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Urban patterns Top part of http://ih-igcse- geography.wikispaces.com/6.3.+Ra pid+urbanisation
2 Land use is general term with a somewhat obvious meaning. It is what the land is used for – by humans. That is, humans take the natural environment and change it for their own purposes. These uses include residential, institutional, business, industrial, agricultural, forestry, and parks among others. These broad categories can be subdivided. For example residential land use can involve single-family dwellings on large or small plots, or large groups on estates of semi- detached or terraced houses. The most intensive residential land-uses are found in large blocks of flats where the population density can be very high. Institutional land uses are mostly occupied by public buildings such as schools, universities, government office buildings, art galleries, and museums and hospitals. These facilities are most commonly located in urban or suburban areas.
3 How is the land used in urban areas? Go to any town or city and there is an area towards the centre, usually right in the middle, where you will find a scene like this: It is of Sheffield but it could be just about anywhere. What do you notice about the sky line? From what you already know why is this? What kind of activities are carried on here?
4 How is the land used in urban areas? It is also likely to be the place where roads from different places meet. If there is still a railway, then the main line station will not be far away. There may be a bus terminal, where many buses from elsewhere in the area stop and turn around. This known as the Central Business District or CBD for short. Were these the sort of things you noticed?
5 In many towns, just beyond the limits of the CBD you will find several streets of terraces houses that open straight onto the road
6 This picture from the 1950s of Atherton in Lancashire shows the houses, and also other features of the area just outside the CBD, that have either gone away or been changed for other uses.
7 But why is there a concentration of cheap housing in so many different urban areas? Think when they were built. In the Victorian era in particular in the United Kingdom but in other parts of Europe and North America, factories were growing up all over the place. They were still powered by steam engines that used coal to boil the water. The coal either needed to be local or brought in by train – the railway station was near the middle of the urban area. It was bulky and there were no lorries to bring it from the station, so the shorter the distance to the factory the better. Then of course the railway was the main way of sending finished goods to other towns and cities.
8 But why is there a concentration of cheap housing in so many different urban areas? These factories grew up where the raw materials and the coal were easily available but these places were often had a shortage of labour. So cheap housing was needed to be provided for people migrating from the country. There was no cheap and easy local transport system, so the workers had to walk to work. So the factory owners built the housing crammed around the factory both for cheapness and for the ease of the workers getting to the factory. These areas close to the factories were smokey and dirty and not very good places to live. There was no space to grass or trees and no parks. The streets were narrow and it was dark and crowded.
9 Once the factories were up and running … ……there would be more money in the town and the shops in the CBD would selling more and the shop keepers doing better. They and the factory foremen and supervisors would form part of an emerging middle class that would need somewhere to live. So the landowners around the edge of the inner area would build houses to sell to this new group – semi- detached villas were wanted, mainly to rent, by the new middle class. They would not want to be too far from the centre to walk to the town centre where they worked but the roads were wider. Each house had a small front garden and usually a larger back garden – no yard for them with a petty at the bottom! Notice the Bay windows? This was a common feature of the foreman’s house. They were far enough away not to get the smells and pollution from the factories and so much healthier.
10 Once the factories were up and running … The roads of semi-detached houses often still today spread out quite a long way, but the further you are from the centre, the smarter they got and the further they were from the road. These would be for shop owners perhaps or factory managers. Note the top floor with small windows – a live-in maid or 2 perhaps?
11 Once the factories were up and running … Further out still, there would factory owners and other seriously rich people lived with lots of servants and gardeners, and probably carriage and coachman.
12 Geographical models and urban areas This was such a common pattern of urban development that in 1925 a man called Ernest Burgess, having studied Chicago in the USA in great depth came up with one of the first urban geographical model based on these concentric rings. It was a very simple idea but it fell out of favour after WW2 because geographers thought it was too simple. It worked fine until roads and road transport imprinted their impression on our cities. It also took no account of electricity taking over as the main power supply, nor did the new industries, such as food processing and small domestic machine for example, fit into the pattern at all.
