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Megacities, urbanisation and development

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The study of urban areas is an essential component of human geography and development studies. In 2010, the proportion of humanity living in towns and cities reached a majority for the first time in human history. As recently as 1990, just 40% of people lived in urban areas, planet-wide. By 2013, the figure had grown to 53%. This case study introduces KS3 learners to the key geographical concepts and terminology related to the study of developing urban areas, grounded in a round-up of contemporary data. 

The study of urban areas lends itself well to the acquisition of geographical skills, especially data analysis. There are plenty of opportunities for making use of technology too. The time slider facility in Google Earth allows the dynamic nature of urban growth in the developing world to be more fully appreciated.

There are good opportunities for stretch and challenge here. Conceptual thinking about the varied aspects and scales of urban growth and urban sustainability can be nurtured at KS3, with a view to supporting further progression through teaching and learning at later key stages. Learners can also he helped to make a structured assessment of the consequences of rapid urban growth, at different spatial scales and over time also. 

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