AP Human Geography : Contemporary Urban Issues

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Human Geography

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Contemporary Urban Issues

What name is given to a portion of land reserved for farms, parks, and forests to prevent the continuation of an urban sprawl?

Possible Answers:

Commons

Agribusiness

Greenbelt

Green protection

Deurbanization

Correct answer:

Greenbelt

Explanation:

Many contemporary cities have enacted measures to prevent the continuous urban sprawl that results from their ever-growing populations. They reserve a portion of land for farms, parks, forests, and other such things. This is called a “greenbelt.”

Example Question #1 : Suburban Sprawl & Urban Sustainability Problems

A city’s metropolitan area includes __________.

Possible Answers:

all the suburbs located within ten miles of a city’s outer limits

the defined political limits of a city government’s jurisdiction

all the areas where the population can vote for the mayor of the city

any surrounding areas which are closely related, either socially or economically, to the city

all the suburbs located within twenty miles of a city’s outer limits

Correct answer:

any surrounding areas which are closely related, either socially or economically, to the city

Explanation:

The “metropolitan area” of a city is defined as all the areas surrounding a city that can be said to have a high-level of economic or social integration with the city. So, if the majority of people who live in an area outside of a city’s political limits still commute to the city for work, school, or recreation than that area is said to be within the city’s “metropolitan area.” The definition is based on economic and social integration, NOT on physical proximity.

Example Question #3 : Contemporary Urban Issues

Which of these is a feature of ghettoization in American cities?

Possible Answers:

The loss of economic activity for the city

The suburbanization of minorities and immigrant populations

The decline of educational institutions throughout the city

White Americans moving away from the suburbs

The economic degradation of inner cities

Correct answer:

The economic degradation of inner cities

Explanation:

The term “ghettoization” is used to refer to the degradation of inner cities in America. It occurs when affluent white Americans move out of inner cities to the suburbs and this population is replaced with much poorer populations. It occurred throughout the United States in the twentieth century and is one of the more significant problems facing American cities in the twenty-first century.

Example Question #4 : Contemporary Urban Issues

The highly urbanized stretch of land that runs along the eastern seaboard of the United States, from Boston to Washington D.C., is an example of a(n) __________.

Possible Answers:

Megalopolis

Urban decay

Metropolitan area

Primate city

Polis

Correct answer:

Megalopolis

Explanation:

The term “megalopolis” is used to describe a stretch of land that contains multiple cities and connecting suburban regions. The stretch of land from Boston to Washington D.C. also includes New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and all the attending suburban areas. It is a highly urbanized stretch of land and therefore it is called a “megalopolis.”

Example Question #5 : Contemporary Urban Issues

A key problem poorer inner-city neighborhoods in America face due to their geographical position is __________.

Possible Answers:

close proximity to major utilities

lack of political representation

easy access to public transportation

lower-density housing

a lack of quality food options

Correct answer:

a lack of quality food options

Explanation:

In major American cities, poor urban areas suffer from a variety of problems due to a few specific realities of their geographic locations. Poor inner-city neighborhoods are usually much more densely populated than their wealthier counterparts, but with fewer amenities due to their worse infrastructure. One of the best examples of the problems produced by these issues is the lack of quality food options from high-end grocers, farmers' markets, or specialty stores.

Example Question #1 : Contemporary Urban Issues

Finding a coffee shop and a sandwich shop next door to one another is an example of __________

Possible Answers:

deglomeration

agglomeration

cash crops

an export-processing zone

purchasing-power parity

Correct answer:

agglomeration

Explanation:

Agglomeration is a real-world marketing ploy in which establishments are located close to one another to help convince like-minded consumers who may walk out of one establishment and want to go to another. For example, coffee shops and sandwich shops tend to be located close to one another with the idea that customers may leave the coffee shop and want a sandwich, or vice versa. 

Example Question #1 : Housing & Insurance Discrimination

Which of the following best describes the government policy that the Federal Government is referring to when it uses the term environmental justice?

Possible Answers:

The American government has a duty to take the lead in environmental awareness and the battle against climate change

All of these

All people deserve to be treated equally with regard to environmental laws, regardless of where they live

Corporations need to be held accountable for the detrimental impact that they have on the environment

None of these answers are accurate; the Federal government does not use the term environmental justice, instead it is used by political action groups who are protesting the actions of the Federal government

Correct answer:

All people deserve to be treated equally with regard to environmental laws, regardless of where they live

Explanation:

The Federal Government defines environmental justice as the official government policy that all American citizens deserve to be treated equally with regard to the passage and application of environmental laws— regardless of where they live. This policy emerged out of fear that environmental issues like pollution were disproportionately affecting lower-income communities.

Example Question #2 : Housing & Insurance Discrimination

The real estate practice, commonly practiced throughout the twentieth century, of scaring white residents into selling inner city property and moving to the suburbs by promoting fears of minorities moving into the neighborhood is called __________.

Possible Answers:

blockbusting

trust busting

whitefighting

fear selling

blackballing

Correct answer:

blockbusting

Explanation:

The term “blockbusting” is used to refer to a common practice in the real estate business in the twentieth century (in some places it persists to this day). It involves a realtor trying to intimidate a white property owner into selling inner city property and moving to the suburbs. The realtor convinces the white property owner that the neighborhood is “in decline” due to the large numbers of minorities moving into the area. This process accelerated the rate of suburbanization in the twentieth century. Due to its obviously racist implications and manipulative nature “blockbusting” has long been controversial.

Example Question #1 : Contemporary Urban Issues

Why do squatter settlements exist in poorly developed nations? 

Possible Answers:

None of these answers

Affordable housing is unavailable for new migrants.

The government sets aside areas for new migrants to live. 

New migrants prefer to live in squatter settlements with other new migrants.

New migrants want to live near the center of the city.

Correct answer:

Affordable housing is unavailable for new migrants.

Explanation:

By definition, a squatter settlement is a collection of buildings aimed to provide housing and shelter for poor people in a city. The people who live in squatter settlements do not have legal rights to the land upon which they are built; therefore, they are living there illegally. Squatter settlements are a housing alternative when affordable housing is otherwise hard to come by in a city. 

Example Question #7 : Contemporary Urban Issues

Counter urbanization is most likely to occur in __________.

Possible Answers:

highly undeveloped regions

highly developed regions

None of these answers are correct.

rural communities

moderately developed regions

Correct answer:

highly developed regions

Explanation:

“Counter urbanization” refers to the process by which a significant portion of the population of an urban center starts to migrate away from the city to live in suburbs or rural areas. This of course cannot happen without large-scale urbanization and the acquisition of wealth so it is most likely to occur in highly developed regions.

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