World Cities Revision Summary Questions

World Cities Revision Questions


1)                       Describe the global distribution of millionaire cities.


A millionaire city is a city with over a million inhabitants. They were generally found in MEDCs, such as London (7,753,600) and New York (8,363,710). However with the increase in globalisation they have spread in to LEDCs (RICs especially) often at major trading ports, or areas that are becoming economic hubs – such as Mumbai (13,830,884) and Shanghai (13,831,900).


2)           Distinguish between mega cities and world cities, giving an example of each.


A World City is a city that is a major centre for finance, trade, business, politics, culture, science information gathering and mass media. It is one that serves the whole world and can be considered an important multinational city.  Examples include New York, London and Tokyo.

A Mega City is usually defined as a metropolitan area with a total population in excess of 10 million people. The population density is usually over 2,000 persons/km2.  They can be distinguished from global cities by their rapid growth, new forms of spatial density of population, formal and informal economics, as well as poverty, crime, and high levels of social fragmentation. As of 2011, there are 21 megacities in existence– with conurbations such as Mumbai, Tokyo, New York City, and Mexico City having populations in excess of 10 million inhabitants.


3)           Describe and comment on the changing population sizes of megacities shown in the table.


The populations of megacities have grown by a lesser extent in MEDCs such as New York, which has increased by only 2.8 million between 1975 and 2005 whereas LEDCs such as Sao Paulo has increased by a much more significant 9.6 million. This more significant growth is expected in LEDCs such as Sao Paulo, where as one of the most prosperous cities in a nation with a lot of wealth polarisation, thousands flock to the city each year, with an expected further 2.2 million growth by 2015, compared to New York’s 1.2 million. Growth does seem to be slowing down however; it seems that levels of growth are inversely proportional to their level on the development continuum.


4)           ‘Rates of urbanisation increase as levels of development increase’. To what extent is this statement true?


I do not fully agree with the above statement. As the world develops, we do become more urbanised. 10% lived in cities in 1900 but 50% lived in cities by 2007. Sao Paulo is a good example of where urbanisation has increased with development. As industry has took a hold in the city centre, thousands flocked to the city in search of prosperity, causing former greenfield sites in the suburbs to become inhabited with favelas. It is the likelihood that a country becomes most urbanised as it switches to a service-based economy.  However, if you look at a country that is further up the development continuum, such as the United Kingdom, you can see that people also move away from urbanisation. Counter urbanisation is a common occurrence in MEDCS. As a country develops there are technological advances which allows people to work from home, or the infrastructure has improved enough for them to be able to commute. People therefore are able to move out of cities in to more rural areas. Increased development normally means an increased GDP, which allows people the resources to make this change. Development also increases the push factors from the city, such as pollution levels and congestion. Therefore, it is not strictly true that rates of urbanisation increase.



5)           Define each of the following terms:


Urbanisation – The growth in the proportion of the country’s population that lives in urban as opposed to rural areas. This can cause ‘Urban Agglomerations’ which are extended city or town built up around a central place. Super-cities like Tokyo, Mexico City and Seoul are examples of agglomerations where they have expanded and consumed their neighbours. This can develop a ‘Conurbation’, where cities have expanded so much that their boarders connect.


Suburbanisation – Suburbanisation is a term used to describe the growth of areas on the fringes of major cities. It is one of the many causes of the increase in urban sprawl


Counter urbanisation is a demographic and social process whereby people move from urban areas to rural areas.


6)           For one named city that you have studied, explain why it has grown in size.


São Paulo is in the largest, richest and one of the oldest cities in Brazil. It’s a compact urban area, with a population density twice that of Paris. In Sáo Paulo there are 17 million people, 4million cars and 10,000 miles of streets. Until the 18th century, São Paulo was not considered an important city. During the 17th century, gold mines in Brazil were found in São Paulo and further in the 19th century they introduced the coffee growing culture. The Europeans brought their culture and a huge willing to work and succeed. With the end of slavery European salary men were hired instead. When the coffee importance declined, the Europeans moved to the cities and started businesses. In the 20th century Brazil became a republic, allowing São Paulo to have political power. The mixture of money, power and hard work led São Paulo to become the largest and most important State in Brazil today.



