However, if you leave your current living space, you have to choose a new one, and different people want different living spaces for different reasons. Sometimes, this is down to age; Camden Borough has built lots of small apartments and flats that are suited to young people, because of the proximity to the city and the finance jobs held by this demographic, meaning that the population is dominated by 20-30 year olds. Very few retired people live in Camden as they would prefer somewhere a bit quieter and more peaceful. And since the 1950s, there’s been a trend of people retiring abroad, especially to Spain; around 8% of state pensions are paid overseas to 900,000 British Citizens. People want to retire overseas because they reach retirement in good health, and the average age of retirement has decreased. Income and savings have increased, living costs are lower, and budget airlines mean that travel is cheaper. However, some return home to keep in touch with family and friends, and others return as they find that living abroad is not all that they thought it would be; whilst a few integrate into local culture. Urban to rural migration also happens in the UK; for example in 2007 around 105,000 people moved from urban areas to rural areas. People are attracted by lower crime rates, cheaper housing and a rural idyll. This has been reinforced by TV programmes which show attractive country villages with interesting characters, such as Heartbeat. Unfortunately, some rural towns are populated with so many in-migrants that they lose most of the original rural character that attracted people in the first place.
Despite counter-urbanisation, we remain predominantly an urban society, and how we manage our living spaces will shape human history forever.
Contributed by Thisura Mendis