C H A P T E R 1 3 , K E Y I S S U E 4
Why Do Suburbs Face
A. In 1950, only 20 percent of Americans lived in
suburbs, compared to 40 percent in cities and
40 percent in small towns and rural areas.
B. In 2000, after a half-century of rapid growth,
50 percent of Americans lived in suburbs
compared to only 30 percent in cities and 20
percent in small towns and rural areas.
II. Urban Expansion
1. Annexation is the process of legally
adding land area to a city. Normally, land
can only be annexed if a majority of
residents vote in favor of it.
2. Peripheral residents in the 19th century
often desired annexation because the city
offered better services, such as water
supply, sewage disposal, trash pickup, paved
streets, public transportation, and police
and fire protection.
B. Defining Urban Settlements:
1. City: an urban settlement that has been
legally incorporated into an independent, self
2. The boundaries of the city define the
geographic area within which the local
government has legal authority.
3. Population in many US central cities (not just
cities) has declined since 1950, as has
4. Urbanized Area: a continuously built-up area—
the central city and the surrounding
5. The density of urbanized areas exceeds
1,000 persons per square mile. About 70
percent of the US population lives in
6. Metropolitan Area: a functional area of
influence that a city exerts beyond its legal
boundaries and adjacent built-up jurisdictions.
7. An MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area)
a. An urbanized area with a population of at
b. The county in which the city is located
c. Adjacent counties with a high population
density and a large percentage of residents
working in the central city’s county.
8. There are 366 MSAs in the US (as of
2009), which encompasses 84% of the US
9. One problem with MSAs is that they often
include large areas that are not urban—like
10. We also have micropolitan statistical
areas, urbanized areas of between 10,000
and 50,000 inhabitants and the adjacent
county tied to the city.
11. Together, MSAs and µSAs are known as
core based statistical areas (CBSAs).
C. Local Government Fragmentation:
1. There are more than 1,400 local
government in the New York area alone, and
20,000 throughout the United States.
2. This can lead to problems when emergency
responders are called.
3. The large number of local government units
has led to the development of councils of
government. These are cooperative
agencies with cooperation of the various
D. Overlapping metropolitan Areas:
1. When MSAs overlap—for instance a county
between two central cities—we have what
we call a megalopolis. The Boswash
corridor is an example of this.
2. These “megalopolis” areas also exist in
Germany, the Netherlands, and Japan.
3. Downtown areas of a megalopolis retain
distinctive identities, but at the periphery
the boundaries overlap.
III. The Peripheral Model:
A. An urban area consists of an inner city
surrounded by a large suburban residential
and business areas tied together by a
beltway or ring road . (Chauncey Harris
—creator of the multiple nuclei model)
B. Around the beltway are nodes of consumer
and business services, called edge cities.
1. Edge cities originated as suburban
residences for people who worked in the
central city, then shopping malls were
built to be near residents.
2. Now, edge cities contain manufacturing
centers and office parks where producer
3. Specialized nodes emerge in the edge cities
—hotels and warehouses around an airport,
hotels and restaurants around a large
theme park, and a distribution center near
the junction of beltways.
C. Density Gradient:
1. As you travel outward from the center of the
city, you can watch the decline in the density
at which people live. This is called the density
2. Two changes have affected the density
gradient in recent years:
a. Fewer people living in the center
b. Fewer differences in density within urban
c. The result is to flatten the density
gradient. (see pg. 428)
D. Cost of Suburban Sprawl:
1. Roads and utilities must be extended
(funded by taxpayers and higher home
2. Prime agricultural land may be lost through
construction of isolated housing
3. Sprawl can affect the supply of local dairy
products and vegetables.
4. Europe restricts sprawl and surrounds cities
5. Here in the U.S. we are beginning to pass
legislation and regulations to limit sprawl.
This is called smart growth.
IV. Suburban Segregation:
A. Before the 20th century, classes were likely to
separated vertically. Now they are separated
B. Housing in a given suburban community is
usually built for people of a single social class.
C. Land use zoning ordinances separate
residents from commercial and industrial
D. Suburbanization of business:
1. As people moved to the suburbs, retail
stores moved there also to serve the people.
2. Downtown businesses have stagnated
because suburban residents won’t make
the long journey to shop there.
3. Malls in suburban areas have become
centers for activity.
E. Suburbanization of factories and offices:
1. Factories and warehouses have migrated
to suburbia for more space, cheaper
land and better truck access.
2. Offices that do not require face to face
contact are moving to suburbs where
rents are lower than in the CBD
V. Transportation and Suburbanization
A. More than half of all trips are work related
B. Shopping or other personal business, and
social journeys, account for one-fourth
C. Together, all these trips produce congestion
in urban areas.
D. Motor vehicle ownership is nearly universal
among American households.
1. Cars and trucks permitted large-scale
development of suburbs at greater distances
from the center.
2. Motor vehicle drivers have greater
flexibility in their choice of residence.
3. The motor vehicle is an important user of
land in the city (roads, parking lots,
multilane freeways, elaborate interchanges).
E. Forty percent of all trips made into or out of the
CBD occur during four hours of the day
—two in the morning and two in the
F. In larger cities, public transit is better suited
than cars to moving large numbers of people.
1. Public transit is cheaper, less polluting,
and more energy efficient than the
2. In most cities of the world, extensive
networks of bus, tram and subway lines
have been maintained and funds for
new construction provided in recent
3. In the U.S., public transit is used
primarily for rush-hour commuting by
workers into and out of the CBD.
4. New York, Boston, San Francisco,
Washington , Chicago and Philadelphia
are large public transit users.
5. But in many US cities, public transit is
minimal or nonexistent.
6. Bus ridership in the U.S. has declined,
and commuter railroad service has also
been drastically reduced.
7. The one exception to the downward trend
in public transit in the U.S. is rapid
transit (subways, streetcars—Trax, Front
A. Many people live in urban areas and never
venture into inner-city neighborhoods or
B. Conversely, inner-city residents may rarely
venture out to suburbs.
C. The spatial segregation of inner-city
residents and suburbanites lies at the heart
of the stark contrasts so immediately
observed in any urban area.