SIX: CITIES & URBAN LAND-USE PATTERNS & PROCESSES
6.1 The Origin and Influences of Urbanization
- Site and situation influence the origin, function, and growth of cities.
- Changes in transportation and communication, population growth, migration, economic development, and government policies influence urbanization.
6.2 Cities Across the World
- Megacities and metacities are distinct spatial outcomes of urbanization increasingly located in countries of the periphery and semiperiphery.
- Processes of suburbanization, sprawl, and decentralization have created new land-use forms-including edge cities, exurbs, and boomburbs-and new challenges.
6.3 Cities and Globalization
- World cities function at the top of the world’s urban hierarchy and drive globalization.
- Cities are connected globally by networks and linkages and mediate global processes.
6.4 The Size and Distribution of Cities
- Principles that are useful for explaining the distribution and size of cities include rank-size rule, the primate city, gravity, and Christaller’s central place theory.
6.5 The Internal Structure of Cities
- Models and theories that are useful for explaining internal structures of cities include the Burgess concentric-zone model, the Hoyt sector model, the Harris and Ullman multiple-nuclei model, the galactic city model, bid-rent theory, and urban models drawn from Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa.
6.6 Density and Land Use
- Density: Residential buildings and patterns of land use reflect and shape the city’s culture, technological capabilities, cycles of development, and infilling.
- The location and quality of a city’s infrastructure directly affects its spatial patterns of economic and social development.
6.8 Urban Sustainability
- Sustainable design initiatives and zoning practices include mixed land use, walkability, transportation-oriented development, and smart-growth policies, including New Urbanism, greenbelts, and slow-growth cities.
- Praise for urban design initiatives includes the reduction of sprawl, improved walkability & transportation, improved and diverse housing options, improved livability, and promotion of sustainable options. Criticisms include increased housing costs, possible de facto segregation, and the potential loss of historical or place character.
6.9 Urban Data
- Quantitative data from census and survey data provide information about changes in population composition and size in urban areas.
- Qualitative data from field studies and narratives provide information about individual attitudes toward urban change.
6.10 Challenges of Urban Changes
- As urban populations move within a city, economic and social challenges result, including: issues related to housing discrimination such as redlining, blockbusting, and affordability; access to services; rising crime; environmental injustice; and the growth of disamenity zones or zones of abandonment.
- Squatter settlements and conflicts over land tenure within large cities have increased.
- Responses to economic and social challenges in urban areas can include inclusionary zoning and local food movements.
- Urban renewal and gentrification have both positive and negative consequences.
- Functional and geographic fragmentation of governments-the way government agencies and institutions are dispersed between state, county, city, and neighborhood levels-presents challenges in addressing urban issues.
6.11 Challenges of Urban Sustainability
- Challenges to urban sustainability include suburban sprawl, sanitation, climate change, air and water quality, the large ecological footprint of cities, and energy use.
- Responses to urban sustainability challenges can include regional planning efforts, remediation and redevelopment of brownfields, establishment of urban growth boundaries, and farmland protection policies.
Favorite Specific Resources for this Unit (links in progress):
- WSJ: U.S. cities with larger economies than countries
- The Urbanophile: Providence, RI and the Virtue of Scale
- Interactive Game: Urbanology
- Infographic: The Rise of the Megacity
- NPR: Kabul, A City Stretched Beyond Its Limits
- Urban Trees Reveal Income Inequality
- BBC Interactive: Historical Geography of Urbanization, 1950-present
- TED Talk: Sustainable Urbanism
- Planning Video: Downtowns–How did we get here?
- NPR Special: Urban Life in the 21st century
- TED Talk: Public Places Worth Caring About
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