Characteristics and definition of urban environments
By population size, density of housing or number of dwellings (different countries have different
By employment (large % of working population in manufacturing or office activities).
By facilities or functions (usually have high level of services- piped water, sewerage, medical and
By government legislation.
How and why do they develop?
Migration from rural to urban areas
Natural population increase (is greater in urban areas)
Urban areas have better access to medical and other
services (greater life expectancy-attractive).
Process by which more
and more people live in
towns and cities
Movement of people,
shops away from
centre into suburbs.
This is the movement
of people away from
cities and towns to
villages and small towns
in the countryside.
Movement of people
back into the central
area of a city after it
has had a period of
decline. City centre
usually a catalyst for
accounts for approx. 60%
of rise (high birth rate,
low death rate)
Rapid migration accounts
for approx. 40% of rise
in urban population
1. Lack of job
2. Lack of
3. Monotony and
4. Increase in
demand for labour.
5. Problems of crop
6. Insufficient land
reforms and over
lack of suitable
1. Better health
3. Better provided
4. Perception of
and bright lights of
5. Move public and
= greater job
availability in cities
Application to the UK
1. Primary agricultural/craft economy (pre 1750’s/late 18th
2. Urbanisation with economic development alongside the Industrial Revolution (Early
3. a) Rapid urbanisation with industrial growth, migration from rural to urban areas
b) Suburbanisation: suburbs grow faster than the central areas, the city grows
outwards (1920’s onwards)
4. The suburbs continue to attract people but inner city population declines.
Development of peripheral industrial estates and retail areas (1950’s-1970’s)
1. Very slow
2. Increase in rate
3. Rapid rise in
4. Urbanisation slows
considerably; majority of
people live in towns and
cities employed in industry
occurs and the urban
proportions stablises or
decreases as some
prefer to commute
5. People move to adjacent rural areas or to smaller towns further away (1970’s
6. Some movement back to the centre due to gentrification, redevelopment and/or
the creation of job opportunities in the central area (late 1980’s onwards).
Urbanisation in MEDCs
Linked to industrial revolution.
As factories were built in town centre, terraced
houses were built to house workers. Services were
then developed which attracted even more
Quick and cheap houses.
Overcrowding in houses
Poor water supply and sanitation resulting in
Suburbanisation: Also linked to
development of suburbs.
Centres became busy, noisy, polluted places.
People moved to live on edge of the city assisted
by the development of transport systems.
Resulted in towns and cities spreading outwards.
Counterurbanisation: people leaving the
city to live in the countryside.
Re-urbanisation: as cities redeveloped
their inner cities to attract companies and
people back to the city centre.
Urbanisation in LEDCs
Why the rapid growth?
Modernisation of agriculture
More machinery and chemicals used reducing need
Rapid population growth
From natural increase and pressure to leave
countryside as local resources can not support the
Decline of traditional industries
Due to cheap imported goods from MEDCs,
workers have to look for new jobs in the cities
Attraction of better housing
Housing issues: production of basic housing
Employment issues: not enough jobs in
Pollution: waste disposal problems in some areas.
Transport: hard to keep up with the spread of the
city= leads to increase in pollution.