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Developing Student Understanding of Complex Systems in the Geosciences
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Boomburbs

Sarah Bednarz
,
Geography, Texas A&M University
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Summary

A boomburb is a new urban phenomena that has emerged in the last 20 years along with the growth of the Sunbelt and its suburban-dominated forms of urbanization. Boomburbs are rapidly growing suburban cities and represent a new metropolitan form; even as boomburbs grow, they remain essentially suburban in character. Nearly 9 million Americans live in boomburbs.
This activity engages students in identifying boomburbs, their location, characteristics, unique urban morphology, and causes for existence. Boomburbs are contrasted with other urbanized areas.

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Context

Audience

Undergraduate human geography/urban geography class; high school geography/social studies class

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

basic mathematics; spreadsheet skills

How the activity is situated in the course

as part of the unit on urban systems

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

data analysis, synthesis of evidence from data to formulate hypotheses

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

A boomburb is a new urban phenomena that has emerged in the last 20 years along with the growth of the Sunbelt and its suburban-dominated forms of urbanization. Boomburbs are rapidly growing suburban cities and represent a new metropolitan form; even as boomburbs grow, they remain essentially suburban in character. Nearly 9 million Americans live in boomburbs. In this activity students examine data to define "boomburb," observe the location of several boomburbs to make generalizations about their location and relationship with larger urbanized areas, and finally look at the services and urban functions provided in boomburbs along with problems and issues associated with these urban phenomena.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Multiple choice questions on exam.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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