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Urban Morphology

When thinking about Urban Morphology or shape (pattern) it is important to remember that we use urban models to identify and compare the shapes of the settlement. For AS level Geography you only need to know 2 main types of urban model but it is useful if you are familiar with some of the others also.


U r ban M odel 1: Bur gess’ Concentr ic Zone M odel Burgess  suggested  that  towns  grew outward from the centre in  a  concentric  pattern.  This  means  that  buildings  become  more  recent  closer  to  the  edge  of a city. It is possible that up to  5 rings may develop:

A ­ Central Business District (CBD): ­  most  accessible  to  the  largest  number  of people ­  contains  services  such  as  shops,  offices, banks, etc. ­  multi­storey  buildings  as  land  is  very  expensive (build upwards to save cost)


U r ban M odel 1: Bur gess’ Concentr ic Zone M odel B ­ ‘Twilight Zone’ ­ has 2 sections: 1  ­  wholesale  light  manufacturing  (transitional) 2 ­ low class residential (old inner city  areas): ­ 19 Century terraced buildings ­ no gardens ­ cheap, dirty slum areas ­ GRID IRON street pattern ­  high  rise  blocks  were  built  after  slums  were pulled down  ­ attract crime ­ old industries found here


U r ban M odel 1: Bur gess’ Concentr ic Zone M odel C ­ Council Estates:   Semi­detached  housing  with  gardens  in  large  estates.  Less  expensive  private  estates  also  here.  Not  top  quality  (medium  class  residential).  INTER  WAR  AREA D ­ Commuter Zone:   High  class  residential  area.  Private,  top  quality  housing.  Detached  and  semi­ detached on cheap land. People can live  here  as  are  prepared  to  pay  to  get  to  work. 


U r ban M odel 1: Bur gess’ Concentr ic Zone M odel

E ­ Countryside Areas  (suburb / exurbs):   Countryside  surrounding  the  urban  area.  Can  also  contain  villages  /  hamlets  in  which  town  /  city  workers  live.


A key point to remember A key thing to remember is  that different text books and  resources will use different  labels for the different parts of  the model.   It is very important  that you are familiar with them  all so make sure that you use  Essential Geography and  Integrated Geography as a  basis for your notes 


U r ban M odel 2: H oyts’ Sector M odel Hoyt  proposed  the  idea  that  towns  grew  as  sectors  or  "wedges".  That  means  that  if,  for  example, industry grew up in one part of a 19th  century  town,  future  industry  would  then  develop  in  that  sector.  As  the  town  grew,  so  would  the  area  of  industry  and  therefore  it  would grow out in a wedge shape. 

A – Central Business District B1 – Wholesale Light Manufacturing B2 – Low Class Residential C – Council Estates D – Commuter Zone (Suburbs) E ­ Countryside


City T r ansect Increase in vegetation

This city transect shows a cross section through a city. The CBD is located in  the  centre  of  the  diagram  and  the  other  areas  are  clearly  marked.  On  your  diagram, add 10 labelled arrows which show changes in the three quality of life  environments towards and away from the centre of the city. Examples: traffic,  costs, vegetation, etc.


City T r ansect Examples of labels Increase in vegetation Decrease in traffic congestion Increase in housing cost

Decrease in land costs

Decrease in services

Increase in building height Increase in crime Decrease in space

Increase in competition for land

Decrease in car ownership


U r ban M odel 3: L ED C M odel Cities  in  LEDCs  have  a  very  different  land  use  pattern  to  those  in  MEDCs.  The  CBD  is  dominated  by  modern  administrative and commercial activities.  Richer  people  live  in  modern  high­rise  apartments  around  the  CBD.  Recently  arrived migrants from rural areas live in  derelict land and on the outskirts.  Housing quality decreases with distance  from  the  CBD,  unlike  in  MEDCs,  where  quality increases with distance from the  CBD.


Bid Rent Theory • (From Essential Page 278) • These models all share common the idea that land use in cities results from economic forces. It is based on the idea that most landusers want to maximise their profit that they gain from a particular location. Accessibility is the key idea for businesses, shops, offices and people


Bid Rent Theory 2 • Different land users compete for accessible sites near to the city centre. The amount that they are prepared to pay is the bid-rent. • Generally, the closer that a piece of land is to the CBD – the dearer it will be


Other Models

Mann  Harris and Ullmann


AS Level Urban Morphology and Model