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What are Urban Models and to what extent are they useful to Geographers.

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Introduction

What are Urban Models and to what extent are they useful to Geographers. There are a number of urban models that describe the layout of a city, and they all are very simplified. We must therefore not expect that every city will conform entirely to the pattern they suggest. However, they are useful in that they focus our attention on one of two important factors. The simplest model is that developed by Burgess (1925), based upon Chicago in the 1920s. In his model he assumes that new migrants will move into poorer, inner city areas and that over time residents will move out to the suburbs, as they become wealthier. This increased wealth of people has meant that they can afford bigger houses with larger gardens built on the suburbs as a direct result of urban sprawl. They can afford better transport such as cars, enabling them to commute to the CBD. Housing quality improves and social class rises with distance from the city centre. ...read more.

Middle

The oldest houses are located nearest to the CBD, as they were part of the original settlement before development, urbanisation and consequently urban sprawl. This benefactor of time has allowed the owners to improve their living conditions continuously over their lives by investing earned money into these properties. Richer people working in the CBD also live in the inner cites, as transport networks are poor compared to in cities in MEDCs were the rich can commute. The poorest people, working in the informal sector in the CBD, live in relatively new shantytowns on the edge of the city, where the processes of auto-construction and self-help have not had enough time to occur. These people are the newest to the city, from rural areas, searching for new jobs after mechanisation has left their jobs redundant. This movement of people at childbearing age from rural to urban areas has lead to urbanisation: an increased percentage of people living in urban areas. ...read more.

Conclusion

They both prevent the construction of a certain commercial, residential or industrial buildings that would develop otherwise, and directly affect the adjacent land ownership. Low quality residential rather than industrial or commercial buildings would be seen next to army barracks for example, as wealthier people would rather live away from barbed-wire perimeters. Physical factors, such as rivers providing good transport links, required for the development of industry, can also affect the urban land use patterns, limiting the applicability of models to do not consider or allow for consideration of these factors. We have seen the limitations associated with urban models, however all geographical models have inadequacies. This is because they serve to only to simplify, in the representation of, the complex geographical processes occurring in today's world, in the hope to improve our understanding. Burgess' and Hoyt's models can fall pray to being over-simplified representations of urban land use patterns. However, when they are combined with other models or cities similar to the one it was based on, Chicago for Burgess', urban models can prove to be a valuable tool in the geographical assessment of urban land use in MEDCs and LEDCs. ...read more.

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