is the increase in the proportion of people living in towns and
occurs because people move from rural areas (countryside) to urban
areas (towns and cities). This usually occurs when a country is
of urbanisation in 1950 and 1990
to 1950 the majority of urbanisation occurred in MEDCs (more economically
developed countries). Rapid urbanisation took place during the
period of industrialisation that took place in Europe and North
America in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Many
people moved from rural to urban areas to get jobs in the rapidly
expanding industries in many large towns and cities. Since 1950
urbanisation has slowed in most MEDCs, and now some of the biggest
cities are losing population as people move away from the city
to rural environments. This is known as counter-urbanisation.
You can read more about this process here.
the most rapid growth in urbanisation has occurred in LEDCs (Less
Economically Developed Countries) in South America, Africa and
Asia. Between 1950 and 1990 the urban population living in LEDCs
doubled. In developed countries the increase was less than half.
are two main causes of urbanisation in LEDCs since 1950 are:
Rural to urban migration is happening on a massive scale due to
population pressure and lack of resources in rural areas. This
are 'push' factors.
People living in rural areas are 'pulled' to the city. Often they
believe that the standard of living in urban areas will be much
better in urban areas. They are usually wrong. People also hope
for well paid jobs, the greater opportunities to find casual or
'informal' work, better health care and education.
Natural increase caused by a decrease in death rates while birth
rates remain high.
million city is, yes you guessed it, a city with one million (or
more) inhabitants. According to the 1995 UN census these are the
largest cities on the planet:
(Japan) 27.2 million
City (Mexico), 16.9 million
3. Sao Paulo (Brazil) 16.8 million
York (USA), 16.4 million
India, 15.7 million
can find out more about the largest cities in the world (including
predictions for the future) here.
is the movement of people out of cities, to the surrounding areas.
Since 1950 this proccess has been occurring in MEDCs (More Economically
Developed Countries). There are four main reasons for counter-urbanisation:
The increase in car ownership over the last 40 years means people
are more mobile. This has led to an increase in commuting. Also,
the growth in information technology (E-mail, faxes and video
conferencing) means more people can work from home.
Urban areas are becoming increasing unpleasant place to live.
This is the result of pollution, crime and traffic congestion.
More people tend to move when they retire.
New business parks on the edge of cities (on Greenfield sites)
mean people no longer have to travel to the city centre. People
now prefer to live on the outskirts of the city to be near where
Problems in MEDCs
areas in MEDCs have experienced a range of problems in recent years.
Traffic problems. Car ownership and commuting means an increase
in congestion and pollution.
in industry. As older manufacturing industries have closed they
have left empty, derelict buildings towards the centre of the
city. Modern industries need more space so tend to locate on the
edge of the city.
unemployment in inner city areas (where the old industries were
once located) leads to social problems.
in shopping have also caused problems. City centre locations are
no longer favoured. There has been a recent growth in out of town
shopping centres, which has led to the decline of many CBDs (central
Study - Inner City Redevelopment
1981 the London's Docklands Development
Corporation (LDDC) was set up to improve the economic, social
and environmental problems that had developed in the area that
was once one of the world's busiest ports. The area had been in
decline since the 1950's. This is because larger ships could no
longer access the port. Unemployment soared, the back to back
terraced housing fell into disrepair and their was a lack of transport
and leisure facilities. The area became on the first Enterprise
Zones in 1981. The land was made rate free for ten years.
many changes occurred within the Docklands. For example:
attracted a number of hi-tech and financial firms. This includes
The Limehouse ITV studios and The Guardian and Daily Telegraph
Many of the
former warehouses have been transformed into luxury flats. This
is an example of gentrification. Low cost housing has also been
built along with the renovation of older council owned properties.
A large shopping
area was constructed close to Canary Warf. A number of parks have
been created where buildings once stood. More recently the Millennium
Dome was built in this area.
redevelopment of London's Docklands brought many benefits to the
area there are some groups who oppose the changes. This includes
some of the original inhabitants of the area who are now unable
to afford to live there. The majority of the jobs in the new hi-tech
industries are unsuitable to unemployed docker workers. They do
not have the skills needed for jobs in these industries. Close
knit-communities have been broken up. Many believe there are insufficient
services for people living in the area e.g. care for the elderly.