7)           For one named city that you have studied, describe the effects of urbanisation on the character of the city.


There is vast inequality in Sáo Paulo. The United Nations human development index, this found that. Moema, the city’s richest district, has a higher standard of living than Portugal. Sáo Paulo’s poorest district, Marsilac, where 8,400 live in favelas, is worse off than even Sierra Leone, the world’s poorest country. Substandard housing occupies 70% of Sao Paulo’s area, that’s 1500 km, 20% of the population lives in favelas. Where as others live in converted older homes and factories, known as corticos. In all of these, families often share a single room, cockroach and rat infestations are common. The simple amenities of plumbing and electricity are sparse. It has the highest unemployment rate in all of the country, where the poor have moved here in search of the prosperity that the rich have attained, yet failed to attain it themselves. Urban sprawl has taken place, with lots of the countryside being taken up in concentric rings around the city, much alike the Burgess model of development. For the rich however, life is different – the industrial boom in the 1950s made the city very rich, offering high-level cultural events, museums and libraries. They live in villas close to the CBD.


There are now 4 million cars, the public-transportation system is woefully inadequate, and it has three small subway lines which are saturated by 2.5 million passengers each day, it has twice the number of buses than its streets. For these reasons the rich have taken to flying helicopters.


Air pollution is second only to Los Angeles; the pollution of land and water is a major problem. Environmental policies are little imposed upon the industry. Unlicensed industries are set up in people’s homes or even on rooftops. These industries release their own pollutants into the air, land and water. The atmospheric conditions in particular create a strong thermal inversion during the wintertime, which worsens the air pollution problems and the impact on health, particularly causing an increase in lung disease.


A lot of waste is also produced – The daily average of collected solid waste in the region is about 18,000 tons. More than 90 % is sent to the city’s landfills, most of which are at the limit of their useful capacity. The liquids from the garbage seep out into the soil and maybe even into underground waters. This results in environmental problems such as water and soil pollution.


8)           How are the effects of urbanisation being managed in the city that you studied?


Attempts to improve housing include simply moving the people by clearing the land, site and service schemes (fundamentally providing concrete huts with basic amenities), housing developments for the shanty town inhabitants, and even placing industrial developments near them so there is job opportunities to improve their quality of life.


Attempts to improve transport include: an underground metro system which improves movement of people and reduces pollution, new roads, new train and bus services, forming a pedestrianised CBD and imposing parking restrictions.


Controlled landfills have been introduced but the exhaustion of the physical space needed for the installation of controlled landfills has left authorities with no obvious solution.



9)           Study the table below, which shows the districts of Bangalore in India. Describe and comment on the variations that exist among the different district within Bangalore.


There is evidently a lot of economic variation within Bangalore in India. Indiranagar provides the highest quality of living of any of the listed districts at a quality of life index of 98. IT is home to high end mansions and well qualified professionals. This is explainable by the low population density of 150 persons per hectare and almost all are literate. This is completely polarised by the comparatively new squatter development of Yelankha, with a quality of life index of only 15. The literacy level is similarly lower at 10%. The population density is a lot higher at 15000 persons per hectare, they also have a lack of general amenities such as clean water, they are at risk of flooding and are generally unskilled. However, the middle ground is roughly evenly spread within this selection. Bagular has a quality of life of 35, Chickpot is 55 and Basavanagudi is 70. It seems from this dataset that the greater the quality of life index, the higher the literacy level and the lower the population density. The settlement ages do not seem to correlate, except for the newer the settlement, the more likely it is to have a high proportion of newcomers.


10)      Describe the impact of suburbanisation on an area that you have studied.


