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World Urban Development
Total world population (2005): 6.5 billion
Percent Urban population (2005): 48.5%
Most Urbanized countries (100%): Nauru, Singapore
Least Urbanized countries: Burundi, Bhutan, Trinidad & Tobago.
Number of Megacities: 20
Largest Urban Agglomerations: Tokyo, Mexico City, New York.
•The proportion of people living in cities varies widely, from 10% in Burundi to 100% in Singapore.
•Megacities: Cities with over 10 million populations. Largest urban areas.
•Evolution of cities: pre-industrial, Industrial and post-industrial.
•Cities are usually classified by function: market centres, transportation centres and specialized service centres.
•4 model of land use in cities: concentric zone model, sector model, multiple nuclei model and inverse
concentric zone model.
•The more developed countries (MDC), urbanization is due to industrialization – North America, Europe, some
Asian countries and Australia.
•The less developed countries, urbanization is due to the rural area becoming crowded and people escaping
•The urban population is increasing more than the world population. The pace of the urban increase has been
most dramatic in the developing countries, namely the ‘Global South’.
•Urban ecology: cities and humans are not separate from nature and must therefore be considered in the study
of ecosystems. An ecosystem approach to studying the city. Both nature and humans.
•Urban political ecology: the understanding the intervention of political institutions in the interaction between
humans and the environment in city settings.
•Marxian urban political ecology: understand the inequality and how power and injustice are created around
urban nature sites of capitalist urbanization.
Approaches, Concepts and definitions
•Urbanism: broad concept generally refers to all aspects of geography – political, social and economic – of the
urban way of life. It is the end result of urbanization. It differentiates rural way of life to urban way of life.
•Urbanization: Movement of people from rural to urban areas and the change of lifestyle resulting from leaving
•Urban place: When the economy does not depend strictly on agriculture or other primary activities. The
number of people required for a place to be classified as urban varies from country to country.
•City: defines a large, densely populated place that is legally incorporated as a municipality. A city can be of
•Urbanized area: build-up area of buildings, roads and essential urban land uses. It can be considered as a city
and its suburbs.
•Conurbation: when urbanized areas merge, the larger urban regions are called conurbation.
•World cities: function as the command-and-control centres of world-economy. There are 3 global cities in the
world so far, and they are also known as top-tier cities: New York, London and Tokyo. They are defined by
their financial centrality. Second-tier and other lower-tier cities are defined by their particular megaregions or
particular culture and economic niches. World cities have influence worldwide within a particular niche.
•Metropolis and Metropolitan area: metropolis is the ‘mother city’ of a country, state or empire. Basically
refer to any large city nowadays, for example London. A metropolitan area is anchored by a city large enough
to be a metropolis.
•Megalopolis: refer to urban coalescence (grow together) of metropolitan areas. Transportation connecting one
city to another.
•Site and Situations: site is the physical characteristics of the place where the city originated and evolved.
Situation is the relative location of a city. The connectedness of a city with other places and the surrounding
•Urban landscapes: they are the manifestations of the thoughts, deeds and action of human beings.
•Capital city: they are the head cities of every country. Every country has one with the exception of South
Africa which has 3 capital cities: Cape Town is the legislative capital, Pretoria is the administrative capital and
Bloemfontein is the judicial capital. Not always the country’s largest city.
•Pre-industrial City: also referred to as traditional city; identifies a city that was founded and grew before the
arrival of the industrialization of the 19th & 20th century. They have different characteristics from industrial
•Industrial City: economically based on the production of manufactured goods. Factories and foundries anchor
their urban landscapes.
•Post-industrial City: New type of city that is emerging, particularly in the world’s wealthiest countries. Not
solely based on manufacturing but instead to high employment in the service sector. Mainly for corporations or
for governmental and inter-governmental organizations.
•Primate City: a type of city that is defined by size and function. A city that is exceptionally large,
economically dependent and culturally expressive of national identity. A primate city is twice as large as the
country’s second-largest city. The presence of a primate city in a country usually suggests an imbalance in