Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Counterurbanisation - Causes and Consequences

Urban to Rural Migration

Since the 1960s there has been a continuing trend of urban to rural migration, with people leaving cities and moving into countryside areas, this process is known as counterurbanisation.

Causes and Consequences of Counterurbanisation

(i) Causes
For your GCSE you will need to understand what is meant by counterurbanisation and you will need to be able to describe the causes and consequences of this process. So why are more people moving from urban areas into the countryside? (the reverse trend of what is happening in many LEDCs where rapid rural-urban migration has been taking place since the 1950s/60s!). The reasons for the movement can be summarised as a set of push and pull factors:

Push Factors (reasons for the movement away from cities)
- higher rates of congestion and pollution
- high land values making it harder for people to find affordable housing
- higher crime rates

Pull Factors (reasons for movements to the countryside)
- perceived better quality of life
- believed to be a safer and more pleasant environment for children to grow up in
- less pollution and more open space
- lower land-values and more affordable housing
- more businesses locating on greenfield sites to make the most of room for expansion and the more pleasant environment.

Improvements in transports and technology have led to the increase in counterurbanisation as it has become easier for people to commute to work or indeed work remotely from home, using internet / fax / e-mail technology.

(ii) Consequences

The process of counterurbanisation has had a number of consequences and in particular has resulted in the changing characteristics of many villages which have seen an increase in population becoming more suburbanised in character. These suburbanised villages have seen various changes as people have moved in from the city. Many have lost some of their rural characteristics as new housing developments have been built and in some instances business units have developed. Village shops and local services often suffer as these settlements often become "dormitory villages", where a large proportion of the population commute to work leaving a small daytime population. Many commuters use large supermarkets on the edge of towns and the lower demand for villages shops and services has forced many to close. There are also social impacts, as once tight-knit communities begin to lose community spirit as more and more people move in.

You should be able to illustrate an answer on suburbanised villages with a case study - e.g.
Peter Tavy, Devon
- experienced the gentrification of existing housing, including several barn conversions
- infrequent bus service (many households with one or two cars)
- need for more low cost housing for young people
- has experienced the closure of local facilities - village shop closed
- increase in newcomers not participating in village life

For more detail on the process of counterurbanisation see the powerpoint below:

Key terms check:
Counterurbanisation - the process of people from cities and towns into the countryside
Suburbanised Villages - villages growing in size and taking on more urban characteristics

Follow up links:
Definition of a suburbanised village

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