Los Angeles is an example of a place where suburbanisation has occurred. People leaving the city centre simply worsened the issues that were already present there, crime worsened as did the performance of schools and the derelict houses worsened the environment, all of which contributed to the spiral of decline. The expansion of the suburbs contributed to urban sprawl. This meant that some of LA’s best farmland was lost. An increase in commuters from dormitory settlements means that highways became congested, which worsened the air pollution. Furthermore the dormitory settlements meant that they seemingly only became populated at night. Each individual will also lose leisure time due to the length of time it takes to commute.


11)      In what ways is the impact of counter urbanisation on an area different from that of suburbanisation?


Counterurbanisation: The movement of people from the MEDC cities to the countryside seeking a better quality of life. Many still commute into the city to work, but increasing numbers are moving to completely change their lifestyle and work in the rural area, often by teleworking.


Suburbanisation: the process by which people, factories, offices and shops move out from the central areas of cities and into the suburbs.


Counterurbanisation strictly describes the movement of people in to the countryside. These people often commute to work or in fact work from home by teleworking. Suburbanisation however relates also to industry. Economic activity moves in to the suburbs, which can attract commuters and shoppers to the area. This often causes congestion and tension with local residents. They might also complain that it is spoiling the local environment or even encroaching on green belt land.



12)      Discuss the role of technology in the process of counter urbanisation.


Improvements in technology have led to the increase in counter urbanisation as it has become easier for people to work from home, using the internet for instance.  Technological advance, depending on the scale of time u look at, is responsible for the creation of dormitory settlements. For without technology we wouldn’t have cars or trains to access the cities. Or even the occasional option to work from home for the aforementioned reason.


13)      What is meant by the term ‘re-urbanisation’?


Re-urbanisation: the process whereby towns and cities in MEDCs which have been experiencing a loss of population are able to reverse the decline and begin to grow again. Some form of redevelopment is often required to start re-urbanisation.


14)      Evaluate the success of a regeneration scheme in a city that you have studied.


Sheffield’s economy had been based on steel, cutlery, engineering and tool-making industries. The steel industry collapsed in the early 1980s, causing a loss of employment opportunities and leaving derelict factories and run down inner city areas, as people moved out to find work elsewhere.


The ‘City Masterplan of 2000’ was launched in February 2001 and sought to address the key issues facing Sheffield City Centre at that time. This included various projects such as “Re-establishing the city centre as a regional shopping destination by designing an innovative, distinctive scheme.” The New Retail Quarter was designed to bring shoppers back to the city centre, creating high quality buildings, pedestrianized streets and public squares. It will be retail led, fore fronted by John Lewis. It was designed to bring shoppers back. However, the success of the project has been limited due to the economic downturn. The current economic climate also limits the success of any retail developments.


St Pauls Place has been more successful under the scheme. It is designed to place modern living apartments and houses alongside high quality businesses. This has provided new economic prospects for the area alongside high end living, offering prosperity to the area. It is already homed to DLA Piper, RBS, the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. There are arguments however, that it may have pushed out existing families.


Infrastructure has also been improved under the scheme. £60 million was spent on Sheffield Station Gateway. However, it seems that this money was largely spent on aesthetics. Perhaps providing further transport links would have been wise to support the new commercial developments in the city centre for the access of shoppers and workers.  The only evidencing of this is making the entrance to the station more pedestrian friendly. But my argument is that congestion is one of the main reasons why people shop in out of town shopping centres over city centres – transport links are imperative. This decline has actually been seen under a project by the scheme.  Meadowhall shopping centre was a mixed blessing, creating much needed jobs but speeding the decline of the city centre. This to me seems little productive, as it has created jobs and prosperity in one area at the expense of another.


15)       Figure 3.14 shows part of a redeveloped area in Cardiff’s Old Brewery Quarter. Describe and comment on the redevelopment that has taken place.


