As the world's urban population continues to grow, it becomes increasingly imperative to understand the dynamic interactions between human activities and the urban environment. The development of urban environmental geochemistry has yielded a significant volume of scientific information about geochemical phenomena found uniquely in the urban environment, such as the distribution, dispersion, and geochemical characteristics of some toxic and potentially toxic trace metals. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of the development of urban environmental geochemistry as a field of scientific study and highlight major transitions during the course of its development from its establishment to the major scientific interests in the field today. An extensive literature review is also conducted of trace metal contamination of the urban terrestrial environment, in particular of urban soils, in which the uniqueness of the urban environment and its influences on trace metal contamination are elaborated. Potential areas of future development in urban environmental geochemistry are identified and discussed.