Suburbanisation is the movement of people, employment and facilities away from the inner city towards outer urban areas. Prior to the access to public transport people lived in suburbs known as the walking city. However, the introduction of trams and suburban rail networks in the late nineteenth century and mass car ownership in the mid-twentieth century made suburban living possible. Without transport networks, suburbanisation cannot take place as the city would not be able to expand beyond the walking city. Due to the introduction of railways, development of small, suburban areas adjacent to railway stations increased and hence developed a star-shaped pattern, which is shown in the diagram below. -insert diagram-
Suburbs initially grew along railway lines, forming the star-shaped pattern, also referred to as the ribbon development. Then the trams and buses were introduced which allowed the suburbs to expand between the rail lines. However it was ultimately the automobile that transformed the urban landscape. Road systems allowed further infilling and extension of urban areas as people were now able to travel further from their homes more easily and comfortably.
In 1970, in the US, 37% of people lived in the suburbs and now 50%. The remaining 50% is divided between the inner city and non-metropolitan or rural areas. Due to the mass use of cars and freeways, since 1945, the rate and scale of suburban growth increased rapidly. This was a period of urban sprawl, the uncontrolled expansion of urban areas. There were many factors affecting the housing boom, including the need for more houses for the post-World War II baby boomers during the 1950s and 1960s. This resulted in the restructuring of the metropolitan economy and was led by retailing, especially of the large regional shopping centres and was closely followed by the suburbanisation of employment. This era is also marked by the growth of minicities or edge cities such as Chatswood, Penrith, Bondi Junction and most recently Macquarie Park. Suburbanisation in Australian cities largely commenced with the introduction of trams and the development of the rail network. Trams and railways were the dominant influence of suburbanisation in Australia and cars allowed infilling between the major transport corridors. Cars also allowed further outwards growth leading to urban sprawl. Up to the early 1970s the idea of the owner-occupied family home on a quarter acre block was considered to be the basic right of every family by many Australians.
Due to the period of urban sprawl there was a housing boom driven by the accomoodation needs of the post-World War II baby boomers. This sudden increase in houses, causes the city to become too large and hence leads to na increase in edge cities. Along with the process of suburbanisation there has been a decay of inner cities. As the middle class began to move to the usburbs, inner cities became flooded with lower income groups and minorities. The result was a decline in the tax base of municipal authorities. Faling revenues meant that there was less money to support school and hospitals, thus resulting in a loss of services and a downward spiral in the amentiy of the inner city.
Urban consolidation is defined as policies and programs desgined to increase population densities in urban areas in order ot maker more efficient use of existing infastructure, and to limit urban spread into surrounding rural areas. There are many benefits of urban consolidation, motor vehicles use one third of the world;s oil, and housing closer to the city means a shorter commute. Cars are also the single largest source of ur=ban atmospheric emissions and this is shown, as one in four children in the outer western suburbs, where the photochemical smog goes, suffer from asthma. In Australia the average loss of land per capita is about 1200 metres squared for each additional urbna dweller. There is also less noise, accidents and local traffic impacts...
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