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Counter urbanisation is the process of people migrating from major urban areas to smaller urban settlements and rural areas. The process of counter-urbanisation occurs due to push factors from urban areas, such as the closure of industrial factories resulting in unemployment, and pull factors from rural areas, such as improved housing and quality of life.

This process first began in Britain in the 1960s, and resulted in the net movement of 1,700 people leaving for rural areas by 1990. This has resulted in both positive and negative effects on urban areas and rural areas.

Counter-urbanisation results in urban areas inner city areas being left with derelict buildings and struggling shops, resulting in a cycle of decline in the area possibly resulting in the donut city effect. However it does have the positive effect of reducing the population density of these urban areas and could result in regeneration of these inner city areas.

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Counter-urbanisation results in house prices and land value increasing in rural areas, as there would be more demand for housing in rural areas than there is supply. This can have both positive and negative effects as the original population would then have more money and their house becomes an investment, as it increases in value. However this can also be interpreted as a consequence of counter-urbanisation, as it means that children who were brought up in the area might then be unable to move there as they wouldn’t be able to afford it.

Another negative effect is that the increasing population in these rural areas results in increasing road congestion and therefore increased road accidents and pollution. Public transport also goes into decline because the new residents are car owners. This is a major problem for village residents without their own transport, particularly the elderly. Country villages are also becoming increasingly suburbanised, they can therefore grow quickly and lose their original character and charm. Second homes are often bought in this counter-urbanisation process, often in more scenic areas of the countryside such as National Parks. In this case, people buy an additional property for use as a holiday home, but do not move there permanently. This has a negative impact on communities as houses can stand unoccupied for most of the year, resulting in tension in the community.

However counter-urbanisation and the increasing population can also cause positive effects, such as more services and businesses opening in the area. This provides more facilities and improved local services to the population and also creates more jobs in the area, reducing unemployment rates. This also means that the less skilled workers in the countryside may find it easier to find work in the newly built businesses and services, rather than be forced into traditional rural jobs such as farm labouring which has long hours and low pay.

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An Outline of the Process of Counter Urbanisation and Its Effects. (2022, Nov 14). Retrieved from

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