AP Human Geography : Models of Urban Hierarchies

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Human Geography

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Models Of Urban Hierarchies

The Gravity Model in geography suggests that __________ and __________ are the two most significant factors in determining the extent of the relationship and interaction between two cities.

Possible Answers:

population size . . . cultural output.

industrial output . . . cultural output.

distance . . . cultural output.

industrial output . . . distance.

population size . . . distance

Correct answer:

population size . . . distance

Explanation:

The Gravity Model is based on Isaac Newton’s law of gravitation. It is a mathematical formula, so it cannot rely on something like “cultural output” because this is unquantifiable. It instead relies on population size and distance. The Gravity Model holds that the interaction between two places can be determined by the product of the population of both places, divided by the square of their distance from one another. The primary implication of this model is that distance is not the only determining factor in the interaction between two cities. For example, although Kingston, Canada is much closer to New York City than London it also has a much lower population than London so the interaction between London and New York City is likely to be higher than the interaction between Kingston and New York City.

Example Question #1 : Cities & Urban Land Use

According to the rank-size rule, if the largest city in a country has a population of 1,000,000, then the fourth largest city in that country would have a population of approximately __________.

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

The rank size rule states that the  largest city in a given country will have  of the population of the largest city in that country. If the largest city has a population 1,000,000, and we want to know the population of the fourth largest city, it will have  of the population of the largest city.  of 1,000,000 is 250,000 people.

Example Question #1 : Cities & Urban Land Use

The rank-size rule is related to the size of which of the following answer choices?

Possible Answers:

Ethnic populations within cities

Cities

The income-level of the different populations within cities

Urban neighborhoods

All of these

Correct answer:

Cities

Explanation:

The “rank-size rule” is related to the relative size of cities. According to the rank-size rule, there should be a larger number of small cities than bigger cities. Also, this rule predicts that the larger a city’s population is then the fewer number of cities there should be in the surrounding area with a similar population.

Example Question #3 : Models Of Urban Hierarchies

In Mexico, the population of Mexico City metropolitan area is over 20 million people. The next largest metropolitan area, Guadalajara, has approximately 4.5 million people. This disparity in population sizes makes Mexico City an example of __________.

Possible Answers:

a mercantile city

an alpha city

a capital city

a world city

a primate city

Correct answer:

a primate city

Explanation:

Mexico's population distribution is an example of a primate city. Mexico City has a population that is more than double the population of Guadalajara, therefore not qualifying the population to be under a rank-size rule. Cities can be world cities, alpha cities, or capital cities and not have the population disparities found in countries like Mexico.

Example Question #1 : Models Of Urban Hierarchies

A country has a population of twenty million, with a capital city with a population of nine million. That capital city is an example of a __________.

Possible Answers:

urban jungle

gentrified city

primate city

decaying city

megalopolis

Correct answer:

primate city

Explanation:

The term “primate city” is used to refer to a city that functions as by far the largest city in the country it inhabits. It may have a population between a third and a half of that of the whole country. Classic examples of primate cities include Bangkok in Thailand and Seoul in South Korea.

Example Question #1 : Cities & Urban Land Use

Primate cities have typically arisen in __________ environments.

Possible Answers:

post-colonial

poor and impoverished

war-torn and violent

wealthy and modern

peaceful and vibrant 

Correct answer:

post-colonial

Explanation:

A “primate city” is a city that serves as by far the biggest city in the country that it inhabits. It’s population is exponentially greater than the population of the next largest city in that country. These types of cities typically arise in “postcolonial” settings because during the colonial era it was common for the European governments to carry out all their political and economic activity through one regional center. This led to infrastructure being disproportionately developed in one centralized area. After decolonization this infrastructure remained in place.

Example Question #1 : Primate Cities

What is a mercantile city?

Possible Answers:

a city designed by trade routes

any city that is composed of many industries

a city which focuses mainly on exporting goods

a city which has a major train route

any coastal city

Correct answer:

a city designed by trade routes

Explanation:

By definition, mercantile refers to anything of or relating to trade. A mercantile city is a trade city which developed because of the trade routes. Most of these cities benefit from being on the coast because they can have a port, but after train transportation became prominent, having a port was no longer an essential element to being a mercantile city.

Example Question #1 : Christaller's Central Place Theory

Which of the following theories is based on the premise that in any given region there can only be one large city and a series of smaller municipalities—cities, towns, and hamlets—that surround the city and depend on the larger city for goods and services?

Possible Answers:

Central node

Central place

Multiple nuclei

Concentric zone

Outlying spaces

Correct answer:

Central place

Explanation:

The “central place theory” states that in any given region there can only be one large central city, which is surrounded by a series of smaller cities, towns, and hamlets. The central city provides goods and services that meet the needs of the people living in the smaller communities; furthermore, the people living in the smaller communities provide part of the labor supply and market required by the city.

Example Question #1 : Christaller's Central Place Theory

Which of these geographers developed the central place theory?

Possible Answers:

Kevin Lynch

John R. Borchert

Alexander von Humboldt

Walter Christaller

Johann von Thunen

Correct answer:

Walter Christaller

Explanation:

The “central place theory” was developed in the 1930s by Walter Christaller. According to the “central place theory” in any given region there can only be one large central city which is surrounded by a series of smaller cities, towns, and hamlets. The central city provides the goods and services required by people living in surrounding communities. John R. Borchert is responsible for organizing American urbanization into five different epochs, called Borchert's Epochs. Johann von Thunen developed a model of modern agricultural land use. Alexander von Humboldt's work laid the foundation for biogeography.

Example Question #1 : Christaller's Central Place Theory

In “central place theory” what name is given to the outlying communities that rely on the central city for support?

Possible Answers:

Wayward lands

Edgelands

Frontier territory

Outlands

Hinterlands

Correct answer:

Hinterlands

Explanation:

In “central place theory” the outlying towns and small communities that rely on the central city for goods and services are known as “hinterlands.”

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