This Geography quiz takes a look at urban models. Cities are large complex places so geographers use models to help them study urbanisation. A model is a simplification of reality and is used to help with spotting and explaining patterns. At GCSE level, the two urban models you will have been taught are the Burgess (concentric zone model) and the Hoyt model.
The Burgess model was developed in the 1920s to help with social studies of the American city of Chicago. It divided the city into zones by using concentric circles (circles with their centres at the same point). He identified five different zones of land use within Chicago. When this was tried out on other cities in the US, it seemed to work for those too.
The first zone is right at the centre of the city and is normally the oldest part and has the highest land values. It is called the CBD which stands for the 'central business district'. This contains the major offices, shops and entertainment centres. Around this lie the other zones, the industrial zone where there are factories, warehouses and smaller industrial units. The next zone is the working class housing, built at about the same time as the industry developed so that the workforce was readily available. The fourth zone is where the middle class housing lies and is effectively what is sometimes called 'suburbia' and furthest from the CBD is the commuter belt where the most affluent population live. No model is perfect so it is possible to find working class housing in the industrial zone or a factory in the middle class housing zone.
The Burgess urban model worked well for American cities in the 1920s but not for European cities in more recent times. Mass car ownership and changes in working and housing choices have changed the nature of urban areas. Every city is different so a better model was needed. This lead to the development of the Hoyt model. This is more realistic as it combines sectors and segments of circles in order to more accurately represent a city.
These models can be applied to cities in LEDCs as well, but with some modifications. Often, rural to urban migration has taken place which gives rise to the development of 'shanty towns' springing up on the urban fringe. Shanty towns are constructed illegally from whatever materials are to hand - plastic, sheets of metal, wooden palettes and so on. In South American towns like Rio or Sao Paulo, they are called 'favelas'.
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