Living Spaces

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  • Created by: Heleena
  • Created on: 06-12-12 09:43

What is a living space?

A living space is a place where people live. It can be at a variety of scales from the
room or house someone lives in, to their street or neighbourhood; or their town, city
or region.

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Factors effecting the quality

Many different social, economic, political and environmental factors affect the quality
of living spaces around the world …

  • Physical factors – climate, water availability, soil fertility, risk of natural hazards, etc
  • Employment opportunities and prospects (unemployment rate / type and wages of jobs available)
  • Education - quality of scools
  • Safety- levels of crime, vandalism etc
  • Shopping and leisure facilitys
  • Quality of the surroundings- Clean streets, litter and air pollution
  • HEalth care- Doctors and hospitals
  • Hous price- affordability
  • Freedom of speech/ democracy
  • Communications and energy- power supply and internet connection

Place attachment is also an important factor for people when deciding where to live.
Place attachment is the ‘bonding of people to places’. This can take two forms …
• Practical or functional attachment. This gives you the things you need, e.g.
food, water, work, etc.

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Best place to live?!

Bournville near Birmingham in central England has been described as one of the ‘best’
places to live in the country. Built by George Cadbury in the 19th century to house
workers for his factory, Bournville is a ‘model village’ with around 7,800 homes and a
population of 25,462 people. There is a strong sense of community in the town, as
well as lots of green open spaces and a mixture of people from a variety of

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Worst places to live:

Chernobyl, Ukraine

Since the explosion and meltdown of a nuclear power plant in 1986 the area has been contaminated and diseases such as cancer have risen by 90%.

Baghdad, Iraq

A war-torn city with political unrest and instability. Terrorism, kidnapping and murder are all common.

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Differences between MICS and LICS

MICs currently have the highest urban populations, but urbanisation has slowed
down a lot in recent years;
LICs currently have lower numbers of people living in urban areas, but they have
the highest rates of urbanisation, with the fastest increases in Asia and Africa.
In MICs rural areas are often seen as a quiet, peaceful and safe escape from big
cities (this image of the countryside is known as the ‘rural idyll’). In recent years
many people have moved away from large cities back to the countryside (known as
In LICs rural areas are often very poor, without many (well paid) jobs, a lack of
services (e.g. transport, electricity, schools, etc) and difficult farming conditions.
Therefore there has been a ‘rush for the towns’ as many people have migrated
(moved) to the cities (known as rural-urban migration).

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Urban migration in mexico

Rural-urban migration is the movement of people from rural areas (countryside) to
urban areas (towns and cities). Over the past 30 years, millions of Mexicans have left
their villages in rural areas (e.g. Puebla) and migrated to Mexico City (Mexico’s capital).

  •  Unreliable food source due to hot, dry climate
  •  Hard work, long hours, little pay
  •  High unemployment ratePoor education- low adult literacy rate (less than 50%)
  •  Poor health services – lack of medicines and doctors
  •  Poor housing and sanitation (no clean water)
  • High birth rate places pressure on scarce resources (food, water, land, etc)


  • 80% have better access to healthcare services in Mexico City
  • Better educational opportunities (schools, colleges, universities)
  • Better sanitation: 60% have access to piped water
  • 75% have electricity
  • More job opportunities and better paid work e.g. in factories
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Living coices in MICS

In MEDCs people often have a greater choice about where they live and their choice of
living spaces often changes as they move through the ‘life cycle’ …
• Younger people (25 – 35 years old) often chose to live in the centre of major
cities (e.g. Camden, London);
• Middle aged couples with children often opt for the suburbs (on the edge of
towns and cities) or rural areas (e.g. villages or small towns);
• Retired people sometimes move back to the city centre, whilst others remain in
the countryside, while others emigrate abroad to warmer places, like Spain and

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Pressure on rural area in MICS?

In developed countries there are many pressures to build in rural areas and on
greenfield sites …
• New housing (due to counter-urbanisation and smaller household sizes);
• Transport (new roads, rail links and airport expansion);
• Uneven population distribution and growth (there is especially high demand for
land in the south-east of England, particularly around London, as people migrate
from the north of England).

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How are living spaces unsustainable?

All living spaces experience some environmental issues, but urban living spaces
(especially large cities) are particularly unsustainable. This is because …
• They ‘**** in’ and consume huge quantities of resources (e.g. energy, food,
water) from surrounding areas – so they have big ecological-footprints;
• They produce enormous amounts of waste which is usually got rid of in the
surrounding air, water, land or sea.
They also have problems with …
• Waste disposal
• Air and water pollution
• Unreliable water supplies
• Traffic congestion

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Continued urban migration in mexico

  • in slum areas on the periphery (edge) of the city. These areas have many problems
  • such as high crime rates (gangs and drugs), diseases (due to a lack of rubbish
  • collection and sanitation), poorly built, cramped, self built homes and a lack of
  • public services (schools, hospitals).

The Mexican government has tried to improve conditions by …

  • Building new public housing for some slum dwellers.
  • Self-help schemes where the government gives slum dwellers money / materials to improve their homes.

This migration also has effects on the rural areas that people have left …
POSITIVE EFFECTS: Money is sent back to people living in the rural areas from
friends and family that work in the cities.
NEGATIVE EFFECTS: Often the young, ambitious people leave for the cities, leaving
an aging population unable to do key jobs in the rural areas.

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