Alexander Hamilton High School
2955 S. Robertson Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90034
AP Human Geography
           Class Room Number: 905
  Mr. Thomas Metro-Zapata
School Phone: 310-280-1400

Course Overview
Geography is the study of where and why things are located around the world.  Human geography, as opposed to physical geography, emphasizes the human features of the world (i.e. the study of ethnicity, language, economic development among others).  As an introductory course to human geography, we will survey places throughout the globe to analyze how and why they are unique culturally, how and why they are connected and how and why they change.  In doing so, we will explore questions such as “Why do some places fail to develop economically?” and “How does globalization affect local culture?”.  

Kuby, Michael, John Harner and Patricia Gober. Human Geography in Action. 4th ed. New York: John Wiley, 2007.

Rubenstein, James M. The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2005.

Teaching Strategies
Each unit will consist of four main activities: (1) readings, lectures and discussions of key terms and concepts, (2) practice of geographic skills though hands-on activities and the application of concepts to current events and case studies, (3) continual quizzes from the readings and vocabulary lists, and (4) evaluation with AP style multiple choice and free response questions.  A typical 90-minute period will include a reading/vocabulary quiz and review, presentation of new material through one or a combination of PowerPoint, video, discussion, and readings and, ideally, an activity which requires the application of the new material.

Topic Outline
The following is an outline of the major content areas covered by the AP Examination in Human Geography, as well as the approximate percentages of the multiple-choice section that are devoted to each area. This outline is a guide and is not intended as an exclusive list of topics. Please note, though, that this guide is the focus of our study, more so than the book and even my curriculum—in May, you will be responsible for what is on this outline, not what I taught you or what is in the text.

  1. Geography: Its Nature and Perspectives (5–10%)
    1. Geography as a field of inquiry
    2. Major geographical concepts underlying the geographical perspective: location, space, place, scale, pattern, nature and society, regionalization, globalization, and gender issues
    3. Key geographical skills
      1. How How to use and think about maps and geospatial data
      2. How to understand and interpret the implications of associations among phenomena in places
      3. How to recognize and interpret at different scales the relationships among patterns and processes
      4. How to define regions and evaluate the regionalization process
      5. How to characterize and analyze changing interconnections among places
    1. Use of geospatial technologies, such as GIS, remote sensing, global positioning systems (GPS), and online maps
    2. Sources of geographical information and ideas: the field, census data, online data, aerial photography, and satellite imagery
    3. Identification of major world regions (see maps)

AP Human Geography: World Regions — A Big Picture View
World Regions
AP Human Geography: World Regions — A Closer Look
World Regions

World regions maps: Many of these regions overlap or have transitional boundaries,
such as Brazil, which is part of Latin America but has Portuguese colonial heritage.
Although some regions are based on culture, others are defined by physiographic
features, such as sub-Saharan Africa, which is the part of the continent south of the
Sahara Desert. Not all geographers agree on how each region is defined. One
geographer may place Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Middle East, but another may
place them in Central Asia as both countries were formerly parts of the Soviet Union.
Likewise some geographers use the term Middle East, whereas others use Southwest
Asia to describe the same region.

