Rural settlements form an essential part of human landscape. However, such settlements in both MEDCs and LEDCs have undergone considerable changes in recent years.
Rural-urban migration Urban-rural migration The consequences of urban growth Technological change Rural planning policies The balance of government funding between urban and rural areas
1. The large-scale movement from rural areas is a feature of developed and developing countries. Push and pull factors are clearly in operation2. The evidence for return migration is clear. For many people living in large cities, small towns and rural areas are very attractive. Due to improvements in transport they can still benefit from the employment opportunities, shops and recreational facilities of large urban areas but live in small towns or rural areas
3. Declining villages have many problems; It is difficult to maintain basic services for those who remain Decrease population number leads to closure of village, schools, run-down bus services and the transfer of many services to larger towns
Categories Description Features • An area of traditional tribal land tenure with At a travellingRemote rural distance of more than •Subsistence farming, extensive commercial 2 hours from an urban farming area •Nomadism in some parts •In some places tourism in the form of game parks At a travelling Accessible distance between •Developing service centres on or near main roads rural 30 mins and 2 hour from an urban •Deforestation for farming and fuel area •Areas of intensive vegetables and dairy farmsUrban fringe Land close to the edge of the urban •All the land is cultivated often with irrigation and area manuring •Evidence of urban growth with expansion of squatter settlements
The changes which are happening in rural areas in LEDCs are very important. This is because: the majority of the population live in rural areas with many people living below poverty line. The land is used to feed the people both in towns and rural areas - LEDCs import less food from other countries than MEDCs. This means that changes in rural areas in LEDCs are important. In Sub-Saharan Africa, problems such as famine, deforestation, soil degradation and soil erosion continue to exist
Rural push factors (such as low wages) and urban pull factors(such as better jobs) cause rural to urban migration. Positive results The migrants are able to send money home. With more money from the urban workers, school fees may be paid or livestock bought. Negative results It is often the young males who move - the remaining family may be less physically able to carry out heavy tasks. With the absence of the young males, children may have to work on the farm, rather than going to school.
Slash and burning of tropical rainforest, Amazon Basin, Brazil Land which was growing subsistence crops is turned into commercial agricultural land for cash crops. Positive impacts : The country has a greater source of income. There are jobs generated for workers. Negative impacts Less land is available to grow food to feed the local population. Water supplies may be used up on cash crops. Fertiliser may enter the local water supply. Rates of soil erosion increase. Local ecosystems may be damaged
The rate of naturalincrease is high in manyareas. This putspressure on the foodsupply. This leads tomalnutrition andstarvation. It alsoencourages rural tourban migration.
AIDS and otherepidemics raise thedeath rate. Wars also raise thedeath rate. Thismeans that there arefewer older people towork on the fields toproduce food.
As people seek to gain foodand income from the land,more vulnerable land is used. The processes ofdesertification anddeforestation mean theenvironment degrades.Clearing forests, such as inthe Amazon Rainforest,causes many problems suchas soil erosion and loss of theecosystem.
Some rural areas attract tourists. The MasaiMara in Kenya is one area which attracts touristson safari. This brings money into the area and may helpimprove local infrastructure. However themoney spent by tourists does not always goback to the local economy. These changes can make rural areas morevulnerable and trigger a cycle of decline.
The key success of future rural development is sustainability. Development that meets the needs of the rural people in the present without compromising their future needs Focus must be on sustainable agricultural development as this is the backbone of rural economy, employing up to 80% of households Other forms could be agro-forestry, ecotourism However, for each of these, education and training are fundamental Great emphasis should be given to raising the literacy standards as well as improving skills and techniques
Four key ways of helping rural areas become more sustainable: By improving the rural economy. This includes encouragingincome generation in the area. This may result in less rural -urban migration. By increasing rural food production. This will need to bedone in an environmentally sensitive way, so the way the landis farmed is more sustainable. By improving the rural standard of living. Ensuring there isclean water and safe sewerage disposal. Giving everybodyaccess to education and health care. Improvements in communication help rural people to keepin touch with developments. Better access and links to townsallows exchange of information, goods and products.