Cities and Urban Land Use

Melbourne city View from Rialto tower
Melbourne city View from Rialto tower

College Board: Cities and Urban Land Use Unit Overview

VII. Cities and Urban Land Use

A. Definitions of urbanism
B. Origin and evolution of cities
  1. Historical patterns of urbanization
  2. Rural–urban migration and urban growth
  3. Global cities and megacities
  4. Models of urban systems

C. Functional character of contemporary cities
  1. Changing employment mix
  2. Changing demographic and social structures

D. Built environment and social space
  1. Comparative models of internal city structure
  2. Transportation and infrastructure
  3. Political organization of urban areas
  4. Urban planning and design
  5. Patterns of race, ethnicity, gender, and class
  6. Uneven development, ghettoization, and gentrification
  7. Impacts of suburbanization and edge cities

A city is a conglomeration of people and buildings clustered together to serve as center of politics, culture, and economics. The word urban is a term used to describe the buildup of the central city and suburban realm-the city and the surrounding environs connected to the city.
Models of Urban Land Use: Need to Know
Assumptions of Models (Assumptions/When not applicable)
All: All land is equally arable, there are no obstructions, urban development follows a precise pattern, there is distinct and or legally-enforced zonation/ Other situations than assumptions, outside of specific zone
Sector: (Chicago School) The wealthy can choose to live in their preferred area/ Outside North America, or in modern world
Concentric: (Chicago School) As the city grew, more zones developed and each pushed out on the zone around them/ Outside North America, or in modern world
Multiple Nuclei: (Chicago School) As the city grew, CBD lost its dominant role as the center of urbanization/ Outside North America, or in modern world

(Above) Sector Model- 3D interpretation

-Click to see the models-


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Vocabulary List for AP Human Geography

AgglomerationBarriadasBid-rent theoryBlockbustingCBD (central business district)Census tractCentralityCentralizationCentral place theoryChristaller, WalterCityCityscapesColonial cityCommercializationCommuter zoneConcentric zone modelCounterurbanizationDecentralizationDeindustrializationEarly citiesEconomic base (basic/nonbasic)Edge cityEmerging citiesEmployment structure
EntrepôtEthnic neighborhoodFavelaFemale-headed householdFestival landscapeGateway cityGenderGentrificationGhettoGlobalization
Great citiesHigh-tech corridorsHinterlandHydraulic civilizationIndigenous cityIn-fillingInformal sectorInfrastructureInner cityInvasion and successionLateral commutingMedieval citiesMegacitiesMegalopolis/conurbationMetropolitan areaMultiple nuclei modelMultiplier effectNeighborhoodOffice parkPeak land value intersectionPlanned communitiesPostindustrial cityPostmodern urban landscapePrimate cityRacial steeringRank-size ruleRedliningRestrictive covenantsSector modelSegregationSettlement form (nucleated, dispersed, elongated)Shopping mallSite/situationSlum
Social structureSpecializationSquatter settlementStreet pattern (grid, dendritic; access, control)SuburbSuburbanizationSymbolic landscapeTenement
Threshold/rangeTownUnderclassUnderemploymentUrban growth rateUrban functionUrban hearth areaUrban heat islandUrban hierarchyUrban hydrologyUrban morphologyUrbanizationUrbanized populationWorld cityZone in transitionZoning

(the vocabulary for this unit can be practiced by clicking the link above)

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Edge City

An edge city is a term introduced by American journalist Joel Garreau in order to describe the shifting focus of urbanization in the United States economic activity at the urban fringe. These cities are characterized by extensive amounts of office and retail space, few residential areas, and mordern buildings (less than 30 years old).
Tysons Corner, VA : Towers Crescent
Tysons Corner, VA : Towers Crescent

external image central03-aerial.jpg
A slum is a squalid and overcrowded urban street or district inhabited by very poor people.

Dharavi slum in Mumbai
Dharavi slum in Mumbai

external image slum-mumbai1.jpg


A megacity is usually defined as a metropolitican area with a total population in excess of 10 million people.
external image Statue+of+Jesus+in+Rio+de+Janeiro+%281920+x+1200%29.jpgRio de Janeiro
external image new-york-city.jpgNew York City

Read about Slums:
"India's slum-dwellers fear eye in the sky heralds demolition of their homes"
Read about The world's megacities:
"By 2025, the number of megacities with a population greater than 10 million will grow from 21 to 29 and account for 10.3 percent of the world's urban population, according to the United Nations."
Read about Giant escalators in Slum:
"Residents of one of the dangerous slums in Medellin, Colombia, now have a faster way to make it to the top of the steep hillside district of Comuna 13: a set of escalators that will help them climb the equivalent of a 18-story building."

Current Events
"Giant Escalators Help Poor in Medellin, Colombia – This Just In - Blogs." This Just In - Blogs. Web. 04 Jan. 2012. <>.
"India's Slum-dwellers Fear Eye in the Sky Heralds Demolition of Their Homes | World News |" Latest News, Sport and Comment from the Guardian | The Guardian. Web. 04 Jan. 2012.

"The World's Megacities - CNN." Featured Articles from CNN. 08 Apr. 2010. Web. 04 Jan. 2012. <>.

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