Cardiff’s Old Brewey Quarter seems to have been redeveloped in tone with the existing architecture. The new redevelopments such as the windows and shops seem to preserve the original feel of the area. Retail seems to have been the main aim of the redevelopment, with various shops dotter around the figure. The service industry seems to now be thriving here, obviously complemented by the regenerated environment. A communal area is aesthetically pleasing and offers plenty of room for people to sit around the seemingly thriving cafés. One of the biggest indicators of the success of the development is the sheer number of people in the image. There are easily around 40 in the lower area. This has given the area a new purpose and all will be generating economic prosperity. Restaurants overlook the views of the courtyard; it seems that the Brewery’s natural features have been harnessed for the success of the businesses.


16)      Give four characteristics of an urban area that has declined.


When an urban area starts losing business and places close; people lose their jobs; people move away from the area; the local economy shrinks along with the population, buildings and public places become rundown and badly maintained; these four reason collectively mean that the desirability of the area falls and people are more likely to move away. It’s a vicious circle. This was exactly the case with Sheffield after the collapse of the steel industry.

17)      Explain why some parts of cities have declined.


Prior to the 80s, the United Kingdom had a much smaller service sector. But as globalisation took place, industry went abroad where it was cheaper to produce products, or to locate near resources or new markets. This has led to the decline industry which original correlated along main transport routes in cities if you refer to the Hoyt model. This has left them empty and derelict. Which causes a spiral of decline – people move away, the economy shrinks, crime increases and it becomes badly maintained.


18)      What is gentrification, and how can it be identified?


Gentrification – A process whereby lower-income housing (or other buildings) are renovated for middle- and upper-income people and businesses. By definition, gentrification means the displacing of lower-income people through eviction, rising real estate values, or increased taxes.


19)      Distinguish between property-led regeneration and partnership schemes?


Property led regeneration generally involves UDCs, else known as urban development corporations who take responsibility for the physical, economic and social regeneration of selected inner-city areas They were given planning approval powers. Partnership schemes are different however. They are a partnership between local and national governments and the private sector who collectively work with the aim of regeneration.


20)      Why have many retailing areas been established out of town centres?


Out of town shopping centres have sprung up for a multitude of reasons, examples include the Trafford Centre, Manchester and Meadowhall, Sheffield. It is often more economical to build out of town as land is cheaper. Hey also get more land for their money and so can create a bigger development. People are becoming reluctant to shop in city centres as congestion is becoming a big issue. People are more willing to travel to out of town shopping centres as the number of households that have a car have increased over the past 20 years. It increased from 52 per cent to 75 per cent between 1971 and 2007. Space for development is seriously limited in city centres, building out of town allows for a greater emphasis on making it more of a social experience. Adding open spaces and covered hallways for instance. Small scale shopping parks have also sprung up for the same reasons, these have often taken advantage of improved infrastructure across the country, often locating next to motorways such as Crown Point North in Denton, Greater Manchester.


21)      What has been the impact of the decentralisation of retailing on the central areas of towns?


Towns are often affected by out of town shopping centres. Solihull, one of the towns affected by Merry Hill, was not so fortunate; it had to recover from a greater loss of sales. By the 1990s, the Solihull town centre had become seemingly out-dated. It was unable to compete with the transport links, the free parking, and the vast array of services including a cinema and citizen’s advice bureau in Merry Hill. Solihull is an example of where some large chains even relocate to out of town shopping centres.  25% of town shops are now empty in the Midlands. But in a positive twist to this negative impact, it spawned a massive redevelopment of the city centre, known as “Touchwood”. Designed to complement the existing architecture, Touchwood was developed as a 60,000m2shopping and entertainment centre in the centre of the town. In combat against the likes of Merry Hill, it mirrored its attracting features, such as its strategic location on the M42 and its masses of parking spaces. This pattern has been seen repeated across the country and even abroad.


22)      What issues have the decentralisation of retailing had on out-of-town area affected?


