Geography Human: Case Studies


Characteristics of Urban Environments: Chicago

Assumptions: - Assumes a relationship between the socio-economic status of households                         and the distance from the CBD.

                       - Further from CBD, better quality housing.

Central Business District - Tertiary employment and transport infrastructure.

Inner City - Industrial activities to take advantage of nearby labour markets.

Inner Suburbs - Residential zone dominated by working class as low cost location.

Outer Suburbs - High class and expensive, commuting costs are the highest.

Negatives - Too simple and limited in historical and cultural urban context.

               - Model was developed for American cities and has little relevance elsewhere. In                            most pre-industrial European cities, the centre was much more important than the                        periphery.

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Characteristics of Urban Environments: Latin

Assumptions: - The larger poor areas reflect the influx of intraregional migrants. 

                    - Gentrification and middle class areas as well as the elite reflect an                                 economy that is improving or allowing some to rise up.

Central Business District - Focus of employment, entertainment and economic activity.

Elite Residential Secor - Forms on either side of a narrow spine that contains amenities attractive to the wealthy.

Zone in Situ Accretion - A mix of middle and low income housing, generally thought of as a transitional area. 

Disamenity - Contains relatively unchanging slums that may not be connected to regular services.

Negatives: Poorer people live on the outside of the city meaning they become stuck in poverty                   cycle. 

Positives: Industry is on opposite side to elite so they don't have to deal with pollution.

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Urban Change: Birmingham and Dhaka


Reasons for Decline - Inadequate services, lack of compulsory education, high housing demand so suburban council estates were built and relocation of poor resulting in sink estates.

Problems with Growth - High levels of air pollution from overcrowded public transport, many high skillled jobs have gone to commuters from the West Midlands and high polarisation in inner ring.

Reasons for Growth - Regeneration in core and inner ring to provide modern services.


Reasons for Growth - TNCs have been drawn due to cheap labour, growth of informal economy and bostis - illegal shanty towns on land that is unsuitable for development due to high flood risk.

Problems with Growth - 500,000 children work in the informal economy and are exposed to hazards, provisions of services have lagged behind the rise in demand, high death rate due to one third of houses not linked to water supply system and too high rate of urbanisation.

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Environmental Impact: London and Mumbai

London:                                                          Mumbai:

Water Supply:

Demand is hard to meet as so high.                   60% of people live in slums and have no access.

Waste Management:

Rising consumption of packaging - disposal.        5000 tonnes produced a day, disposed on roads.

Atmospheric Pollution:

Clean Air Acts to lower emissions furthermore.    Industries cause chronic respiratory problems.

Traffic and Transport:

Congestion charge helps manage traffic.             60,000 road accident deaths a year.

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Sustainable Urban Areas: London and China

London: BedZED has nearly 100 houses and apartments as well as offices.

What it does? - Uses 81% less energy for heating, 45% less energy and recycle 60% of waste.

More Sustainable - Cavity walls to store and release heat - South facing homes to maximise solar gain - Using heat from cooking for space heating - ZEDcars for car sharing and free electric charging points - Using low energy appliances - Offices facing north so less need for air-con.

China: Dongtan will be built in 2020, close to Shanghai's CBD and near to the airport.

What it does? - Accomodate new Shanghai Airport, a leisure facility, an education complex and space for high tech industry and housing.

More Sustainable - Powered mainly by HEP - Bus stop at a maximum of 500 metres away from every home - Port to accomodate ferries to and from the mainland.

Problems - Built on agricultural land and will disturb the huge wetland and wildlife refuge.

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Examples of Energy Supply

Hydroelectricity: South and Central America - 25% of consumption

Natural Gas: Europe - 30% of consumption

Nuclear: Europe - 10% of consumption

Oil: Middle East - 50% of consumption

Coal: Asia Pacific - 5% of consumption

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Energy Mix: Sweden and Mali

Sweden: Energy use mainly renewable sources

HEP: - 48% of energy generation from HEP  - Power Plants have been built near rivers                          - Harspranget is Sweden's largest Power Station with a capacity of 939 Megawatts

Nuclear Energy - Limited indigenous fossil fuels - 10 Nuclear Reactors that generate 50% of power

Issues: - Local people disagree with power plants near rivers due to pollution

Mali: Relies heavily on imports and less than 12% have access to formal electricity.

Energy Resources: - 80% of energy comes from firewood and charcoal  - 50 million tonnes of forest reserves are cut down every year  - Rechargeable car batteries are used for lighting

Issues: - Lack of electricity hinders the development of income-generating activities.

Renewable Possibilities: - Solar panels on schools from 5-6 hours of sun a day and jatropha seeds for biofuel.

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Exploitation Opportunities and Challenges: Norway

Norway: Less than a third of reserves have been exploited.

Social Opportunities: - 80,000 people are employed directly or indirectly  - High incomes means one of the best welfare systems in the world.

Economic Opportunities: - Oil and Gas industry has boosted innovation and technological development in industrial sectors  - Cheap HEP has created jobs and greated a cumulative causation (where one region becomes increasingly the centre of economic activity).

