AP Human Geography Exam
The following vocabulary items can be found in your review book and class handouts. These identifications and concepts do not necessarily constitute all that will be covered on the exam.
Nature & Perspectives
Environmental & Medical
Early urbanization: emerging from the First Agricultural Revolution
-Egalitarian society: civilization in which all people are equal; typical of most hunter-gatherer societies.
-Stratified society: civilization in which people exist in different classes; the development of farming and early cities began this process.
-Formative era: time where the major urban hearths came into exist stance (e.g., for the Fertile Crescent this occurred between 7,000 – 5,000 BCE (Before Common Era – same as BC (Before Christ)).
-Urban elite: group of socially, politically, or economically dominant figures in a society.
-Theocratic center: focus of religious activity or importance.
Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome
(see reading guide)
Little Ice Age (16th -
period of global cooling after the Medieval Warm Period (~9th c.
to 14th c.); greatly affected the northern empires of Rome and
China (e.g., encouraged the migration of people to the cities in England due
to shrinking farmlands providing factories with an abundant supply of cheap
-Folk-preliterate: earliest cities, predating written languages.
-Feudal: arose during the Middle Ages which actually stagnated urban growth in Europe; fostered a dependent relationship between wealthy landowners and peasants – provided few alternative economic alternatives.
-Preindustrial: found in societies without sophisticated machine , where human and animal labor form the basis for economic production (no city moved past this stage until the Industrial Revolution).
-Urban-industrial: predominate in the modernized nations of Western Europe, America, Japan (and to a lesser extent where their cultures have globalized) where productivity through machines, and energy sources from fossil fuels and atomic power phenomenally expand economic productivity.
urbanized zone that spread from India and the Far East (China & Japan)
across the Islamic Empires, and into Europe; followed mostly along the
silk and spice
Mercantile city: Atlantic maritime trade disrupted old trade routes & centers of power starting in the 1500s (from interior to coastal ports); central square became focus (“downtown”), these cities became nodes of a network of trade; brought huge riches to Europe (e.g. Lisbon, Amsterdam, London, …).
Manufacturing city: grew out of the Industrial Revolution and the “Little Ice Age”; associated w/ mushrooming population, factories, tenement buildings, railroads, …; poor living & health conditions; cities improved w/ government intervention, city planning, and zoning, …
Modern city: (modern
little attention is spent on building aesthetics or ornate designs; improved
transportation & road systems has allowed greater complexity, multiple CBDs,
and dispersal into the suburbs; the hallmark of American life.
Deglomeration: process of industrial deconcentration in response to technological advances and/or increasing costs due to congestion and competition.
Urban hierarchy: ranking of settlements according to their size and economic functions.
-Hamlet: lowest level of settlements (often not urban); offers few if any services.
-Village: clustered human settlement larger than a hamlet and generally offering several services.
-Town: clustered human settlement larger than a village; may range from a few to thousands of inhabitants (even hundreds of thousands); generally many goods and services are available.
-City: clustered conglomeration of people and buildings together serving as a center of politics, culture, and economics; a town may have outskirts, but virtually all cities have suburbs (hinterlands).
-Metropolis: usually contains several urbanized areas and suburbs that act together as a coherent economic whole.
Hinterland: literally “country behind”; refers to the surrounding area served by an urban center (the heartland).
conurbation such as Bosnywash, SanSan, ChiPitts,…) occur
predominantly in MDCs; large coalescing supercities that were originally
separate but have expanded and joined together.
-CBD (central business district): location of skyscrapers and companies (would always be the center of the 3 urban models, many people commute, few actually live there)
-Central city: urban area that is not suburban; generally the older or original city surrounded by the newer suburbs.
-Inner city: urban area around the CBD; typically poorer and more run down in the US and other long-developed states; typically more rich upscale in less-developed states.
-Ghetto: inner cities that become dilapidated centers of poverty, as affluent whites move out of the suburbs (white flight) and immigrants and poorer people vie for scarce jobs and resources.
-Node: geographical centers of activity; large cities have numerous nodes.
-Suburb: residential communities, located outside of city centers; usually homogeneous in terms of population and ethnicity.
-Exurb: ring of prosperous communities beyond the suburbs that are commuter towns for an urban area; began to emerge in the 1970s when rampant crime and urban decay (when part of a city falls into disrepair - due to deindustrialization, depopulation, high unemployment, ...) in U.S. cities were the primary push factors; more recently since house prices have skyrocketed, middle-class people who want a large yard or farm are pushed beyond suburban counties and into “exurbs”.
Urban sprawl: process of expansive suburban development over large areas; the automobile provides the primary source of transportation.
New Urbanism: urban design originating in the US during the 1980s to work against sprawl; characterized by organized urban planning, suburban infill (filling in unused space), and are designed to be walkable (Celebration, Florida)
Central place theory (Walter Christaller): seeks to explain the number, size and location of human settlements in an urban system; settlements simply function as 'central places' providing services to surrounding areas; organized by hexagons to eliminate unserved or overlapping market areas.
-Central goods and services: provided only at a central place, or city (available to consumers in a surrounding region).
-Range of sale (breaking point): maximum distance people will travel for a good or service (economic reach).
-Threshold: the minimum number of customers needed to keep the business running
-Complementary region: the market area; an exclusive hinterland w/ a monopoly on a certain good or service.