  1. Population and Migration (13–17%)
    1. Geographical analysis of population
      1. Density, distribution, and scale
      2. Implications of various densities and distributions
      3. Composition: age, sex, income, education, and ethnicity
      4. Patterns of fertility, mortality, and health
    2. Population growth and decline over time and space
      1. Historical trends and projections for the future
      2. Theories of population growth, including the Demographic Transition Model
      3. Regional variations of demographic transitions
      4. Effects of national population policies: promoting population growth in some countries or reducing fertility rates in others
      5. Environmental impacts of population change on water use, food supplies, biodiversity, the atmosphere, and climate
      6. Population and natural hazards: impacts on policy, economy, and society
    3. Migration
      1. Types of migration: transnational, internal, chain, step, seasonal agriculture (e.g., transhumance), and rural to urban
      2. Major historical migrations
      3. Push and pull factors, and migration in relation to employment and quality of life
      4. Refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons
      5. Consequences of migration: socioeconomic, cultural, environmental, and political; immigration policies; remittances
  2. Cultural Patterns and Processes (13–17%)
    1. Concepts of culture
      1. Culture traits
      2. Diffusion patterns
      3. Acculturation, assimilation, and multiculturalism
      4. Cultural region, vernacular regions, and culture hearths
      5. Globalization and the effects of technology on cultures
    2. Cultural differences and regional patterns
      1. Language and communications
      2. Religion and sacred space
      3. Ethnicity and nationalism
      4. Cultural differences in attitudes toward gender
      5. Popular and folk culture
      6. Cultural conflicts, and law and policy to protect culture
    3. Cultural landscapes and cultural identity
      1. Symbolic landscapes and sense of place
      2. The formation of identity and place making
      3. Differences in cultural attitudes and practices toward the environment
      4. Indigenous peoples
  3. Political Organization of Space (13–17%)
    1. Territorial dimensions of politics
      1. The concepts of political power and territoriality
      2. The nature, meaning, and function of boundaries
      3. Influences of boundaries on identity, interaction, and exchange
      4. Federal and unitary states, confederations, centralized government, and forms of governance
      5. Spatial relationships between political systems and patterns of ethnicity, economy, and gender
      6. Political ecology: impacts of law and policy on the environment and environmental justice
    2. Evolution of the contemporary political pattern
      1. The nation-state concept
      2. Colonialism and imperialism
      3. Democratization
      4. Fall of communism and legacy of the Cold War
      5. Patterns of local, regional, and metropolitan governance
    3. Changes and challenges to political–territorial arrangements
      1. Changing nature of sovereignty
      2. Fragmentation, unification, cooperation
      3. Supranationalism and intrnational alliances
      4. Devolution of countries: centripetal and centrifugal forces
      5. Electoral geography: redistricting and gerrymandering
      6. Armed conflict, war and terrorism
  4. Agriculture, Food Production, and Rural Land Use (13–17%)
    1. Development and diffusion of agriculture
      1. Neolithic Agricultural Revolution
      2. Second Agricultural Revolution
      3. Green Revolution
      4. Large-scale commercial agriculture and agribusiness
    2. Major agricultural production regions
      1. Agricultural systems associated with major bioclimatic zones
      2. Variations within major zones and effects of markets
      3. Interdependence among regions of food production and consumption
    3. Rural land use and settlement patterns
      1. Models of agricultural land use, including von Thünen’s model
      2. Settlement patterns associated with major agriculture types: subsistance, cash cropping, plantation, mixed farming, monoculture, pastoralism, ranching, forestry, fishing and aquaculture
      3. Land use/land cover change: irrigation, desertification, deforestation, wetland destruction, conservation efforts to protect or restore natural land cover, and global impacts
      4. Roles of women in agricultureal production and farming communities
    4. Issues in contemporary commercial agriculture
      1. Biotechnology, including genetically modified organisms (GMO)
      2. Spatial organization of industrial agriculture, including the transition in land use to large –scale commercial farming and factors affecting the location of processing facilities
      3. Environmental issues: soil degradation, overgrazing, river and aquifer depletion, animal wastes, and extensive fertilizer and pesticide use
      4. Organic farming, crop rotation, value-added specialty foods, regional appellations, fair trade, and eat-local-food movements
      5. Global food distribution, malnutrition, and famine
  5. Industrialization and Economic Development (13–17%)
    1. Growth and diffusion of industrialization
      1. The changing roles of energy and technology
      2. Industrial Revolution
      3. Models of economic development: Rostow’s Stages of Economic Growth and Wallerstein’s World Systems Theory
      4. Geographic critiques of models of industrial location: bid rent, Weber’s comparative costs of transportation and industrial location in relation to resources, location of retailing and service industries, and local economic development within competitive global systems of corporations and finance
    2. Social and economic measures of development
      1. Gross domestic product and GDP per capita
      2. Human Development Index
      3. Gender Inequality Index
      4. Income disparity and the Gini coefficient
      5. Changes in fertility and mortality
      6. Access to health care, education, utilities, and sanitation
    3. Contemporary patterns and impacts of industrialization and development
      1. Spatial organization of the world economy
      2. Variations in levels of development (uneven development)
      3. Deindustrialization, economic restructuring, and the rise of the service and high technology economies
      4. Globalization, manufacturing in newly industrialized countries (NICs), and the international division of labor
      5. Natural resource depletion, pollution and climate change
      6. Sustainable development
      7. Government development initiatives: local, regional, and national policies
      8. Women in development and gender equity in the workforce
  6. Cities and Urban Land Use (13–17%)
      • Development and character of cities
        1. Origin of cities; site and situation characteristics
        2. Forces driving urbanization
        3. Borchert’s epochs of urban transportation development
        4. World cities and megacities
        5. Suburbanization processes
      • Models of urban hierarchies: reasons for the distribution and size of cities
        1. Gravity model
        2. Christaller’s central place theory
        3. Rank-size rule
        4. Primate cities
      • Models of internal city structure and urban development: strengths and limitations of models
        1. Burgess concentric zone model
        2. Hoyt sector model
        3. Harris and Ullman multiple nuclei model
        4. Galactic city model
        5. Models of cities in Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia, and South Asia
      • Built environment and social space
        1. Types of residential buildings
        2. Transportation and utility infrastructure
        3. Political organization of urban areas
        4. Urban planning and design (e.g., gated communities, New Urbanism, and smart-growth policies)
        5. Census data on urban ethnicity, gender, migration, and socioeconomic status
        6. Characteristics and types of edge cities: boomburgs, greenfields, uptowns
      • Contemporary urban issues
        1. Housing and insurance discrimination, and access to food stores
        2. Changing demographic, employment, and social structures
        3. Uneven development, zones of abandonment, disamenity, and gentrification
        4. Suburban sprawl and urban sustainability problems: land and energy use, cost of expanding public education services, home financing and debt crises
        5. Urban environmental issues: transportation, sanitation, air and water quality, remediation of brownfields, and farmland protection

