Midterm Study Guide

Midterm Exam: American Cities

Anything and everything we have discussed in lecture is fair game. The items below represent some of the most important concepts.

25 Testable Concepts

  1. Definition of a city
  2. Schnore’s metaphor: city as an organism
  3. Define “Hinterland”. What does the word mean in an era of global trade?
  4. Grimm’s concept of the city as a socioecological system.
  5. Precursors to urbanization (4 of them)
  6. Theories of urban origins (3 of them)
  7. The idea of cities arising through “mutually reinforcing innovations.”
  8. The idea of urbanization following “S-curves”
  9. Colonial cities in the USA: describe how difference colonial powers organized/used cities.
  10. Law of the Indies and its connection to Rome.
  11. Gentrification: definitions, prevalence in various cities.
  12. Central Place Theory
  13. Burgess Zonal Hypothesis
  14. Hoyt Sectoral Model
  15. Harris and Ullman - Multiple Nuclei
  16. Concept of Urban Ranks.
  17. Types of Edge Cities
  18. What is the recent “inversion” in urban growth patterns
  19. 7 Axioms for Reading the Landscape and their corollaries.
  20. Zipf’s Law
  21. Urban Epochs: name and describe each epoch. Give examples of cities that grew and shrunk during each epoch.
  22. Define the Built Environment. What are its elements, over what time scale do they change?
  23. Definitions and characteristics of Urban Sprawl.
  24. Define externality, give examples of externalities associated with urban sprawl.
  25. Are we in a new American urban epoch? What are its characteristics? How is it similar and/or different from earlier epochs.

Example Essay Question

We live in a time of political polarization and income inequality. These social divisions can play out physically on the urban landscape such that rich people, poor people, or people with differing political views are clustered geographically within cities. This creates a situation where urban divisions reflect broader social divisions. Is this a new phenomena or have cities in the past been marked by social divisions? Justify your opinion with a reflection on the evolution of cities.

Example Multiple Choice Question

Central place theory attempts to explain the size and spacing of cities within a region. One of the core concepts of this theory is: (a) Race relations (b) Vertical integration of manufacturing (c) Location of higher and lower order retail/services. (d) Importance of the railroad in U.S. regional development (e) Immigration patterns