-John Borchert's model: (1967); recognized four epochs in the evolution of the American metropolis based on the impact of transportation & communication:
• 1) Sail-Wagon Epoch (1790-1830) – associated with low technology
• 2) Iron Horse Epoch (1830-70); steam-powered locomotive & spreading rails
• 3) Steel-Rail Epoch (1870-1920); full impact of Ind. Rev. (steel), hinterlands expand
• 4) Auto-Air-Amenity Epoch (1920-70); gas-powered internal combustion engine
• High Technology Epoch (1970-today ); expansion of service & information industries (not part of Borchert’s model)
-Concentric zone (1920s;
based on his studies of
Chicago: 1) CBD, 2) Zone of transition (residential deterioration & light
industry), 3) Blue-collar workers,
-Sector: (1939; Homer Hoyt) urban growth creates a pie-shaped urban structure due, in part, to the advancement of transportation like the electric trolley (e.g. low-income areas could extend from the CBD to the outer edge (3)); the same is true w/ high-rent, transportation, and industry.
-Multiple nuclei: (1945; Chauncy Harris & Edward Ullman) claimed the CBD was losing its dominant position as the nucleus of the urban area; separate nuclei become specialized and differentiated, not located in relation to any distance attribute (urban regions have their subsidiary, yet competing, “nuclei”).
-Urban realms: parts of giant conurbations; self-sufficient suburban sectors (focused on their own independent CBD).
residential development characterized by extreme poverty; usually exists on
land just outside of cities that is neither owned nor rented.
- After WWII in the US: 1950s & 60s = suburbanization; 1970s & 80s = "malling" (shopping malls);
1990s & 2000s = edge cities & "big box" superstores (e.g., Wal-mart, Costco, Super Target,...)
a country’s largest city; most expressive of the national culture and
usually the capital city as well (e.g., Paris, France; Lagos, Nigeria;
Mexico City, Mexico; Dhaka, Bangladesh, Karachi, Pakistan …).
Nonbasic sector: work responsible for the functioning of the city itself (e.g., government, street cleaning, …).
Economic base (basic vs.
nonbasic sectors, a.k.a. employment structure)
ratio of basic to
nonbasic workers (nonbasic is always larger).
-Revitalization: city planners have redesigned their central cities to make them more amenable to people moving in, especially higher income residents.
-Commercialization: transforming of an area of a city into spaces of consumption - areas attractive to residents and tourists alike in terms of economic activity.
-Gentrification: trend of mid to high-income Americans moving into city centers and rehabilitating much of the architecture, but also replacing low-income population – changing the social character of certain neighborhoods.
Tear-downs: houses that new owners bought with the intention of tearing them down and building a larger home (sometimes called McMansions due to their super size and similar look); like gentrification in the city, it increases housing values and tax revenues, and average income; however, unlike gentrification, the houses are destroyed (not preserved), and this occurs in the wealthy suburbs (like Greenwich Connecticut, or the intercoastal in South Florida) not the central city.
Modern city models (foreign)- most residences tend to decrease in quality and value as the distance from the CBD increases:
-Latin-American: owe much of their structure to colonialism, industrialization, and massive population growth; sector development radiates out from the CBD (which often contain a central plaza), where most industrial and financial activity occurs; also contain barrios (ethnic neighborhoods) which can often be associated with poorer sectors of the city.
-Southeast Asian: consist of sectors and zones radiating from the port zone; influenced by colonialism and are often still focused on exporting goods.
-Sub-Saharan African: consist of sectors and zones, but possess a great deal of centrality around the CBD (may contain multiple CBDs); typically have strong ethnic neighborhoods and squatter settlements on the outskirts.
tend to be more
centralized and less suburbanized that US cities; b/c of this their inner
cities tends to be much less dilapidated due to fewer wealthy people leaving
found in the Muslim
regions; owe their structure to their religious beliefs; contain mosques,
open-air markets, courtyards surrounded by walls, limiting foot traffic in
-Racial steering: the practice in which real estate brokers guide prospective home buyers towards or away from certain neighborhoods based on their race.
-Redlining: illegal discriminatory practice in the US where minorities are prevented from obtaining loans to buy homes or property in predominantly white or affluent areas.
-Blockbusting: the process of white families selling their homes because of fears that blacks would move in and lower the property value (explains the white flight of the 1950’s from almost every major US city (e.g., Detroit and Cleveland), and the growth of suburbs)
legal restrictions on
land use; residential, commercial, or industrial.
Census tract: these are govt. designated areas in cities that each have ~5,000 people, they often times correspond to neighborhoods (data in census tracts is used to analyze urban patterns such as gentrification or white flight)
Concerns of urbanization-
1) Sprawl – outlying areas more susceptible to landslides, floods, storms, earthquakes, …
2) Loss of soil – farmland lost (US = 1 million acres/yr.; China = 3x as much)
3) Land use – natural landscape becomes cultural (pavement, buildings,…); less rainfall, more pollutants
4) Pollution – growing volumes of contaminants (in air, water, and soil); Mexico City, Delhi, Bangkok are most smog-ridden; riverfront cities create pollution as well
5) Waste – many lack of sewer facilities (>3 million w/o in Mexico City); burning garbage heaps
6) Consumption habits – urban dwellers use more energy, change diets (meat), dress, and recreation habits
World city: (global city) centers of economic, culture, and political activity that are strongly interconnected and together control the global systems of finance and commerce (e.g. NYC, London, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Sydney, ...)
Entrepôt: (French for "warehouse") a trading post (e.g., port) where merchandise can be imported and exported without paying import duties, often at a profit (e.g., Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, …).
Gateway city: because of their geographic location, they act as ports of entry and distribution centers for large geographic areas (e.g., NYC, San Francisco, …).