8.2 Urban Areas and Edge Cities

Ask: What characteristics define a city?

Louis Wirth identified a city to have defining characteristics that included a large population, size, a heterogeneous nature, and a defined boundary.

Businesses, a large population, and a unique cultural landscape identify a city whereas urban locations include non-rural areas like the city and suburbs. Common characteristics of major cities include having a downtown area, large buildings, and a highway and transportation network.

Acquire: What are some examples of cities?

Step 1: Go to the ArcGIS Online map, Urban Areas and Edge Cities, and explore the map.

Step 2: With the Details button underlined, click the button, Show Contents of Map (Content).

Step 3: Click the checkbox to the left of the layer name, USA Major Cities.

  • What are some major cities in the United States?

Step 4: Zoom in and out to identify and view some of these cities.

  • What are some examples of small cities located in the United States?

Step 5: Turn on the layer, World Urban Areas.

  • Select a continent, and zoom to specific urban areas. What are some major world cities?

Explore: What factors have led to urban growth of cities?

Step 6: Zoom to the United States.

Step 7: Turn on the layer, Population Density – Counties.

  • What connections are evident between population distribution and major cities.

Step 8: Turn off the layer, Population Density – Counties.

Step 9: Turn off all layers to see the basemap, World Street Map.

Step 10: Zoom to a city of interest.

  • Why might cities grow at different rates?
  • Why are cities often surrounded by other nearby cities?

Analyze: How have edge cities changed the physical and cultural landscape?

Step 11: Use the search box, above and right of the map. Search for Washington, D.C.

  • What are some examples of edge cities that have emerged in the area?

Step 12: Zoom in to Washington, D.C., and observe the land use patterns.

  • What characteristics identify these as edge cities?
  • What is the next stage of growth for these edge cities and surrounding suburbs?

Act: What is the future of urban growth?

  • How is urban growth changing cities around the world?
  • How have residential and commercial areas changed the urban landscape?
  • How is urban growth changing the areas adjacent to cities?
  • How can the Urban Observatory, or other applications visualize these concepts?

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Human Geography Lab Manual by R. Adam Dastrup, MA, GISP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book