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Rural Setllements

  • Hamlets - often less than 100 people - only support low order services such as a general store or pub . Low order services have low threshold (min. no. of people necessary for a particular service will be provided in an area) and have a small catchment area
  • Village - larger pop. support a wider range of services - e.g. school or chapel 
  • Small market town - larger pop.than villages- have a greater varierty of high and low order goods- catchment area is bigger - draw custom from surrounding villages and hamlets 

Processes that operate in rural areas include population growth and decline , growth and decline of settlements and changes in rural economy, rural society and environment. Counter-urbanisation is the growth of smaller settlements as many residents live in rural areas but got to work in cities, thus dormitory settlements have developed- composition of population changes in terms of age , occupation and class. Growth of settlement and transport infrastructure can have negative impact on environment. Howevr some rural settlements are experiencing decline of economic oppurtunity and population - affects age-structure and attractiveness of the region - people move out more deprivation 

Factors affecting rural functions and oppurtunities- rural areas near urban areas have greater oppurtunities for economic activity- larger market for goods and better transport . However remote rural areas offer few oppurtunities due to poor accesisbility, small market and population. Oppurtunities include farming , mining , forestry , recreation and housing. Functions change over time farming is much less important now than 50 years ago - many rural settlements now far more important for residential purposes 

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CASE STUDY: functions and opportunities in West Ox

Settlements here show a great variety and a range of oppurutnities: 

  • Yarnton is a dormitory settlement near Oxford (residential)
  • Begbroke has a residential function but contains a high-tech firm drawing workers surrounding the region 
  • Bladons has a tourist function (Sir Winston Churchill buried) & used to conatin many workers cottages , which are now rented on Bleihman Estate
  • Woodstock is an important tourist location - Blenheim Palace and Estae- also contains a secondary school, doctors surgeryetc. is important centre
  • Combe settlement such as Combe contain railway stations so have a commuter function

Hierachy and functions - 120 settlements within West Oxfordshire split according to their size and facilities offered split into 4 groups:  Groups C - service centres (9 towns and villages) 

  • Group B - 12 medium-sized villages
  • Group A - 21 smaller visitors
  • Group D - small villages , hamlets and open countryside 

Settlements classified using 30 indicators which included - positive factors showed avalabilty of service and facilities such as public transport and schools , and restraint factors which showed lack of local facilities , significant distance from local service - reviewed every 3 years by parish survey and distict council

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CASE STUDY : functions and opportunities in West O

Profile of the Service Centres - Group C (9 towns and villages) 

  • contains Witney (pop.25,000) and Chipping Norton (6,000)
  • each place has a wide range of facilities and employment oppurtunities - many linked to Oxford by good bus services - significant amount of housign facilities e.g. Witney hotel and church , pertol station 
  • most services developped due to good accesisbility , good economy and political and evironmental factors (Witney wool and blanket industry only recently collapsed). Economic factors include job oppurtunities , politcal factors such as landownership has influenced distribution and location of settlements- environmental facotrs such as potenital for flooding affect location of settlements - rivers such as Thames restricted and changes settlements growth and expansion - social factors include avalabilty of skilled work force

Profile of medium-sized villages - Group B (12 villages pop.over 1000)

  • All villages in group B have a school and pub and experienced housing development however all have experienced of closure of shops and services- since 2003 Freeland lost its post office and local shop and petrol station - only six villages now have fuel stations - Milton lost full-time GP surgeries however since 2003 five villages now have a daily bus service - Ducklington and 2 other villages now dont have a bus service every hour- North Leigh new libary and youth centre
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CASE STUDY: functions and opportunities in West Ox

  • Group B villages have fewer job oppurunities and not as accessible - located away from C areas
  • Older population with few new housing estates 
  • environmental impact is less than in larger areas due to few housing estates 
  • growth and location of settlement affected by landownership (Duke of Malborough) and flood plains 

Profile of the smaller villages - Group A (21 villages - pop. less than 1000)

  • 9 villages located with Cotswolds area of outstanding natural beauty - all but 6 in a conservation area- 
  • each village has a place of worship- just over 60% have a post office - most have a school - no GP surgeries or libary - due to location and limited service not suitbale for new development
  • Since Parish Survey been a no. seen improvments in facilities and services others have lost them- Cassington gained a post office and new village hall - Bladon no longer have playing fields due to private owners
  • big improvement to local bus services with Group A villages - 3/4 seen more regular bus service-community bus
  • offer few job oppurtunities - many dormitory settlements- Cassington influence of Oxford for jobs- expansion is restricted as River Evenlode and irs floodplain- relativley small young pop due to lack of job and social oppurtun.

