• Counter- urbanisation is the migration of people from major urban areas to smaller urban settlements and rual areas.
  • It first took place as a reaction to iner city deprivation and overcrowding with people moving from from towns and cities to new towns, estates or commuter towns and villages.
  • New towns and estates were mainly built due to government schemes trying to rehome people from deprived inner cities, maily for the working class that had moved into the area looking for work.
  • However, the commuter towns and villages are mainly aimed at middle class or socially mobile people because they can easily access nearby towns and cities by car, bus or maybe train.

  • One of the main causes of counter - urbanisation is that people want a better quality of life, they want to be able to live in a clean and quiet area without air and noise pollution, busy traffic, dirt and the crime of urban environments. They also aspire to having larger houses with more land for cheap prices compared to the large towns and cities.
  • Employers have also started to move to rural areas, adding to the cause of counter- urbanisation by attracting people with new jobs. Between 1981 and 1996 rural areas gained more than 1 million jobs. The use of internet has allowed people to work at home, allowing them to move away from the towns and cities where they previously worked to a more quiet environment.
  • Another cause is that there has been a rise in demand for second homes or homes to be bought for retirees due to higher levels of affluence. This also links with the need for rural areas to attract more incomes. For example agricultural businesses are struggling and one way for them to make money is to sell unwanted land or buildings for residential areas.

  • One of the major effects of counter- urbanisation is that the majority of the services in the area are forced to close. This is because the majority of people moving into the areas commute to work everyday so instead of using the small village shops for their groceries they use the large supermarkets in the urban areas in which they work. Busineses in rural areas then have to close because they arent getting enough trade. Other services that have disappeared in many rural areas are schools, post offices, churches and bus services because the new majority of residents in rural areas still use ones from urban areas.
  • Counter-urbanisation affects the layout if rural settlements, modern housing is built on the outside of the area nd industrial estates are built on large main roads leading into the settlements. Other empty areas are built on an derelict buildings are modernised. These new buildings are mainly hidden from main roads to try and keep the aged, rural look to the area and to stop the locals becoming annoyed with the gentrification occuring in the area.
  • Local young adults are forced to leave the area to find jobs, houses and education because the services in the rural areas were closed due to people commuting and the house prices have rose dramatically over time due to the rise in demand of people wanting to live and commute in rural areas.
  • More car parking areas have to be built as commuters have more cars and sometimes commute using public transport, neding room to leave their cars.
  • Demolition of old properties to make way for newer, large exuctive homes in the area leading to house prices rising and the view of the area spoilt by new builds.


  • The town St. Ives is around 100km north of London,it lies on the A1123 , 8 km east of Huntingdon and just 25km northwest of Cambridgshire.
  • The town is close to both the A1 trunk road and the main east coast railway line, making regular access to London easy.
  • The town is popular because it has links with Oliver Cromwell and a statue of him stnds in the town centre. Other popular features of this area are a 15th century chapel, fine victorian and georgian houses, a corn exchange and a large all saints church and is classed as a picturesque town.

  • The majority of the land outside the town centre is rural farmland but over the recent years has been slowly changing into new housing developments.
  • Blocks of new apartments have been built in the town centre for more exclusive housing for people with highly paid jobs.
  • These builds are affecting the population structure of the town, one side is ageing and the other is becoming more youthful.
  • This is because the area has affordable housing and with the good transport links makes it the perfect location for commuters to London, these people generally move into the town centre for easy access to services and tranport links to their works.
  • Other people moving into the area are commuters with young faamilies or retirees, these move into the more rural part of town for a quieter life with more land, but they still have the fast access to services and work if they do so.
  • People in the St.Ives have higher incomes and living standards than anywhere else in the UK, this is shown by the boom in property damand especially for large homes or riverside apartments and bungalows.

  • Commuting to London increased during the 1990's and now 25% of ST.Ives population commute to work in London daily.
  • The railway line was electrified and journey times were reduced by alot.
  • The station at Huntington, just outside ST.Ives is a 50 minute journey away from Kings Cross in London which makes travelling to work easy.
  • An annual rail ticket costs £3,920 but because housing in London is so expensive the costs for this are saved with the housing in ST.Ives.

  • Since commuting became so popular in the area services have changed to meet the demands of more new residents.
  • The area still has low order services such as greengrocers, butchers, bakers and supermarkets but many have expanded to meet the rise in demand for their goods as the opulation increases.
  • High order services such as restaurants, antique dealers and designer clothes shops have been opened in the area to meet the damnds of the more wealthy people living in the area.
  • Etate agents have also been opened frequently over recent years to meet the demand of people wanting properties in the area, this has also caused the secondary school's intake to rise.