Urban Environment

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In an MEDC like the United Kingdom the local authorities have a duty to house homeless people who are in need, such as families with children, pregnant women, people of old age and disabled people. The ‘typical’ homeless person in MEDC is a 35 year old male with little, or no academic qualifications. This means that their employment prospects are low. Within MEDC’s homeless people often have either a mental or physical disability which have caused them to become homeless. In the United Kingdom the current rate of homeless people is approximately 7 in every 1000 people.

LEDC’s on the contrary have an altogether different problem related to housing, they suffer from squatter settlements also known as favelas, barrios and shanty towns. The largest squatter settlement is found in Mexico and is called the Neza-Chalco-Itza barrio. Shanty towns can cause a serious problems for cities because they are usually built on the outskirts and are a drain to resources. Shanty towns often have inadequate electricity, sanitation and communications. They are usually very unorganised, lacking in streets names and house numbers. Increasingly in shanty towns drugs dealing is becoming an important part of their community, with drugs gangs maintaining control over areas, the cities police don’t dare enter some area for fear of violence with the gangs. Favelas in Brazil are largest around the big cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, this is mainly caused by a decrease in jobs in rural areas due to mechanisation and the bright lights of the city. Favels and shanty towns are often made from materials scavenged from the area, so houses are usually made from corrugated iron, plastic and wood, this can cause problems with storms and natural disasters.