13 Geographical models and urban areas This problem was to an extent overcome by Herman Hoyt. He used the idea that the factories tended to be built along roads, railways and rivers in wedges to make the most of the transport routes. The low class residential housing was built alongside it and the high class housing would tend to choose the nicest parts,leaving the middle class housing to do its best to keep away from the factory smells and pollution.
14 These patterns do seem to have some validity but the most important issue is that different kinds of residential and industrial and commercial land use do separate themselves out into different parts of an urban area. A really up-market house will not be built in the middle of blocks of flats or a row of terraces, any more than a big store is built in the middle of a housing estate. In addition, there are new sorts of urban land use not taken into account by either Burgess or Hoyt. The out-of -town shopping centre and business park are examples.
15 The CBD is crowded and if you want to create a new building for a store there you have a number of problems. Parking is in short supply and therefore expensive. The land is expensive. It is already occupied by buildings and even if you could buy one up, before you could make your new development, you would have to clear the site, while nor damaging the surrounding businesses, which add hugely to the cost. Much better to find a piece of underused land on a major road outside the town, provided free parking, and build your new store on one or at most 2 floors – not the 4 or even 5 floors you would have had to build in the CBD. Similarly it is the same for new industries. To build in the old industrial areas, you would have to clear the ground, and often that would mean decontaminating it before you could lay a single brick, all at a huge cost. The narrow streets in these older areas would making access for delivery lorries difficult too. Much better to build outside the urban area on a main road.
16 Recently, the narrow approach streets in urban areas have caused traffic chaos. It is all very well for vehicles who are visiting the town, but if the urban area is on a through-route to somewhere else, it can become impossible, especially if large heavy lorries go that way regularly. One solution has been to build by-passes around congested areas. Once the by-pass is in place, superstores and small industrial parks are keen to develop the land either side, as the transport links are so good and there is plenty of space at a much lower cost that in the urban centre. Often there is unused land between the old urban area and the by-pass, which in the last 20 years has rapidly become filled in with large housing estates with medium to high density housing – terraces and semi-detached houses with the smallest of gardens, with developer getting in as many units as the planning authority will allow – this an example of suburbanisation. What is that? However, in recent times, these plans seemed to have slowed to a stop due to the credit crunch which has affected the building trade particularly badly.
17 But why do similar land-use function group together in urban area? The CBD, is where you find the shops, offices, banks, administrative building and so on. These organisations all want to be within easy reach of the whole urban area and also those coming in from outside. This means being at the junction of the main transport routes and as close to the centre as possible. They can afford to pay the higher land prices and so squeeze other potential users out. urban land market The main reason is the cost of land or the urban land market. Any resource will be sold to the highest bidder. In this case, the type of development that will make the best use of the site. peak land- value intersection Shops make the most economic sense, and shop do best where they have a ready market that access them easily – where main roads cross and near the middle of an urban settlement – then no-one is too far away – so this means that land in these areas will fetch the most, and consequently these area are said to be at a peak land- value intersection. Other smaller value peaks occur elsewhere – alongside the golf course for example. One way to make the higher prices achievable is to build up and so cram a lot into a small area.
18 But why do similar land-use function group together in urban area? The old industrial area, around the CBD, has almost disappeared in some towns. But many still have pockets of small workshops, like car-repair, body shops (for fixing and re-spraying cars!), and general engineering operating in run-down areas, underneath railway arches for example. Why are they there? They have been there for a long time. They are noisy and dirty but being out of the way, they do not upset anyone. No-one can think of anything more profitable to do with the land. Houses of similar type tend to be where they are for a particular reason, so you would not find a mansion in the middle of a council housing estate
19 Homework Using the map version of google maps, or a photocopy of a town plan if you happen to have one, of the nearest town/city that you use regularly (in case of a v. large one like London, see the sheet) to work on. Then switch to the aerial view of google maps + your knowledge + discussion with parents, to shade in the different types of land-use using the given key (or one similar of your own design).