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Urban Geography Models & other Info . Louis Wirth . In the 1930’s social scientist Louis Wirth defined a city as a permanent settlement that has 3 characteristics that create living experiences for urban residents that are different from residents in rural areas 1. Large size

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louis wirth
Louis Wirth
  • In the 1930’s social scientist Louis Wirth defined a city as a permanent settlement that has 3 characteristics that create living experiences for urban residents that are different from residents in rural areas
  • 1. Large size
  • 2. High density
  • 3. social heterogeneity
  • By 2000 nineteen metropolises in the world has populations of more than 10 million, earning them the title “megacities” (created by the United Nations in the 1970s)
  • Tokyo, Japan 34,000,000
  • Mexico City, Mexico 22,800,000
  • Seoul, South Korea 22,300,000
world cities
World Cities
  • Saskia Sassen wrote that certain cities posses more authority in terms of cultural outreach and political influence than others
  • These cities define not only their own countries but other countries in the region as well
  • Sassen gave New York City, London, and Tokyo each the title of “world city”

These cities are large financial centers

  • Homes of transnational corporations
  • Have world-class international airports appear on the news and are settings for films and literature
  • Hosted global events such as the Olympics or the World’s Fair
  • Forms of mass transportation
zone in transition
Zone in Transition

A zone in transition is marked by the deterioration of old residential structures abandoned, as the city expanded, by the former wealthier occupants and now containing high-density, low income slums, warehouses

and (in some areas) gentrified buildings.

urban realms model
Urban Realms Model
  • Modeled after L.A. in the 1990’s
  • each realm is a separate economic, social & political entity that is linked together to form a larger metropolitan framework.
  • Nuclei or Realms become less dependent on each other, and much less on the CBD
  • Realms became largely self-sufficient in most cases
  • Regional shopping centers became like the CBD

widely dispersed, multicentered metropolis consisting of increasingly independent zones or realms, each focused on its own suburban downtown

edge cities joel garreau
Edge Cities – Joel Garreau
  • Nodal concentrations of shopping and office space that are situated on the outer fringes of metropolitan areas,

typically near major highway



Construction ‘ring roads’ created growth explosions at major highway intersections in outer areas

  • Leads to emergence of EDGE CITIES (Woodlands)
the galactic city
The Galactic City
  • As suburbs continue to sprawl they spawn many suburban nucleations, which are simply multiple downtowns and special function nodes and corridors, which are linked by the metropolitan expressway system
  • Simple version: mini edge city that is connected to another city by beltways or highways.
walter christaller central place theory
Walter Christaller – Central Place Theory
  • asserted that settlements simply functioned as 'central places' providing services to surrounding areas
  • The theory relies on two concepts: threshold and range.
  • Threshold is the minimum market (population or income) needed to bring about the selling of a particular good or service.
  • Range is the maximum distance consumers are prepared to travel to acquire goods - at some point the cost or inconvenience will outweigh the need for the good.

All cities fit w/in Christaller’s central place theory.

  • Some have greater ranges and need bigger thresholds.
latin american city model
Latin American City Model
  • Commercial2. Elite Residential Sector3. Middle-class Residential4. Zone of situ accretion5. Zone of maturity6. Gentrification7. Zone of peripheral
  • squatter settlements

Assumption—strong central business district affected patterns throughout the urban area, but unlike US models, it is divided a market sector, where old-fashioned markets are set up & a high rise sector, where more modern businesses are headquartered.