004 - Models: Truth

or Fiction?

Factual Question

What different land use models are there?

How do models help to describe the structure of a town or city?

Debatable Question

Can we use models to describe the land use of different cities?

Key Terminology

            • Burgess Model

            • Hoyt Model

            • Central Business District (CBD)

There is no need to define these words at the start of the lesson as they will be explained later on.

Activity One - Watch and Record

While cities are different in their fabric and culture across the world they do have some similarities. We are initially going to explore what London and Mexico City looks like by watching the youtube clips below. Daniel Raven-Ellison is the author of the clips and he classes himself as a 'guerilla geographer and creative explorer'. His aim to gain different perspectives of the world by using photography. Follow the instructions carefully below:

              1. Collect a piece of A3 paper

              2. Place the paper landscape on your desk

              3. Using a pencil and a ruler draw two lines equal distance apart

              4. Divide your line into 18 sections - 1 for each 30 seconds

              5. Label one line London

              6. Label the other line Mexico City

              7. Watch the clips and mark on the general use of land to your lines e.g. terrace housing, detached housing, green space, flats, transport, shops, factories etc

Urban Land Use


Answer the questions below using the evidence you have just collected on your virtual field trip.

            1. What are the similarities between the two clips?

            2. Why do you think there are similarities?

            3. Are there any differences between the clips?

            4. How can the differences be explained?

Activity Two - Models

You have just walked a transect (walked across a city) for both London and Mexico City. These cities are in different in terms of their level of development but that does not mean that those countries have completely different sections to their cities. Cities can generally be divided in to five key zones:

                  1. Central Business District

                  2. Wholesale Light Manufacturing

                  3. Low-Class Residential or Inner City Area

                  4. Medium Class Residential or Inner Suburbs

                  5. High Class Residential or Outer Suburbs

  1. Now classify the areas you describe on the transect lines you drew on the A3 paper into the five key sections above. Underline each classification group in a different colour. Don't forget to make a key. If you are struggling with classifying each section have a read of the BBC Bitesize article in the 'Useful Resources' box below (you will need to click through the pages).

  2. Are the similarities and differences between the two cities easier to see or not? Explain your answer.

  3. Draw out a copy of the Burgess Model and Hoyt Model below.

  4. What are the similarities and differences between the two models.

  5. Can one of those models be used to explain the land use distribution of London? Explain your answer.

  6. Can one of those models be used to explain the land use distribution of Mexico City? Explain your answer.

  7. If you answered no to both question 5 and 6 design your own land use model using the same five categories.


  • Using the useful resources box below what are the advantages and problems of the models?

  • Take a piece of A4 paper and draw a land use model for Geneva. You can use Google Maps to help you with the different land use in the different areas of Geneva.