In GCSE Geography students will look at urbanisation. This quiz looks at some of the causes of urbanisation ('push' and 'pull' factors), some of the problems associated with urbanisation (such as transport and housing) and some of the methods used to tackle them (like congestion charges and brownfield development).

In early prehistory humans began to specialise. Instead of each individual feeding their family, building their home and making their tools, people began making goods and trading them for food and other goods. No longer having to tend their own land, they were able to move closer to other people and continue to trade for goods. Gradually, urban centres developed and the first cities appeared in the Near and Middle East.

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Urbanisation is defined as the "proportion of people living in built environments such as towns and cities". The word 'proportion' in this context is important. To define if an area is urban or rural we have to examine the numbers living in urban environments, or rural environments. Some parts of the world now have more people living in cities than rural areas, although interestingly, some studies show that this trend can reverse. New technologies and increased personal safety mean there is no longer as great a need for people to live in close contact with others. This has lead to the semi-urban zones, such as commuter belts. This movement away from cities is known as counter-urbanisation. This is occurring in more economically advanced nations, whilst urbanisation is still happening in less economically advanced nations.

The two classes of factors that influence people to migrate are the 'pull' and 'push' factors. Cities have many factors that encourage people to move into them - these are pull factors, whilst rural areas have push factors that force people away. Natural population growth will also increase the population in cities.

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  1. Which of the following is a push factor in urbanisation?
    The potential for employment is often a pull factor for cities. Even in more economically advanced nations, such as the UK, people move to places like London and Manchester in the hope of finding the right job
  2. Brownfield sites are in urban areas, often on disused and derelict land. Greenfield sites are in rural areas and normally on land that has never been developed before. Which of the following is an advantage of brownfield sites?
    Urban renewal of both derelict sites and old properties means that areas are improved and property prices increase. This can lead to gentrification of the area and a change in the demographics of the population
  3. How do local services and employment opportunities increase a city's sustainability?
    Reducing transport needs reduces pollution and so improves the life of residents
  4. What is the definition of a sustainable city?
    Key features of a sustainable city include good public transport links, safe walking and cycling routes, recycling of waste, and resources and services being open to all
  5. Urbanisation can cause a number of problems. Which of the following is not an issue in more economically advanced nations?
    Despite many people moving to cities in search of the perfect job, unemployment can also be an problem in urban areas of the UK. Added to pollution, rising house prices and traffic congestion, it's no surprise that counter urbanisation is occuring
  6. World cities are those considered internationally important for trade and finance. Which of the following is not considered a world city?
    World cities control a disproportionate percentage of the world's commerce. Also known as global cities, they can rise and fall as the international business landscape changes. In 1866 Liverpool was described as the only global city, now this smaller city is overshadowed by neighbouring Manchester
  7. Which of the following are not methods of reducing traffic congestion in urban areas?
    By providing car parks, more cars are encouraged to come into the city centre. By improving public transport and cycle lanes, as well as penalising car users that do enter the city, it becomes easier and cheaper to leave the car outside the city centre
  8. What is the definition of a megacity?
    One of the problems defining a city's population comes from defining its boundaries. Greater London is much larger then London itself. Many city centres have surprisingly low populations as businesses and retail have taken over the streets
  9. In many cities there exist areas of deprivation close by gentrified areas that are unaffordable to those on lower incomes. Which of the following is not a reason for deprivation in UK cities?
    Whilst some areas have better educational opportunities than others, everyone has access to a free basic education in the UK - unlike in many less developed nations
  10. Brownfield sites are in urban areas, often on disused and derelict land. Greenfield sites are in rural areas and normally on land that has never been developed before. Which of the following is an advantage of greenfield sites?
    Since little needs to be done to clean up the site before use, and since much larger developments can be completed, the cost per unit for the developer is reduced

Author: Ruth M

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