Urbanisation Edexcel Geography AS Level

Urbanisation Edexcel Geography AS Level

  • Created by: Caryna
  • Created on: 15-02-12 11:21

Urbanisation Introduction

Urbanisation is increasing due to rural to urban migration in LDCs, international migration into rich 'core' countries and natural increase (due to a young, fertile population).

There are many reasons for Urban Migration, some are listed below:

  • Employment/better pay
  • Better quality of life.
  • Closer to services such as health care.
  • Changing work patterns (e.g. expanding tertiary sector).
  • Push factors such as war or dictatorship, unemployment, perception of danger.

In 2007 over 50% of the world's population lived in an urban area.

50% of the world's urban population is under 25.

By 2023, Asia's urban is set to rise from 1.4 billion to 2.6 billion (the world population in 1955!).

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Supercities, Megacities and Urban Populations by C

Super cities- populations over 5 million

Megacities- populations over 10 million- usually in large countries with lots of investment and manufacturing.

In 2015 Mumbai will have a population of 21.8 million, Tokyo will have a population of 35.4 million and Lagos will have a population of 16.1 million.

South America has the largest percentage of it's population living in slums (23.6%). There are no slums in North America or Europe

North America has the largest urban population (80.1%). Africa has the smallest urban population (16.7%).

NIC megacities are projected to grow more than G20 megacities with the exception of Tokyo.

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Three Types of Urbanisation

Very slow growing, mature- Europe and North America- Los Angeles, London, Paris

Slow growing, consolidating- South America and South East Asia- Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Beijing

Rapid Growth- South/ South East Asia and Africa- Cairo, Mumbai, Jakarta, Lagos.

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Counterurbanisation- movement from urban to rural areas. (suburbanisation).

Reurbanisation- process by which people and economic activities move back into city centres. (gentrification)

Informal economy- non taxed work which is often dangerous e.g. street workers.

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Unsustainable Megacities


  • petrol per head is the highest in the world.
  • air conditioning- due to 46C temperatures,
  • Each person uses 800 litres of water a day- 96% of water comes from surface sources such as the Colorado, Salt and Verde rivers- this causes disputes with other states.
  • Average rainfall is only 180mm/year.
  • Hot dry climate keeps pollutants trapped near ground at night causing a 'brown cloud'.
  • Carbon footprint per person per year is 1400kg (Hong Kong- 50kg).
  • Out of town shopping malls- reached by car!
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Problems with Megacities

  • Sprawling slums
  • Explosive population growth
  • Poverty and informal economy.
  • Lack of clean water and sanitation
  • Disease epidemics.
  • Transport gridlocks
  • Overcrowding.
  • Lack of green space.
  • Industrial pollution.
  • Gating and Segregation- ethnic enclaves
  • Air pollution
  • Water supply crises
  • High ecofootprints.
  • Declining centres
  • Sprawling Suburbs

Cities, particularly megacities, consume 75% of the world's resources and produce 90% of its waste.

They rely on their 'hinterlands' to provide them with resources.

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Curitiba,Brazil- Sustainable City

In 1970's there was a drive to minimise urban sprawl (population rose from 300,000 in 1950 to 2.3 million in 2000), reduce downtown traffic and preserve Curitiba's historic district, and provide easily accessible and affordable public transport.

Intergrated urban planning was used because the city has a relatively small population.

  • 52m2 of green area/person and a number of parks have been created.
  • Informal workers sold rubbish carts at cost price and recycle/sell to private recycling companies.
  • Health care methods decided by population not politicians (bottoms up)
  • Social workers spot potential migrants at bus station and provide them with a free bus ticket home (23,000 persuaded back)
  • Public transport had reduced fuel use per person by 30%. There are bike paths. Buses come every three minutes and only cost 20p.
  • Buses stop at tubular stations which are designed to move passengers quickly- one door on, one door off, by tickets at station etc.
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Dongtan- China's Eco City

Population of half a million by 2040.

  • Zero pollution, largely car free- hydrogen fuelled buses.
  • Renewable energy.
  • Sewage recycling (biogas- used for cooking, heating, power generation.)
  • Grey water for toilets.
  • Apartment blocks with natural ventilation to avoid air conditioning.
  • Parks, farms, lakes, pagodas and leisure facilities

Want to keep Dongtan's ecofootpint to 2.2 hectares per head, less than a third of Shanghai's footprint per head.

