When analyzing the essay title, it became apparent to me that it was more important to discuss why Early modern european cities changed rather than how they changed. This was mainly to appease the structure of the essay as it allows for greater discussion between historians, especially if there is already a basic outline of how cities changed during the early modern period. There were three main changed to urban life during this period. Firstly there was a change in the demographics of townspeople during the early modern period. Secondly political changes occurred within urban communities which led to the final important change which is the change in size and structure of the city; both in terms of its growth in population and the cities change in function. As Europe was coming out of the middle ages, cities as a centre of administration and commerce were particularly important in modernizing Europe, we can see this as by the mid 1500s, already ten to fifteen per cent of Europe's population lived in towns of greatly varying size. .
The first change I will be assessing will be the demographics of early modern urban regions. During the early modern period there was a greater range of demographics, both in terms of religion and social standing. Cameron is quick to point out that the 'process of social polarization occurred in many west European urban communities between the late fifteenth and early seventeenth centuries' (Cameron 57). Clark here seemingly agrees with Cameron as 'Growth amongst the European urban hierarchy was selective, Among thousands of small towns, this was a time of recovery after the late medieval contraction' (Clark 128). During the sixteenth-century processes of change there was a notable demographic increase, exacerbated by rural in-migration, and the expansion of trade networks which affected western Europe 's urban social groups in two main ways: they rendered the economic situation and social status of certain master craftsmen and journeymen less secure, and generally expanded the ranks of the urban poor and those reliant solely on waged labour.