Urban Sprawl

Urban Sprawl

Causes

  • Population growth - increased demand for housing
  • Demand for out of town shopping and retail parks lead to buildings constructed on previously undeveloped places
  • Migration - from urban areas to rural areas - (in HICs) as the urban fringe area has more space, cheaper land and less congestion than the inner city
  • Migration - rural to urban - pull factors include better opportunities, etc, and urban sprawl can happen when there is rapid urban growth and the housing facilities cannot cope with it

Effects

  • More congestion and pollution in the countryside
  • Similarly, commuter towns can be established, where people work in the city and live on the outskirts so they have to commute into work - this causes pollution and congestion
  • Commuter towns also lead to a rise in house prices
  • There is building on greenfield sites - this could lead to environmental impacts such as loss of habitats
  • Developing on farmland areas can lead to people losing their income as farmers, and also the loss of wildlife etc
  • In LICs and NEEs (eg Rio, Brazil) urband sprawl as a result of rapid urban growth can lead to squatter settlements or slums - for example in Rio the favelas
  • Positive: out-of-town retail and business parks can benefit as the land on the outskirts of urban areas is cheap, and this offers employment for local people

Overall summary

URBAN SPRAWL = the uncontrolled growth of towns and cities, encroaching on rural surroundings SOLUTIONS- Green Belts - these are areas of undeveloped, natural land that are established on the outside of cities to help prevent urban sprawl. In many UK cities such as London there is a target to have 40 percent of land as 'green space' which also makes the area more sustainable- Regeneration - using brownfield sites to build on, for example the London Docklands regeneration, or simply re-using or re-purposing old industrial sites. This may be more expensive than building on greenfield sites as there must be clearing and decontamination, however in the long term it's more sustainable  

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