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Study On Counter Urbanization Cascade Economics Essay

Evans, A and Eversely, D(1980) found evidence that by 1974 the number of people who are living in rural areas was actually increasing.

Evans thinks that the reasons that made businesses choose urban regions to locate their businesses are not there any more that's why businesses and people started moving to rural areas.

Before we investigate the impact of the counter Urbanization cascading on the British economy, we start by defining urbanization and counter urbanization cascading.

Urbanization definition:

Refers to the process of increasing proportion of an entire population lives in cities and the suburbs of cities.  Historically, it has been closely linked with the industrial revolution where more people started moving to the cities in order to find jobs. This has happened, when more and more sources of energy were used to enhance and increase human productivity or industrialization, surpluses increased in both agriculture and industry.  Larger and larger proportions of a population could live in cities.   Economic forces were such that cities became the ideal places to locate factories and their workers.

Counter urbanization cascade definition:

We are witnessing an anti-urbanization movement at the time beings people are trying to escape from living in the centres of large cities and escaping to outside the cities, this is creating mega cities and metropolitan regions.

The reasons for counter urbanization cascade in the UK:

1-     Regional policies enhanced the creation of job opportunities in non-urban areas, Champion, A(1989).

2-     Retirement migration has contributed to the increase in the number of people living in non-urban areas, Champion, A(1989).

3-     The oil shock that happened in 1973 has made the city very expensive compared to the rural areas and that's why businesses think it is cheaper to work from rural areas.

Counter urbanization Cascade trends:

Counter urbanization in the UK in the 1980s

Between 1981 and 1991, the population of the capital city of London and the metropolitan districts that surround London fell by approximately 903,000, whilst the population of the rest of England and Wales increased by approximately 846,000, Breheny and Rockwood (1993).

This information refers clearly to the fact that people are moving away from main cities.

Fothergill, S & Gudgin, G (1982) found that the argument which says that the south is prospering while the north is declining has lost because London has lost as many manufacturing jobs as Scotland ever had.

This big movement from cities has started after the Second World War. Rural areas and small cities have experienced the highest population increases in percentage points and absolute terms. These changes in the number of the residents of rural areas have been accompanied by shifts in employment, retailing and economic structure but evidence suggests that the dispersal is associated with new ways of transportation such as fewer journeys by foot or bicycle and the increased reliance on private transport; people want to release themselves from the stress of travelling by tubes and buses inside big cities. Travel distance by trains in rural areas is more than 50 per cent higher than in large metropolitan areas, whilst travel distance by foot in rural areas is below half that in metropolitan areas.

Counter urbanization in the UK in the 1990s:

In the 1990s, the European and especially the British cities appear to be developing in a very complex ways, which make it harder to predict and plan urban and rural economic and social development programmers, there are contradictory and confusing results from the data that have been published by the European government.

Much of the difficulty of the data, which are related to population growth, lies in the variation of population growth in different cities and different rural regions.

Data about capital cities such as London indicate that there is continued growth of major-urban regions, particularly around the big cities such as London, Paris and Berlin, this expansion has been mainly caused by migration, Stillwell, J . Rees, P & Boden, P (1992)

In the UK for example, the South East is the fastest growing region in the country.

The same data also indicate that there is a major and continued geographical dispersal from the most heavily populated areas, which form the heart of these regions, including most of the capital cities such as London, Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen, with the most major counter urbanization happening where urban counter urbanization is driven by a major decline in the industrial production and the losses of major city jobs to rural areas such as Northampton.

This shift is causing a rapid increase in the size of the Greater cities such as Greater London and Greater Paris while there is a clear trend of decline in the number of white people who are living in the central parts of the city and an increase in the number of blacks and other ethnic minorities that are living in the centre of the city. Cameron, C (1980).

Change in Land use in the UK:

The counter urbanization cascade of the population and its economic activities has caused a substantial increase in pressure and urgency to develop semi-urban land. More than half of the area that the government has used in order to develop new housing projects was developed on Greenfield land in 1985. Whereas just under 40 per cent of the area of new housing was built on Greenfield land in 1994, HM government (1996).

