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  • Many residents of towns and cities no longer live within central urban area, instead commuting in or taking advantage of technological advances to work from home
  • This process is most common in MEDCs - US believed to be first country where more people live in suburbs than central cities or rural areas 
  • Can be linked to different push factors, including: 
    • Congestion/popn. density of city centres 
    • Pollution 
    • General perception of a lower quality of life in city centres 
  • Can also be linked to different pull factors, including: 
    • More open space 
    • Lower price of land and housing 
    • Increasing job opportunities in suburban areas 
    • General perception of better education opportunities
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  • What has helped suburbanisation?
    • Improvements in transport infrastructure, e.g railways and bus routes - mass transit systems such as London Underground have been crucial
    • Developments in communication technology such as broadband, e-mail and home video conferencing have enabled people to work from home 
  • Effect of this has been that some people/small businesses have seen financial advantages to locating further from city centre
  • This has led to growth of 'edge cities' - clusters of office buildings surrounding suburban business districts and shopping areas
  • Negative effects of suburbanisation include:
    • Increased urban sprawl - leads to decay of the inner city
    • High concentration of low income residents in inner city areas
    • Growth of commuting leads to increase in car use and therefore pollution
  • However, many urban areas in the UK have adopted green belt policies
  • These limit growth in fringe of city
  • This, in turn, encourages more growth in the urban core
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