Human Geography - Changing Urban Environments

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Urbanisation - A process where an increasing proportion of the population lives in towns and cities (theres a reduction living in rural areas)

Rural - Urban Migration - A process in which people move from the countryside to the towns

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Causes of Urbanisation

Push Factors and Pull Factors

Very few amenities in rural areas

Education and health services are better

Better jobs

Better quality of life

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The Urban Land Use Model

Central Business District - e.g. Manchester City Centre

  • the main shopping and service area in the city
  • this is normally found in the middle of the city - this means the best accessibility
  • land use is mainly commercial/retail(shops)
  • residential properties are generally apartment blocks

Inner City - e.g. around Manchester City Stadium

  • consists of terraced housing which dates back to the Victorian Era
  • had bad condition housing, high crime rates and a bad environment to live in
  • some old warehouses/industry can be found here

Suburbs -

  • contains much larger housing, mainly detactched, because of the land prices being cheaper
  • houses tend to have gardens
  • middle class people tend to live here
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Issues in Urban Areas (MEDC) - Housing


The number of households in the UK has risen. Demand for housing has increased dramatically.

Strategy to Solve Issue

More housing is hoped to be built on brownfield sites rather than greenfield sites.

Advantages to building on Brownfield Sites

  • easier to get planning permission
  • roads already exist
  • near to pre-established facilites (e.g. shops)
  • water and electricity are already provided
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Issues in Urban Areas (MEDC) - Inner City



There is a high demand for housing and the councils are encouraging development in inner city areas to take place


  • Cheap high-rise flats were put into place as a 'quick fix'. This encouraged a greater involvement of private companies and locals
  • City Challenge
    • Through the City Challenge, Hulme received £37.5million. Homes were designed to conserve water, and be energy efficient/pleasant. Local schools and a new park have been built
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Issues in Urban Areas (MEDC) - Traffic


As the demand for greater mobility and accessibility with flexibility, the number of cars has increased. This leads to all sorts of environmental issues such as air pollution, noise from heavy goods vehicles, buildings are discoloured, impact on health, visual pollution


  • 'The Park and Ride Scheme'
    • a bus service run to key places from car parks located on the edges of busy areas in order to reduce traffic flows and congestion in the city centre.
  • Congestion Charge Scheme
    • charge a higher fee for running a car
  • Improve Public Transport
  • Pedestrianisation
    • pedestrianising areas of the CBD so theres less congestion
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Issues in Urban Areas (MEDC) - Multicultural Mix


Despite the racial mix in many cities, a significant number of immigrants choose to live with people from similar areas and away from others with different ethnicity and culture - segregation

Reasons for this clustering involves the support from others (protection and belonging), a familiar culture, specialist facilities, safety in numbers and employment factors such as the people with poor wages mostly living within the inner city area.


  • increase community involvement - ensuring the minority have their needs met
  • improving education where English can be taught as a second language
  • providing facilities that encourage meetings of all sections of a community rather than seperate ethnic groups
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Issues in Urban Areas (MEDC) - CBD


During the 1960's and the 1980's, CBD struggled to attract businesses. Out of town businesses and shopping areas became more favourable.


  • Places have become more pleasant and vibrant.
    • Manchester has increased involvement through the construction of a new shopping centre (Arndale), Metrolink Services, recreational facilities (Urbis) and new hotel complexes (The Hilton, Deansgate)
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Squatter Settlements (LEDC)

Squatter Settlements - areas of cities (usually the outskirts) built by people of any materials they can find (a.k.a favelas or shanty towns)

Improving Squatter Settlements

  • Self Help Schemes
    • The Government gives materials to the people so they can build their own homes. The money which is saved due to labour can be used to provide facilities such as electricity
  • Local Authority Schemes
    • These are usually funded by the local goverment. They improve temporary accommodation built by the residents.
  • Site andv Service Schemes
    • Residents pay a small fee for a site, and they borrow money to get materials to build a house on their land. The rent fee can be used to provide services such as electricity
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***CASE STUDY- Kibera, Nairobi - Kenya(Squatter S


  • 60% of people in Kenya live in 'slums'
  • Extremely high populaion density
  • 1m of floor space per person (800,000-1million people live in Kibera)
  • There are around 100,000 orphans - due to the AIDS epidemic
  • Houses are built from any materials found
  • Paths between houses were irregular, narrow and often have ditches running either side which fill up with sewage


  • Low Cost Flats - 770 families rehoused
    • have all the facilites provided, fundeed by the government and charities, less crime
  • Make Homes Permanent
    • People know the government can come and take them away from their homes at any point, if people knew their shanties were permanent, they would be worth investing in
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Problems of Urbanisation (LEDC)


  • Waste Disposal
    • Landfill sites are running out, incineration has may environmental impacts
  • Air Pollution
    • Industry is the main cause because countries have a huge demand for energy, which causes harmful gases to be released into the atmosphere
  • Water Pollution
    • Polluted water contains untreated sewage, cremated remains, chemicals and disease


  • Waste Disposal
    • Provides a mean to make a living for many shanty dwellers in poor countries. Children and adults scavenge and extract materials to reuse or resell. Recycling
  • Air Pollution
    • Limits need to be set from companies(TNC's) to ensure emissions are reduced
  • Water Pollution
    • Limits need to be set
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Sustainable Urban Living

A sustainable city has characteristics which enable the people of today to have their needs met, however it preserves resources for future generations to use

Green Belts

  • created in order to prevent urban sprawl (outwards expansion)

Disposal of Waste

  • recycling means landfill sites can be saved for future generations

Improving Public Transport

  • people will be more willing to use it because less pollution is caused per person

Carbon Neutral Homes

  • installing wind turbines in their homes so they can produce some renewable engery independently - eases pressure on burning fossil fuels
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Sustainable Cities of the Future

Unsustainable City

  • uses vast amount of water from surrounding rivers
  • uses vast amount of resources (glass and plastic)
  • uses vast amount of non-renewable energy for heat, light and transport
  • emmisions add to global warming, acid rain and air pollution
  • large amounts of waste and rubbish produced that has to be disposed of
  • sewage, waste and industrial pollution are put into rivers and the sea

Sustainable City

  • recycles water so doesn't need to use as much
  • recycles resources so less is needed
  • solar panels, wind turbines and insulation means less energy is used
  • renewable energy is used for buildings
  • waste is recycled so there is less to dump
  • other wasted is composted or burnt to make heat for buildings
  • transport uses bikes, public transport and renewable fuel
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***CASE STUDY- Curitiba, Brazil(Sustainable Urban

The Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) System

  • Direct Line Buses
  • Speedy Buses (operate on main routes into the city centre)
  • Inter-District Buses (joins up districts without crossing the city centre)
  • Feeeder Mini Buses (pick people up from residential areas)


COHAB, the city's public housing programme, believes that residents should have homes not just shelters. They have introduced a housing policy that will provide 50,000 homes for the urban poor.


People are encouraged to recycle through an exchange scheme where recycled goods are exchanged for fresh fruit and vegetables

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