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For more information, please see full course syllabus of AP Environmental Science
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The Urban Environment

  • Points of view have changed on cities since the 60’s-70’s. In 1950 fewer than 1/3 of people lived in cities and today it’s almost 1/2 of the global population
  • In the U.S. 75% of people are in urban areas and 25% are in rural ones.
  • City planning has a lot to do with site and situation. Fall lines and bodies also come into play due to a need for water resources and trade along water routes
  • Sites can be modified to make way for a city, but there are potential disadvantages to doing this
  • The environmental history of cities has four stages: Rise of towns, the urban center, the industrial metropolis, and the center of civilization
  • City planning typically involves: defense, beauty, park planning
  • The city is an environment (not separate from nature), and it affects pollution levels, water supply, even climate. Energy budget must be taken into account, as well as climate effects, solar energy, water/soils, and pollution
  • Nature is brought to the city via urban forestry and rivers/canals. Vegetation, urban “wilds” and animal pests also remind us that we are still a part of nature!
  • Urban sprawl has become of increasing concern in the past few decades. A great example is in Boulder, CO

The Urban Environment

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • City Facts 0:05
    • 1950: Few people Lived in Cities
    • U.S. = 75% Urban, 25% Rural
    • 2002: Megacities
    • Urban Ecosystems
  • Location, Location, Location 5:04
    • Site
    • Situation
    • Fall Line
  • Site Modification 9:11
    • Negative Consequences: New Orleans
    • Bruges, Belgium
  • Environmental History of Cities 12:19
    • Stage 1: Rise of Cities
    • Stage 2: Urban Center
    • Stage 3: Industrial Metropolis
    • Stage 4: Center of Civilization
  • Planning and the Environment 18:52
    • Defense and Beauty
    • City Parks are Designed with Nature
    • Garden City with Green Belt
  • The City as an Environment 24:14
    • Cities Inevitably Change the Landscape
    • Energy Budget
    • Climate Effects
    • Solar Energy
    • Water and Soils
    • Pollution
  • Bringing Nature to the City 31:52
    • New York City's High Line
    • Rivers
    • Vegetation in Cities
    • Urban 'Wilds'
    • Animal Pests
  • Urban Sprawl 45:02
    • 1959: Blue Line
    • 1967: Greenbelt
    • 1976: 2% Increase in Residents Per Year
    • 2002: Only Increased 2000