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Year Ten Unit Four: The Urban World​​​​​​​

This unit is made up of Section A of Paper 2 of the AQA GCSE Geography specification.  Students begin by looking at how the world is becoming increasingly urbanised world, before studying Rio de Janeiro as a case study of a city in a Newly Emerging Economy, the case study of Bristol as a major UK city and Freiburg as a case study of a sustainable city, plus sustainable traffic management in Singapore and Beijing.



Knowledge acquired:

AQA GCSE Geography specification:

  1. NEE city: Rio de Janeiro.
  2. UK major city: Bristol.
  3. Urban sustainability: Freiburg, Singapore, Beijing.

Skills developed:

  • Ability to evaluate evidence and reach conclusions e.g. ‘To what extent can urban sustainability be achieved?’           
  • Ability to use maps and graphs and apply maths skills. e.g. by using a map to identify patterns in the growth of megacities at a global scale.


  • Ability to understand geographical concepts and processes relating to urban change.

Links to previous study (where applicable):

  • Links to Living in the UK, studied in Year 7
  • Link to prior learning at KS4 – applying learning to exam-style questions relating to KSU.

Links to future study / the wider world (where applicable):

  • Links to Sections B and C of Paper 2.
  • Link to A Level e.g. AQA A Level – Contemporary Urban Environments.
  • Links to Living in the UK and Flooding studied in Year 7
  • Links to Rivers, Coasts and Glaciation, studied in Year 8.
  • Links to Weather and Climate, studied in Year 9 and in Unit 1 of Year 10.



Number of Lessons: Approx. 21 lessons (some lessons take longer than one hour to complete)

Sequence of lessons: 

NEE City: Rio de Janeiro

UK major city: Bristol

Urban sustainability

  1. Urbanisation and megacities
  2. Introduction to Rio de Janeiro
  3. Social challenges in Rio de Janeiro
  4. Economic challenges in Rio de Janeiro
  5. Improving Rio’s environment
  6. Managing squatter settlements in Rio de Janeiro
  7. Planning for Rio de Janeiro’s urban poor
  1. Where do people live in the UK?
  2. Introducing Bristol
  3. Social opportunities in Bristol
  4. Economic opportunities for Bristol
  5. How urban change affects the environment
  6. Environmental challenges in Bristol
  7. Creating a clean environment in Bristol
  8. Social inequality in Bristol
  9. New housing for Bristol
  10. Urban regeneration: Temple Quarter
  1. Planning for urban sustainability
  2. Sustainable living in an urban area
  3. Sustainable traffic management systems

Main resources:

  • OUP GCSE Geography Textbook for AQA: Pages 148-190
  • Teacher-prepared PowerPoint activities for each lesson.
  • GCSEpod clips for each component.

Method(s) of assessment: 

  • End of topic assessment: 1 hour test at end of topic: mixture of 1,2, 4 and 6 mark questions. One 9 + 3 SPaG mark question.
  • Assessed as part of December Mock in Year 11.
  • Forms part of the Paper 2 mock exam, in March of Year 11.
  • Final assessment: assessed within Paper 2 (sat in June of Year 11)

Use of assessment result(s):

  • Used to identify areas of weakness in terms of knowledge and skills.  Addressed throughout the remainder of the course.