Urbanization


Urbanization

Urbanizationn (also spelled urbanisation) is the physical growth of urban areas into rural or natural land as a result of population in-migration to an existing urban area. Effects include change in density and administration services. While the exact definition and population size of urbanized areas varies among different countries, urbanization is attributed to growth of cities. []

Movement

More and more people leave villages and farms and move to cities. When cities grow rapidly, as in Chicago in the late 18th century or Shanghai a century later, the movement of people from rural communities into cities is considered to be the main cause. This kind of growth is especially commonplace in developing countries.

The rapid urbanization of the world’s population over the twentieth century is described in the 2005 Revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects report. The global proportion of urban population rose dramatically from 13% (220 million) in 1900, to 29% (732 million) in 1950, to 49% (3.2 billion) in 2005. The same report projected that the figure is likely to rise to 60% (4.9 billion) by 2030. [ [http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/WUP2005/2005wup.htm World Urbanization Prospects: The 2005 Revision, Pop. Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UN] ] .

According to the UN-HABITAT 2008 Annual Report, sometime in the middle of 2007, the majority of people worldwide will be living in towns or cities, for the first time in history; this is referred to as the arrival of the "Urban Millennium". In regard to future trends, it is estimated 93% of urban growth will occur in Asia and Africa, and to a lesser extent in Latin America and the Caribbean. By 2050 over 6 billion people, two thirds of humanity, will be living in towns and cities.

Urbanization rates vary between countries. The United States and United Kingdom have a far higher urbanization level than China, India, Swaziland or Niger, but a far slower annual urbanization rate, since much less of the population is living in a rural area. The immaculate urbanization of Mexico City has invoked environmental reforms to improve the status of its surrounding troposphere and ecology.

* Urbanization in the United States never reached the Rocky Mountains in locations such as Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Telluride, Colorado, Taos, New Mexico, Douglas County, Colorado and Aspen, Colorado. The state of Vermont has also been affected, as has the coast of Florida, the Birmingham-Jefferson County, AL area, the Pacific Northwest and the barrier islands of North Carolina.
* In the United Kingdom, two major examples of new urbanization can be seen in Swindon, Wiltshire and Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. These two towns show some of the quickest growth rates in Europe.

Causes

Urbanization occurs naturally from individual and corporate efforts to reduce expense in commuting and transportation while improving opportunities for jobs, education, housing, and transportation. Living in cities permits individuals and families to take advantage of the opportunities of proximity, diversity, and marketplace competition.

People move into cities to seek economic opportunities. In rural areas, often on small family farms, it is difficult to improve one's standard of living beyond basic sustenance. Farm living is dependent on unpredictable environmental conditions, and in times of drought, flood or pestilence, survival becomes extremely problematic.

Cities, in contrast, are known to be places where money and wealth are centralised. Cities are where fortunes are made and where social mobility is possible. Businesses, which generate jobs and capital, are usually located in urban areas. Whether the source is trade or tourism, it is also through the cities that foreign money flows into a country. It is easy to see why someone living on a farm might wish to take their chance moving to the city and trying to make enough money to send back home to their struggling family.

There are better basic services as well as other specialist services that aren't found in rural areas. There is more job opportunities and a greater variety of jobs. Health is another major factor. People, especially the elderly are often forced to move to cities where there are doctors and hospitals that can cater for their health needs. Other factors include a greater variety of entertainment (restaurants, movie theaters, theme parks, etc) and a better quality of education, namely universities.

These conditions are heightened during times of change from a pre-industrial society to an industrial one. It is at this time that many new commercial enterprises are made possible, thus creating new jobs in cities. It is also a result of industrialisation that farms become more mechanised, putting many labourers out of work.

Economic effects

Over the last few years urbanization of rural areas has increased. As agriculture, more traditional local services, and small-scale industry give way to modern industry the urban and related commerce with the city drawing on the resources of an ever-widening area for its own sustenance and goods to be traded or processed into manufactures.

Research in urban ecology finds that larger cities provide more specialized goods and services to the local market and surrounding areas, function as a transportation and wholesale hub for smaller places, and accumulate more capital, financial service provision, and an educated labor force, as well as often concentrating administrative functions for the area in which they lie. This relation among places of different sizes is called the urban hierarchy.

As cities develop, effects can include a dramatic increase in costs, often pricing the local working class out of the market, including such functionaries as employees of the local municipalities. For example, Eric Hobsbawm's book "The age of the revolution: 1789–1848" (published 1962 and 2005) chapter 11, stated "Urban development in our period [1789–1848] was a gigantic process of class segregation, which pushed the new labouring poor into great morasses of misery outside the centres of government and business and the newly specialised residential areas of the bourgeoisie. The almost universal European division into a 'good' west end and a 'poor' east end of large cities developed in this period." This is likely due the prevailing south-west wind which carries coal smoke and other airborne pollutants downwind, making the western edges of towns preferable to the eastern ones.Urbanization is often viewed as a negative trend, but in fact, it occurs naturally from individual and corporate efforts to reduce expense in commuting and transportation while improving opportunities for jobs, education, housing, and transportation. Living in cities permits individuals and families to take advantage of the opportunities of proximity, diversity, and marketplace competition.

