Geography Synoptic Essay

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.
Housing improvement schemes are aiding the regeneration of the city. Favelas have been the main target since 1990, when the city- funded community groups allowed families to renovate their existing homes to include electricity. Despite great publicity only 8000 houses were built, which would on average house 40,000 people (in comparison to the 100,000 living in the favelas. ) Improvements have been attempted since, for example in 2000, when investment was put into Santo Andre. The aim was to alleviate poverty by providing work for entrepreneurs, community healthcare workers and literacy programmes.
So although this is an LEDC/RIC, it still faces overpopulation problems; it does seem that the planning and management changes are aiding the over-population problem and improving the overall quality of life. In contrast Notting Hill is in the UK, an economically developed country with an average GDP (ppp) per capita of $35,494 in comparison to $11,719 in Brazil (World Bank 2011). Notting Hil is an area of London, an example of re-urbanisation; when people move into the city centre or inner city due to regeneration.
Gentrification is what has happened in Notting Hill, as individuals moved into old housing that was formerly in a state of despair and refurbished and improved it. This changed the composition of the whole neighbourhood, because the affluent newcomers displaced the low-income groups that formerly lived there. Often the new comers work in professional or managerial jobs. A positive outcome of this is that more affluent people have been attracted to the area and therefore their purchasing power is much greater.
This means that some house prices now rival those of upmarket Mayfair, but it has meant that the area has become more prosperous. The demand for services to meet the needs of these new-comers has meant new bars and restaurants and services of a higher status. In turn this brings employment to the area for those in design, building, decoration etc. Not only is this a hotspot for people such as Stella McCartney, but it is also a popular area for families. There are parks and communal gardens making the area extremely desirable to those who can afford it.
The film ‘Notting Hill’ gave the area huge amounts of publicity, despite the fact that gentrification was well established by this time. There are lots of well known and expensive restaurants that line the streets to accommodate the affluent people coming to the area. These include The Westbourne Pub, the Lazy Daisy Cafe and the Goulbourne Road Area. However, there are negative impacts; unfortunately those who lived here before the gentrification are finding it increasingly difficult to either buy houses or afford the living costs of the ones they already own/ rent – the average house price is ? ,320,599. This also means that private rentals are starting to decline, as more and more properties are purchased. Furthermore the friction between residents and newcomers can cause crime to increase (seen during the 1976 riots. ) An article in the Daily Telegraph by Ross Clark revealed, “Parts of Notting Hill are still run-down and prone to crime. ’ However in general it is clear the Notting Hill is a very desirable area for the people who have sufficient income to live there.
Transport has also been managed in Notting Hill, and this year (2012) the Metropolitan Police would like to restrict the use of roads in specified ‘safety zones’ by both vehicles and pedestrians which in turn would reduce pollution from cars and overcrowding of people. Also London has the famous congestion charge which has recently been extended to Notting Hill at ? 8 on the day or ? 10 on the day, once again reducing pollution and congestion. Equally this area has a tube station and many bus routes, facilitating travel during the ban of cars, and reducing carbon emissions per person.
Waste is also heavily managed in this area with ‘Monash Waste Transfer and Recycling’ which is managed by the City Council. Not only can people dispose of waste and stop it littering and polluting the water and streets, but it also gives residents a chance to recycle, reducing the amount put into landfill, and reducing the amount of unrenewable resources we use. Equally in the U. K. the opposite is also happening with counter-urbanisation, where people migrate to rural areas, often ‘leap-frogging’ the green belt to get away from the pollution and crime that cities are famous for.
This is often families who increase the affluence of an area but unfortunately this means they work in professional or managerial jobs which requires transport links to the city, and services for the whole family within the rural area. For example Crosby in the Isle of Man. The ‘A1’ commuter route has been extended, which although facilitating travel, may also increase congestion and pollution towards the rural area, which almost defeats the point of ‘clean and peaceful living. In addition modern facilities are in demand from the families; extentions, garages etc. A perfect example being the Eyreton Barn Conversions. However, this would provide work for the construction industry within the village, benefiting the local economy. However, the addiction of all these services, including a refurbished play park and BMX track, although necessary for recreation of young people within the village, are arguably expanding what should be a centre of agriculture.
Expansion can also be seen in Ballawattleworth Estate, Peel in the Isle of Man where people are moving from the centre of the city to the outskirts (suburbanisation. ) Once again this has meant the increase in the building of schools. At the Queen Elizabeth II high school a new dining room, classrooms and KS5 learning Centre have been necessary to cater for the increased intake of pupils as more people move to the area. When comparing LEDCs and MDCs it is vital to take into account other, wider issues.
For example LEDCs may have more natural disasters and less revenue to deal with them. In Brazil between 1980 and 2010 there were 146 natural disasters and over 4000 people killed; in the UK there have been 67 with only 751 killed. Therefore planning and managing an urban area which is more prone to natural disaster is going to pose far more problems socially, economically, environmentally and politically. Not only is it more difficult, but the country as a whole can’t afford the damage so has to seek aid from other countries.
A lot of natural disasters are also weather related, for example the floods in Brazil, due to the tropical climate. Located right next to the equator, it is a perfect target for tropical down-pours as the rising condensation comes straight down again as precipitation. Furthermore pollution is a much larger issue in Sao Paolo due to the favelas with open sewers; in the UK clean drinking water and plumbing mean that pollution isn’t an issue. Finally, the health issues created in the favelas mean that healthcare is needed for more people than in the U. K.
This is economically counter-productive for the city as paying more health-care for residents also means less money available for improvement of the areas that need it. Whereas in the U. K. the NHS means healthcare is free, although diseases such as cholera don’t need treatment as working sewers are something we already have. In conclusion, I think it is true that the level of economic development has an impact on planning and management issues. If a country such as Brazil had more money then they would be able to combat poverty and sanitation by demolishing the favelas.
As an MDC we do have the funding to lessen the issues, but in 200 years time Sao Paolo will have developed demographically and moved to stage 4 of the DTM. With a slower increase or stable population they may find regenerating much easier, as there will be less people to cater for. Notting Hill expanded during the 19th and 20th Centuries due to rural to urban migration and by the 1950s slum conditions affected the area and poverty took hold – much like the current state of Sao Paolo. Gentrification and re- urbanisation may occur here too when and if the economy can support it.

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