Migration case study: Poles to the UK

I have summarised this case study in 4 short videos.

Introduction to the case study:

Impacts on source region

Impacts on host regions

The future…..

Compulsory case study: Africa

Africa compulsory case study 

AIM: To develop an understanding of the complexities of economic impacts across the African continent and how it could lead to disasters for poor and vulnerable people.


  • 55 countries
  • 34% of the 15-24 year old population is illiterate 
  • African economies are on the brink of collapse thanks to international debt and to make things worse they are having to cope with some of the malicious impacts of climate change.
  • The continent as a whole is warmer by half a degree than in the 1900s.
  • Most African economies are heavily dependent on agriculture which is heavily on the environment. 
  • Water is already a scarce resource in Africa, in 2007 14 countries were officially declared as water stressed. So decreased rainfall has made conditions much worse than they were before.

What has global warming brought to Africa?

  1. Droughts 
  2. Rainy seasons are unreliable and overall rainfall is decreasing
  3. Rains are more localised – the rain that ended the 2005-2006 drought were not widespread across the whole of the continent

So why are these impacts a problem?

Firstly, the competition for water will increase and this can lead to conflicts especially since major freshwater stores such as the Nile cross countries. Not just conflict but people will become reliant on poor quality water stores which can lead to water-borne disease such as cholera.

How does this affect the economy?

Well as more people become prone to water-borne diseases this puts more stress on healthcare. This puts pressure on the governments budget to provide enough welfare for all these people. Also, if more people are ill then they won’t be able to work to their fullest and this will reduce productivity.

Physical and human impacts on Africa 

Physical Impacts

Human Impacts

Fragile impacts may not survive and 20-50% of species in Africa could face extinction

Reduction in food supply (climate change affects rainfall which affects crop production)

Many low-lying coastal countries in Africa are vulnerable to rising sea levels.

Malaria will increase due to increased humidity and rainfall. This puts pressure on  the health care system.

Coral beaching

Increased cyclones

Deforestation and desertification 

So why is Africa so vulnerable?

Well climate change brings a range of problems all over the globe. However, to make the situation worse Africa has a debt crisis. The have a debt to some of the world’s richest countries, the repayments of these sometimes exceed their entire GNP. In 2007 the G8 wrote off the debt to 18 countries but there is still the vast majority of countries which still have their debt.

One method of coping with this debt is by opening doors to international trade. This means by increasing the production of cash crops (crops sold for income rather than the country’s own food supply). However, this has led to much forest clearance.

According to Oxfam this clearing of forests is likely to worsen. Not just to write off debts but because of global warming.  They argue that extreme weather such as droughts will expose soils to erosion from the wind. The puts stress on land and this kind of stress can lead to desertification e.g. animals have to graze on a smaller piece of land leading to that area of land being over -grazed.

Put all these factors together and we learn that it is Africa’s food security which is under threat and that is a major concern for authorities there. 

Test your definitions…

define the following:

  1. Debt crisis
  2. Food security
  3. Cash crop
  4. Desertification
  5. Coral bleaching 


  1. This is where many African countries have become so heavily indebted that repayments sometimes exceed their entire GNP.
  2. This is the extent to which a country can rely upon food supplies e.g. upon weather or if unable to grow all its food then the extent that it can rely on imports.
  3. These are crops which are grown for income not domestic food supply.
  4. This is the process when fertile land turns into futile desert
  5. This is the whitening of coral due to stress induced death. There are many causes of this e.g. changes in water temperature

Rising Sea Levels & Bangladesh


AIM:  To investigate how sea level rise may have a disproportionately bigger effect on some countries like Bangladesh.

Modelling the rise in sea levels 

There are various predictions for sea level rise for the future. The mode extreme one predicts a rise in sea level by 15m by 2100. This puts many places including London in peril. But how is this 15m going to be achieved?

  1. Melting of West Arctic ice sheet = 5m rise
  2. Complete melting of Greenland ice sheet  =  7m
  3. Collapse and melting of world’s glacier system = 2m
  4. Continual thermal expansion of oceans = 1m

So all four event equal a 15m rise in sea level.However, most models produce a rise of 1m. Nevertheless, it is important that we act fast because even if the probability is small the risk of sea levels rising is so great. There are 3 key fundamental reasons why it is so difficult to model sea level rise hence the vast set of results.

The first reason is that it is difficult to predict the quantity of future greenhouse gas emissions especially as that isn’t just based on us it is based on nature e.g. volcanic eruptions. The second is based on the concept of ceteris paribus which is the concept that all other things remain the same i.e. ‘business as usual’. Finally, it is difficult to predict the actual impacts of a rise in sea levels.

There are two types of changes involved when we are discussing sea level changes: EUSTATIC & ISOSTATIC. Eustatic changes involve changes in sea level due to the amount of water in oceans and isostatic changes involves movements of land in response to changes in sea levels.

So where are the most vulnerable places?

There are three types of area which are most vulnerable to changes in sea level rise.

  1. Land on river deltas e.g. Bangladesh
  2. Areas that lie close to sea level e.g. Netherlands, Eastern Britain
  3. Small low lying islands in the Pacific oceans e.g. Tebua

CASE STUDY: Bangladesh


  • 70% of the country lies on flood plains, less than 6m above sea level
  • Faced by multiple varieties of hazards
  • Has a growing population 
  • It is an LEDC
  • It is the world’s most densely populated area
  • It is a mega-delta filtering 57 river including Ganges, Meghna and Brahmaputra. In addition it filters snowmelt from Himalayas, monsoon rains and high tides.

