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Urban Geography

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AP prep

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Kunstler, James Howard. Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape. Simon and Schuster, June 1993.

This book deals with suburbanization and urban development in the United States and how they have altered our cultural landscape
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Urban geography can be divided into two subfields.
 The first is the study of systems of cities, focusing on where cities are located and why they are there. This involves an examination of such topics as the current and historical distribution of cities; the political economic, and cultural functions of cities; reasons for differential growth among cities; and types of transportation and communication linkages between cities. Theories of settlement geography, such as Christaller’s central place theory and the rank size rule, are also introduced, Quantitative information on such topics as population growth, migration fields, zones of influence, and job creation are used to analyze changes in the urban hierarchy.

The second subfield focuses on the form, internal structure, and land­scapes of cities and emphasizes what cities are like as places in which to live and work. We are introduced to such topics as the analysis of patterns of land use, racial and ethnic segregation, types of intra-city transportation, architectural traditions, and cycles of uneven constriction and development. Students’ understanding of cities as places is enhanced by both quantitative data from the census and qualitative information from narrative accounts and field studies, Students also study comparative models of internal city structure: for example, the Burgess concentric zone model, the Hoyt sector model, and the Harris—Ullman multiple nuclei model. Topics such as architectural history and the evolution of various transportation technologies can be useful in the analysis of the types of spatial patterns and landscapes evident in cities.

While much of the literature in urban geography focuses on the cities of North America, comparative urbanization is an increasingly important topic, The study of European, Islamic, East and South Asian, Latin American, and sub-Saharan African cities serves to illustrate how differing economic systems and cultural values can lead to variations in the spatial structures and landscapes of urban places,

It also includes current trends in urban development that are affecting urban places, such as the emergence of edge cities and the gentrification of neighborhoods. In addition, students evaluate urban planning design initiatives and community actions that will shape cities in the future.


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