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Geography

Characteristics of rural areas

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There are different types of rural area, depending on how accessible they are to urban areas. Rural areas are subject to changes caused by economic, environmental and social factors.

What is a rural area?

The nature of the term 'rural' varies from place to place. It often refers to areas in the country concerned which are less densely populated [densely populated: Where the number of people per square kilometre is high. ]. There are different types of rural areas, depending on how accessible they are from urban areas. These range from the rural urban fringe [rural-urban fringe: The very edge of the city, beyond the suburbs, where countryside and city merge. ], to the extreme (remote) rural areas.

Rural areas change over time. These changes are caused by:

Peak district - countryside

The Peak district, in the countryside

  • economic [economic: To do with money and finances. ] factors - tourism income, farming profitability, primary sector jobs
  • environmental [environmental: Your relationship with the environment around you. ] factors - land use, pollution, conservation
  • social [social: To do with society and social organisations. ] factors - population change and migration, leisure time, retirement population

There are different types of rural areas, which can be classified according to how accessible they are to the urban areas. The diagram below shows this.

Diagram showing the classification of rural areas

Diagram showing the classification of rural areas

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