The substantial increase in the use of Greenfield land continues to rise although it is still a smaller proportion of total land used. The use of Greenfield land could also increase more if the supply of abandoned land or Brownfield land falls.

Government statistics show that the increase in the Greenfield land could be well beyond the government expectations because the increase in the use of Greenfield land will not be exclusively for housing; building houses will require building power stations, refineries, factories, roads and other facilities that are required in order to make life possible in the new housing centres.

The government want the number of new households to increase by 4.4 million by 2016, HM government (1996).

The HM is addressing the problem by giving the following prediction: if we assume that 40 per cent of these newly-built houses are built on Greenfield sites at a gross density of 40 houses per hectare, 44,000 hectares of Greenfield land will be required HM government (1996).

A similar amount of land may be required to accommodate the development of industry, commerce and transport infrastructure, HM government (1996).

Impact of land use change on the economic activity:

Meeting the needs of the British People, which have suffered from high house prices, by building new affordable houses in rural and semi-urban towns can motivate more people to move into non-urban areas, this will definitely help the non-urban areas to develop the necessary intellectual capital for development; this counter urbanization cascade could help in developing rural areas, which have suffered from prolonged economic decline, to balance its population imbalances and compensate for the lack of skilled labour; this type of socio-economic structural problems could be solved by redistributing the skilled labour more equally between different parts of the country;

Rural areas do not only need retired and middle age man and women, non-urban areas need also young and dynamic people who are ready to start entrepreneurial projects in order to fill the gap between the developed south and the less developed north.

We have to remember that the counter urbanization cascade entails changing the land use; the cascade from urban areas could cause the destruction of the green land if the new houses and the new economic activities were built on it.

The impact of counter urbanization cascade on the employment:

Employment in the city:

The continuing decline of the industrial sector and the rise in the service sector made the service sector dominate the economy and demand skills and expertise very different to those demanded of an industrial economy.

The service sector created jobs for highly skilled people while the industrial sector created jobs for many low skilled people.

The dilemma for the city is that the city needs highly skilled people while it is full of low skilled people who are mostly immigrants who have moved into the country recently.

The city is full of disadvantaged ethnic minorities who are vulnerable to be unemployed because of the exodus of the industry to the north of the country.

Employers are trying to concentrate their stores and offices in few places because of the high density of the population; this has led to less low-skilled job opportunities.

Employment in the non-urban areas:

The development of Internet technology made it possible for the service sector, especially the financial services sector, to relocate its operations to many rural locations.

Highly skilled labor has now greater choice in terms of workplace locations; the service sector in non-urban areas offers the opportunity to improve the quality of life of their employees who choose to live outside big cities.

The service sector in non-urban areas is providing its employees with spacious car parks, larger offices, cheaper prices and better quality of air and high standard of living

The city centre is no longer the only place where people get jobs and get their life necessities, Massey,D & Meegan, R(1982).

The employment in the non-urban areas is in increase because of the job opportunities created by the service sector and the job opportunities that are created by the move of the manufacturing sector from the south to the north.

The impact of the counter urbanization cascade on the infrastructure in the UK:

Impact on the city:

As we have said earlier, there are highly skilled jobs in the city that the disadvantaged ethnic minorities do not do for reasons related to their low-skills and racism, businesses are requiring advantaged people to commute from the suburbs of the mega cities to the centre in order to fill up these positions.

This has put strains on trains and buses; train companies have to choose between poor service and higher prices in order to improve the service.

The concentration of many people in the centre of the city has put strains on hospitals, schools, roads and parks.

The deterioration in the public services is putting more financial burden on the government.

Impact on non-urban areas:

The building of economic infrastructure in the non-urban areas is considerably high even when the general growth in the economic activity is slow, the increase in out of town development, which has resulted from the exodus of manufacturing from big cities to rural areas, has continued and caused major redistribution of work force in favour of the rural areas. Lever, W (1987)

The government is finding itself obliged to build more hospitals, schools and public transport as a result of this counter urbanization cascade from the city.

In a society where people are trying to work fewer hours, the government will find it extremely difficult to provide the infrastructure and the services that the people need to live in the new regions.

The single most important fact here is the how to predict the expansion of the metropolitan cities and the new semi-urban regions in order to start providing the infrastructure for the citizens.