The city is not a recent development. The Greek civilization was constituted mainly of small city states or polis. The social organisation was complex, the economy, commercial and the political practice largely democratic. The Indus Valley civilization was also urban.
These cities flourished, languished and eventually died. Developing societies, due to necessary division of labour, gave birth to new cities. The polis developed into the metropolis and now mega polis develop out of cities.
Like in such urban set-ups is fundamentally different from that in the rural village. In cities, the degree of social control is significantly lower because formal establishments attempt to take over the functions of informal social control. Villages are closely knit, everyone knows everyone else, and the deviance of any members causes significant impact and it is immediately noticed and .remedied either by punishment or encouragement to socialise property.
In a city, there are huge numbers of people living in limited physical space. In a city the individual is more prone to a feeling of emotional isolation. He is not as firmly integrated into the social system and may deviate from it with fewer scruples than in a closely-knit village. Consequently, crime rates, social problems like divorce, drinking etc. are significantly higher in cities than a in rural social formations.
The division of labour in a city is far more complex when compared to that in a village. A village has a simple occupational pattern based on a single primary profession with a few secondary occupations to provide necessary services. Thus agriculture, being the primary profession is supported by a network of secondary professions like carpentry, smithy etc. But a city comprises at only of several primary occupations but also profession of secondary and tertiary professions. We have industrial workers, manufacturers, teachers, lawyers, doctors, engineers etc. This complex organisation is essential but it may also lead to a feeling of rootlessness. An individual feels himself to be a cog in a vast machinery over which he has no control. The lack of social integration and the resultant alienation of the individual from his fellow beings leads to the phenomenon of the lonely crowd! Another unfortunate aspect of the urban scene is the growth of slums where may are forced to live because of the high cost of living.
But all this should not suggest that life in a crowded city is unreservedly dismal. The overall picture is not totally bleak. If this were so, the natural gravitation of man would be towards a village and not towards a city. The high rate of urbanization which is amply proved by census statistics would be totally unjustified. The number of towns is rapidly growing and the size of such townships is also growing by leaps and bounds. All this prove that there are certain advantages of life in city which are absent in a village. Opportunities for social development in addition to social mobility, is higher in a city. Educational opportunities and institutions are more easily attainable in cities. Employment opportunities are more because of the greater division of labour. Specializations abound in a city and the jobs tend to pay more.
In conclusion, life in a city is brought with dangers and more prone to the dehumanization of man, crime rate and degree and prevalence of mental illness is higher. Isolation, alienation and impersonal existence is prevalent to a higher degree. But a city also has greater social mobility, educational and professional opportunities than a village. Life in a city is more comfortable than in a village. It rests with man to reduce. The evils of urban life and develop its positive features.