Urban And Rural

Urban and rural areas are two terms used to describe populated areas. The main differences between urban and rural areas are how many people live there and how built up the areas are, but there is more to it than that. It is important to understand the perceptions of both urban and rural areas, and the evaluation of living space. 

Urban And Rural Urban And Rural

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Table of contents

    Urban and rural definitions

    Let's expand those definitions a little further.

    Urban areas are places of high populations and high density, characterised by their built-up infrastructure. They are expanded by the act of urbanisation.

    Rural areas are the complete opposite of urban areas, having a low population and density whilst maintaining a lack of large infrastructure.

    Urban and rural areas and their perceptions

    Urban areas are perceived differently by a range of groups based on their experiences and perceptions. For example, the views of the Victorian era are dramatically different from the current day, and views of both inner-city areas and rural settings are different.

    Urban and Rural Areas: Victorian perceptions

    Upper-class Victorians viewed urban areas as dangerous and threatening, with pollution from factories and vast amounts of working-class people living in poverty causing them to turn away. Many of these wealthier citizens began to plan new ‘model’ cities.

    Saltaire, a village in Shipley, West Yorkshire, is a Victorian model city. After being built in 1851, the village began to install many recreational buildings that caused it to be seen as a place of luxury to those of the Victorian upper class.

    Urban and Rural Areas: Current perceptions

    Urban areas have seen a vast growth of job opportunities in modern times which has greatly improved the perception of urban areas, mainly in the inner city. The presence of universities, hospitals, and access to other high-quality services make them attractive places to live, work, and study, especially because they are close to bigger towns or cities. Alongside this, social and leisure activities have drawn in young visitors and workers from surrounding areas and overseas.

    However, there are also negative perceptions of urban areas today. Derelict land, high levels of poverty, and high crime levels have tarnished the view of urban areas. Media perspectives of these areas have added to these negative connotations and many urban areas receive a bad reputation as a result.

    Urban and Rural Areas: Inner city area perceptions

    These areas are favoured by young professionals and the density of the area allows for a higher amount of job opportunities. They are also valued by students as the areas have good access to both education and entertainment. Cities are seen as bustling hives of activity and are often seen as 'the place to be'.

    Similar to urban areas, inner cities are more likely to experience crime than quieter suburban locations.

    Suburban area perceptions

    Suburban areas are located between busier urban locations and the quieter countryside. There are usually large housing developments, good road networks, and access to services like shopping malls, supermarkets and leisure activities. Suburban areas are favoured by young families due to the higher numbers of schools and quieter roads. Other notable attributes are the rail networks and older populations of mainly retired people. While suburban areas are often considered safer than cities, they are normally close enough that people can access services in the city, such as hospitals.

    Urban and Rural, Suburban House, StudySmarterSuburban houses have much more space and land than inner-city ones, Pixabay

    Rural area perceptions

    Rural areas are located outside of large towns or cities. People who live here have much more space and are likely to live in a village or far out into the countryside. A very different population lives in rural areas which have completely different characteristics than urban or suburban areas.

    Rural area perceptions: The rural idyll

    Rural areas are seen as ideal places to live with picturesque landscapes and historic buildings. The old cottage style of housing and relaxed lifestyle (tranquillity) has also brought more to the area. Finally, a sense of community with higher amounts of socialising and less crime has made rural places perfect for older communities and growing families.

    The portrayal of rural areas in the media has increased the effectiveness of this view.

    Rural area perceptions: Varying perspectives

    Rural areas are often home to an ageing population, meaning there are likely to be limited social opportunities for younger people. Alongside this, they can be popular with tourists (honey-pot sites) which can cause seasonal employment and high density in certain months with little to no economic activity during the off-season.

    Depending on what a person is looking for, rural areas can be an excellent place to live; there is far less noise pollution and air pollution. Having access to green space is supposed to improve mental health and living on a large stretch of land provides more privacy. However, rural areas can be very isolating. With fewer goods and services coming in and out of these areas, people living are more at risk of loneliness. Retirees who no longer drive are especially at risk. Though rural areas are ideal for older people in many ways, they can be difficult areas for young people as services and house maintenance become more expensive. There are also far fewer job opportunities. While rural areas provide beautiful landscapes and privacy, they can be difficult places to live in.

    Urban and Rural A painting of country side StudySmarterSome areas are entirely isolated, Pixabay

    Urban and Rural: Evaluating living spaces

    So how do we go about evaluating these diverse places to study or improve them?

    The use of qualitative and quantitative data allows us to represent the quality of living spaces. Qualitative methods (non-numerical) include photographs, postcards, written documents, interviews, and social media sources. Quantitative methods (numerical) include census data, IMD data (Index of Multiple Deprivation), and surveys.

    These forms of data allow councils and governments to choose how to develop the areas. What is important to remember is that depending on where people live, they will have different opinions of rural, urban and suburban areas.

    Urban and rural differences

    There are clear differences between the two types of area. The amount of people and density is much higher in urban areas as well as the size of the infrastructure. Rural areas are typically seen as more idyllic and attractive to older people or families whilst urban areas often attract students or young professionals. Both receive different forms of negative perceptions, however, with urban areas being seen as highly polluted and noisy whilst rural places can be seen as isolated and boring.

    Urban And Rural - Key takeaways

    • Inner city urban areas are usually characterised by their high populations, services, and a population of many students and young professionals.

    • In the suburban areas, more young families and older people make up the population and there are many transport links to the inner-city.

    • Rural areas are more isolated and therefore have fewer services and jobs but are more tranquil and better for growing families.

    • The best way to evaluate living spaces is through qualitative and quantitative methods and allow councils to make changes to areas.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Urban And Rural

    What are rural areas and urban areas?

    They are different types of populated areas, characterised by how many people there are and the types of services found there.

    What are the types of urban spaces?

    Inner city spaces and suburban are two types of urban spaces.

    What are the components of an urban space?

    A high population and built environment. High amounts of jobs and services as well as closeness to high-level education and entertainment.

    What is a rural space?

    Rural spaces or rural areas are the opposite of urban areas, characterised by low population density and a lack of large infrastructure.

    What are the differences between urban and rural areas?

    The differences between urban and rural areas are demonstrated by population density, infrastructure size, and age and type of people. They are also perceived in different ways. 

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    Which is not a Victorian view of urban areas? That they are filled with pollutionThere is a high level of povertyThe buildings are intimidating

    Which group enjoys rural areas more? Young Professionals, Retirees or Students

    Which of these is not a type of urban area? Inner-city, rural farm, suburbs

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    StudySmarter Editorial Team

    Team Urban And Rural Teachers

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