IB Geography/Urban environments

Main Topics Within Urban Environments:

Important Definitions:


Urbanization is the increasing percentage of a countries population living in cities and towns (Urban Areas).


Sub-urbanization is a process which can happen due to urbanization, when a town or city starts to engulf surrounding areas (Small Villages on the outskirts of the towns, or compound housing).


What is Urbanization?

Urbanization is the increasing percentage of a countries population towards cities and towns.

What is it caused by?

  • Rural Push
  • This is the process by which rural workers become less and less profitable as their natural resources become scarce. Their land is no longer profitable. However, new technologies allow the rich farmers to produce more, but this leave the farmers on the other end of the scale to have no other choice than to move into the city to provide for their families.
  • Urban Pull
  • This is the process whereby urban cities attract people from outside of the city. This is usually due to higher wages in urban areas. Immigrants coming into the city are happy living in poor conditions initially. Another factor which is commonly mistaken for an attraction are the "Bright Lights", however most people are far more comfortable with the surroundings of their origin.

Consequences of Urbanization

  • Economic Growth
  • As you might imagine, urban areas are usually a large source of the countries economic output. For example, Shanghai, a Megacity which accounts for 2% of the Chinese population has the output of 12% of the countries economic output.
  • Gentrification
  • Gentrification is when upper or middle income families move into houses in an urban area that has deteriorated therefore leading to changes. As a result property values can go up but instead low income families can be displaced.