AQA A2 Human Geography Revision viewAQA A2 Human Geography Revision booklet AQA A2 Human Geography Revision booklet AQA A2 Human Geography Revision booklet A2 Geography 2016 | De La Salle ... The most urbanised continents are Europe, North and

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AQA A2 Human Geography Revision booklet

World CitiesThe global pattern of urbanisation: millionaire cities, mega cities and world cities

At a global scale, rapid urbanisation has occurred over the last 50 years.

Almost 50% of the worlds population lives in towns and cities. 19% of the worlds population lives in cities of more than 1 million people.

The most urbanised continents are Europe, North and South America and Oceania and the least urbanised continents are Asia and Africa.

The number of urban dwellers is by far largest in Asia, with 1.4 billion people living in towns and cities (40% of the population).

Urbanisation is increasing most rapidly in Africa and Asia.

This trend is expected to continue so that by 2025 almost half the population of these continents will live in urban areas and 80% of urban dwellers will live in developing countries.

Increased global urbanisation has resulted in the development of many millionaire cities.

There is also a significant number of enormous megacities, some of which are classed as world cities.

Millionaire cities are those with more than 1 million people. India and China have the most millionaire cities in the world.

Megacities are those with more than 10 million people, of which there are 20 (15 in the developing world)

World cities are those which have great influence on a global scale, because of their financial status and worldwide commercial power. Three cities sit at the top of the global hierarchy: New York, London and Tokyo.

Economic development and change related to urbanisation

A consequence of the rapid economic development taking place in parts of China, India and southeast Asia is that the level of urbanisation will increase very rapidly here.

Rates of economic development and rates of urbanisation are rising simultaneously in these countries.

In Europe, Oceania and North America, the more economically developed areas of the world, urbanisation levels peaked in the 1970s and have fallen steadily since then.

Millionaire cities, mega Cities, and world cities.

Millionaire cities are those that have over a million residents.

Mega cities have at least 10 million people.

World cities are important focal points in terms of politics, economies, transport, and other global processes.

Different factors cause cities to develop into mega cities. These include:

Natural increase

Push factors

Ports and trade

Colonial Influences

The World Health Organisation estimate that By 2030, 6 out of every 10 people will live in a city, and by 2050, this proportion will increase to 7 out of 10 people.

Urbanisation is a more recent arrival in LEDCs and NICs. The growth over the past fifty years of many developing world cities has had major implications for the people living there and the management of those issues. NICs (Newly Industrialising Countries) have urbanisation that takes place with rapid industrialisation, as has been witnessed in Brazil and South Eastern China, whilst in some LDCs (Least Developed Countries) urbanisation takes place in the relative absence of industrialisation, people forced to cities to live in poor conditions with limited opportunities for jobs. Indeed, we must consider to what extent are the two processes of urbanisation and industrialisation mutually dependent? (

A map showing the distribution of GaWC-ranked world cities (2010 data)

Exam questions could include:

Define the term world city and outline the role of world cities. (8)

Using examples, evaluate the relationship between economic development and urbanisation. (10)


This is the demographic change from rural areas to urban areas. In 2010, 50% of the worlds population lived in urban areas.

These occur due to push and pull factors.

Push: crop failure, unemployment, hazards, poverty, etc.

Pull: fertile land, political stability, friends and family, etc.

Positives of Urbanisation

Negatives of Urbanisation

Better services

Encourages the growth of unplanned and illegal shanty towns.

Infant mortality is lower in cities and life expectancy tends to be higher than in rural areas.

Informal sector employment rarely receives support from government and is often subject to harassment.

Industry and finance services can concentrate in cities allowing agglomeration of these industries and cost savings.

Environmental problems abound in cities that are rapidly urbanizing.

Case study of Seoul:

In excess of 25.6 million people thats more than half of Koreas population live in the Seoul metropolitan area.

Seoul has built the most extensive subway system in the world.

Seoul has more Starbucks locations than any other city in the world: 284 and counting, compared to New York Citys 277.

Between 1960 and 2000 Seoul's population zoomed from fewer than three million to ten million, and South Korea went from being one of the world's poorest countries, with a per capita GDP of less than $100, to being richer than some in Europe.

Exam questions could include:

Outline the process of urbanisation and describe its effects. (8 marks)


The process of population movement from the central areas of cities towards the suburbs on the outskirts or the rural-urban fringe.

These are caused by:

1. White flight.

2. Improvements of transport infrastructure.

3. Developments in communication technology.

4. Demand for housing.



Inner city

Suburbs mean that there is less need for high-rise, high-density housing, such as in deindustrialised areas of Newcastle, leading to clearance and replacement by low-rise, low-density housing. This is better for residents.

The greater availability of space created by clearance of inner city areas allows for improved communication networks

Derelict land can be cleared in the Inner city allowing for increased opportunity for environmental improvement of that land to create recreational open spaces.

Suburbanisation can lead to the decline of inner city areas as skilled people and businesses move away.

This means that the suburbanisation of jobs leads to employment opportunities, leading to lower employment opportunities which leads to a spiral of decline.

Communities are split up and damaged as people migrate out to the suburbs.

Suburbanisation means that more buildings are left vacant. These buildings might be dangerous, look bad and stop people investing in the area (inward investment).

The large income gaps between suiburb and inner city lead to polarisation and resentment.

Rural urban fringe

The local tax base increases which means that councils can afford to develop new facilities and services in the expanding suburbs.

As wealthy people move in there is increasing demand for recreational facilities such

as golf courses and gyms

Wealthy people also want to shop, and in Britain this has created demand for retailing which has resulted in the development of retail parks at the edge of the city

There are increasing employment opportunities in offices and shops such as at Baliol Business park in Longbenton

Land increases in price as demand increases at the city edge.

The green belt, designed to limit city growth, is put under increasing pressure

There is increased commuting therefore increased congestion and pollution.

Decay of local village community atmosphere

The city increases in size as the demand for low density housing increases.

It is important to remember that effects of suburbanisation which are good for the suburbs are often at the expense of the inner city.

Case study of Newcastle Great Park:

Where? Northwest of Newcastle. Near A1- which is being widened and improved.

When? Completed Summer 2014.

Why? New homes needed

There will be 80 hectares of commercial development which could generate jobs,

There is an integrated transport plan which will see every home not more than 400 metres from a bus stop, 27km of cycle routes in and around NGP.

2,500 new homes in a parkland setting of 442 hectares will be complete.

There is no guarantee of job creation.

The NGP housing plans contradict the principles of no/little development in the Green Belt.

The three-storey properties priced from 188,000 are well beyond the average wage of people in Newcastle.


1. 2,500 new homes in a parkland setting of 442 hectares will be complete. Useful for richer residents and generating income for the developers.

2. There will be 80 hectares of commercial development which could generate jobs. Already, the 50m headquarters for Newcastle computer group Sage have been completed. It is expected the software firm's 575,000 sq ft building headquarters will provide jobs for 1,500 workers within two years.

3. There is an integrated transport plan which will see every home not more than 400 metres from a bus stop, 27km of cycle routes in and around NGP, a discount cycle purchase scheme for residents and a car share database on the Internet.

4. A full time ranger will be employed to manage the country park to ensure local wildlife conservation

5. The development lies adjacent to the A1, which will be widened and improved, and is within easy reach of the airport, providing excellent opportuni