Geography Paper 2- Urban Issues and Challenges (Section A) London

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14 Urban Change in the UK

Specification Reference: 3.2.1 Urban issues and challenges

Key idea: Urban change in cities in the UK leads to a variety of social, economic and environmental opportunities and challenges

How is the UK population distributed?

·         Unevenly distributed

·         82% live in urban areas

·         High land regions are sparsely populated

·         May change due to immigrants and movement from rural to urban areas

Why did cities grow?

Raw materials near by- Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds

Ports- London, Liverpool, Bristol

Capitals of countries- Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff

Position in the country- Birmingham(found in centre of the country)

Political and administrative functions- London

Case Study of major city: LONDON

Location and Importance

·         South East of England, on the River Thames (this has been influential)

·         Holds the UK government

·         Has a global reach due to Gatwick and Heathrow

·         Travel hub- 40% increase in journeys made by public transport  

·         London has the highest tourist spend

·         Has the 6th largest economy in the world

·         Generates 22% of the UKs GDP

·         London is home to 15 of the head offices of the 250 largest companies in the world

·         Has a large cultural diversity

·         65% of London’s land is either gardens, public green space or water

Impact of Migration

·         London’s population is in a period of growth

Factors of Growth

·         Internal migration (has been negative)- migrate into London for work and out of London if have family

·         International net migration (always been positive)

·         Natural increase (is positive, births>deaths)


·         One of the most multicultural places of earth

·         Evidence of different races, cultures and languages throughout city

Social and Economic Opportunities

Cultural Mix


·         It enriches UK culture (food, music, religion)

·         Exposure to other religions, cultures, traditions

·         Huge cultural events


·         Integration can be hard

·         Economically poor cultural groups are forced to live in poorer areas, separated from everyone else

·         Language/ communication issues


·         Huge cultural attraction e.g. Natural History Museum, National Gallery

·         West End and other tourist attractions (Buckingham Palace)

·         Sporting events

·         Mix of clubs, bars and restaurants


·         Largest contributor to the UK economy

·         Major financial centre and home to many different specialisms which attract highly skilled people

·         However unemployment rate is one of the highest

Integrated transport system

·         Different forms of transport are linked together

·         London commuters can use Oyster cards on all forms of public transport- cheap and easy to top up

·         Has an intergrade cycle network- Boris Bikes

Environmental Opportunities

Urban Greening

·         Increasethe amount of green space- improves quality of life

·         Rooftop green spaces


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