Farming does not employ many people still important for food production- rural settlements such as Woodstock have industrial esates and science parks - oppurtunities in recreation and tourism and quarrying services- many oppurunities offered in West Oxfordshire 

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CASE STUDY: Rural settlement in Eastern Cape-South

Functions - Welcomewood has 2000 people - housing quality is mixed , some substience agriculture (due to plot size), road network and quality is poor- water is a tap on the side of the road- no electricty- local employment is limited. Welcomewood was resettled (from previous government who would relocate population groups and removed their homes and relocated elsewhere - far away)-with Africans from Upington 30 years ago but still differiation betwene orginal population who speak Xhosa and relocate pop. who speak Afrikaans

Peelton - 12km northeast of King Williams Town - largely pastoral area due to limited water supplies- lacks viable agriculture basis (like Welcomewood). Most of population look to secondary (manufacturing industries) and tertiary activities (services which include halth and eductaion) for a livlehood. Pop size is around 5000 and housing varies from mud and sticks to stone buildings- water has to be collected from wells and electricty is not provided- local source of employment is limited to schools and clinics - unemployment and poverty is widespread

Oppurtunities - Eastern Cape is poorest region in South Africa - no mineral resources such as gold , limited amounts of fertile soil and water- farming main oppurtunity in the region and increasingly tourism is being developed as an economic sector

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CASE STUDY : Rural settlement in Eastern Cape Sout

Use of Vegetation - natural vegetation is used in a number of ways- for building material , fences and fuel- Welcomewood wood is collected near Mount Coke 6km away

Fuel - most households in Welcomewood use wood as a fuel compared to on;y 13% in Peelton , here collection of wood is important for households with a lower income , some able to make money through the sale of wood , travel up to 3k

Factors affecting development- accessibilty-region is remote and isolated from the main centres of economic activity in South Africa- economic structure is another one , there are maufacturing bases such as in Port Elizabeth however farming is the most important activity in surrounding rural areas- workforce is generally unskilled- out migration of young , skilled workers creates a shortage in the region 

Farming in the region - number of factors combine to make agricultural activity productivity low and variable- both Welcomewood and Peelton have one borehole each providing a limited supply of water- some used for irrigation. In Peelton land and fields close to rive are used for arable agriculture although this land is privatley owned. Welcomewood is situated on top of an exposed ridge , water situation is more seroius as there are high evaporation rates in exposed windy places

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CASE STUDY : Rural settlement in Eastern Cape Sout

Factors Affecting Agricultural development: 

Rainfall - low and varaible rainfall adds to problem of diminishing land per capita (per head of opo.)- caused by resettlement and pop.growth

Soils - In Peelton a large proportion of land near the river is suitable for cropping , but in Welcomewood the quality is mych poorer and only a limited amount can be used fro cropping - most used for livestock

Access to Land - Welcomewood 34% of residents have land holdings although they are mostly very small , 77% produce veg , 23% produce maize and 27% graze animal on communal ground. Peelton land holding vary, houses on land from 1 - 6 hectares - use of holdings vary , 87% for growing veg , 10% maize and 3% not making any use of land. 

Other Constraints- ability to produce affected by high cost of water, high cost of seeds, lack of fencesand to deter domestic animals from eating crops. Cost of developping is quite high Rand 600-700 . Irrigation could be useful but the lack of water and long distances between plots and boreholes , is unsusual. Use of manure is not regular

Shortage of labour - low productivity due to large numbers of females households, migrants and commuters - some women claim the absence of men caused the household to abandon agriculture all together

Land is unable to support rural population. Land remains unused due to absence of laboures, low yields, high risk operations, theft by other villagers , access to land , and inability to afford right equipment. Farming is largely a secondary supplement to other jobs (supplementing food supplies for family). 

