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Cities of Today, Cities of Tomorrow

Unit 2: A Brief History of Urban Expansion
Objectives Summary Text Activities

Don’t forget this week’s ‘Ideal City’ activity.
  1. 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.

  2. 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 lettuce?

  3. 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?

  4. What were some of the changes in the ways cities functioned and felt after the industrial revolution?

  5. How do you think the cities of the industrial revolution set a precedence for the cities we see today?

  6. The "site" and "situation" of a city are important factors in its development.

    "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.

  7. 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?


Objectives Summary Text Activities
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