Social Studies - 2018-19

WG.16 c - Unique Influence and Challenges of Urban Areas

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

c) describing the unique influence of urban areas and challenges they face. 

(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?


Urban populations exercise a powerful influence in shaping the world’s cultural, political, and economic ideas and systems. 

Urban development may lead to problems related to human mobility, social structure, and the environment. 


Influences of urban areas on their regions and countries 

  • Nation-building (monuments, symbols) 
  • Transportation/communication hubs 
  • Magnets for migration 
  • Seedbeds of new ideas and technologies 
  • Diversity, leading to creativity in the arts 
  • Universities, educational opportunities 
  • Corporate headquarters, regional offices 
  • Media centers (news, entertainment) 

Problems associated with growth of urban areas 

  • Transportation problems emerge, especially as automobile travel increases. 
  • Rich and poor neighborhoods exist in different areas, isolated from one another. 
  • Providing essential services (e.g., fresh water, sewage disposal, electricity, schools, clinics) becomes a problem (e.g., for cities in Latin America, Africa, and Asia). 
  • Air, water, and noise pollution increase. 
  • Sprawl results in conversion of agricultural land to urban uses, especially in North America. 
In developing countries, major cities are connected more to regions outside the country than to regions within the country


Updated: Jun 13, 2018