Out of town shopping centres often contribute to urban sprawl taking place on the urban-rural fringe. This has come to the objection of many environmentalists, farmers and those who generally hold appreciation for country areas. Merry Hill was met with protests. It was built on the former Merry Hill farm site, causing a loss of greenbelt land. Furthermore, the development took advantage of a ‘Government Enterprise Zone’, intended initially for the creation of industrial units. Furthermore, it attracted other developments; the owners of Merry Hill even suggest it is creating a new town itself, with new houses appearing alongside. Additionally, since the Touchwood development, the proposed response of Merry Hill, such as the 20 screen cinema, will further increase urban sprawl in the area to the extent where the development is merging with the nearby town centre of Brierley. Trafford Centre, was built on a brownfield site in Dumplington, and so did not meet this opposition. But there’s already evidence to suggest it is attracting further nearby developments, such as the newly ‘Chill Factore’.

Increased road use is another one of the common complaints raised about out of town shopping centres, as the centres can attract so many people in a single day (the Trafford Centre has 27 million visitors each year). The popularity of the Trafford Centre for instance, means that there is often congestion on the M60’s Barton Bridge. Furthermore, centres are often built in rural areas, such as Bluewater in Kent, often spark resentment from locals, those who often do not want change and farmers who fear damage from visitors and resent their land being split by new roads to support the shopping centre.

Despite the seemingly prominent negative impacts of out of town shopping centres, it’s not to suggest that they are in no way beneficial. They contribute greatly to the local employment opportunities; Merry Hill & the Trafford Centre produce opportunities for chefs, store workers, cleaners and various other roles. The Trafford centre currently employs 7,000 people from a local workforce. Furthermore, with the average spend being £100, and 27 million yearly visitors, there is much stimulation for the local economy. Merry Hill similarly employs 2,700 locals and has 21 million visitors per year.


23)      Describe the characteristics of one out-of-town retailing area that you have studied.


The Merry Hill retail facility in the former Round Oak Steelworks of Brierley Hill in the West Midlands which opened its doors in 1985, and had its entire commercial space occupied by 1989. The development took advantage of a government enterprise zone envisaged for industrial units, and instead built a shopping centre. It occupied a Greenfield site of the former Merry Hill farm from which it took its name. This site caused further damage to a canal embankment, causing it to be closed to access for 4 years. The development encompassed a mall, a retail park, a 10 screen cinema, free parking, 185 shops, 5 department stores, banking, a post office, a citizens advice bureau, a dedicated bus station and 2 supermarkets. The development caused some large retail chains to relocate there, leaving some units in areas such as Solihull empty



24)      In what ways have town centres responded to the development of out-of-town retailing areas?


By the arrival of the 1990s, the Solihull town centre had become seemingly outdated, and was now struggling to compete with Merry Hill. Advantages of Merry Hill to consumers were numerous; it had easy transport links, free parking and the above listed greater range of services available. Solihull responded with a 60,000m shopping and entertainment destination in the town centre, known as ‘Touchwood’. Touchwood was not only developed to keep local consumers but to keep in tone with the existing town centre. It was designed to reflect the original architectural features of the town, and to complement the business that existed there originally. It further reflected the design of many out of town shopping centres, in that it focused on courtyards and open spaces, making the centre a social place rather than a necessity. It was further strategically located with junctions 4 and 5 of the m42 linking to the centre which offered 6,000 parking spaces.


25)      Outline the main features of the redevelopment of one town centre that you have studied.


Park Hill, Sheffield was an area of deprivation. It had become run-down and dilapidated. It’s local industry had gone into decline and parts of the city centre were devastated by the loss of industry and jobs. The area was affected by povery  and social issues. Redevelopment was difficult as the ground was polluted from industry. But the new millennium brought change to the area. Urban Splash was responsible for most of the redevelopment. The area was gradually redeveloped through public and private investment. Developments include: Meadowhall shopping centre, Robin Hood International Airporty, Sheffield’s tram system, the Don Valley Stadium International sports venue, an advanced manufacturing park. Various low order services also make a return, such as newsagents and hairdressers. There are also prospects of implementing an art gallery and a dance studio.


26)      Describe three ways in which urban areas manage their waste.


