage and divorce in cities etc.

Besides, a good deal of work has also been done in the reform and development of urban life.

Intensive research has also been made regarding the mechanism of social welfare, proper use of leisure, religious, cultural and educational institutions in cities, town planning and rehabilitation and such other topics.


The scope of urban sociology is very vast and multidimensional. Urban sociology relies on the related sciences and borrows from history, economics, social psychology, public administration and social work. As stated already, the subject-matter of sociology is cities and their growth, and it deals with such problems as planning and development of cities, traffic regulations, public waterworks, social hygiene, sewerage works, housing, beggary, juvenile delinquency, crime and so on. Thus, as urbanism is many-sided so is urban sociology.

The scope of urban sociology becomes wider as it not only tries to study the urban setup and facts but also tries to give suggestions to solve problems arising out of the dynamic nature of the society. The scope of urban sociology can be studied under the following heads:

A. Introductory scope of urban sociology:

a.  Urban ecology: Urban ecology studies the facts of the urban environment. It also emphasizes the study of population in the cities.

b. Urban morphology:  Under urban morphology, the study of the social life of urban areas and that of an urban organization is taken up.

c. Urban psychology: The area of study under this covers the behaviour and the mode of living of the people in urban areas.

d. Analytical scope: Analyzing urban sociology is another important field of study. Under the analytical scope, various concepts and important phases of urban life are developed and studied.

B. Reformative scope: 

Under the reformatory scope of urban sociology, the problems of urbanism are studies. This includes some of the important issues such as the impact of urbanization on urban society leading to urban disorganization, urban planning and development.

Thus, the scope of urban sociology is much wider as it covers the whole spectrum of urban life and its changing environments.


Like any other branch of sociology, the study of urban sociology is also very important. Urban sociology occupies an important place as it tries to study the urban life of both developed and developing countries. The urban life of an advanced country is taken as an example to be followed by the less developed and developing nations. They are considered as the torchbearers of the revolutionary change in the political, social, economic and cultural movements. With the advancement of industrialization and technological development, the people of villages are attracted to cities and towns, and this has hastened urbanization to a great extent. Due to this, the personal tendencies and trends, and norms and standards of all social institutions have also undergone a tremendous change. The urban society is also witnessing an increase in crimes and corruption leading to social disorganization. Apart from these, many grave economic and political problems have also cropped up forcing governmental organizations to pay attention to find solutions to these problems. In the present urban societies, the service of the urban sociologist is equally important as those of the doctor, engineer or any other professional. Without the help of urban sociologists, urban social problems cannot be effectively solved. The importance of urban sociology can be realized from the following reasons cited below:

a. Reconstruction of urban society

b. Study of urbanization

c.  To solve the problems that crop up due to the extension of urbanization

d. urban planning

e.  proper implementation of community projects

f.  study of the ever-changing urban social structure

Thus urban sociology is not merely a theoretical study but has an applied aspect as well.



Gottdiener and Hutchision (2011) stated that ‘In general, Urban Sociology is concerned about the everyday life in the suburban (suburban settlement space as well as in the city or urban settlement space). Yet, it has three additional dimensions-

  1. The shift to a global perspective.

  2. Attention to the political economy of pull factors (government policies including mortgage guarantees for lenders, tax deductions for homeowners, and the like) in urban and suburban development, and 

  3. A appreciate the role of culture in metropolitan life and in the construction of the built environment.

According to Marshall [1998], urban sociology is concerned with

  1. Urbanization.

  2. Rapidly growing industrial cities.

  3. Complex social relationships, and 

  4. Social structures.

According to Simmel [1903], urban sociology is the impressionistic discussion of 

  1. Urban life-style and personality.

  2. Urban social organization and culture.

  3. Physical characteristics of cities.

  4. Social characteristics of the inhabitants.

According to Jary and Jary [2000], urban sociology is concerned with—

  1. The urban dimension of society.

  2. Forms of association and social life in urban environments.

  3. Social order and organization in urban settings.

  4. Role of urban development in social change.

  5. The relationships between incidence of social problems, i.e. crime, alcoholism, and social cohesion,

  6. Community studies and neighbourhood.

  7. Study of housing.

  8. Race and ethnic relationships.

  9. Dynamics of zone transition.

  10. Urban housing class, the housing market and forms of the tenure system.

  11. Economic class interests.

  12. Labor class and power.

Azam and Ali [2005] have classified the scope of urban sociology into five dimensions

A. The social change perspectives, includes---

  • Morphology of cities.

  • Population dynamics.

  • Transformation of urban communities.

  • Change in the behavioural pattern of city-dwellers.

  • Transformation of urban ways of living.

  • Complex structural change.

    • Center for domestic and foreign activities.

    • Center for commercial and non-commercial activities, and 

    • Center for housing, employment and education.

B. The social organization perspectives include

  • Individuals,

  • Groups.

  • Voluntary association.

  • Bureaucracy, and 

  • Social institution

C. The ecological perspective include

  1. Population.

  2. Environment.

  3. Technology 

D. The social problem perspectives include

  1. Environmental pollution.

  2. Illness.

  3. Family fragmentation.

  4. Poverty.

  5. Unemployment.

  6. Drug addiction.

  7. Class and juvenile delinquency.

  8. Prostitution and trafficking and so on.

E. The social policy perspectives include

  1. Recognition and identification of the problems, and 

  2. Ability to solve the identified problems.


You can also download Urban Sociology on the link given below:

Urban Sociology ~ Link

Unit-13 Development of Urban Sociology ~ Link

Unit-25 Urbanization ~ Link

Urbanism and Urbanization ~ Link

Urbanization Suburbanization and Gentrification ~ Link

Urban Sociology Paper VII/VIII ~ Link

MODULE~What is Urban Sociology ~ Link

Urban Sociology- The Contribution and Limits of Political Economy ~ Link

Urban Sociology in an Urbanized Society ~ Link

Evolution of Urbanisationindia ~ Link

Urban Sociology-P.K. Kar ​~ Link


Urban Sociology: An Overview ~ Link

Migration, Urbanization, and Social Adjustment ~ Link

Urban Problems and Policy ~ Link

Concepts and Terminology of Urban Sociology ~ Link

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