Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Rural-Urban Fringe (Land-use and conflict)

The rural-urban fringe (the area at the edge of a city) has become an increasingly popular area for economic developments. Competition for land in these areas increased signficantly during the 1990s. The land is much cheaper here than in the city centre, and many factories that were once in inner city locations have moved to these areas as their previous locations lacked space for expansion. As well as industrial estates and residential use, these areas attract shopping centres, business parks and recreation facilities such as golf courses. The benefits of the rural-urban fringe are set out in the diagram below.

Conflict at the Rural-Urban fringe
Although there is competition for land for economic developments at the rural-urban fringe, there is increasing pressure from environmental groups to restrict urban sprawl and protect the environment on the edge of cities from economic pressures. If urban sprawl continues unchecked, many wildlife habitats would be destroyed. Conservationists and farmers want to protect nature reserves and farmland, and open space for recreation is required by people living in the nearby urban area. There is therefore competition for land at the rural-urban fringe and conflict between economic and environmental land-uses. You should be aware of these and be able to discuss them in an exam answer.

There have been a number of attempts to control urban sprawl and reduce / restrict developments on the rural-urban fringe, these include Green Belts which were created by the government in 1947.

Follow up links:

Rural-urban fringe (definition)
The Rural-Urban Fringe (a detailed article really aimed at A'level students - but with many useful points)
Land-use at the rural-urban fringe (a detailed report from the Farm Foundation summarising policies and issues associated with land-use at the rural-urban fringe)
Urban Land-use Model (GeoBytes)

Key Terms Check:

Rural-urban fringe - where urban areas meet the surrounding countryside
Green Belt - an area of land around a settlement where development is severely restricted
Urban Sprawl - uncontrolled growth on the edge of a settlement
Greenfield Site - land previously unbuilt on

No comments: