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Urban Patterns of Athens and San Fernando

            San Fernando is a city located on the south-west coast of Trinidad and Tobago. According to Mumford (1937), a city is an urban settlement which comprises of relatively dense residential areas, as well as central business districts, with major facilities and amenities to satisfy the need of people. Weeks (2010) defined urban as a characteristic of a developed place, where the main economic activities that take place are non-agricultural. It is a place made of man-made environment opposed to the natural environment. Carter (1983) stated that a city can form out of different theories including hydraulic, military, religious, or economic activities. Kostof (1993) also grouped cities by their form and structure, such as organic, grid, grand manner, and urban skyline. These patterns can even be found in ancient cities such as Athens in Greece. Although the time gap is extremely large, ancient Athens and modern San Fernando do share similarities in their urban pattern. Several differences can also be found. The development of both cities may be related to Carter's notions on the classifications of city growth. .
             In looking at the cities' plan and elevation, it can be seen that part of San Fernando urban pattern is similar to that of ancient Athens. Both cities have a natural high point, the San Fernando Hill, or and the Acropolis of Athens. The urban pattern east of the San Fernando Bypass and around the hill, became very organic as roads formed around the terrain. Although Kostof (1993) did not mention Athens being an organic pattern, it can be argued that the city be classified as organic, as its layout is somewhat random, with the streets radiating from Acropolis due to the topography. Today, most of Athens consists of a grid pattern, and the settlements are a lot denser. A similar pattern can be seen on the western part of San Fernando in areas such as Paradise, City Proper, and Lower Hill Side.

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