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Urbanisation  

Urbanisation is defined as the "proportion of people living in built environments such as towns and cities". The word proportion in this definition is very important, because it indicates that we must judge urbanisation by looking at both the numbers of people living in both rural AND urban areas. For the first time ever in the history of mankind it is now estimated that more people now live in towns and cities than in rural areas.

Seattle, Washington. Copyright - Patrick McNally - http://www.flickr.com/people/65652256@N02

Urbanisation levels are affected by 2 things Migration and Natural increase

Migration is the movement of population from one area to another.  Some migrations are forced, voluntary, permanent and temporary, International and regional. The type of migration that we are principally interested in in this unit is Rural to urban migration, which is the movement of people from countryside to city areas.

This type of migration happened in MEDCs from the 18th Century onwards on a large scale, and has gradually slowed down.  In fact in many MEDCs the movement of people has reversed, and people are moving from Urban areas back into the countryside as they search for the quiet life (this is known as counter-urbanisation).

However, many LEDCs cities are experiencing massive rural to urban migration, mainly of young males, into the major cities. The major reasons for this movement can be classified into push and pull factors.

A Push factor is something that can force or encourage people to move away from an area. Push factors can include famine (as in Ethiopia in the 1980s), drought, flooding (as in Bangladesh, were people are becoming climate change refugees and having to move to Dhaka, watch an animation of Dhaka's growth here), a lack of employment opportunities, population growth and over population, and civil war (as in Darfur at the moment).
A Pull factor is one in which encourages people to move to an area. Pull factors include the chance of a better job, better access to education and services, a higher standard of living.
These factors have contributed to millions of people in LEDCs moving to cities in LEDCs, creating mass URBANISATION. You can watch a BBC animation of this process here.

Natural Increase also has a major effect on rates of urbanisation.  During the initial urbanisation phase natural increase in poorer parts of the world can increase as Death Rates fall in cities as people have;

         Better access to medical care
         Improved water supplies
         Sanitary conditions
        
Improved wealth so improved food supply

Whilst Birth rates take longer to fall and indeed more babies survive as infant mortality falls in cities. Also, young people move to towns and cities, which also boosts the birth rate. These combined factors can fuel the rate of urbanisation.

World Urbanisation rates in 2011 according to the UN.

Source

PATTERNS

1.     MEDCs were the first to urbanise, and generally have the largest proportion of their population living in towns and cities.

2.     LEDCs currently have lower rates of urbanisation, but are urbanising rapidly. Megacities ,that is cities with over 10 million people, are almost exclusively in poorer nations.

3.     Cities of World importance for commerce and trade are dominantly in MEDCs, regardless of size. World cities include Tokyo, London and New York.

4.     Many old colonies (e.g. in South America) have high percentages of urbanisation as the colonising countries such as France and the UK favoured city growth to help administration

MEDCs were the first to urbanise, and generally have the largest proportion of their population living in towns and cities.  LEDCs currently have lower rates of urbanisation, but are urbanising rapidly.  Megacities, that is cities with over 10 million people, are almost exclusively in poorer nations.  Cities of World importance for commerce and trade are dominantly in MEDCs, regardless of size.  World cities include Tokyo, London and New York.

Think about it

Try this graphing exercise in Excel

Attempt to complete this gap fill exercise on Urbanisation

Attempt the dustbin activity below

Take a test byte

Match up the key terms on Urbanisation

Watch urban Growth in Baltimore, USA and in Central Valley California

Watch the houses taking over.......

Internet Geography's page on urbanisation

 Push and Pull Factors

 

 

 

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Contact - robert.gamesby@st-marys.newcastle.sch.uk

 

 

 

     

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