World Cities

Complete revision notes for the World Cities topic on the AQA A2 Geography Unit 3 exam.

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  • Created on: 12-06-12 08:16
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Types and Distribution of Cities
Millionaire cities have populations of over 1 million.
Mega cities have populations of over 10 million.
World cities are major centres for finance, trade, business, politics, culture, science
and mass media serving the whole world.
Until the 1950s, the biggest cities were the most developed cities.
New York was recognised as the first megacity.
However, since 1950, many cities in developing countries have been propelled by
natural increase and high rates of ruralurban migration.
In 1950, 9 out of the 20 world's largest cities were in developing countries.
Now, 48 of the 68 largest cities are developing cities.
World cities are resource centres:
Companies need access to knowledge which can be found in cities in order to
There are two types of knowledge codified (the spread of technology such as the
internet) and tacit (discussion and face to face contact).
World cities are learning centres:
If companies can learn they must be part of a cluster of universities.
World cities can be seen as learning regions, smart cities or creative hubs.
Economic Development
Globalisation and rapid economic development in the last 30 years in Asia and
emerging economies like China have triggered massive urban growth.
China's economy has averaged a 10% growth each year.
Today, the Chinese economy is the second largest behind the USA.
It accounts for 9% of total international trade.
In 1980, there were 19 Chinese cities with populations in excess of 1 million and
there are now 88.
This growth is driven by urban rural migration.
In 1980 only 25% of the population lived in urban settlements but by 2015 most
people will.
As cities grow they attract more and more people meaning they can develop an
increasingly wide range of functions and have jobs that are more and more

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Urbanisation is the proportion of urban dwellers in a country or region.
Urban growth describes an absolute increase in the number of urban dwellers.
When urbanisation increases there is a relative shift of population from rural to
urban areas.
Urbanisation can be caused by a concentration of investment which provides wealth
and employment or the amount of poverty and lack of investment in rural areas.…read more

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Overpopulation where large families are not enough to survive.
Insufficient food because of poor farming methods and a low output.
Mechanisation means less people are needed on farms.
Natural disasters in rural areas.
Lack of services in rural areas.
Poor housing conditions with few basic amenities like running water in rural areas.
Uneven distribution of wealth with most money being spent on urban areas.
Urbanisation ­ Case Study ­ Dharavi, Mumbai
Formally known as Bombay, is India's largest city with around 14,350,000
people.…read more

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Very poor conditions with sights and smells that are unknown to the west.
It is a hive of activity with a large number of industries that recycle 90% of all
waste and produce quality leather goods, garments, pottery and plastics.
Lots of cottage industries that generate around $40m worth of business each
Lies just north of central Mumbai and restricts its growth almost completely.…read more

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It is therefore seen as the opposite of urbanisation.
Counterurbanisation was an important process in the changing geography of
population in the UK between the 70s and 90s.
In the UK it involved urban dwellers migrating from metropolitan counties such as
London to rural counties such as Berkshire.
Counterurbanisation is also influenced by retirement of higherincome groups to
scenic and coastal areas like Dorset and national parks like the Lake District.…read more

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Also, there may be inadequate
services, environmental pollution and unemployment. The
growth of informal settlements raises issues of
sustainability, policing and international image.
Puts pressure on the rural urban fringe. May cause
Suburbanisation greenfield sites to be built upon. Conflicts with residents and
planners may occur as a result.
Longer journeys to work add to road congestion and
pollution.…read more

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This may involve the relocation of businesses, demolition of structures and the
relocation of people.
Although regeneration can be done by nongovernment (gentrification), it is usually
driven by the government.
In the 1980s and 90s the government favoured propertyled regeneration.
12 Urban Development Corporations (UDCs) were set up covering some of
the worst examples of urban decay.
The UDC's plan was to acquire derelict land, restore it for development and
sell it on to private businesses.…read more

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This developed because of the area's natural resources such as iron ore, water
power and coal.
Park Hill is a huge estate of flats built in the 1960s.
It was designed to replace some of the slums left at the end of the 1800s that
housed Sheffield factory workers.
There were many advantages such as hot and cold running water and inside toilets.
The style of construction helped preserve a sense of community.
However, after 40 years the houses became rundown.…read more


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