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Sasha Zouev Geography HL, 22/09/06 MEDC Urbanization Case Study: Birmingham Introduction: Birmingham is a city in the English West Midlands. It's considered to be the UK's second largest city (after London) and the largest of England's core cities. Birmingham has a reputation of being a somewhat powerhouse of the industrial revolution in Britain. Currently the population is just over one million people, 30% of whom are non-white, making it a very culturally diverse city. City History: Birmingham's history is well over 1000 years old, when it was still a small Anglo-Saxon farming village. In the 12th century Birmingham was granted a charter to hold a market, and soon after this, it developed into a small but growing market town. In the 16th century, the city's access to resources like iron ore and coal meant that many industries became established. ...read more.


This growth attracted large amounts of people to come live near the factories. Towns such as London, Birmingham and Manchester grew the fastest in the 19th century. Along with urbanization, comes a process called suburbanization. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was the rapid development of suburbs. City centers became noisy and dirty, also often very dangerous and as a result, those who could afford it, moved away to the edge of the town. This process became a way for towns to spread outwards in leaps and bounds. Birmingham is a good example of a phenomenon called re-urbanization. This is MEDC occurrence happens when cities have showed their ability to survive and start growing again. Cities give themselves a face-lift by redeveloping their centers or decayed inner city zones. As a result, people are attracted back to this area. ...read more.


All these things combined to make Birmingham a very dangerous place to live. Many areas of tower blocks became centers for illegal drug traders and other criminal gangs The standard of living was incredibly poor, and illness and overcrowding became a regular occurrence. Most people would choose not to live in this type of housing, so it was inhabited by the poorly paid, unemployed or newly arrived immigrants. As a result of this, social tensions rose and in the early 1980's, cities like Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol, experienced serious racial-related rioting. Statistics to try and remember for IB urban exam question: * Over 30% of Birmingham is made up of non-whites (Asians, blacks, other minorities) * In the 1960's, a process of rejuvenation started in the city of Birmingham * The population has dropped below the one million mark, however after the re-urbanization; it is now back to being above one million. ...read more.

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