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Discuss the problems of the Central Business Districts of MEDC cities

In this essay I will be writing about the Central Business District (CBD), it’s problems, and possible solutions to them. Also I will show how the CBD relates to the Burgess and the Hoyt models.

The main things that are located in the CBD are: shops, department stores, and office blocks.

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The main functions of the CBD are commerce, employment and entertainment. The CBD has the widest range of shops, and the highest amount of department stores, as it is very densely populated during the day. People come to the CBD for shopping, as you will have no trouble finding what you are looking for.

In the CBD lots of businesses have their offices there. For example: solicitors, banks etc.

The entertainment is also located in the CBD. Theaters, cinemas, nightclubs etc. are all located in the Central Business District because it is very highly populated in the evenings/nights. A good example is London’s West End.

The CBD is located in the same place on both Burgess’s and Hoyt’s models which is in the middle of the city. (As shown on the diagrams below.) It is located there because it is easily accessible and most of the public transport meets there.

Central Business

District

Central Business

District

The CBD faces many severe problems due to the high density of people, cars etc. Many of those problems are trying to be solved by the government, but unfortunately so far they have not been successful.

One of the major problems is traffic congestion. Traffic congestion is a very big problem that causes not only jammed streets, and delays but also pollution, which is another big problem. Traffic congestions is caused by the fact that the streets and roads where laid down before the car was invented. Back then horse-carriages were in use and the roads were not getting jammed.

The other thing that causes this problem is the very high ownership of cars. Many people own more than one car. Many roads are being gridlocked for many minutes or sometimes even hours.

Also lots of shops , services and offices are located in the CBD so people want to get to them, so the roads are congested.

Some solutions have been attempted to solve the problem. These include:

Ring roads, by-passes that divert the traffic from the CBD and instead go around it. It may seem that it would take longer, but that is not the case, as in the CBD you cannot travel fast, there are traffic lights, etc. but on the motorway there are no traffic lights and you can travel much faster so you take less time then you would if you travel through the CBD. An example of a ring-road is the M 25 going around London. It is so successful the government is planning to expand it so each side has 6 lanes, instead of the 3 it has now.

Another solution proposed by me, is the banning of heavy lorries from going through the CBD as they take up lots of space and cause congestion. That way there will be more space for cars, and lorries do tend to block streets while turning, etc

Also I think that multistory car park and ” park and ride” schemes would help to reduce the traffic in the CBD. It would help because people would park their cars in a multistory car park or the would park it on the suburbs of the city and ride to the CBD using public transport, that not only would save them time, but also money because parking in the CBD is very expensive, and it’s hard to find a space.

In Rio de Janeiro in Brazil they have a scheme in which on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays only cars with an odd last number plate are allowed to drive in the CBD and on the remaining last 3 days, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. On Sunday anyone can drive. I think that this method of reducing cars in the CBD is good and successful for cities in LEDC countries because people can only just about afford one car let alone two. That’s why this would not be doing so well in MEDC countries such as England, because people can afford two cars, one with an odd number plate and one with an even number plate so they will be able to drive on any day of the week.

The solution attempted by the Mayor of London is ” Congestion Charging”. Basically you have to pay 5 pounds so that you can drive into the CBD. This method has been successful in one-way, but yet still there are a lot of cars in the CBD, although some people do choose to go around now, that they have to pay, or they choose to travel by the public transit.

I also think that if the government invested some money into improving the public transport drastically, then probably more and more people would choose to travel by it, recognising that it is faster than travelling by car and not so gross.

Also another solution that I think would be successful is car sharing. For example I think that some people go to 2 places that are really close to each other, and yet still they take 2 cars, when they could take only one. That would help because there would eventually be less cars around, so there will be less traffic jams, so people will see that it is a good idea because they get to work on time, or maybe even they can sleep for another 10 minutes or so.

