AP Human Geography: Cities and Urban Land Use Notes

Key Takeaways: Cities and Urban Land Use

  1. The hierarchy of cities from smallest to largest is hamlet, village, town, city, metropolis, and megalopolis. The largest metropolis in the United States is New York City, with over 18 million people in its metropolitan area.
  2. The three main World Cities are New York City, London, and Tokyo. Other cities are rated and ranked based on their economic, cultural, and political importance to the areas they serve.
  3. Different continents have cities with different characteristics. European cities are older and more historic. Asian cities are usually built on ports for trade. Latin American cities possess a spine of high-quality housing extending from the central business district. African cities have three separate central business districts (colonial, traditional, market). Islamic cities are centered on the principles of the religion.
  4. There are many models of urban structure in the United States. The concentric zone model, developed by Burgess, describes expansion in concentric rings around the central business district. The sector model, developed by Hoyt, suggests that growth extends along transportation routes. The multiple nuclei model, developed by Ullman and Harris, suggests that growth is independent of the central business district. The galactic city model represents a city with growth independent of the CBD that is traditionally connected to the central city by means of an arterial highway or interstate. The Keno-capitalism model, based on Los Angeles, suggests that areas are zoned off or even gated off from other zones in the city.
  5. All cities fit within Christaller’s central place theory. Some cities have greater ranges and need bigger thresholds. Range is the maximum distance people are willing to travel to get a product or service. Threshold is the minimum number of people needed for a business to operate.
  6. Primate cities have at least twice the population of the next largest city in the same country. London, Paris, and Buenos Aires are examples of primate cities.
  7. Cities have problems such as race relations, traffic, water delivery, pollution, and urban sprawl that can negatively affect their inhabitants unless handled appropriately by local government.

Cities and Urban Land Use Key Terms

Defining Urbanization

  • Urbanized population: The number of people living in cities.
  • Urbanization: The process by which people live and are employed in a city.
  • Nucleated form of settlement: The type of settlement typical of urban areas in which the settlement is closely grouped around a central area of development.
  • Core area: The center area of development.
  • Dispersed form of settlement: The type of settlement typical of rural areas, in which houses are far apart.
  • Threshold: The minimum number of people needed to meet the needs of an industry.

Urban Economies

  • Commercialization: The selling of goods and services for profit.
  • Basic industry: A large industry that moves into a city and helps form the city.
  • Non-basic industries: Secondary city-serving industries that are established after a city’s basic industry.
  • Employment structure: The way in which most workers are employed within a city. This structure typically moves from industrial to tertiary to quaternary activities.
  • Post-industrial city: A city that specializes in information-based work.
  • Deindustrialization: A city’s shift toward more specialized quaternary sector economic activities.
  • Underemployment: A situation that occurs when too many employees are hired and there is not enough work for all of them.

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