Living Spaces

A set of revision cards for the topic of Living Spaces


A Good Living Space

People's opinions on what makes a good living space varies with age and their background, if a living space meets your needs to tend to form a bond with it. Factors that lead to variation in the quality of a living space are:
Economic factors - access to services, job opportunities, transport links,
Social factors - crime rates, healthcare, education, risk of disease,
Political factors - opportunity to vote, freedom of speech and movement,
Environmental factors - available water, soil fertility, likelihood of hazards.

Age - younger people seek out more variety in their social lives so cities are more attractive. Older people or those with families tend to find rural areas or suburbs more attractive.
Mobility - personal mobility will affect how isolated we feel. Rural areas tend to have more problems with mobility with a reliance on private cars.
Cultural background - this impacts how we see places and how attractive we find them.
Knowledge and perception - highlights the 'idea' of a place without people actually knowing the area e.g crime rates.
Economic status - areas that offer job security are deemed more attractive.

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Push and Pull Factors - Counter urbanisation

Push factors out of the city:
Expensive housing, high crime rates, congestion and traffic, higher levels of air and noise pollution

Pull factors towards the countryside:
Rural idyll exists with open space, less congestion and traffic, more housing for your money's worth, less crime, better community spirit.

However, the rural idyll may have its problems - closure of services like village shops and pubs, secondary school children may have a long journey to school, public transport links usually poor - isolating older people and teenagers, young people will be far from leisure and educational facilities, lack of employment opportunity in the local area meaning people will have to commute.

Demand from people has meant housing in attractive rural areas has become expensive, people often buy country houses as second homes so the price rises. This makes it more difficult to buy a first home in the country as it is so expensive.

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Moving into the cities from rural areas.

Pull factors into the city are the employment opportunities in the service and manufacturing industry, better education opportunities especially in secondary and tertiary, better health care and facilities.

Push factors out the countryside are the lack of paid employment, farms are often too small to support a growing population, lack of educational opportunities and a lack of health care facilities.

However, in countries such as India, Kenya and Nigeria, when people reach the city, they realise it isn't as amazing as they'd hoped. The job opportunities either do not exist or are too low paid to be able to pay for a home. They end up living in slums around the edge of the cities. These slums are unsustainable. There is often no running water and a lack of sanitation leading to disease. There are also high crime levels due to the lack of street lighting and lack of security.

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Re-urbanization and retiring to Spain

Re-urbanization is moving back to the city, usually 20-35 year olds who are relatively well off.

Close to the city centre for work and high quality shopping
Good public transport in the city centres so no need for a car,
Culture and good night life,
Modern housing often built on brownfield sites

Retiring to Spain

Warmer climate than the UK,
Modern health facilities,
Lower house prices than the UK,
Lower heating costs and house hold bills that the UK,
Cheap to fly home to visit relatives and friends

Problems include:
Ill health and worries about the language barrier in hospitals,
Falling value of pension as the value of the pound declines against the Euro,
As people get older, they need more family support which is not available in Spain. 

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Pressures on Rural Areas

There is a growing demand for housing as the population is developing countries grows, this is due to:
People moving from one area to another,
More individual/smaller households due to divorce/singletons/older people living on their own,
There are pressures to build housing on green field sites which are areas that have not been built on before.

Consequences of building on Green field sites include:
There is a need to find suitable Greenfield sites and there is often pressure by local people against this,
The growth of towns and villages in RURAL areas has an impact both in the settlement (increased traffic, pressure on schools and health centres due to increased population, loss of amenity land) and in the surrounding rural areas (loss of biodiversity),
Loss of productive farm land,
Increased use of cars for commuting by new residents.

There is also pressure to build new transport developments such as new roads and airports - e.g. Stansted airport

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Pressures on living spaces in developed countries

 Problems with living in big cities..

High demand for housing pushes up land prices and results in very small living spaces - such as Tokyo where the price is £1000 per metre squares due to a huge population). In London there are housing shortages - especially cheaper, affordable housing. This builds up outward pressure to build new housing on greenbelt land - urban sprawl.

Public transport:
Overcrowding on public transport systems especially metro/underground, trains and buses.

In Tokyo, they plan to build underground cities which are underground spaces connected by trains and roads under the surface - e.g. Alice Cities. 

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Pressures on Living Spaces

In Mumbai they have huge slums - Dharavi are home to over 600,000 people,
Over a third of the population of nearly 20 million do not have access to fresh drinking water and 2 million do not have access to a toilet - poor sanitation,
The public transport system is poor and commuting takes a long time.
Creating sustainable living spaces in:
Developed countries - London congestion charge, recycling and waste reduction, Barcelona has created a scheme called 'Bicing' where people buy a years membership for £30 which allows them to pick up a bike from one of the 400 stations located all over the city. There are over 6000 bikes and more than 175 000 members.
Developing countries - Masdar in the United Arab Emirates has a new settlement for 50, 000 people that has been built 17km outside the capital. It is claimed to be the first 'zero waste, zero carbon' city. It has wind towers places on the top of buildings to **** in cold in and warm air out. Rooftops are covered with solar panels and the city will be car free with extensive public transport. Urban farms in Havana, Cuba use every piece of available ground in the city and in 1995 it was estimated that there were 26 000 popular gardens in the city that produce a wide range of products. 

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Rural sustainable examples

In developed countries:
Martin in Hampshire looked to control their food system so that it could become less dependant on supermarkets etc. Residents have joined Future Farms which is a community allotment of 3 hectares growing vegetables and raising animals. It is sold by the villagers for profit as well as for their own food.

In developing countries:
Ecoovila is a small eco-village in the city of Porto Alegre in Brazil. The aim was to develop affordable housing for everyone and use eco-friendly building materials. All houses face the sun so they soak up it's energy, houses are cooled by underground chambers in the homes, grass roofs help to insulate. They have used local material such as clay bricks and sewage is treated in a biological reed-bed system.

Urban sustainable examples include Bedzed in the UK and Curitiba in Brazil.

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