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CASE STUDY : Rural settlement in Eastern Cape Sout

Unemployment - in Peelton pernament unempolyment is frequent. Welcomewood pop. more vunreable than Peelton pop. as more remote and lack of oppurtunities , its distance from sources of employment  and pop. is a resetllement so has fewer contacts with people whom it may be possible to secure jobs. Peelton on otherhand has a regular bus service to Bisho and there to King Williams Town so search for employment is easier. Rural areas do not provide a living for most especially not from agriculture - there other sources of employment such as in the service sector , clinics , schools , police however oly supply around 20 job sin both Peelton and Welcomewood - also informal sector (untaxes and unregulated) 


Water- Welcomewood one tap provides for the whole village , no houses have piped water, carrying a 20kg container is physivally demanding, and takes a lot of hours- very hilly. Some residents in Welcomewood coolect water from the dam which is risky due to contamination from animals is high. In Peelton residents have to travel distances of 1km to 3km to reach borehole- return journey is all uphill.

Bank and post office facilties - is limited neither village has a bank or post office- general procedure for people sending or collecting mail (or pension) is via local shopkeeper whos osrts post in Bisho and King Williams Town

Recreational Services - there are few recreation spaces- Welcomewood has a field with a goalpost in it and Peelton has nothing

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Key Factors leading to the growth or decline in ru

IMPROVEMENTS IN TRANSPORT - both public & private - most accessible villages have grown the most - many have lost original character and function- for example the original village may have relativley polloution free environment , which is quiet and open spaced however now there is more noise and pollution and loss of farmland . Another example original village may just have had a village shop , small primary school now has more shops and more (enlarged schools) - modern public houses

INCREASED STANDARD OF LIVING- people have more money so access to more cars so can live further away from work- can afford bigger houses

DECREASED SIZE OF HOUSEHOLDS- more people living alone - lower death rates , increased rate of divorce - children leaving parents home - more demand for housing- so more houses wanted in rural areas

DISSATISFACTION WITH URBAN LIFESTYLES - urban areas seen to be unsafe , polluted , expensive , unfriendly - not good for bringing up families- rural seen as clean , safe an good place to raise a family - this ther belief of most people 

INCREASE IN CAR OWNERSHIP - allow people to live further away from work- commuting is easy 

IMPROVING TECHNOLOGY- such as internet more people can work from home 

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Problems associated with the development of rural

URBAN SPRAWL - in some areas there is no green belt (prevent urban sprawl) e.g. Swindon- no planning legislaiton to prevent it 

NEED FOR MORE HOUSING- pressure on rural areas for housing developments - this is due to longer life expectancy , young people leaving their homes earlier , more people want modern houses with good facilities - property cocsts less and large plots of land are avaliable ( greenfied sites - cheaper land , allow planners more freedom but cause habitat destruction , increased traffic and pollution - brownfield sites , does not harm the environment and creates local jobs , may use existing infrastructure but land is expensive and causes overcrowding and congetsion) 

RECREATIONAL PRESSURE - such as golf courses waste a large amount of water and destroy natural habitats 

TRANSPORT & INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT - motorways destroy countryside e.g. development of M40 Oxford-  the building of major new roads can cause oppositopn 

AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENTS - suffer from litter , trespass and vandalism - some is turned in to development

SERVICE DEVELOPMENT - some out of town shopping areas and caravan storgae are unslightly - visual pollotuion

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Oxfords green belt is in crisis - DEVELOPMENTS (rural land that has been developped): 

  • Pear tree park & ride - covers 30 acres of green belt 
  • housing development at Blackbird Leys
  • Univeristy built a buisness centre - The Oxford Buisness School & nano technology centre at Begbroke
  • Buisness Park at Long Hanborough 

All of the above had led to increased road congestion and noise & air polloution - destroying natural habitats - change and conflict in rural communities 

Oxford Science Park - development within the green belt - 30 hectare site - during construction phase use of heavy machinery and removal of vegetaion = soil erosion 

Industrial Devlopment-  as well as new science park and Begbroke also Unipart built a new factory at Horspath - however for local residents factory is just 230m from houses and is 14m high- destroyed character of Horspath - angered local residents

Development of recreational facilities - Oxforfd United stadium developped on rural area - has nearly 2000 parking spaces - other leisure facilities include hotel , cinema and pool- which will be built on neighbouring land- agreement meant Oxford Unites have to upgrade the A4074 Sandford interchange - build a new all-weather pitch next to staduim

Economic/Social Problems - housing demands means higher prices for housing - yong people cant afforf them- new housing targeted at wealthy-decline in primary activities (farming/fishing)- jobs are more skilled- social differences

