Unit 2: A Brief History of Urban Expansion
Dont forget this weeks Ideal City activity.
- List some of the physical conditions that have influenced the
development of cities. Which one do you think is the most
important in the rise of early cities? Explain.
- Why would the cultivation of cereal crops and domestication of
animals play an important part in the rise of the first human
settlements? Why would cereal crops such as rice, wheat and maize
be more important than vegetable crops such as tomatoes and
- Is your city located near any of the physical features you
listed for number 1? Can you find out approximately how old your
city is? During which phase in the development of cities did your
city come into being?
- What were some of the changes in the ways cities functioned
and felt after the industrial revolution?
- How do you think the cities of the industrial revolution set a
precedence for the cities we see today?
- The "site" and "situation" of a city are important factors in
"Site" describes the specific characteristics of the
physical landscape where a town or city is located. For example
many early towns were located on rivers for access to
transportation or on high ground for defensive purposes. Another
example of site is the location of mineral deposits.
"Situation" refers to the influence of surrounding
areas. For example, if a town is located where two rivers
meet (confluence), this would be a "site factor". But the fact
that the two rivers provide a transportation system for the
surrounding region would represent the situation of the town or
city. Another example is a mountain-top which provides a good
"site" if your concern is to defend yourself. But it may not end
up being such a great "situation" because it is difficult to get
to and so trade, communication and commerce will develop with
greater difficulty and at greater cost.
The following are a few factors which have influenced the
location of a town:
water supply, head of a river, sheltered harbour,
high ground, fertile ground.
In groups, brainstorm other possible factors that could
influence the location of towns or cities. Examining maps of
world cities may help you develop some ideas.
Briefly describe the site and situation factors that have
influenced the location of your town or city. For more detail,
you can use a topographic map of your town or city.
- Using the data in Table 3, plot the percentage of urban
population for each of the regions. Be sure to correctly label
the information on your graph.
Which area(s) of the world were you surprised to find had a low
proportion of urban population?
Based on this data, can you predict which regions have a
high "urban growth rate"? Why would this be the case?