Geography Synoptic Essay

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With reference to examples, assess the degree to which the level of economic development of a country affects planning and management in urban areas. The economic development of a country can be defined as the growth of industry, wealth, employment and the level of urbanisation. The planning and management issues that are linked to economic development, are those associated with processes such as urbanisation, suburbanisation and counter-urbanisation of cities. These may include pollution of water, air and noise. Other issues may be the increase in transport and waste, created by people living, travelling through and working in urban areas. These problems need solutions, which often leads to planning and carrying out redevelopment of urban areas. The effects of urbanisation on a city can be seen in Sao Paolo, a newly industrialised country in Brazil where housing improvement schemes are evident. Furthermore we can see issues of planning and management in the UK, a more economically developed country, due to increasing re-urbanisation and suburbanisation. Using these 2 counties of different levels of development, I will be able to eventually assess to what extent the level of economic development will affect planning and management of cities. Urbanisation (the movement of people from rural to built-up areas) in Sao Paolo is increasing rapidly. Being the largest city in the southern-hemisphere, with a population density of 21,000km2, it is constantly growing in size. However the rate of increase is slowing, along with the reduced rural-urban migration and natural increase rates. The population of central areas is also decreasing; a pattern that mirrors that of cities in more affluent parts of the world. The city was initially increasing in size because it was a ‘centre of agriculture’, with exports including coffee and cotton. The city continues to develop today as an industrial centre with manufacturing and services. These industries offer reliable employment to people living in rural areas where the main industry of agriculture is unreliable. Another pull factor is its temperate climate in comparison to the tropical low-lands surrounding it. The huge population means that social provisions are of a much higher quality, including education and healthcare. However this movement of people into the city brings its problems, mostly in the variation of quality of life. Although a prosperous city, it does have the highest unemployment rate in Brazil at 5.3% in August 2012. The contrast between rich and poor is very extreme. A survey of living standards carried out in 2002 revealed that HDI indexes for Sao Paulo varied from the Portuguese national average to Sierra Leone’s (the world’s poorest country.) This is reflected by the housing available in the city, from condominiums (luxury housing blocks), to corticos (inner-city dilapidated accommodation) and favelas (illegal slums.) It was estimated that the sub-standard housing occupies 705? of Sao Paolo, and that 605? of population growth in recent years, has gone straight to the favelas. Not only are these areas unsightly and extremely over-populated at 100,000?, absolute poverty is present. The services and infrastructure are inadequate, with little running water, drainage or rubbish collection and many open sewers causing diseases like cholera and dysentery. Many are unemployed and try to find work in the informal section of the economy. The pollution in the city is high, with 255? of Brazil’s vehicles circulating Sao Paolo. However, improvements are being made: air quality is improving with the reduction of sulphur dioxide and lead levels, although ozone and carbon monoxide are still of concern. $1 million is spent each day on rubbish collection and with only 2 landfill sites in 2001, there isn’t enough space for all the rubbish created. However, urbanisation is decreasing and urban regeneration is taking place to improve living conditions for those already living there....
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