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Population of 14 million.

Why did Los Angeles grow?

  • 1876- ariival of the railway- half a million people arrived in 40 years
  • Discovery of oil, ford car plant, manufacturing industries.
  • Aircraft industry due to good weather.
  • Hollywood- 1920/30s.
  • Growth per annum of 1%-6%.

Suburban Sprawl

  • 1920s/30s- electric trams and motorways.
  • 1980s- people working up to 2hrs away from home- social problems- not enough time to spend with family and friends.
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Urban Push:

  • Businesses looking for greenfield sites
  • Crowded housing
  • Congestion
  • Poor services and schools
  • Pollution
  • Unemployment
  • High rents.
  • Fears for safety

Suburban Pull:

  • Safer neighbourhoods.
  • Single family housing.
  • Greener areas.
  • Better schools and services.
  • Cheaper rents.

Other factors- huge land mass, few planning restrictions, high average incomes, high personal mobility, cheap fuel, transport investment, change in economy (manufacturing to services).

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Problems facing LA

  • LA sits in a basin- cool surface air meets warm air above the citry creating an inversion and trapping pollution- the mountains prevent the air moving out of the basin.
  • Housing shortages, urban tensions 1965 and 1992, deindustrializtion- manufacturing jobs replaced by low paid jobs.
  • Water piped from 250km away.
  • Waste- 50000 tonnes a day.
  • Health and education are expensive for migrants.
  • Transport- 10 million cars- only 30% use public transport.
  • Energy use.

Donut City- businesses have move out of downtown areas leaving a hole in the centre of the city- this has now been filled by TNCs.

Edge Cities- cities which are built around motorways e.g. Ontario.

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Progressive Los Angeles Network- agenda for sustainable living.

  • Support local shops, farmer's markets and fair wages.
  • Community benefits such as childcare and cheap housing.
  • Improve public transport and make it cheaper.
  • Cleaner fuel and greener energy.
  • Urban parks, clean brownfield sites.
  • Promote living close to work.
  • Bikes and pedestrian area.
  • Community gardens.
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Mumbai produces 33% of India's tax revenue.

40% of international flights to India land in Mumbai.

Hyperurbanisation- where the increase in urban population is happening so rapidly that the city cannot cope with the needs of the people.

Mumbai has a population of 17 million- estimated to receive 600 new migrants a day.

By 2020, it is expected to have a population of 26 million and could become the world's largest city.

Urban Pull Factors- better quality of life, outsourcing provides jobs, better services, better housing, better paid jobs, better oppurtunities.

Rural Push Factors- lack of services, lack of investment, lack of oppurtunities, low pay, rural poverty, droughts and flooding.

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  • 60% of Mumbai's population live in poverty. Informal sector is increasing.
  • Cheap accomodation for unskilled workers.
  • Average incomes of £40 a month, can rent rooms for £12 a month.
  • One million live illegally in Dhavari.
  • 80% of Mumbai's waste is recycled in Dhavari- recycling industry is worth $1.5m a year.

Vision Mumbai:

  • Rebranding project worth $2.3bn, due to be complete in 2013.
  • If economic growth can be sustained at 8-10% pa, it is hoped that 1.1m low cost homes will be built  and slum populations will fall to 10-12% of their 2000 levels.
  • Land occupied by Dhavari is worth $10bn.
  • Increase housing and make it more affordable.
  • Improve infrastructure and transport.
  • Boost economic growth.

By 2007, 200000 have been moved and 45000 homes have been demolished in Dhavari.

Navi Mumbai- world's largest planned city- already has population of 1.2m.

10 people die on Mumbai's overcrowded rail system every day.

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Revision Questions

Using examples you have studied, explain the problems that the world's megacities face in trying to be more sustainable (15marks)


  • Suburbanisation
  • Urbanisation

Compare the two megacities you have studied (10 marks)

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Happy Revising!

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Dale McNerlin


A useful reminder for Geography, Well done :)

Dale McNerlin


A useful reminder for Geography, Well done :)

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