Developing Cities (Nelson CAL) Review | The Micro User - Everygamegoing

The Micro User

Developing Cities
By Nelson CAL
BBC B/B+/Master 128

Published in The Micro User 2.11

Flexible Geography

Developing Cities from Nelson CAL is a well designed and packaged set of programs on a number of themes fundamental to urban geography.

It comes as a disc with four programs and a useful set of notes including teaching objectives and suggestions for worksheets. There are screen dumps throughout the notes illustrating all the basic screens, and the instructions for inexperienced users are particularly easy to follow.

The first program, Cities One, is a simple simulation relating to rural-urban migration. It needs only a yes or no answer to each question and so is not particularly interactive.

Some of the decisions are not all that instructive but it is useful as a vehicle for further discussion. It is the weakest of the four with rather an uninteresting screen layout.

However don't let this put you off. This disc is well worth buying for Cities Two and Three. These are excellent representations of age-sex pyramids and other endless opportunities for both lesson and individual use.

Cities Two concentrates on the population structures of five countries - the Philippines, Bolivia, Libya, Peru and Sweden. Through a very effective set of keywords the population structures may be investigated using for example birth and death rates, fertility ratios and urban populations.

What particularly interests me is the flexibility built into the program enabling the user to project the populations over five year intervals and to change the basic rates.

Here there are LOOK BACK and OVERLAY facilities to emphasise the changes taking place. Also included is a HELP request to list the keywords. This program is complemented by Cities Three which looks at the age-sex structure changes in a hypothetical city called Neltown (Ugh).

Here is a classic city structure in a developing country with an emphasis on migration.

Through the clear screen layout it is quickly possible to absorb the fundamentals of the structure and identify the problems. Through the CHANGE RATES and NEW VALUES keywords the structures may be rapidly altered and students able to gain a deeper insight into some of the complex problems facing these cities.

Build, the fourth program, allows you to enter your own data for the population pyramids in Cities Two. The notes give instructions to assist this and even suggest a source book for demographic information with a matrix to assist this data collection.

Also included are notes relating to potential running problems and how to get a printer copy of the results. This latter section is not easy for the inexperienced user. Useful references are also made to text book materials which develop and reinforce key ideas.

Where would you use these programs in your scheme of work?

They are flexible enough to fit into various niches particularly in fourth and fifth form courses where there may be an emphasis on development studies and in sixth form advanced work.

This is a highly recommended package which illustrates just how useful a micro can be as a learning aid.

Norman Parr

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