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Urban Environments

Resources, activities, links & videos for IB Geography; Urban Environments unit. Revision pages in the store now.

IB Geography, urban environments shanty town, kigali, Rwanda

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


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 & add extra factors such as remittance payments.





Gentrification & Re-Urbanisation

London Docklands

Battersea Powerstation

Inward movements of people (centripetal movement)

Outward Movements of people (centrifugal movement)


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.


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 push and pull factors



Natural change

Impact of natural increase in urban areas on population densities & distribution.

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

Concentric Ring Model: Burgess

concentric ring model

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


Sector Model: Hoyt


CBD Core -periphery model

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Newcastle (UK) City Centre Land Use

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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.



Greenfield Sites



IB Geography London docklands

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 Microclimates & urban heat islands

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Beijing Smog

Beijing Rubbish dumps

Nigeria & its land reclamation- make notes.

Bangladesh &health care issues resulting from urbanisation - make notes

The City a System

The city as a system Describe the city as a system in terms of:
• inputs—energy, water, people, materials, products, food (urban agriculture)
• outputs—solid, atmospheric and liquid waste, noise, people.
Distinguish between a sustainable circular system where inputs are reduced and outputs are recycled and an
unsustainable (open/linear) city system with uncontrolled inputs and outputs.

IB Geography, urban environments, linear city systems

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)

Sustainable construction methods: London Olympics

IB Geography, Mwanza skyline, urban environments

Sustainable Strategies Case Studies

You have to have a case study & be able to evaluate it for the following strategies (for urban areas):

  • Socially sustainable housing management
  • Environmentally sustainable pollution management
  • One strategy to control rapid city growth resultingfrom in migration.

Environmentally Sustainable Pollution Management

Londons Electric Cars (Guardian 2011)

CASE STUDY: 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?

CASE STUDY: Urban Regeneration:

London Docklands urban regeneration

good infromation/CASE STUDY 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


IB geography revision guides link