Urban Studies

In this section you'll revise:

  1. Site and Situation
  2. Land Use Zones
  3. Land Use on the Rural-Urban Fringe
  4. Changing Land Use in the CBD

Site and Situation

Watch this clip to find out the main reasons behind settlement site and situation. Remember site and situation go hand in hand. for example, a castle on a steep hill is a good site as it is difficult to attack however if it is in a situation where the climate and soil are poor then it will struggle to succeed as a settlement. Always remember to be clear when you are referring to a factor relevant to the present day and factors more relevant to the past.

Landuse Zones

In this series of clips you'll be able to revise the three land use zones 'CBD', 'Inner City' and 'Suburbs'. You will need to be able to describe the urban environment and explain how its features come to be there. Always approach this kind of map work with a plan:

  1. What is the street pattern like?
  2. What is the building type like?
  3. What is the transport infrastructure like?
  4. What are the local services like?
  5. What can I infer about the wider environment from my evidence?

CBD Land Use

The Central Business District is often located at the pre-urban nucleus of the city. Make a checklist of features to look for and then try on a variety of maps. The map you use in the exam will be new to you so it is important to have wide experience of different maps.

If you click this link you can download a GoogleEarth file which you can play if you have also got GoogleEarth downloaded. Google Earth is free and easy to down load. Watch this tour to understand the CBD further and to find out some real life examples to further help the quality of your answers.

Inner City Land Use

The inner city is often a post-industrial area. Remember map evidence order: street pattern, building type, transport infrastructure and services before going on to talk about the wider environment. Remember that map evidence is essential and worth upwards of 2 marks to you in a question like this.

If you click this link you can download a GoogleEarth file which you can play if you have also got GoogleEarth downloaded. Google Earth is free and easy to down load. Watch this tour to discover more about the inner city of Edinburgh. The tour explores the old industrial areas of Gorgie and Fountainbridge.

Suburban Land Use

These areas are on the rural-urban fringe. You can still follow the evidence order for this question so make sure you're still recording map evidence. Many features such as roads can be referenced on the map by their name e.g.'the A90' this is useful as it will speed you up slightly.

Land Use on the Rural-Urban Fringe

Model answer:

Out of town shopping centres such as the Gyle in Edinburgh are a relatively recent feature of the urban landscape. The land on the rural-urban fringe is often greenbelt land and therefore cheap. Planning is often given for these large projects as they provide a large amount of local employment for local suburban areas. The large amount of land available means there is plenty of space for customer parking. Often out of town shopping centres will locate next to a bypass or other arterial route as this is the best place to get high volume passing trade. The environment in this location will most likely be a green and pleasant one making it attractive to customers and therefore a good place to build.

Changing Land Use in the CBD

This downloadable tour is playable in Google Earth. Watch it to find out about changes in the CBD.