Counter-urbanisation is the movement of people from major cities or large town’s (e.g St. Ives in Cambridgeshire) to less urbanised and rural areas beyond the outer suburbs. The main reason that counter-urbanisation takes place is because of the push and pulls factors that are associated with it.
Some of the main push factors associated with counter-urbanisation are that people want a better quality of living; they want to be able to live in an clean and quiet environment without air and noise pollution; they wish to escape the high levels of traffic congestion; and they want to escape the dirt and crime that urban environment offers e.g London City Centre. Furthermore, most people aspire to have larger houses with more land or large gardens for lower and cheaper prices when compared to the urban areas which have seen a huge increase in price over the past ten years, resulting in poorer or low income families struggling to afford the houses. Finally, large companies such as American Air Filters have set up factories in rural areas making it more attractive for people to relocate to the area e.g Cramlington. The pull factors associated with counter-urbanisation also have a large impact within the process, for example houses in smaller settlements in rural areas are often less densely populated than those in the larger cities such as Birmingham. People believe that living in locations that are quieter and with less pollution will improve their quality of life. Additionally, some rural settlements such as Cramlington have had improvements in their communication service which makes it easier for people to live and work in these less populated areas. Furthermore, there have been improvements with road and rail links so that it is easier to transport into work in the urbanised areas from the rural areas.
The impacts associated with counter-urbanisation can be split into positive and negative, for example in rural areas such as St Ives the positive effects are that there has been an increase in local business and prosperity because new comers have a larger disposable income so they can afford to spend their money on expensive accessories in the rural areas. Old and abounded houses or land is sold and redeveloped by newcomers; this improves the area as well as providing some income for original or older residents. Additionally, more schools, shops, pubs, restaurants and local businesses can stay open because there is an increase in the number of families and disposable income in the area. The negative effects on rural areas, as seen also in St Ives or Thurston in East Anglia, are that new developments such as modern buildings and houses can take away the character and beauty of the old town and this can also cause the price of houses and cost of living to rise in the area rapidly. Additionally, conflict may occur between the older residents and the newer ones because they may disagree with the new build styles. Overtime local commercial buildings may begin to suffer and could eventually close down because the newer residents have the access to transport to travel elsewhere for their shopping e.g Sainsbury. Furthermore, the old rural roads may not be able to handle the increase in transport resulting in them becoming damaged and unsafe. As the population increases new buildings will be built on once open spaces, where older residents could have once used for local amenity. Also, as new houses and potentially new industrial units get built in the area, pollution will start to increase e.g. more cars, noise, traffic, causing once again conflict in the settlement.
As well as there being impacts in rural areas there can also be problems in urban areas, for example Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The positive impacts on Newcastle are that overtime house and land value could level off because there is less demand as people have moved to rural areas. As there will be less pollution produced…