Sunday, April 22, 2012

“Describe and account for the changes in urbanisation from 1950 – to date”

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Altogether, there are two distinctly differing emerging trends in urbanisation, which occur in MEDC’s and LEDC’s. Obviously the economic differences between these two types of country will mean that overall, their rates of urbanisation differ, and have done so for the past fifty years.

The nineteen hundreds marked the end of the so called ‘industrialisation period’ of history, which spanned about two hundred and fifty years, and was the period during which industry really began, and mass urbanisation really began to take place.

Obviously, MEDC’s are much more widely affected by this, as they are generally fully industrialised, and therefore the above period (150 � 00) shows a period of recession. This will mean that although there would have initially been a great amount of urbanisation as people moved to where the industry was growing (resulting in places such as Canary Wharf), due to the recession in industrial growth, especially in urban areas, there seems to be a general trend emerging, that people are beginning to move out of heavily built up urban areas, thus in MEDC’s urbanisation is perhaps in recession, or will be in future years.

LEDC’s are less affected by this as they are still expanding industrially, and therefore there is still a large amount of urbanisation taking place. People in LEDC’s tend to move to urban areas, as they offer the promise of steady jobs, and a better quality of life. In rural areas in these places, especially in very old villages, such as in Brazil, the only form of income here is through farming. Framing is a temperamental job in the beat of places, but in these areas where the rainfall is uncertain, the job does not offer nor guarantee steady work or food. The quality of life in theses areas is also rather poor due to bad sanitation and the fact that they are cut off from the city and amenities such as doctors etc, as the communication lines from the city to the countryside are very poor. This can be attributed to the fact that the economy is still unstable and the government tends to pour their funds into the urban areas which are growing, and are far more economically rich than the rural areas � this again is another enticement to encourage people in less economically developed countries to move from rural to urban areas, which can result in ‘diminishing’ villages, and a decrease in farming.

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The best example of the rate at which urbanisation is occurring in LEDC’s is perhaps the situation in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil (South America). There, the rate of urbanisation was so fast that the city could not erect houses fact enough, and shantytowns began to emerge on the outskirts of town as the optimum population for the area was breached. This led to a decrease in quality of life, and a vast number of unemployed vagrants on the streets. To try to overcome this, the government of Brazil decided that they would need to erect and name a new capital city in an area that could cope with vast expansion � they called this Brasilia.

Therefore, it can be summarised that LEDC’s still have a fast increasing rate of urbanisation, mainly due to the fact that they are still expanding industrially, and that the people view the urban areas there as a prospect of a new way of life, where there is steady work, and increased quality of life. Eventually, this increase will subside in the future, as the people in these countries become wealthier, and as new transport links are introduced, meaning that people can live in rural areas, yet commute to the city to their jobs.

The situation of urbanisation is very different in MEDC’s, for example, in Britain, 150 marked a period of trying to overcome the effects of World war two. This meant that initially, there may have been some form of urbanisation, as people moved back to the towns after being evacuated to the countryside for safety, so that they could then re-build the towns after the devastating effects of bombing. There may also have been an increase of women moving the urban areas, as over six million British men had been killed during the war, which led to a deficit of people for jobs, meaning that women were employed as replacements.

There may have also been a large number of people who preferred to stay in the country, as the war had marked a time when it was safer to live in the country (as it was less likely to be bombed), and therefore people perhaps felt safer living in the countryside, even after the war.

After the effects of the war had subsided, a different trend began. The war had marked a period of great advances in technology, and a period where people had relied heavily on the farming produce of their own country, rather than imports, therefore this may have been a period of increased farming as it was necessary to survive.

However, as towns and cities continued to grow over the years, and communications, e.g. busses, roads, trains etc have increased in number and quality, a new trend in urbanisation in MEDC’s, especially Britain, has emerged.

Business men and women, who work in the city, are increasingly moving out of it to rural areas, and commuting in by train or bus, this obviously has contributed to a decline in urbanisation. Although it must be remembered that these people do not contribute to the rural community that they live in, in the sense that they help the local economy by working � instead they bring in money through the fact that they buy local produce and use local amenities, which boosts rural economies greatly. This does not mean that urbanisation is not occurring in Britain and other MEDC’s; it has simply slowed, as there are a much larger number of people choosing to live in the countryside.

Local governments may have tried to prevent this kind of urban decline, by protecting and dedicating parts of towns as parkland, and other areas of natural beauty, where people can go to relax, and enjoy the impression of a rural area � yet this mainly only occurs today to increase the quality of life for people who work in the city, and therefore feel relaxed by such environments which are a stark contrast to the bustle of cities.

There has been a recent decline in pastural farming in Britain, especially over the past decade, which may be attributed to recent BSE and Foot and mouth disease epidemics, which have caused many farmers to lose all of their cattle and livestock, and consequently their livelihoods and farms. Obviously this has meant that many farmers have simply sold their property and moved to urban areas where there are more steady jobs. However, the European union has recently imposed a number of decrees on farming, which have benefited arable farmers greatly, some even getting paid for leaving their land to simply grow naturally. This obviously has negative effects on the economy of the area, yet may have prevented these farmers from selling their land and moving to urban areas.

Although there has been a decrease in the amount of farming in recent years in Britain, this has been compensated for through an increase in value of rural areas, notably Cornwall, Wales and Devon, for their ability to encourage tourists into the area. This has increased the number of people visiting these areas, and meant that people are more inclined to stay in these areas, due to the large, if seasonal amount of income that is generated from tourists during peak tourist seasons.

More recently, the increasing national tension since the events of September 11th 1, and the seemingly imminent war with Iraq may have led to an increase in the number of people moving to the rural areas, through fear of living in urban areas due to their popularity as terrorist targets (mainly due to the fact that urban areas are home to vast amounts of industry that if damaged could seriously damage the economy, and the fact that urban areas are home to a majority of the population, including important people and places such as the prime minister and the queen, the houses of parliament, MI5 etc).

There has been, over the past twenty years (mainly due to better living conditions and better pensions) a greater number of older people who, when they retire, prefer to move to rural areas where they can be free of the pollution of urban areas, and can live in relative peace. This will increase the ratio of people living in rural to urban areas, especially as the number of retired people is increasing all the time.

The most recent thing that may have an affect on the number of people living in the urban area of London is the new congestion charges that have been imposed which mean that people who wish to drive through London throughout the day, have to pay a charge. This may lead to people, especially those who have to drive their children to school everyday, moving out of the urban area, and to less congested rural areas, which would again lead to a decrease in the rate of urbanisation.

Overall, MEDC’s are generally showing a slowed urbanisation rate over the past fifty years, if not a decline in the number of people moving into urban areas, and an increase in the number of people moving out of them.

As can be seen, there have been a number of changes in urbanisation over the past fifty three years, due to a number of factors, one main one being the economic stage in development of a country, but there are obvious other factors, including the policy of the government in a area, (e.g. in LEDC’s, governments generally pour most of their funds into urban areas), and the general changing preferences and social attitudes of the people.

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