Explain the positive and negative factors of counter-urbanization. (15 marks) Counter-urbanisation is the movement of people from urban areas into rural areas (leaving the city and moving to smaller towns and villages). It can involve either a movement of employment to rural areas, or a movement of people to rural areas who then commute, and this involves people like middle class families or young professionals. This tends to happen in areas that have good transport links such as St Ives Cambridge which lies on the A1123 just of the A14which links St Ives with Cambridge and provides access to the A1 which is a road straight into London and the regular trains make the access to the cities of Cambridge and London very easy.

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The effect of the people who commute can cause an increased use of commuter railway station near to settlement. High car ownership often comes with these new residents, and commuting to the city can cause an increase in congestion on country roads which weren’t built to cope with the loss of traffic. Traffic pollution affects the quality of the area. Local residents dislike the ‘weekenders’ who do not contribute to the stability of the village, disappear during the day/week. They have different social norms – wine drinking, barbeques, fast cars that are different for the locals. The local shopkeeper will see potential for more customers, but will need to modify produce sold e.g. increase in videos, alcohol, and frozen food.

However some traditional rural services such as the mobile library, village post office, etc. may close down. This is due to the main population of the village commuting and using the services in the cities or place of work instead, they do not use public service, which causes their decline. Newcomers will also increase the price of housing so that local people cannot afford the prices. The newcomers will see the area as a delightful place to live, quiet and clean air.

There is a lack of haste in the village, with pleasant countryside walks. They will encourage friends to move as

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well. Property developers/local builders will see an increased market for new houses and conversions, an opportunity for them, so there can also be increased value of houses in the settlement, and in some cases there are conversions of farm buildings or old school blocks to housing(old properties are converted and modernised). Such as in St Ives Cambridge, where there are a number of new housing developments around the periphery of St Ives.

There has been an increase in new exclusive apartments in and around the town and particularly along the river Ouse. This means that some of the original locals will not be able to afford houses in their own villages, particularly the younger generations (e.g. farmer’s children). This causes resentment. Another problem that occurs is that new comers may not appreciate the traditional values of village life. However, sometimes farmers can make large amounts of money from selling land to urban authorities or developers. Speculators sometimes buy land on the edge of cities in hope that the city will move in that direction and they can make a profit with the land. There aren’t only effects on the village, but the inner city as well.

The people who leave the inner city tend to be qualified and skilled and are usually home owners. This leaves behind an untrained workforce that is usually working class or semi skilled. The resulting population decline means that the city looses out on local taxation revenue e.g. council tax and this means that funds for the key facilities decrease.

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