Issues: - Industry is concentrated offshore creating a danger of a major maritime incident.

Nigeria: 6th largest oil exporter.

Oil Related Problems: - Refineries are old and poorly run  - Live on less than $1 a day  - 2003, 70% of oil revenues were stolen or wasted.

Environmental Disasters: - 50,000 acres of mangroves have disappeared from the coast due to land clearing  - Gas flares cause air pollution  - Construction has changed wave patterns.

Social Challenges: - Jobs go to majority ethnic groups  - Violence has increased volatility.

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Sustainable Energy: Germany and China

Germany - 30% of energy mix comes from renewable sources.

Sustainable Methods

- 21,500 wind turbines in Germany.

- Excellent weather conditions countrywide made up for 50% of nations electricity through photovoltaic solar panels.

- 9,400 people were employed in HEP

China - Renewables as a source of energy security, not jut to reduce carbon emissions.

Sustainable Methods 

- 3/4 of its wind farms are offshore, accounted for 12.2 GW of generation in 2008.

- In 2007, 820 MW of solar photovoltaics were produced.

- 181 geothermal systems are set up near hot springs with temperatures exceeding 250 degrees.

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Tourism Destination: U.K

Strong relationship between increases in average income and average spending on tourism by U.K citizens.

Economic Importance:

- Accounts for 3.5% of economy and creates over 2 million jobs.

- 29% of employment in Cornwall is due to tourism for attractions to coastline and environment.

Outbound Tourism:

- 66 million people visited a country abroad in 2005 and Spain and France equated for 38% of all destinations. Spending = £32 billion.

Inbound Tourism:

- 30 million visits to U.K in 2005 with U.S.A making the most visits. Spending = £14 billion.

Issues: - More money goes out than in - Regional imbalance - Decline in domestic visits resulting in high unemployment in honeypot destinations.

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Tourism Destination: China

Average incomes are highest in the East and lowest in the West.

Outbound Tourism: - 31 million travelled abroad spending $15 billion.

- In 1983, government allowed people to participate in organised trips to Hong Kong to visit family and friends.

Inbound Tourism: - 22 million visits in 2006. Attractions to Great Wall of China and Yangtzee River

Impact on Employment and GDP: - 2.1% of employment is tourism industry

- 70% of tourism revenues comes from internal tourism.

Tibet and Human Rights - Tourist boycott of the new £2 billion railway connecting Beijing to Lhasa in 48 hours. Viewed as completion of the 50 year long colonisation of Tibet.

Sanya, Hainan Island - Number 1 domestic choice for the rich of Beijing and Shanghai. 

- First flights from U.K in 2007 offering 10 days in Sanya and 3 in Shanghai.

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Economic Development: Jamaica

GDP = $5300.00

Attractions = Dunn's River Falls, Dolphin Cave and Blue Mountains.

Benefits: - 20% of its GDP from tourism. Can be spent on essential services boosting overall level of development.

- 220,000 jobs created with tourism. 1 in every 4 Jamaicans employed in industry.


Ec - TNCs make most of the money profits (7% of income stays in country)

S - Locals cannot afford facilities put in for tourists which creates resentment.

En - Hotels discharge untreated sewage which pollutes the envrionment.

Important for Jamaica because... : Commerce - Posts highest level of foreign exchange receipts of $2 billion. Jobs - 220,000 direct and indirect. Infrastructure - Extended port facilities to allow cruise mega ships to stop attracting more visitors.

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Economic Development: Myanmar

GDP = $5,200.     1 million people were displaced for infrastructure development.

Attractions: Religious cities (Hpaan), Beaches and National Parks.

Benefits: - 1.35 million jobs created accounting for 3% of total employment.

- 100,000 and 200,000 visitors a year. 

- Sustainable hotels are being built e.g using linen laundry bags instead of plastic.


Ec - Depends on season as less tourists during monsoonal season between May and October.

S - Displacement has broken up communities and people are forced to clean services.

En - Rush to develop tourist sector ruined many ecosystems.

Important to Myanmar because...: Economic Development - Mainly used on military spending. Political Debate - Responsible tourism as a way of limiting government interaction.

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Sustainable Tourism: Ecuador and Antarctica

Ecuador: 90% of Galapagos islands are National Parks

Problems - Overuse of honeypot sites - Oil spills from boats - Pollution from litter

Benefits - People make a valuable living and employment is high - Generates business.

Sustainable: - Educate tourists on conservation - Profits go back into conservation - Tourism is small scale - Ships of 10-16 people allowed on the Galapagos islands - £25 conservation fee.

Antarctica: 46,000 tourists in 2008

Problems - Damage to slow growing moss beds - Disturb wildlife and take historic items or geological souvenirs - Rubbish and wastes from ships cause pollution.

Sustainable: - All tour operators are members of IAATO (International Association of Antartica Tour Operators) which directs safe and responsible tourism - Visitors are limited to where they are allowed to visit - Permits are required for activities - No cruise ship carrying more than 500 passengers are allowed to land on the island - Ships have to prove they have equipment to clear away any oil spill - Tourists are encouraged not to collect souvenirs.

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