Social Studies - 2018-19

WG.16 a - Concepts of Site and Situation

The student will apply social science skills to analyze the patterns of urban development by 

a) applying the concepts of site and situation to major cities in each region; 

(moved from WG.11)

Adopted: 2015


Themes- Location, Adaptation, Identity

What is the relationship between site and situation?

How have the functions of towns and cities changed over time?

Do the benefits of urban growth outweigh the problems associated?


Site and situation are important geographic concepts when studying the growth of cities. 

Patterns of urban development occur according to site and situation.


Terms to know 

  • site: The actual location of a city 
  • situation: Relative location (i.e., the location of a city with respect to other geographic features, regions, resources, and transport routes) 

Examples of site (local characteristics) 

  • Harbor sites: New York City; Istanbul, Turkey 
  • Island sites: Hong Kong; Singapore 
  • Fall line site: Richmond, Virginia 
  • Confluence sites: Khartoum, Sudan; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 
  • Hilltop sites: Rome; Athens 
  • Oasis site: Damascus, Syria 
  • Sites where rivers narrow: London; Québec City 

Examples of situation (regional/global connections) 

  • Baghdad: Command of land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers 
  • Istanbul: Command of straits and land bridge to Europe 
  • Mecca, Saudi Arabia; Varanasi (Benares), India: Focal point of pilgrimage 
  • Cape Town, South Africa; Hawaii, United States: Supply station for ships 
  • Novosibirsk, Vladivostok: Cities that grew up along the Trans-Siberian Railway


Updated: Jun 13, 2018