Section A - Urban Issues and Challenges


What is Urbanisation?

Urbanisation is the proportion of the world’s population who live in cities. It is always growing and is a result of natural increase and migration.
Natural increase is where the birth rate is higher than the death rate.
Urban growth is the increase in the area covered by cities.
In most of the world’s richer countries over 60% of people live in cities.
Urbanisation is faster in LIC’s however, as they are still developing.

1 of 6

Factors affecting the rate of Urbanisation

Rural-urban migration is the movement of people from the countryside to towns and cities.
Natural increase is when birth rate is higher than death rate.
A natural increase occurs when there is a high proportion of young adults in a population (aged 18-35) so more births occur.
A natural increase also occurs when there is a smaller proportion of older people in a population so therefore less deaths occur.
Another reason a natural increase occurs is when there is good healthcare (especially in urban areas of LIC’s) so less deaths occur.
Natural increase is highest in LIC’s (e.g. Cambodia) and some NEE’s (e.g. India).
Rural-urban migration is caused by push and pull factors, with push factors being real or imagined disadvantages of living in a rural area (pushing you out) and pull factors being advantages of living in an urban area (pulling you in).

2 of 6

Examples of Push and Pull Factors

Push factors:

  • Farming is hard and poorly paid
  • Desertification and soil erosion make farming difficult
  • Drought and other climate hazards reduce crop yields
  • Farming is often at subsistence level, producing only enough food for the family, leaving nothing to sell
  • Poor harvests lead to malnutrition or famine
  • There are few doctors or hospitals
  • Schools provide only a very basic education
  • Rural areas are isolated due to poor roads.
    Pull Factors:
  • There are more well paid jobs
  • Mobile reception is better
  • A higher standard of living is possible
  • People have friends and family already living there
  • There is a better chance of getting a good education
  • Public transport is better
  • A range of entertainments are available
  • There are better medical facilities.
3 of 6

The Emergence of Megacities

A megacity is a city with a population of over 10 million people.
In 2015 there were 28 megacities and there is estimated to be as many as 50 by 2050.
Megacities are more rapidly growing in LIC’s and NEE’s such as in the densely populated areas of India and China.
An example of a megacity is Tokyo, Japan with over 37.4 million inhabitants.
The three types of megacities are:

  • Slow growing: South-East Asia, Europe and North America - Population of <70% urban and no squatter settlements - e.g. Osaka-Kobe, Tokyo, Moscow and Los Angeles.
  • Growing: South America and South-East Asia - Population of 40%-50% urban and >20% in squatter settlements - e.g. Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai and Moscow city.
  • Rapid growing: South/South-East Asia and Africa - Population of >50% urban and <20% in squatter settlements - e.g. Jakarta, Lagos, Mumbai and Manila.
4 of 6

Where do People Live in the UK?

The population in the UK is unevenly distributed, with 82% living in urban areas.
1 in 4 of this 82% live in London or the South-East, with many highland regions in Wales and Scotland being very sparsely populated due to harsh climatic conditions.
There has been a general shift towards the South-East of England and London, due to it being one of the world’s financial, business and cultural centres.
There had recently been a movement from urban to rural areas in the UK, due to the UK having an increasing proportion of older people, many choosing to retire and live by the coast or in the countryside.

5 of 6

Planning for Urban Sustainability

Urban areas are known for having many sustainability problems such as waste disposable and traffic congestion, but there are ways towns and cities can tackle these problems and become more sustainable.
This requires social, economic and environmental planning.
Examples of sustainable urban strategies:

  • Providing green spaces
  • Recycling water to conserve supplies
  • Recucing rey reliance on fossil fuels and rethinking transport options
  • Keeping city wastes within the capacity of local rivers and oceans to absorb them, and making ‘sinks’ for the disposal of toxic chemicals
  • Involving local communities and providing a range of employment
  • Conserving cultual, historical and environmental sites and buildings
  • Minimising the use of greenfield sites by using brownfield sites instead.
6 of 6


No comments have yet been made

Similar Geography resources:

See all Geography resources »See all Urban environments resources »