Grading and Make-up Policy: Grades will be based on a scale where an A=90-100%, B=80-89%, C= 70-79%, D= 60-69%, F= 59% & below.

Absences, Tardies and Late Work:

    • Work due the day of an excused absence must be turned in upon return to class.
    • Work assigned the day of an excused absence must be turned in no later than the second day back regardless if our class met the first day back or not (check the website or see me).
    • All work missed because of an unexcused absence will result in a zero
    • It will be up to the student to get all missed notes and assignments.
    • Only 1 test can be made up each semester.  The student has no more than 3 days to make it up.
    • Major assignments (e.g. papers) are due the date given regardless of attendance status.
    • All work missed, including quizzes, because of unexcused tardies will result in a zero. Please note that I collect all homework and give quizzes as soon as the bell rings.
    • For an assignment to be on time, it must be organized, contain the proper heading, and be ready to be turned in before entering the classroom.
    • Ten points will be deducted for all late work. Late work will not be accepted later than one class meeting after the assignment’s due date.
    • One homework grade will be dropped at the end of each semester (worth 10 pts).


    Written Work:  All formal work must be completed using the MLA format with 1” margins and Times New Roman #12 font. 

    Academic Integrity:  Cheating or plagiarism of any kind will result in an automatic “F” on the assignment (for all parties involved).  All work copied or based off of another’s work should be cited.


    • All work must be kept until the end of the spring semester.
    • Grades will not be altered retroactively; what the grade book says, you get! (59.4% = F)
    • You may want to purchase a study guide for the unit exams and the AP Exam in May.

    Breakdown of Points: (this may be adjusted at a later date if need be)
    -          Homework…………………..20%
    -          Quizzes...................................20%
    -          Papers/Projects...........………10%
    -          Unit exams……..……………30%
    -          Final Exam…………..……….20%
    -          Total……………….…….....100%

    • Note all above guidelines are tentative and subject to change

    Click here for a the shortened version.

    Revised: 8/9/2017