Changing Place 4


External forces are driving changes in many places:

Government policies:

Governments can directly affect the demographic characteristics of place, e.g. by introducing policies to control population, such as the one-child policy in China.

Other government policies can affect the cultural characteristics of places, e.g. by controlling immigration.

Some government policies can affect the demographic, economic and social characteristics of places, e.g. governments can fund schemes aimed at regenerating run-down urban areas.

Decisions of multinational corporations:

The decisions of MNCs can have major impacts on the demographic, social and economic characteristics of places, e.g. Detroit in the USA, was a major global centre of car manufacturing in the early and mid 20th century.

The investment from the MNCs gave the city a massive economic boost; large numbers of jobs were created, many of which offered comparatively high wages.

This altered the demographic characteristics of the city by attracting large numbers of migrants, both from the USA and other parts of the world; the population grew to a peak of around 1.8 million in the 1950s.

After the 1950s, many of the manufacturing MNCs closed or relocated factories to places with cheaper labour. These eision had a number of effects:

  • Massive population decline - the population of Detroit at the 2010 census had reduced to around 700,000.
  • Huge reductions in employment - at the 2010 census, 24.8% of the workforce in Detroit was unemployed.
  • Social deprivation - Detroit has some of the highest crime rates in the USA. 

Impacts of international or global institutions:

The World Food Programme (WFP) is an international organisation that provides food assistance, often as emergency aid, wherever it is needed. It affects the social and demographic characteristics of places by ensuring that people have enough food, and preventing deaths from famine and starvation, e.g. in Yemen, there has been conflict since 2015, which has meant that millions of people don't have regular access to food and the WFP has distributed food aid to it.

The World Bank is an international organisation that invests


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