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Should urban growth in MEDCs be allowed to encroach on the surrounding countryside? Justify your answer.

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Introduction

Should urban growth in MEDCs be allowed to encroach on the surrounding countryside? Justify your answer [60 marks] Large urban areas in More Economically Developed Countries (MEDCs) generate political, social, economic and environmental problems. The purely physical growth of cities both upwards and outwards destroys valuable agricultural land and ultimately may become detrimental to the urban way of life. It may be difficult in particular to make provision for adequate food and water supplies, sewage and rubbish disposal. Urban decay and problems in the inner cities and shantytowns become difficult to overcome along with severe traffic congestion, air, water and land pollution. There is a need to control urban growth. To do this, sections of Green Land especially in the More Economically Developed World (MEDW), have been designated Green Belts, wedges, buffers or hearts. Green Belts encircle towns. They are broad rings of countryside often up to ten kilometres wide in which urban development is restricted. The aims of Green Belts were to stop urban sprawl, prevent neighbouring towns from merging and to preserve special character of towns. Since then other functions have been added including provision for recreation, safeguarding agricultural land and assisting in urban regeneration. ...read more.

Middle

The Greenfield sites offer the developer, land at much cheaper costs than in the traditional CBD. This has been helped by the demise of the farming industry where crises caused by animal diseases such as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and Foot and Mouth and collapses in the market price for sheep encouraged farmers to sell up. Greenfield sites also offer a more pleasant working environment with less pollution. These factors have been crucial in some areas in attracting high quality employees and a large customer base. Planning policies encourage the movement of people and businesses to the suburbs and beyond, especially with the establishment of New Towns and the redevelopment of inner city areas, which forced many businesses to relocate. Initially there were few planning restrictions for out of town shopping areas and business parks. However, today local authorities and national government control planning applications for out of town shopping areas. As wealth and mobility have increased urban populations have had a desire to improve their quality of life. The suburbs and rural-urban fringe offer larger, more modern homes with gardens; a more rural location with reduced pollution levels and lower density housing. Suburban dwellers also demand easy access to modern conveniences and services located at the edges of the built up area which ...read more.

Conclusion

Opponents of Green Belts claim that they 'strangle' developments in the cities and they instead advocate a policy of green wedges, which would allow development along certain corridors. The latest plans to control the growth of London is to allow housing to expand along some route-ways leading out of the urban area leaving green wedges in between each corridor. In the UK controls on Green Belt land have relaxed and strengthened over time but the policy has remained intact and since the 1990s the policy has gained further support in order to preserve the countryside from out of town commercial developments including housing, shopping, industry and offices. However, despite public support for Green Belts most demands for new housing and commercial developments have been on Green Belt land for example, Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre (NEC), the Nissan car plant at Washington and the Blackbird Leys housing estate in Oxford. Parts of the Green Belt have been lost to new developments while others are already rundown as a result of mining and quarrying, landfill sites and derelict buildings. Farms in the rural-urban fringe also often suffer high rates of vandalism and feel hindered by the additional pollution and planning controls. The land may become underused and eventually derelict. Fabina N Hussain 13YY Page 1 of 3 ...read more.

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