urban and rural area - definition, concept and what it is

One way to classify the geographic space is to differentiate two areas, urban and rural. Obviously, urban areas refer to the idea of ​​city or city, while the term rural refers to life in the country.

Urban zone

Although there is no single type of city, it is possible to establish some common features to all urban areas or spaces. For a locality to be officially considered as a city, it must exceed a certain number of inhabitants (for example, in Spain, population centers that exceed 10,000 inhabitants are considered a city, while in France the figure is 2,000 inhabitants).

From a morphological point of view, a city is an agglomeration of buildings with different purposes. Functionally, a city is a population center in which all kinds of activities take place and on a large scale (those of the industrial sector, the secondary sector and those of the service sector). In terms of space, a city is a nucleus with different interconnected areas (commercial, leisure, administrative areas ...).

Sociologically, cities develop specifically urban ways of life, with great social diversity, with more anonymous personal relationships and more specialized jobs.

Rural zone

When humans began to selectively cultivate the Earth 10,000 years ago, hunting was abandoned as a way of life and a sedentary process began in permanent settlements or rural areas.

The rural space does not present the same characteristics in all the territories. However, there are certain common traits:

1) agricultural, livestock and forestry economic activities are carried out,

2) they are small population centers with generally limited public services,

3) in these territories its inhabitants live in dispersed nuclei with a low population density and

4) Individuals maintain closer social ties than in urban settings (in the countryside all the inhabitants know each other, while in the city anonymity is maintained).

The world's population is mostly urban

Currently more than half of the planet's inhabitants live in cities. It is estimated that by 2050 two out of three people will live in a city. The gradual decline in the rural population is due to two main reasons:

1) life in the countryside is not economically viable for large sectors of the population and

2) the rural environment offers fewer services than the urban environment in some aspects, especially in educational, health or leisure-related matters.

Photos: Fotolia - petr84 / relif

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