The Impact of Migration to Cities and The Rural-Urban Fringe

The Impact of Migration to Cities and The Rural-Urban Fringe

Discover the impact on agriculture of migration to cities.

As the world becomes more globalised, more people migrate from the countryside to the city. Apart from the impact this has on their destination, the places they leave behind are affected too. As more young people leave there are fewer people able to do heavy farming work, and farms can fall into disrepair.

As the rural environment becomes less sustainable, more people leave and the decline is accelerated creating a vicious circle. Similarly as soil becomes less productive and ground water scarcer, crops fail and so even more people must either move to other areas or starve. With the population of the world expected to reach 9 billion by 2050 it is vital that farming communities both in the West and the developing world continue to grow enough food for themselves, and for the world as a whole.


Why rural areas that surround cities – the rural-urban fringe – are coming under increasing pressure.

As cities grow and people become more affluent, many rural areas that are close by come under severe pressure. New homes are built to accommodate workers travelling into the city; this means new hospitals, schools, roads and shopping centres, all built on what was previously farmland.

Around London, former villages like Reigate are now large commuter towns; in other places, new towns have been built from scratch. Gigantic shopping malls like Blue Water sit in what was previously a chalk quarry.

As more people need to commute into towns, more and more trains and roads are needed, and the journey into London from the rural fringe has become extremely crowded – and expensive. Critics say more should be done to enable people to live near where they work, or preferably work from home, to ease congestion and pollution problems.

Around London some villages have grown to become large towns whereas others have hardly changed in size at all. For a village to expand there must be either good transport links into the nearby city, or the prospect of them; there must be enough land on which to build new homes; there should preferably be a central area large enough to expand the shops and build transport hubs; and ideally there will be a network of smaller villages nearby whose inhabitants will visit to shop and spend money.