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Counterurbanization

  • By: Carlos Ferrás Sexto
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

The concept of counterurbanization, as opposed to suburbanization, is relatively recent in international academic literature; nevertheless, the process to which it refers is not so recent, since counterurbanization was already noticeable in 19th-century English settlements. Counterurbanization can be defined as the deconcentration of people and economic activity from urban to rural areas. It first appeared in the 1960s in the United States, giving a name to the opposite of the classic urbanization process, which involves centralizing population and economic flows in the main cities and large metropolitan areas. A process in the opposite direction began, with movement outward from large cities to smaller urban and rural settlements. This marked a step forward from traditional theories based on a hierarchical organization of settlements and the demographic ...

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