Urban rural interdependence

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Urban rural interdependence

Finally - hurray, I hear you cry! - you need to be aware of how an urban area affects the rural areas around it.

Counter-urbanisation: The process by which people and businesses are leaving the urban areas to relocate in smaller towns or rural villages.

It was first noted in the USA. Similar patterns were detected in London, initially as a result of slum clearance and relocation to new towns, but then as a 'voluntary' movement. This pattern has since been identified in nearly all UK cities.

Reasons for counter-urbanisation:

  1. Environmental and social problems with inner cities pushed people away from urban areas. At the same time, more rural areas were seen as peaceful, unpolluted, offering greater space and the community spirit that was lacking in inner city areas.
  2. The growing popularity of the 'out-of-town' industrial and businesses parks as industry also became unsatisfied with inner city areas (see 'Inner Cities').
  3. Improvements in rural transport infrastructures and increased car ownership allowed a greater freedom of choice when choosing where to live.
  4. The growth in Information Communication Technology (E-mail, Fax, Video-conferencing) has allowed further freedom as people can work from home and are not so tied to urban areas.
  5. For social reasons, as people re-acquaint with family or friends, retire to a quiet place, believe the countryside to be more suitable for families or decide the climate/environment is better for their health.

Counter urbanisation has had a major impact on rural villages and communities. Amongst these impacts are

  1. House prices can be pushed up as migrants sell expensive city properties and earn higher city wages. This can force young people to leave the village because they cannot afford a house.
  2. Public transport goes into decline because the new residents are car owners. This can be a major problem for village residents without their own transport, particularly the elderly. This problem is compounded by:
  • Traditional rural services start to close as the new population will be reliant on the services of the urban environment such as the supermarket. The closures of village stores and post offices have caused major problems in many rural areas.
  • Those shops and services that survive often find that they have to change to meet the needs of the new population. So the pub becomes a restaurant, the blacksmith now makes garden furniture and the butcher a delicatessen.
  • As a large percentage of the migrants will be commuting to work traffic congestion increases. The problem is accentuated by the fact that they will be driving on narrow country roads.

You should have a case study of a village that has been affected by counter-urbanisation.

You also need to be aware of the effects urbanisation will have in the physical environment, especially on the rural urban fringe. To help you, you could complete a table similar to the one below for your local area:

The consequences of urbanisation on the surrounding area. Bristol and the South West:
Environmental Areas of countryside flooded for reservoirs, for example, Barrow tanks.
Ancient meadows destroyed for new housing developments, for example, Bradley Stoke.
Economic Expansion of Bristol Airport at Redhill.
Growth of 'out-of-town' shopping complexes, for example, The Mall.
Social/cultural Huge increase in house prices in rural villages pushing prices up so locals cannot afford them, for example, Long Ashton.
Farms become golf courses to meet needs of urban population, for example, Mendip Spring Golf Course.