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Geography

Urbanisation in MEDCs

Urbanisation can cause problems such as transport congestion, lack of sufficient housing, over-rapid growth and environmental degradation. Many cities display particularly sharp inequalities in housing provision, health and employment.

Some people try to escape these problems by moving away from the city - a process called counter-urbanisation. Long term, however, the solution must be to make cities more sustainable [sustainable: Doing something in a way that minimises damage to the environment and avoids using up natural resources, eg by using renewable resources. ].

Causes of urbanisation

Urbanisation means an increase in the proportion of people living in urban areas compared to rural areas. An urban area is a built-up area such as a town or city. A rural area is an area of countryside.

As a country industrialises, the number of people living in urban areas tends to increase. The UK and many other MEDCs [MEDC: A More Economically Developed Country (MEDC) has high levels of development based on economic indicators such as gross domestic product (the country's income). ] urbanised during the 18th and 19th centuries. People migrated from rural areas (due to the mechanisation in farming) to urban areas where there was employment in the new factories. The area of cities known as the inner city developed during this time as rows of terraced housing were built for workers.

Santiago, Chile

Santiago, Chile

Today the UK is a mostly urban society, with 90 per cent of the population living in towns or cities.

On a global scale, urbanisation is taking place rapidly, particularly in LEDCs [LEDC: A Less Economically Developed Country (LEDC) has low levels of development, based on economic indicators, such as gross domestic product (the country's income). ].

Although the UK is an urban society, more and more people are choosing to live on the edge of urban areas - with many relocating to the countryside. This is called counter-urbanisation.

Back to Urban environments index

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