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Characterisation of Rural Areas
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Characterisation of Rural Areas

One of the key ideas in human geography that you must study for your GCSE is the rural environment. In order to understand the pressures on ecosystems and human beings, it is important that you are aware of the main characteristics of rural areas, mainly those of the UK, including the resources they provide.

You may well have seen diagrams showing the different types of rural area, starting with the urban area as the 'bullseye'. At the edge of any urban area there is the rural/urban fringe. This is characterised as being an area where housing and the countryside mingle together. In effect, you could travel along a road in this area and within a few minutes of going in one direction, you are in the countryside but a few minutes in the other direction, you are in town.

Surrounding this is the commuter belt. This is characterised by villages with expensive housing surrounded by farmland.

If you passed through a village with expensive houses and a train station, which type of rural area are you most likely to be in?
Rural/urban fringe
Commuter belt
Good communications (e.g. rail link) and expensive housing stock are key characteristics of commuter belts
Which of the following is not false?
Large numbers of people migrate from the urban/rural fringe to the commuter belt
The distance of the rural area from an urban centre determines how it is classified
The population of rural areas is increasing
In order to avoid depopulation, rural areas need to develop sustainable businesses
The general trend for rural areas is towards depopulation because there is little or no local work for people
In which of the following areas is tourism most likely to make a significant contribution to the local economy?
Rural/urban fringe
Commuter belt
Accessible rural
Remote rural
Accessible rural and remote rural both have the characteristics that attract tourists, however, remote rural areas usually have fewer places like camp sites, hotels and B&Bs where people can stay
In a rural/urban fringe ...
the most likely development is on brownfield sites
the most likely development is on greenfield sites
the most likely development is on greyfield sites
no new development is permitted
The area where no new development is permitted is green belt land. In practice, because of the need for new housing, some development does take place
In an accessible rural area ...
farming is important to the economy
farming is not as important as heavy industry
housing is extremely expensive
there are a large number of primary routes and main roads linking the settlements
Primary routes and main roads may cross the area but have not been built specifically to link settlements. This makes the rural area accessible
Rural areas change over time. Three of the reasons are income from tourism, the profitability of farming and the development of new industries in the area. These are known as ...
economic factors
environmental factors
sociable factors
social factors
Economic factors have a significant influence on migration to urban centres
Which of the following best describes a rural area?
An area of low population density
Housing is isolated or contained in villages and hamlets
All of the above
It is quite difficult to define a rural area in a few words as there are several different types, each with its own characteristics
Which of the following statements is not true?
The population density is usually the lowest in remote rural areas
Farming and tourism is important to the economy of all rural areas
Commuter belts have good communications to urban centres
The main type of farming in remote rural areas is arable
In the UK, most of the remote rural areas are hilly or mountainous where arable farming is not possible
In which of the rural areas are you most likely not to have a mobile phone signal?
Rural/urban fringe
Commuter belt
Accessible rural
Remote rural
There are places in all areas where you may not get a signal, however, because the population density of remote rural areas is the lowest in the country, mobile phone operators do not believe it is economic to provide a service. Obtaining planning permission is difficult as the areas are often environmentally sensitive and transporting materials to a remote site is expensive
Which of the following has had a significant effect on primary employment in rural areas?
Mechanisation of agriculture
Reduced need for food
Lack of a skilled workforce
New housing
Mechanisation of agriculture means that farms can be run using fewer people, reducing the availability of primary employment in rural areas
You can find more about this topic by visiting BBC Bitesize - Rural-urban links

Author:  Kev Woodward

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