Furthermore I think that pedestrianization of certain high streets is a good idea. For example Bond Street in London. That way it will encourage people to take the public transport as they won’t be able to go on that road in their car anyway, and the pedestrians will have more space so they will move about more freely. Also allowing only “black taxis” and busses on to certain roads is a good suggestion, because it will also encourage people to take the public transport.

In addition I think that introducing bus lanes is an excellent scheme, because the busses won’t be stuck in the traffic jams, and they will take up less space because they will have to keep to their lane. That way more people might start to travel by busses, as they will see that it is quicker. This will result in the number of cars on the road to decrease.

The second chief problem the CBD is facing is pollution. Pollution is the air that is polluted but also water, land, noise and garbage in the streets.

Polluted air causes many diseases such as asthma and bronchitis. Not only it is not healthy for us to breathe in, but also it doesn’t look to appealing when car fumes are floating everywhere.

Vehicle fumes, especially petrol and diesel, mostly cause polluted air. Cars are the biggest air polluted in the CBD, as there are thousands of them. Traffic congestion makes the pollution even worse because while the car is stopped, it r releases more fumes than it does whilst moving.

The government are tackling this problem, but so far they do not seem to succeed in it. In my opinion there are quite a few solutions to this dilemma.

Firstly I think that banning heavy lorries (as I mentioned before) is a very good way of reducing pollutions as they give of many fumes and most of them run on diesel, which is very bad for the environment. That way fewer fumes will be released so it will be healthier to live/work there.

Secondly I think that if all the busses were running on methane, then it would release less poisonous fumes than diesel. Methane is more environment friendly than petrol or diesel and it won’t be so destructive to the surroundings.

Thirdly I propose that people start to use bikes more than they do now. For example they could get to work by bike rather than by car. That way not only it would be better fro the environment, but also the people will work on their fitness, and some might find it highly entertaining. In Japan, China, and S/N Korea many people travel by bikes. Bikes are the mean form of transport over there and the atmosphere is cleaner.

In addition I think that increased road sweeping can be successful. If the government invested more money into the cleaning processes of the CBD then it would help to solve the problem of pollution. If we had more road sweepers employed and maybe a higher pay for them then the CBD will ultimately be cleaner and the pollution level will drop (hopefully). Like they do in Holland. Also there is lots of garbage left lying around the streets at the end of the day left by coffee shops, cloths stores, restaurants etc. that should be cleaned up immediately, because it attract lots of diseases and looks unpleasantly.

Another solution to undertake this problem is to enhance the tree and shrub planting. I think that would be successful, because trees and shrubs photosynthesis producing oxygen so they make the air cleaner. That way we could have more hedges, grass areas etc. and the air will be cleaner.

Noise pollution can be sometimes unbearable as well. It is mostly produced by cars, lorries motorbikes etc. There aren’t many solutions to this problem. The main thing is to reduce the amount of vehicles driven in the CBD and this is linked with traffic congestion.

The further difficulty the CBD faces is the high cost of land. The land in the CBD is very expensive because lots of shops and businesses locate their stores/offices and it’s become very cramped. Because of this, the competition some traders have had to leave and re-locate their business out-side the city center. Every business wants to set up there because all the people go there either for shopping, work or entertainment, also its easily accessible.

One of the solutions I would attempt is to start building high-rise office blocks on a small area, but tall. That way we save space and money because we only pay for the space we take up on the ground. So now more offices can situate their offices in the city center.

Another solution for this conflict is the building of out-of-town shopping centers in the suburbs or the rural-urban fringe. They need to take up lots of space so the land is cheap there so they have the money to build there stores there. People then travel there to and back. This process is called decentralization. Also most of them have free parking which is very attractive to customers, as they don’t like paying for the parking space.

In conclusion I think that the solution to the CBD’s problems are hard to implement because the CBD is very crowded big, and it involved lots of co-operation from all of the people.

Furthermore I don’t think the CBD will ever get rid of it’s problems because it will continue to get bigger and the amount of cars/shops/businesses etc. will always grow, and so will the competition, so it will be impossible to get ride of urban decline , pollution, traffic congestion etc.