Parts of a City/ Land Use in Cities

GCSE Geography - Unit 2 Human Geography - Section A - Changing Urban Environments - Parts of a City/Land Use in Cities

Notes from:

  • CGP GCSE Geography AQA A Specification The Revision Guide ISBN 978-1-84762-378-2
  • AQA (A) GCSE Geography GCSE Revision Guide by Jane Ferretti and Brian Greasley ISBN 978-1-4441-1045-6

Parts of a City/ Land Use in Cities (CGP) Page 1

Cities are usually made up of four parts- each part has a different land use (e.g. housing or industrial):

CBD- This is the central business district. It's usually found right in the centre of a city. It's the commercial centre of the city with shops and offices, and it's where transport routes meet. It has very high land values as there's a lot of competition for space. Buildings are tall and building density is very high. Very few people live in the CBD.

The Inner City- This part is found around the CBD. It has a mix of poorer quality housing (like high-rise tower blocks) and older industrial buildings. The inner city can be quite run-down and deprived but there's also new housing and industry where derelict land has been cleared and redeveloped.

The Suburbs- These are housing areas found towards the edge of the city. Land here is cheaper and it's still close enough to commute (travel) into the centre for work quite easily. In the UK and USA middle-class families tend to live in the suburbs, because it's a nicer environment and there's less crime and pollution than the inner city.

The Rural-Urban Fringe- this is the part right at the edge of a city, where there are both urban land uses (e.g. factories) and rural land uses (e.g. farming). Here you tend to find fewer, larger houses.

1 of 5

Parts of a City/ Land Use in Cities (CGP) Page 2

The Land Use of the Parts can differ from City to City.

Sometimes the land use of each part doesn't match the model- real cities are all slighly different. For example, in countries like France, Italy and Sweden, the inner city areas are where the wealthier middle-classes live and the suburbs tend to be the more deprived areas.

The land use of each part of a city can also change over time, for example:

  • In recent years a lot of shopping centres have been built in out-of-town locations in the UK (which has caused shops in CBDs to close down).
  • Inner city tower blocks have been removed and replaced with housing estates on the rural-urban fringe.
  • New housing is often built on brownfield sites (cleared derelict land) in the inner city instead of toward the edges of the city.
2 of 5

Parts of a City/ Land Use in Cities (AQA) Page 1

In richer parts of the world cities tend to have distinct areas where similar types of land use are found.

Land use in a city falls into these categories:

Residential- Land used for housing

Industrial- Land used for factories and other industrial buildings

Open Space- Land used for parks and playgrounds, and derelict or unused land.

Rural-Urban Fringe- Land on the outskirts where it changes slowly from a built-up area to countryside. It is the area where town and countryside merge.

The Central Business District (CBD)- The heart of the city, dominated by high-rise buildings occupied by shops, offices, banks and other commercial functions.

The Burgess Model shows a model city or the typical layout of land use in a city in richer parts of the world. This model is a useful tool, but remember that every town or city is unique. Towns and cities may show similarities to the model city but nowhere will be arranged just like the model.

3 of 5

Parts of a City/ Land Use in Cities (AQA) Page 2

The Burgess Model:


4 of 5

Parts of a City/ Land Use in Cities (AQA) Page 3

The Hoyt Model:


5 of 5


No comments have yet been made

Similar Geography resources:

See all Geography resources »See all Urban environments resources »