S-Cool Revision Summary

S-Cool Revision Summary

An urban area is a city or town.

Urbanisation: The process whereby rural areas (countryside) are becoming urban.

Reasons for growth

  1. The developed world

    Reasons for growth of most cities in the UK would include:

    1. The industrial revolution.

    2. The multiplier effect.

    3. Continued growth as businesses and retail compete for areas close to the CBD and, slum clearance and the building of high-rise developments increases population densities.

    4. Most recently, the growth in car ownership, improvements in road networks and the congested nature of many city centres has led to counter-urbanisation.

  2. The developing world

    It is important that you understand the reasons behind the rapid population growth.

    There are two main reasons:

    1. High natural growth rates.

    2. Rural to urban migration.

Models are used to simplify reality and help us understand what is usually a whole range of complex processes. It is often useful to compare towns or cities to different models.

You should also be able to draw, explain and evaluate the models of Burgess, Hoyt and the developing world city.

The main criticisms are that they do not take into account physical landscape and that land-uses are not as clear-cut as the models make out.

They do, however, simplify a complex set of processes and act as a point of reference.

Rank size rule: This simply states that in any country, you have one very large city. The second largest is half the size of the first, the third largest is a third of the size of the first, the fourth largest is a quarter of the size of the largest then a sixth then a seventh and so on.

A primate city: A city that has more than twice the population of the next biggest city.

Central place theory tells us that if there is an even distribution of population, all with equal money and transport opportunities, and the land is flat and featureless, then settlements will follow a distribution pattern according to size. It introduces:

  1. Threshold: The minimum number of people needed to support a service.

  2. Range: The maximum distance people are prepared to travel to purchase a good or service.

More developed world

Any city in the developed world will face considerable problems. These could include:

  1. Inequality. Inequalities exist in all cities in the developed world. The most deprived groups can often be found in old inner city areas. These areas are often typified by:

  2. High levels of unemployment and a lack of employment opportunities.

  3. Poor household amenities.

  4. Air, water and land pollution and derelict land.

  5. High social problems such as alcoholism, drug abuse and crime.

  6. Greater frequency of health problems.

Remember: there are positive aspects, as many people see inner cities as desirable place.

Cities will also face problems of traffic congestion and a declining CBD.

There have been a number of policies and initiatives that have had the overall objective of regenerating urban areas. In the past twenty years, these have changed frequently, but have included Urban Development Corporations and more recently, schemes where councils have to bid for various sources of money. One of those sources is lottery money.

The UDC in Bristol had three main successes:

  1. The building of a major new road link.

  2. Attracting new industry providing over 4000 new jobs.

  3. Significant housing development much of which was bought by first time buyers.

However, amongst its failures were:

  1. It pursued many large flagship proposals that never happened.

  2. During recession, unemployment in UDC areas went up to 25% as opposed to 5%, the city average.

  3. Jobs were low skilled and poorly paid.

Another attempt to improve the urban environment has been Bristol's Harbour-side regeneration.

Bristol city council put together a regeneration bid and successfully gained £41 million from the lottery and £21 million from English partnerships.

Successes include:

  1. Over £500 million pounds of inward investment. Over 3000 new jobs.

  2. A mixed commercial environment that includes café bars, restaurants, cinemas, shops.

  3. Residential developments providing much needed housing.

Failures include:

  1. Concerns about how the area would fare during recession.

  2. New houses are very expensive.

  3. Less developed world.

The developing world cities are suffering many very serious problems. These are a consequence of the rapid population growth, a lack of capital to invest and a non-existent, very poor and/or outdated infrastructure.

Problems in developing world cities include:

  1. Collapsing infrastructure.

  2. Increasing levels of pollution.

  3. A polluted water supply.

  4. Inadequate housing and services.

  5. A lack of employment.


Solutions to any problem are made more difficult by the lack of available resources and the sheer scale of the problems faced. Below are some examples of different policies:

  1. Site and service schemes.

  2. Rehabilitation.

  3. Housing developments.

  4. Sewage rehabilitation.

Finally, you need to know about the influence of urbanisation on the rural environment.

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

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.

Improvements in rural transport infrastructures and increased car ownership allowed a greater freedom of choice when choosing where to live.

Counter urbanisation has had a major impact on rural villages and communities.

Amongst these impacts are:

  1. House prices can be pushed.

  2. Public transport goes into decline.

  3. Traditional rural services start to close.

  4. Shops and services change to meet the needs of the new population.

  5. Traffic congestion increases.

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

In addition the urban area will affect the land-use particularly in the rural urban fringe.