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Urban Environments

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IB Geography, urban environments shanty town, kigali, Rwanda

Read this article for an introduction to the unit: megacities. Published by

Centripetal Movements

Inward movements of people (centripetal movement)

Urbanisation: An increase in the % of a countries population living in towns & cities.

Rural to Urban Migration

rural to urban migration

You should be able to explain the push and pull factors & discuss extra factors such as the importance of remittance payments.

Centrifugal Movements

Outward Movements of people (centrifugal movement)

Suburbanisation: The growth of towns & cities to include (engulf) surrounding villages/ rural areas.

Urban Sprawl: Unplanned & uncontrolled spread/growth of a city into the surrounding rural area.

Counter-urbanisation: The movement of population away from inner urban areas to a new town, a new estate, a commuter town or a village on the edge or just beyond the city limits/rural–urban fringe.

counter urbanisation push and pull factors

Decentralisation: the movement of retail and services (shops and offices) to out of town or edge of town locations.

decentralisation push and pull factors

Global Megacities

Global Megacities: cities with a population over 10 million.

Mega-city Growth interactive diagram (Guardian 2012)

Where and why have these cities been rapidly increasing in number? What are some of the problems that they are facing?

Growth of modern cities (podcast) 2011

IB Geography urban environments San Jose, Cosat Rica

Land Use Models

Concentric Ring Model: Burgess, based on Chicago

concentric ring model

You should be able to explain the pattern shown in the model and identify its weaknesses.

Sector Model: Hoyt

This model introduced the idea that lines of transportation would have a significant impact on land-use zoning. Industry is likely to locate along routes of transportation (road and rail) to receive raw materials and to deliver the final product.

Workers in these industries were likely to live close the industries (lack of transport and perhaps accomodation provided by the industries).

Hoyt sector model daigram

Brownfield Sites


Read factfile - UK brownfield sites

What are brownfield sites? Why are they often more expensive to develop?

UK brownfield development issues (2001)

London Olympic Park: Read the following articles and make notes about the site of the olympic park - where, clean-up required, beenfeits to the area: pdf article, olympic site.

Battersea power station redevelopment


Greenfield Sites

LEDC City problems & solutions - favelas/slums

CASE STUDY: Rocinha favela, Rio de Janeiro

Go this page: Rio Case Studies

Make notes about the favela in Rio -

  • What are they?
  • Where are they?
  • Why do people live in them?
  • What services do they have?
  • What rights do they get/have?
  • What sense of community is there?
  • How the authorities cope with them?

Urban Heat Islands

You should be able to explain the causes of higher temperatures and modified local climatic features in urban areas.

Factors such as the change in the albedo rate due to roads and buildings, the heat released from transport, the leakage of heat from buildings (heating and air conditioning).

Other factors to consider are things such as changes in the levels of humidity due to the loss of vegetation and the rapid draining of surface water out of the area. Changes in wind speed and flow due to building design (Chicago is a good example).

Urban Stress

Urban areas suffer from pressure due to their nature of dense populations. You should be able to describe and explain some of these and refer to examples.

  • Crime: increased levels as rich and poor live in close proximity and there are often extremes of both
  • Traffic congestion: rapid urban expansion and the increase in car ownership has left many urban areas struggling to keep traffic flowing.
  • air pollution: air pollution in many cities has been deteriorating. Industry, car ownership and in many developing urban areas the use of charcoal for cooking all contribute.

Guardian 2015 article looking at the patterns of use and urban stresses for 4 major global cities. Some good information about coparative densities and transport networks.

Beijing Smog

Beijing Rubbish dumps

Nigeria & its land reclamation- make notes.

Bangladesh &health care issues resulting from urbanisation - make notes

Cities around the globe in both developing and developed countries are facing many challenges due to their size and the resources that they consume.

Their populations are increasingly aware of the health issues caused by pollution (water, air and and noise). International agreements have been established to reduce different types of pollution and fines for failure may be imposed. Traffic congestion, over-crowding ,poverty and crime are examples of social issues that need to be addressed to improve the functioning of urban areas.

The City a System

Linear City Systems

inputs—energy, water, people, materials, products, food

outputs—solid, atmospheric and liquid waste, noise, people.

Inputs are consumed and waste sent for disposal, ususally in landfill or incineration.

IB Geography, urban environments, linear city systems

Circular City Systems

Reducing, reusing and recycling the resources that the city consumes lead to less inputs and less outputs, shrinking their urban ecological footprint and increasing their sustainability.

This circular approach can be applied by households, industry and local governments/councils.

Be able to discuss strategies and impacts with examples.

IB Geography, urban environments, circular city system

Sustainable Cities

In your groups research & present back a powerpoint or movie Case Study.

It should be no longer than 5 minutes, .
Curitiba (Brasil), Calgary (Canada) - examples of sustainanble measures introduced & further plans.
• The Urban Ecological Footprint - what is it, how is it measured, how can cities reduce it etc.

Urban ecological footrprint webpage (just to get you started).

China's eco-cities: Sustainable urban living in Tianjin (BBC 2012)

Rooftop Gardens, New York (Guardian 2011)

Brasilia (Guardian 2011)

What makes a sustainable city (Guardian 2012)

Dubai & human waste recycling (BBC 2013)

IB Geography, Mwanza skyline, urban environments

Londons Electric Cars (Guardian 2011)

Socially Sustainable Housing: Singapore HBD

P.450/1 Waugh - notes about:

  • Existing problems
  • What is the HDB & what has it done.
  • In what ways are the projects socially sustainable?

Urban Regeneration: London Docklands

good information here

CASE STUDY: Thames Gateway

Thames Gateway


Tianjin Eco-City: BBC video & BBC article (watch & read & make notes about its aim, some of the problems it faces,

the challenges of affordability and sustainability

Eco-City examples (videos)

Past paper Q

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