What happens if sea levels rise

  • It could loose up to 20% of its land
  • Displace 40 million people
  • Threaten food supply, drinking water and agricultural land
  • Increasing water temperatures can lead to increased number of water borne diseases such as Cholera
  • The biggest risk is being lost like Tebue which means that tens of millions of environmental refugees will have to seek livelihood in other countries.
  • Damage to coral reefs 
  • More risk of cyclones
  • Malnutrition
  • Child development and education will be negatively affected 
  • Loss of properties 

So how are Bangladesh acting right now?

  1. Technological solutions – In the 1990s, Dhaka the capital city – cleared 102km of drains and constructed 144km of drains. They also opened 633 channels to improve drainage
  2. Early warning/ flood predictions – This includes preparing people especially the vulnerable of floods e.g. allowing people to be evacuated to safer grounds quickly and effectively
  3. Behavioural – Changing land uses and food choices e.g. increase fishing more than arable farming. Bans have also been put in place to slow down urbanisation
  4. Managerial – e.g. improve sanitation and water management to prevent water-borne diseases.

The solutions presented in this post are one thing but Bangladesh only has limited funds and there is a limit to how much they can borrow or rely on international aid. They also have a large vulnerable population and protecting every single citizen isn’t easy. Bangladesh has to think ahead as climate change provide more extreme situations of flooding etc then they have prepared for.


  1. Define Eustatic changes.
  2. Define Isostatic changes.
  3. What are the three reasons that make modelling difficult?
  4. What is extreme quantity of sea level rise predicted?
  5. What are three most vulnerable places in regards to rising sea levels
  6. State two facts about Bangladesh
  7. Name three impacts of rising sea levels in Bangladesh
  8. Name two solutions Bangladesh plans
  9. What are the two fundamental  problems with these solutions?
  10. What are the three main rivers of the 57 that make Bangladesh a mega-delta?

Suggested Answers

  1. Eustatic changes are changes caused by changes in the amount of water in oceans
  2. Isostatic changes are the responses of land to changes in sea levels
  3. It is based on the concept of ceteris paribus, it is hard to predict future greenhouse gas emissions and we do not accurately know the impacts of rising sea levels
  4. 15m 
  5. Large river delta e.g. Bangladesh, the Nile, places with low lying land such as Netherlands or Eastern Britain, small low lying islands in the Pacific or Indian ocean
  6. Almost 70% is a flood plain which lies on less than 6m above sea level and  has the world’s most densely populated area
  7. 40 million people will have to be displaced, risk of water borne diseases such as Cholera and risk to properties and livelihoods 
  8. Technological 633 channels to improve drainage and managerial improve sanitation and waste management
  9. Bangladesh does not have the funds and has a large vulnerable population
  10. Ganges, Meghna and Brahmaputra

Suburbanisation in Los Angeles


SUBURBANISATION: This is the physical growth of areas on the fringes of major cities because of more and more people moving in suburbs.

Los Angeles as a ‘donut city’

Los Angles was booming with industry in the centre of the city with all sort of manufacturing firms e.g. car, steel and tyres industries. Then the city de-industrialised i.e. secondary industry died down and there was a growth in tertiary and quaternary sector. As many of these industries were footloose i.e. can be located anywhere they choose to be located on suburbs because there was big greenfield sites which had fewer planning regulations. This left the centre derelict and full of migrants, unemployment and crime. So that is when suburbanisation took place. Today this hole has been filled with TNCs as a way of attracting people back into inner cities.

So why did suburbanisation occur  in Los Angles?

One of the reasons this has happened because access to the fringes of cities had been improved and increased due to the construction of highways and most importantly the popularity of  CARS. To a certain extent the creation of  the electric tramway have also helped encourage suburbanisation. This meant that now people could live is quite and peaceful areas while gaining the economic benefits of cities e.g. working in cities, shopping in cities etc.

Push and pull factors are the crucial reasons why the introduction of motor vehicles and electric tramways had such a major impacts. In the table below I have put together push and pull factors of urban areas like Los Angles.

Urban Push

Suburban Pull


Cheaper land for larger properties

Declining Jobs – because there was a change in economy (decline in manufacturing and increase in services) and it appeared to be that average incomes were higher in suburbs 

Accessible – electric tramways/cars and higher personal mobility because of this. Before fuel was relatively cheap making commuting less expensive. The government had made large investments in transport services.

High Land rents

Large shopping centres

Fears for safety

Better schools and services

Businesses were looking for greenfield sites – there are huge land masses in suburban areas and fewer planning regulations

More open spaces

Crowded housing 

Low density, single family housing 

Congestions and overcrowding

Safer neighborhoods

Poor schools and services

So where to some of these migrants move to?

  1. Anaheim 
  2. Irvine
  3. Ontario

Problems of suburban sprawl:

  1. Time spent travelling meant that there may be no time left for family and friends
  2. Communities may only exist at night time – dormitory settlements
  3. Congested highways = more air pollution
  4. Loss of some of the best farmland 


1. What is suburbanisation?

2. What left L.A. with a hole in the middle? This was why it was called ‘donut city’.

3. What has now filled the hole?

4. Explain two urban push factors.

5.Explain two rural pull factors.

6. Where did migrants move to i.e. names of suburbs?

7. Suggest three problems of urban sprawl

8. Define a megacity

9. Define megalopolis 

10. Define urban agglomerations 


1. Suburbanisation is the physical growth of suburbs due to increased number of people moving to suburbs.

2. Deindustrialisation

3. TNCs

4. Pollution – factories causes air, visual and noise pollution and high land rent rates due to high demand and high land prices.

5. Accessibility – electric tramways and motor vehicles made this possible and better schools and services 

6. Irvine, Anaheim and Ontario

7. (i) Dormitory settlements (ii) increased air pollution and congested highways (iii) loss of some of the best farmland.

8. A City with a population of 10 million

9. A large urban area with several metropolitan centres

10. An extended city of town e.g. urban areas spreading out into suburbs