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What is meant by the term urbanisation?

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A-Level Geography What is meant by the term urbanisation? [5] (a) Urbanisation is an increase in the percentage of a population living in urban areas. It is caused by migration to urban areas, higher birth rates in urban areas and higher death rates in rural areas due to famine decreased standard of living and poor water and hygiene. It can also be caused by incorporation of rural areas into urban areas. Explain the changing distribution of the world's largest cities in recent years [20] (b) In the past fifty years there have been dramatic changes in the distribution of the world's largest cities. In 1960 only one third of the world's population lived in urban areas, by 1999 this figure had reached almost one half of the world's population. In 1950 the world's largest cities were in mainly developed countries. In 2000 the distribution of the world's ten largest cities has changed to be in mainly developing countries. London, Moscow, Chicago and Paris are no longer in the top ten of the world's largest cities. ...read more.


These pressures have been made worse by large-scale export-oriented agriculture, loss of land possession among poor farmers, declining soil fertility and national policies that encourage agricultural increase and merging of farms. The shrinking size of family farms is common, as plots are divided into smaller and smaller pieces for each new and larger generation of male heirs. This means that many plots are no longer large enough to feed average families. At the same time, more and more agricultural land is being taken out of production because of soil degradation, a result mainly of wind and water erosion, loss of soil nutrients, and poor irrigation systems that cause salinisation and water logging. Farm living is dependent on unpredictable environmental conditions, and in times of drought, flood or plague, survival becomes extremely difficult. In many developing countries urban areas are magnets that attract people from small towns and the rural areas, because cities offer more hope of jobs, education, health care, and better living standards. ...read more.


Also in many developing countries children are still needed to work to earn money for the family. This natural increase doesn't occur in developed cultures for several reasons; increased access to contraception, the desire for material possessions takes over the desire for large families as wealth increases and equality for women means that they are able to follow a career path rather than feeling obliged to have a family. Political changes have also had profound influences on urban growth in the last 50 years. The break up of colonial empires helped to support rapid urban growth in most of Africa and Asia between the 1950s and the 1980s. One of the main reasons why many cities in Africa grew so rapidly during the 1960s and 1970s was that they began from such a small origin. This was largely because the colonial powers had restricted the rights of their national populations to live and work in urban centres. Another reason was the achievement of political independence and the development in urban centres of new government and educational institutions that created jobs and services. . ...read more.

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