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cbd ap human geography

Cbd ap human geography

Urban land use models were developed to explain different types of cities, their neighborhoods, and how they functioned. But the modern metropolis has shed the confines of its old central-city in the second half of the 20th century. These models are longer capable of keeping up with a new reality where the suburbs are the heart and soul of the American urban landscape.

In the early 1900’s, researchers wanted to find out how cities worked. They developed a variety of urban land use models to help describe and explain different types of cities and the neighborhoods that made up the city. It makes sense that scholars at the University of Chicago developed many of these land use models because Chicago was a city that saw rapid growth in the 19th century.

Night-time skyline shot of glowing city that is Detroit. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Cities have evolved over time, and their populations have dramatically increased. This has led to urbanization (rapid growth, and migration to large cities). This increase in urban population resulted in rapid expansion of the city and greater urbanization of the society. After the conclusion of World War II, North America experienced rapid urbanization. There was a need for housing outside of the core urban areas due to growing population and demand. The result was the suburbanization of our society. Suburbanization is the movement of people from core urban areas to the outskirts.


A few years after Burgess and Hoyt published their findings, fellow Chicagoan geographers Chauncey Harris and Edward Ullman came up with their own idea of urban land use, the multiple-nuclei model. They asserted that the CBD was no longer the only center of an urban area or city. In the multiple-nuclei, the “nuclei” are multiple smaller growth centers that developed around the metropolitan area.

Another trend in the development of office facilities in the suburbs is the growth of suburban corporate campuses. The 1980s saw the rapid growth of office space in the suburbs, rather than in the city. Many of those start-ups were the iconic high-tech corporations of today, like Apple, Google, and Microsoft. All of these companies have their headquarters in the suburbs.

Cities are at the center of every advanced society and act as the hub of economic, social and political activities in an area. They have a variety of shapes and functions, and their geography impacts the daily lives of those who live in the city and surrounding areas. All cities provide their residents a variety of services and functions: shopping, manufacturing, transportation, education, medical, and protective services.

Urban Land Use Models

As we have discussed in this study guide, the models have changed over time. Both the cities themselves have changed, as well as how geographers have looked at cities and their urban patterns. As you go from the concentric zone model to the galactic city model, think of the growth of the city as an evolutionary process on your way to understanding the changing urban landscape.

The galactic city model is also known as the peripheral model. The model is based on the city of Detroit, Michigan and is made up of an inner city, with large suburban residential and business areas surrounding it. These areas are tied together by transportation nodes, like beltways, to avoid traffic congestion. This model takes the Harris and Ullman’s multiple nuclei model one step further. It accounts for the fact that the classic CBD is no longer dominant, but is instead upstaged by several specialized suburban areas. In the galactic city model, the urban area is decentralized and more focus is placed on edge cities.

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