Hydraulic Civilizations and the Philanthropic Industrialists

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1. Historical Origins
For many planners and historians the origin of ancient cities has been a source of fascination and the cause for much research and debate. One theory developed by the German-American historian Karl Wittfogel was that of ‘hydraulic civilizations’ (Minnery 2010a). Hydraulic civilizations were described as those whose agricultural system was reliant upon significant government-directed water systems for irrigation and flood management (Encyclopædia Britannica 2010). Wittfogel listed that Egypt, India, Mesopotamia, Northern China and pre-Columbian Mexico and Peru were examples of hydraulic civilizations (Minnery 2010a). This paper will focus on the theories of the Wittfogel’s hydraulic civilization and then try to draw
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One other dissimilarity is that of Brisbane’s environment. It isn’t arid or semi-arid in fact it was once lined with sand covered beaches and the water was clear and blue (Our Indooroopilly 2002). Therefore it is difficult to prove that Brisbane has similar qualities to that of a hydraulic civilization and Wittfogel’s theories can be left in the past with the ‘Old World’. 3. The “Philanthropic Industrialist”
The United Kingdom in the late eighteenth and nineteenth century was home to the bustling and demanding Industrial Revolution. Factories emerged all over the country as technology advanced into an era of mass production. In many of these factories the conditions were unclean, unsafe and ultimately appalling. Some factory owners however, sought out to improve the quality of life for their workers. These few are recognised as the ‘Philanthropic Industrialists’. They implemented what has become known as the ‘company town’ which saw the social and economic qualities of the township under the control of the industrialist (Pollard 1964). This paper will discuss one UK example in the town of New Lanark, in particular the philanthropy of Robert Owen and will examine whether this town and Owen’s theories have been influential up until the present day.

New Lanark in Scotland was initially founded by David Dale in 1785 (The Open University 2009). The Clyde River which ran along New Lanark’s location provided water to power the four

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