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Unit 6

6.2 Cities Across the World

2 min readjune 11, 2020


Harrison Burnside

AP Human Geography 🚜

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What you should know:
Megacities vs. Meta cities, Different Types of Statistical Areas, Processes of Suburbanization

What is Urbanization?

When we define urban, we are talking about a built-up city or town and its surrounding environment. An urban area consists of a central city and its surrounding built-up suburbs, with at least 50,000 people. An urban cluster is an urban environment with around 2,500-50,000 people. Thus, urbanization refers to population shifts from rural to urban areas and people’s adaptation to these changes.

Mega + Meta Cities

Megacities are very large urban centers around the globe that have a population of greater than 10 million people. Megacities can encompass a large metropolitan area (Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas) and have lots of residents. Metacities are a large cluster of Megacities that have a population of greater than 20 million people. Metacities are connected through transportation systems and infrastructure. Metacities form one very large economic center!

Source: World Atlas

Processes of Suburbanization and Urban Sprawl

Suburbs are residential or commercial areas situated within an urban area, but outside the central city. Because of the expansion of urban areas, known as urban sprawl, many modern challenges have arisen. These challenges will be mentioned further on in study guide 6.10.
As detached single-family homes began to arise in the outskirts of cities, a new method of urban planning was created, called the garden-city movement. In this movement, homes were located in self-contained communities, surrounded by green belts which stop the urban sprawl. 

Statistical Areas

  • Metropolitan Area
    • 50,000+ People
    • Includes the county/town where the city is located
    • Population usually works in the central city
  • Micropolitan Area
    • Population between 10,000 - 50,000 people
    • Smaller City and Surrounding Towns/Counties
  • Core-Based Area
    • Adjacent "Commuter Counties" Tied To An Urban Center
    • Either Metropolitan or Micropolitan
  • Primary Area
    • A Core-Based Area NOT Centered in a Metropolitan or Micropolitan Area

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