Environmental effects

The urban heat island has become a growing concern. This effect causes the city to become 2 to 10o F (1 to 6o C) warmer than surrounding landscapes. ["Heat Island Effect" [http://www.epa.gov/heatisland/] ] . Impacts also include reducing soil moisture and intensification of carbon dioxide emissions. ["Heating Up: Study Shows Rapid Urbanization in China Warming the Regional Climate Faster than Other Urban Areas" [http://gtresearchnews.gatech.edu/newsrelease/china-climate.htm] ]

Changing form of urbanization

Different forms of urbanization can be classified depending on the style of architecture and planning methods as well as historic growth of areas.

In cities of the developed world urbanization traditionally exhibited a concentration of human activities and settlements around the downtown area, the so-called "in-migration". In-migration refers to migration from former colonies and similar places. The fact that many immigrants settle in impoverished city centres led to the notion of the "peripheralization of the core", which simply describes that people who used to be at the periphery of the former empires now live right in the centre.

Recent developments, such as inner-city redevelopment schemes, mean that new arrivals in cities no longer necessarily settle in the centre. In some developed regions, the reverse effect, originally called counter urbanisation has occurred, with cities losing population to rural areas, and is particularly common for richer families. This has been possible because of improved communications, and has been caused by factors such as the fear of crime and poor urban environments. Later termed "white flight", the effect is not restricted to cities with a high ethnic minority population.

When the residential area shifts outward, this is called suburbanization. A number of researchers and writers suggest that suburbanization has gone so far to form new points of concentration outside the downtown. This networked, poly-centric form of concentration is considered by some an emerging pattern of urbanization. It is called variously exurbia, edge city (Garreau, 1991), network city (Batten, 1995), or postmodern city (Dear, 2000). Los Angeles is the best-known example of this type of urbanization.

Rural migrants are attracted by the possibilities that cities can offer, but often settle in shanty towns and experience extreme poverty. In the 1980s, this was attempted to be tackled with the urban bias theory which was promoted by Michael Lipton who wrote: "...the most important class conflict in the poor countries of the world today is not between labour and capital. Nor is it between foreign and national interests. It is between rural classes and urban classes. The rural sector contains most of the poverty and most of the low-cost sources of potential advance; but the urban sector contains most of the articulateness, organization and power. So the urban classes have been able to win most of the rounds of the struggle with the countryside..." [Varshney, A. (ed.) 1993. "Beyond Urban Bias", p.5. London: Frank Cass.] .

Planning for urbanization

Urbanization can be planned urbanization or organic. Planned urbanization, ie: new town or the garden city movement, is based on an advance plan, which can be prepared for military, aesthetic, economic or urban design reasons. Examples can be seen in many ancient cities; although with exploration came the collision of nations, which meant that many invaded cities took on the desired planned characteristics of their occupiers. Many ancient organic cities experienced redevelopment for military and economic purposes, new roads carved through the cities, and new parcels of land were cordoned off serving various planned purposes giving cities distinctive geometric UN agencies prefer to see urban infrastructure installed before urbanization occurs. landscape planners are responsible for landscape infrastructure (public parks, sustainable urban drainage systems, greenways etc) which can be planned before urbanization takes place, or afterward to revitalized an area and create greater livability within a region.

New Urbanism

New Urbanism was a movement which started in the 1990s. New Urbanism believes in shifting design focus from the car-centric development of suburbia and the business park, to concentrated pedestrian and transit-centric, walk able, mixed-use communities. New Urbanism is an amalgamation of old-world design patterns, merged with present day demands. It is a backlash to the age of suburban sprawl, which splintered communities, and isolated people from each other, as well as had severe environmental impacts. Concepts for New Urbanism include people and destinations into dense, vibrant communities, and decreasing dependency on vehicular transportation as the primary mode of transit.

ee also

*Counter urbanization
*Pseudo-urbanization
*Suburban sprawl
*Suburban colonization
*Rural depopulation
*Urbanization in Africa
*Urbanization in China

References

*Guy Ankerl: Urbanization Overspeed in Tropical Africa, INUPRESS, Geneva,1986 ISBN 2-88155-000-2
*Glaeser, Edward. Are Cities Dying? The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Spring, 1998), pp. 139-160

External links

* [http://www.openhistory.net Open History Cityviewer] , a dynamic map of the world cities' growth
* [http://www.irinnews.org/InDepthMain.aspx?InDepthId=63&ReportId=73996 Tomorrow's Crises Today - the humanitarian dimension of urbanization] , by IRIN
* [http://habitat.aq.upm.es/boletin/n21/almum.en.html The Natural History of Urbanization] , by Lewis Mumford
* [http://search.ft.com/ftArticle?ct=0&id=070629003892 Urban Outfitters] , at FT.com
* [http://gsociology.icaap.org/report/socsum.html Brief review of world socio-demographic trends] includes review of global urbanization trends


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