The CBD’s of cities throughout the world experience many problems, some of which are outlined below:
Congestion: Many Cities still have street plans that were laid down hundreds of years ago. The roads cannot cope with the ever-increasing numbers of cars and other vehicles. This can cause massive congestion problems, especially at “rush hour”.
Solutions to the problems have included improving public transport ; introducing park and ride schemes ; pedestrianization ; encouraging people to share cars into work and building ring roads .
In Athens (Greece) they have tried an extreme form of control by only allowing cars with odd numbers on their number plates into the city on one day, and then cars with even numbers the next day. Unfortunately this has led many people to own two cars, one with an odd number and one with an even one!
Lack of Space: CBD’s are limited in their outwards growth by the fact that the city encompasses them, and due to the fact that businesses want to locate as close to the centre as they possibly can. This has led to land prices rising to astronomical amounts. The only solution seen by most businesses is to build upwards, which is why CBD’s can be characterised by the presence of skyscrapers.
Pollution: The major pollution seen in urban areas is air pollution, or smog. This pollution is mainly caused by the fumes given off by traffic and industry.
The most famous example of where this pollution haze can be seen is over Los Angeles, but most of the large cities of the world experience it too. Poor air quality can lead to an increase in the cases of asthma and bronchitis.Asian cities are heavily in the grip of this. An innovative way of tackling this problem is to manage urban space properly.
Air is not the only thing polluted in cities. Water can be badly polluted, and so has to be carefully treated before being drunk. It’s a horrible thought, but most of the water that you drink in London has already been drunk by 7 other people!
Solutions to pollution problems include: banning heavy vehicles from CBD’s; developing cleaner fuels, and providing more litter bins in CBD’s.
Some cities have encouraged the growth of out-of-town shopping centres to help traffic, land price and pollution problems, by taking some of the focus away from the CBD. However this can also have the negative effect of causing the CBD to decline.