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CASE STUDY : Rural change in Eastern Cape

Factors leading to rural change and decline 

Forced Population Relocation - last governmet in South Africa - Aparthield ( seperate devlopment for different races - allocated different areas for different groups- racial capatilism) Era. Forced normallt black African citizens remove from white-owned farms and villages to homelands ( territory set aside for black inhabitants)  - population group to live in racially segregated zonesa - black communities not govenrment responsibility

Betterment - ment to help combat erosion , conserve environment and improve agricultural production in HOMELANDS. - however areas were to overcorwded- land was divided in to different land uses - people were therfore moved into new residential areas- betterment occured widley and people generally found themselves further from resources such as wood and water- though is era over still overcorwded - most of homeland areas are poor and unable to migrate to better areas

Poverty and unemployment - not spread across of South Africa- standard of living for many black people is poor - rural areas are poor compared to urban areas such as Johannesburg- Eastern Cape region one of poorest regions 70% in region are in poverty- its on a sharp downward trend- unemployment figures higher than any other province in rhe country (national women unemployed was 50.6% in Eastern cape women unemplyment is 62% in 2002) - most poverty in former homelands such as Ciskei. - greatest development challenge - poverty is serious 

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CASE STUDY : Rural change in Eastern Cape

Social Problems 

Standard of Living - measured by HDI (measure devlopment , life expectancy and literacy and income)- in UK average 0.94 , in South Africa 0.653 (121st out of 177 countries) - however is rising in some regions e.g. Buffalo City 0.56 in 1996 , and in 2005 0.59. 

Access to Services - low acces to water , sanitiation and energy- In Mnquma only 53.2% have access to clinics - and in Ngqushwa only 5.4% have acces to ambulance service and 5.7% of population have access to good roads. 

HIV & AIDS -  estimated that 10% of population in Eastern Cape are HIV positive - women are at greater risk- epidemic is growing fast among youths - Amathole district (rate of unborn children) is rising 27.4% in 2004 and in 2002 21,7% 

Economic Problems 

Transport -  local communities main traped and isolated as there is poor road infrastructure- there is a lack of funding to improve roads. Many rural areas remian remote thereby reducing potential of development - in Eastern Cape 435km are in poor condition 

Skills - in Amathole district most working people have elementary skills or are unskilled- only 4% are skilled- many in service-orienatted jobs - job opputunites lack as not suitable and un-skilled workforce , education is crucial. Unemployment increased between 1996 and 2005- limited local economic activities and poourtunities in area such as in Great Kei risen from 28.7% to 38.2%. 

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CASE STUDY : Rural change in Eastern Cape

Problems in Farming Sector: 

  • loss of traditional lands led to decline in black rural economy - poverty preventing farmers inputs needed to improve yields - subsitence farming replaced by commercial farming - so low productivity and become labourers - migrants did not send much money to homeland weakened agricultural base
  • failure to modernise and increase output is due to limited size of plots , yields up to 5 times less than white farms and 30% land is unused 
  • homeland areas account for just 13% of land in South Africa but contained 44% of population - so declining amounts of land per person due to pop.pressure
  • Quality of labour in homelands was poor  many women , children , elderly and infirm
  • 59% of households were headed by women- domestic chores are labour intensive so not avaliable for agriculture- wages sent by migrants were low and irregular 
  • there is a labour shortage
  • 30% of land is uncultivated  due to shortage of finance to purchase seeds and fertilisers - lack of land rights  , acces to land - poor transport - lack of skills 
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CASE STUDY : Environmental issues with rural chang

Extension of Oxfords Green Belt  - redrawn north and south to this city for more housing 

Land-use Change - In 2007 backing for 4000 home extension to green belt. Its a 370 acre site near to employment and transport services e.g. BMW. It would mean the building of a sewage system and secondary school , nearby villages such as Garsington are opposed to it - another proposed development on greenfield site in Begbroke - however new schools and facilities would be needed - cause traffic into Oxford as it is already very busy. Switch of pastoral to arable in Cherwell has caused soil erosion , hedgerows and trees cut down to make larger foelds. Increased use of fertilisers has led to eutophication (growth of algae) in streams and water courses. 

