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Urban geo

Action space

The geographical area that contains the space an individual interacts with on a daily basis

Beaux arts

This movement within city planning and urban design that stressed the marriage of older, classical forms with newer, industrial ones. Common characteristics of this period include wide thoroughfares, spacious parks, and civil monuments that stressed progress, freedom, and national unity

Central business district

The downtown or nucleus of a city where retail stores, offices, and cultural activities are concentrated; building densities are ussualky quite high; and transportation systems converge

Central place theory

A theory founded by Walter Christaller in the early 1900s that explains the size and distribution of cities in terms of a competitive supply of goods and serviecs to dispersed populations

City beautiful movement

Movement in the environmental design that drew directly from the beaux arts school. Architects from this movement strove to impart order on hectic, industrial centers by creating urban spaces that conveyed a sense of morality and civic pride, which many feared was absent form the frenzied new industrial world

Colonial city

Cities established by colonizing empires as administrative centers. Often they wet established on already existing native cities, completely overtaking their infrastructure

concentric zone model

model that describes urban environments as a series of rings of distinct land uses radiating out from the central zone, or central business district

edge city

cities that are located on the outskirts of larger cities and serve many of the same functions of urban area, but in a sprawling, decentralized suburban environment

European cities

cities in Europe that were mostly developed during the Medieval Period and that retain many of the same characteristics such as extreme density of development with narrow buildings and winding streets, an ornate church that prominently marks the city center, and high walls surrounding the city center that provided defense against attack.


person who has left the inner city and moved to outlying suburbs or rural areas

feudal city

cities that arose during the Middle Ages and that actually represent a time of relative stagnation in urban growth. this system fostered a dependent relationship between wealthy landowners and peasants who worked their land, providing very little alternative economic opportunities.

gateway city

cities that, because of their geographic location, act as ports of entry and distribution centers for large geographic areas


the trend of middle and upper income Americans moving into city centers and rehabilitating much of the architecture but also replacing low income population, and changing the social character of certain neighborhoods.


a process occurring in many inner cites in which they become dilapidated centers of poverty, as affluent whites move out to the suburbs and immigrants and people of color vie for scarce jobs and resources.


the market area surrounding an urban center, which that urban center serves

inner city decay

those parts of large urban areas that lose significant portions of their populations as a result of change in industry or migration to suburbs. because of these changes, the inner city loses its tax base and becomes a center of poverty

Islamic cities

cities in Muslim countries that owe their structure to their religious beliefs. Islamic cities contain mosques at their center and walls guarding their perimeter. Open-air markets, courtyards surrounded by high walls, and dead end-streets, which limit foot traffic in residential neighborhoods, also are shown.

Latin american cities

cities that owe much of their structure to colonialism, the rapid rise of industrialization, and continual rapid increases in population. Similar to other colonial cities, they also demonstrate distinctive sectors of industrial or residential development radiating out from the central business district, where most industrial and financial activity occurs. in Latin america

Medieval Cities

cities that developed in Europe during the Medieval Period and that contain such unique features as extreme density of development with narrow buildings and winding streets, an ornate church that prominently marks the city center, and high walls surrounding the city center that provided defense against attack


cities, mostly characteristic of the developing world, where high population growth and migration have caused them to explode in population since WW2. All are plagued by chaotic and unplanned growth, terrible pollution, and widespread poverty.


several, metropolitan areas that were originally separate but that have joined together to form a large, sprawling urban complex

Metropolitan area

within the US, an urban area consisting of one or more whole county units, usually containing several urbanized areas, or suburbs, that all act together as a coherent economic whole.

modern architecture

point of view, wherein cities and buildings are thought to act like well-oiled machines, with little energy spent on frivolous details or ornate designs. Efficient, geometrical structure made of concrete and glass dominated urban forms for half a century while this view prevailed.

multiple nuclei model

type of urban form wherein cities have numerous centers of business and cultural activity instead of one central place


geographical centers of activity. a large city, such as LA, has many of them.

postmodern architecture

a reaction in architectural design to the feeling of sterile alienation that many people get from modern architecture. It uses older, historical styles and a sense of lightheartedness and eclecticism. Buildings combine pleasant-looking forms and playful colors to convey new ideas and to create spaces that are more people-friendly that their modernist predecessors.

Primate city

a country's leading city, with a population that is disproportionately greater than other urban areas within the same country.

Rank size rule

rule that states that the population of any given town should be inversely proportional to its rank in the country;s hierarchy when the distribution of cities according to their sizes follows a certain pattern.

sector model

a model or urban land use that places the central business district in the middle with wedge-shaped sectors radiating outwards from the center along transportation corridors


the process that results from suburbanization when affluent individuals leave the city center for homogeneous suburban neighborhoods. This process isolates those individuals who cannot afford to consider relocating to suburban neighborhoods and must remain in certain pockets of the central city.

squatter settlements

residential developments characterized by extreme poverty that usually exists on land just outside of cities that is neither owned nor rented by its occupants


residential communities, located outside of city centers, that are usually relatively homogeneous in terms of population

urban growth boundary

geographical boundaries placed around a city to limit suburban growth within that city.

urban morphology

the physical form of a city or urban region

urban revitalization

the process occurring in some urban areas experiencing inner city decay that usually involves the construction of new shopping districts, entertainment venues, and cultural attractions to entice young urban professionals back into cites where nightlife and culture are more accessible

urban sprawl

the process of expansive suburban development over large areas spreading out from a city, in which the automobile provides the primary source of transportation

world city

centers of economic, culture, and political activity that are strongly interconnected and together control the globe systems of finance and commerce.

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