There are a number of choices on how to manage waster. The least sustainable is landfill. It is argued that we should manage our waste in by reduction, re-use and recycling before this. But beyond this landfill is an option. Waste is dumped in quarries or hollows, which is convenient and cheap. It is unsightly and causes a threat to groundwater and river quality. Nappies for instance take 500 years to break down and are a large contributor to methane gas. We’re also running out of space for landfill. We’re only 4 years away from there becoming a shortage of landfill sites. Pay as you throw schemes are therefore suggested.


Composting is a further option. On a small scale, organic waste can be used to make compost to fertilise gardens or farmland. Anaerobic digestion of these materials also produces methane which can be burnt to use as energy. They are expensive to set up but Germany, Sweden and Italy all have plants such as this.


27)      Study figure 3.15 which shows the problem of refuse disposal in China. Comment on the issues raised.


China’s refuse has increased by over a third since 1990 (2008), at around 89 million tonnes of waste to 150 million tonnes of waste. The country is growing rapidly, With 198 cities springing up in this time span. This growth and China’s industrialization is compounding the waste issue. 85% of the modern day waste goes to landfill. This waste takes thousands of years to biodegrade and releases a greenhouse gas – methane. A further 10% is incinerated, which releases CO2, a greenhouse gas. The current environmental situation not sustainable and if the observed growth continues, it can only get worse if they don’t reform the system.


28)      To what extent can recycling be organised on a city-wide scale?


A lot of places in the UK have been highly successful at organising such schemes. One example is in Rochdale. Residents of Rochdale can recycle much of their waste. . The is a separate bins for glass bottles, jars, cans, aerosols, plastic bottles and aluminium foil, mixed paper and cars and garden waste. Textiles can also be recycled at recycling sites across the borough. They further offer incentives to community groups and charities to boost recycling ideas. £60000 is available for the best efforts. The evidence that they were able to organize it on a city-wide scale comes from statistics. It continues to perform better than Greater Manchester. However, it is not all a success story. It does fall below the national average. Stockport is a much more successful borough. Despite theses levels of organisation, it is often difficult to persuade individuals to recycle. Education is often used to help encourage recycling, such as various TV promotions and leafleting such as have been seen in Greater Manchester.


29)      Outline problems associated with transport in urban areas.


The spread of houses into suburbs whilst jobs remain in the CBD is responsible for a lot of the commuters that we see today. This has created surges of morning and evening commuters. They take place on the roads and on the rail. Other traffic flows, such as shoppers and people on the school run compound the transport issue. Railway overcrowding, traffic jams and parking issues seem to be getting worse. Car ownership is increasing worldwide; there will be more than 800 million cars by 2010. 30% of UK households own two or more cars.


30)      Assess the effectiveness of one transport management system you have studied.


The London Congestion Charge is an example of a transport management system. The charge aims to reduce congestion, and raise investment funds for London’s transport system. London Mayor in 2000, Ken Livingstone pledged to reduce traffic congestion by 15% by 2010, partly by consulting ‘widely about the best possible congestion charge scheme to discourage unnecessary car journeys in a small zone of central London … with all monies devoted to improving transport’.


If your journey takes you into the charging zone (roughly all roads inside the Inner Ring Road) you can pay in advance, pay before midnight that day or, for a small surcharge, and pay before midnight the following charging day.


It has shown some success, congestion fell by up to 30% compared with 2002 levels. Transport experts add that congestion would be even worse if the scheme was not in place – it has taken 100,000 cars out of central and western London. TfL has reported changes in air quality within and alongside the Inner Ring Road boundary of the zone. Levels of two greenhouse gases fell, nitrous oxide (N2O), by 13.4% between 2002 & 2003, and carbon dioxide, as well as particulates. However on the first day 190,000 vehicles moved into or within the zone during charging hours, a decrease of around 25% on normal traffic levels, partly due to it also being the half-term school holiday. A report from the Bow Group stated that historically, London congestion is at its worst during the morning rush hour, and that the early days of congestion charging had little impact on that critical time, the main effect occurring after 11 am. Just over 100,000 motorists paid the charge personally, 15–20,000 were fleet vehicles paying under fleet arrangements, and it was believed around 10,000 liable motorists did not pay the due charge