Recreation and Leisure - Shotover Counrty Park attracrs 600,000 visitors a year - large proportion visitors arrive by car- problem for future. Visitors are eroding paths near car parks , litter. Even small changes such as development of garden centres leads to an increase in the amount of traffic on roads and consrturction of car parks on farmland. The whole of Oxford roads are working nearly at maximum capacity , can be met by encouraging public transport , causes problems with congestion and air quality , especially during morning rush hours- coach parks cause increase in permable run-off and cause flooding - funding for new transport links is a problem as revial of Oxforf to Witney railway costa  £100 mill

Water Pollution - proposed plan for a new resevoir to store water when the Thames flood. Impacts include , polloution during construction , diversion of water courses , maintainig resevoir water quality in terms of oxygen , algae and temperature characteristics - also to be train line to bring materials , lorries , new pipelines and a boat park  

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CASE STUDY : Sustainable future Amathole , South A

There is a high rate of unemployment and poverty and a high emergency is needed for jobs in the District in areas such as farming. Skills base of population is low an only 16%of the districts working population have a Matric or above - needed to study ast universities

Livestock farming - dominant farming activity accounting for 72% of agriculture , there is potential to improve livestock  and livelihoods . The District is near markets , vaired products and have access to buisness zones 

Opputunities for sustainable agriculture - 

  • establishing small scale gardens and subsistence farms - extra food supply - better quality of food 
  • developing farming co-operatives - much labour who could share the costs of tools and seeds 
  • erection of fences and barbed wire - prevent theft and trampling of crops by livestock 
  • using drought resistant fodder crops - e.g. American aloe as Pasture land is fragile due to drought , overgrazing and population pressure 

Essential Oils - liquid containg herbs used for medicine - has potential for sustainable agriculture - raw materials are present and is a labour intensive indusrty and use many unemployed people . It would be a new or addiditonal source of income , plants already recognized by locals and culturally acceptable , plants on their own are not of value so will not be stolen , local innature

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CASE STUDY : Sustainable future Amathole , South A

Constuction - Construction in the district is low only 3.4% of jobs - likley to become increasingly popular due to increasing investment (water , sanitiation) , increase in pricat peoperty development (residential)

Tourism - grown considerably over the last decade and has added empolyment as much as 10% and 20,000 more incomes- hostels and B&Bs have sprung up in many parts of the districts- it has attractions including heritage sites and Amathole Mountains , tourism will benefit for a sustaianble future

Transport - to make transport in the region more sustainable  quality of roads will need to be improved , all settlement will be connected by road and public transport expanded 

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CASE STUDY : Rural Deprivation Cornwall

Lowest wage-earning county in England and Cornwalls average weekly earning are 25.1% below Great britians average. Deprivation caused by remoteness and decline of traditional employment such as china clay and farming. Tourism is the fast growing industry accounts for 30,000 jobs however jobs are part time , seasonal , low wage and unskilled such as cleaning. 

Cornwall is very remote from major cities e.g. Truro is 225 miles from London , track quality is poor and rail links are slow , a journey from London to St, Austell take 5 hours. Cornwall also only has 1 airport , the M5 motorway ends at Exeter , roads from here are poor and a lack of motorway infrasrtucture

Main factors causing deprivation iclude , resource deprivation low income and poor housing , oppurtunity deprivation avalibility of services such as health and mobility deprivation concerns transport , and inaccesibilty of jobs. In Gorran Have there are many second-home owners and many retired people 

Indicators of deprivation may include , buiding that are derelict , unmeploment statistics , property and land value , growth of second homes , average age , litter pollution , crime 

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CASE STUDY : Rural Deprivation Cornwall

Solutions : 

  • Objective One - EU provides £300 million in grants over 6 years , to help economic development and break cycle of rural deprivation - directed at small and medium buisnesses 

The Eden Project - successful tourist destinations in the country , drawn tourists in and prompted the building of new transport links to cope with demand an dpressure , increasing oppurutnities.  All people recruited were local and 75% were previously unemployed and 40% over 50- many economic benefits for region , attracted over 1.2 million visitors in 2002. Other buisnesse benefit in turnover and profit - created 1,700 jobs in wider area 

  • The Broadban Revolution - £12.5 million scheme backed by BT , some 5500 small buisnesses including farms now benefit from high speed broadband  internet- trade nationally and internationally. By 2005 99% of Cornish houses had internet. 

Extreme Academy at Watergate Bay - £500,00 invested to cater for increasingly popular leisure based economy - people can take low cost flights to newquay  and stay for short breaks - created 56 jobs 

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