Urban Sprawl


Urban Sprawl


  • Population growth - increased demand for housing
  • Demand for out of town shopping and retail parks lead to buildings constructed on previously undeveloped places
  • Migration - from urban areas to rural areas - (in HICs) as the urban fringe area has more space, cheaper land and less congestion than the inner city
  • Migration - rural to urban - pull factors include better opportunities, etc, and urban sprawl can happen when there is rapid urban growth and the housing facilities cannot cope with it


  • More congestion and pollution in the countryside
  • Similarly, commuter towns can be established, where people work in the city and live on the outskirts so they have to commute into work - this causes pollution and congestion
  • Commuter towns also lead to a rise in house prices
  • There is building on greenfield sites - this could lead to environmental impacts such as loss of habitats
  • Developing on farmland areas can lead to people losing their income as farmers, and also the loss of wildlife etc
  • In LICs and NEEs (eg Rio, Brazil) urband sprawl as a result of rapid urban growth can lead to squatter settlements or slums - for example in Rio the favelas
  • Positive: out-of-town retail and business parks can benefit as the land on the outskirts of urban areas is cheap, and this offers employment for local people

Overall summary

URBAN SPRAWL = the uncontrolled growth of towns and cities, encroaching on rural surroundings SOLUTIONS- Green Belts - these are areas of undeveloped, natural land that are established on the outside of cities to help prevent urban sprawl. In many UK cities such as London there is a target to have 40 percent of land as 'green space' which also makes the area more sustainable- Regeneration - using brownfield sites to build on, for example the London Docklands regeneration, or simply re-using or re-purposing old industrial sites. This may be more expensive than building on greenfield sites as there must be clearing and decontamination, however in the long term it's more sustainable  


No comments have yet been made