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Unit 6

6.10 Challenges of Urban Changes

3 min readโ€ขjune 2, 2020

Harrison Burnside


Modern Challenge



Converting of an urban neighborhood from a predominantly low-income renter-occupied area to a predominantly middle/high-class owner-occupied area.


A process by which banks draw lines on a map and refuse to lend money to purchase or improve property within the boundaries.


A predatory practice where real estate agents convince white owners to move out of a neighborhood by using racist tactics.

White Flight

Process where White People move out of Urban Areas and then move into Suburban or Exurban areas generally to start a family.

Residential Segregationย 

A process that sorts neighborhoods into multiple groups based on race and where they live. Can be de jure (by law) or de facto (by social processes).

Public Housing

Housing owned by the government; in the United States, it is rented to low-income residents, and the rents are set at 30 percent of the families' incomes. Housing projects are commonly known by people as โ€œthe ghettoโ€ and are disamenity zones in developing countries.

Squatter Settlements

An area within a city in a less developed country in which people illegally establish residences on land they do not own or rent and erect homemade structures that eventually become disamenity zones.


There are social and economic problems linked with the growth and decline of urban communities. These include housing and insurance unfairness, housing affordability, access to food stores and other public services, disamenity zones, and gentrification.ย  In the past in the USA, there was racial discrimination by de jure or de facto means. This was further facilitated through segregated city development known as residential segregation. Blockbusting is a racially discriminatory practice of pressuring a party to sell a home to families of a minority race or ethnic background, then using fear tactics to cause others in the neighborhood to sell their homes at low prices.

Central cities were dismissed within the 1980s, and they began to regrow in popularity within the 1990s and now are the destination spot for the people to be, culturally and entertainmentโ€wise. However, housing prices have risen and most of the desirable areas are already bought or too expensive to be acquired. So people began looking elsewhere for affordable housing. Gentrification is that the process of rehabilitating old structures in deteriorated areas rather than demolishing the old structures to make new ones. Gentrification changes formerly lowโ€income areas to middleโ€ and highโ€income groups. It gives an economic boost to the area, but it also raises property values which force the poorer, often minority groups that settled there during the redlining and blockbusting times mentioned above. Gentrification creates tension between longโ€time residents and newcomers. Sometimes, empty or abandoned areas are completely demolished to the ground. The picture below shows gentrification on the right and the original neighborhood on the left.


Source: The Philadelphia Inquirerย 

On the other hand, as cities decentralize by moving industry outward, people leave the cities likewise during a movement known as counterโ€urbanization. Some move to suburbs, but some families decide to move to rural areas. Approximately one in six Americans live in a masterโ€planned community. Inside these masterโ€planned communities, one can find gated subsets where a fence or wall manned by a code or guard denies access except to some individuals. Over 9 million highโ€income Americans board these kinds of communities. Troubled by innerโ€city crime, people went to seek safety within their walled compounds. Gated communities were found around the world as well.

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Unit 1: Thinking Geographically

Unit 2: Population & Migration

Unit 3: Cultural Patterns & Processes

Unit 4: Political Patterns & Processes

Unit 5: Agriculture & Rural Land-Use

Unit 7: Industrial & Economic Development