Shifting Flows In and Out of Places

Places are constantly changing due to various factors. In the past, it was usually endogenous factors which had the greatest impact, but recently, exogenous factors are having more and more influence on places. Flows of people, money, resources and ideas have increased over time, largely due to globalisation, involving improved transport and communication. As a result, places have become more strongly connected to each other. These flows can affect the demographic and cultural characteristics of a place, or the economic and social characteristics.


Demographic Change:

  • Flow of people: can change any part of the demographic characteristics (age, gender, population etc) – in Uckfield (East Sussex), increasing numbers of young people leave, leaving an older population – internationally, there are often gender imbalances in countries in North Africa, as many young men migrate to Europe for better opportunities
  • Flow of money and investment: governments may invest money to attract people to live in an area, such as the London Docklands Development Corporation being set up in 1981 to redevelop the Docklands area, it resulted in an increased population in the region – it almost doubled by early 2000s
  • Flow of ideas and resources: ideas like birth control can affect demography as it reduces birth rate and therefore affects population size


Cultural Change:

  • Flow of people: new people moving or visiting bring their own culture to an area – in early 1900s, many people from India, Pakistan etc moved to the UK which has created very multi-ethnic communities with wide range of spoken languages, religions, and food
  • Flow of money, investment and ideas: new cultural ideas change the characteristics, like fast food companies including Mcdonalds, KFC etc opening shops in China during the 1980s and 1990s – eating habits in China have since changed greatly, and many people prefer western-style food over Chinese food now


Economic Change:

  • Flow of people: people visiting an area change the economy – St Ives in Cornwall was once a fishing settlement, and most income was from that, but now it is a major tourist destination – different types of jobs, more hospitality based
  • Flow of resources: outward flow of local products or natural resources from a place has a large impact on local economies – once regional/local products can now be sold globally, like the Scottish whiskey industry which has become one of the largest industries in Scotland due to international exports – brough employment and money
  • Flow of money and investment: reduced investment and competition has led to decline of some industries in UK (deindustrialisation) – thousands of jobs lost in South Wales when mines were closed during the 1950s and 1980s – inward flow of investment has positive effects





Social Change:

  • Flow of people: regional migration, rural-to-urban, in poor countries has changed levels of social inequality – slums have developed in India (such as Dharavi) – rich-poor gap is widening in these sorts of areas
  • Flow of resources: outward flow of natural resources from poorer countries changes social inequality – oil is extracted from Nigeria and exported internationally, but most profits only go to a few individuals so rich-poor gap remains prominent

Flow of money and investment: process of gentrification has improved social characteristics in some places but also increases inequality – Notting Hill used to be extremely deprived but the levels of deprivation have been greatly reduced – social inequality between new wealthy residents and old poor residents has increased