WJEC Geography case studies

Geography case studies for WJEC (but can be used for other exam boards) for theme 1 (challenges of living in a built environment).

  • Created by: Joanne
  • Created on: 07-06-12 17:58

Quality of life

Port Talbot

  • inner city around CBD: mainly low income families, single parents, elderly - Taibach and Aberavon (terraced housing)
  • inner suburbs: as move out of CBD, housing gets more modern/expensive and larger which attracts higher income families with more skilled jobs - larger concentration of young married couples, retired elderly couples and families with children - Margam and Pentyla
  • outer suburbs: near urban-rural fringe, highest earners and most skilled professions, families, retired couples - Eglwys Nunydd, Baglan and Blaen Baglan
  • different people live in different areas due to their income - if you have more money, you can afford to live in a luxurious/expensive house e.g. Eglwys Nunydd, if you can't, then live in city area e.g. Aberavon
  • some can't drive/afford a car so they choose the CBD for convenience
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McArthur Glen Retail Park

  • between Cardiff and Swansea, junction 36 of the M4, brownfield site, near villages of Sarn and Litchard, 2 miles north of Bridgend town centre
  • reasons why located there: large area of flat land, very accessible (M4), space for car parking, close to urban centres of Cardiff and Swansea, large supply of customers and labour in Bridgend (50,000), not close to out-of-town retail parks so there's less competition, brownfield site so services already available e.g. gas, water, electricity
  • positive for: local residents, school leavers, unemployed, day trippers from outside area, local residents
  • negative for: local residents, town centre economy, town centre traders, commuters hitting congestion in the area
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Planning issue

Cardiff Bay

  • south east Wales, 15 miles west of Newport, redevelopment of Cardiff docklands into Cardiff Bay, located in southern part of capital city, shoreline of Bristol Channel
  • old industrial landscape concentrated around docklands declined as iron, steel and coal industry disappeared - urban decay
  • Cardiff Urban Development Corporation regenerated area 1987
  • changes made: 30,000 jobs, 6,000 homes, freshwater lake, marine, controversial £191 million barrage
  • positive: created entertainment for tourists and local residents, good for city of Cardiff as the area has been regenerated
  • negative: local residents on low incomes can't access facilities as they are too expensive - they feel that they weren't consulted in the redevelopment process, RSPB opposed barrage as habitats disappeared
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Self-help housing

Sao Paulo

  • Brazillian city of Sao Paulo, south east Brazil in South America
  • scheme: people living in favelas (slums) on outskirts of city had improvement in housing quality - city authorities and the local government made 'self-help' schemes
  • authorities provide materials that too expensive for the local residents to purchase e.g. bricks, windows, doors, cement, roof tiles
  • residents group together and literally help themselves to build permanent houses so the scheme involves the authorities and residents working together
  • scheme significantly improved quality of life of people in favelas and houses can withstand poor weather conditions as they are strong and sturdy
  • water, sanitation installed which reduce illness and disease - electricity installed so residents can afford luxuries e.g. radio
  • area = safer as they have street lighting and people are more content and happier
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International migration

Mexico to USA

  • 'push' factors: poor medical facilities, lower life expectancy than USA, unemployment, 55% adult literacy rate, low incomes
  • 'pull' factors: higher life expectancy than Mexico, excellent medical facilities (400 per doctor), 99% adult literacy rate, many jobs available, well paid jobs
  • impacts on Mexico: provides Mexicans with hopes and dreams, often the young migrate leaving the elderly so the economy suffers as there is less people to work, some people send money back to families improving their quality of life
  • impacts on USA: boosts US economy as migrants are prepared to work longer hours for lower pay - business profit, influx of different ethnic groups (beliefs, religions, cultures) which can cause racial conflict and violence/criminality  
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Rural to urban migration


  • rural to urban migration in north east Brazil - people pushed away from drought area known as the 'Caatinga' and being pulled to the big cities inthe south east
  • Nova Casa Nova and Sao Francisco to Belo Horizonte, Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo
  • people moving as being forced/ pushed from harsh climate which causes long term drought - water scarce, crops fail, starving, illness, high infant mortality and death rate
  • impacts: young men and women leaving the area in search of a better quality of life in city areas so the area has less young, fit, healthy people to farm the land and run the house so families struggle even more - sometimes they send money back to families in the countryside improving their quality of life
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Sustainable city


  • city located in the State of Parana, south east of Brazil, south of Sao Paulo and Rio De Janeiro
  • integrated bus system: express bus routes, tube shaped bus stations protect from weather and allow rapid entry and exit of buses, buses can carry 270 passengers, more people using public transport means less cars used and so less pollution
  • green exchange: over production in agricultural greenbelt is not sustainable and a waste of resources - more socially deprived areas of the city benefit from the over production - they can't afford healthy fruit and vegetables so they exchange their unwanted items/recyclable trash for food - this works well as no food is wasted and there is no illegal dumping of items so it's a win win situation
  • garbage and recycling scheme: recycling teams collect organic and non-organic waste from the kerbside which residents sort out their waste first before putting in on the kerbside - the waste goes to the recycling plant
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Visitor pressure


  • Snowdonia National Park situated on the west coast of Britain, covers 823 square miles, living working area home to over 26,000 people, largest national park in Wales, highest mountain in Wales, Snowdonia steeped in culture and local history
  • attractions: scenic drives, mountain walks, visit summit of Snowdon, white water rafting, mountain biking, camping, fishing, studying wildlife, landscapes
  • positive impacts: jobs for local people, income for the local economy, increased demand for local food/crafts, helps to preserve local rural services e.g. post offices, pressure to conserve wildlife and habitats
  • negative impacts: damage to landscape (litter, fire, erosion), traffic congestion, demand for more hotels and shops, local goods made expensive as tourists are willing to pay more, pollution
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