Urbanization: Causes and effects

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Urbanization is an increase in the number of people living in towns and cities. It occurs mainly because people from rural areas move to urban areas. It can also be explained as the expansion of a city or metropolitan area.

Causes of urbanization

  • Rural to urban migration of happening on a massive scale due to population pressure and lack of resources in the rural areas.
  • People living in rural areas are pulled to the city because they believe that standard of living in urban areas are much better than rural areas.
  • Natural increase of population is caused by a decrease in death rate while birth rate remains high.

Effects of urbanization

A range of economic, political, social, cultural, environmental factors affect urbanization.It is encouraged socially and culturally through social media.

  • Socio- cultural impacts:
    • Cities have a strong socio- cultural impact on their surrounding rural areas.
    • The mass media depicts city life as superior to rural life.
    • The fertility rates in cities is often lower than rural areas due to absence of agriculture, cost of children, food and living space of cities and family planning.
  • Socio- economic impacts:
    • As the city grows, the cost of housing and infrastructure also grows and there will be less water, land and building materials available and causes congestion problems.
    • Unemployment grows and drug abuse, crime rates and homelessness also grows.
  • Environmental issues:
    • Wastes are a major problem in large cities.
    • Air pollution results from over dependence on motorized transport systems and from burning of coal to supply energy.
    • Water pollution results from poor sewage facilities and disposal of industrial heavy metals into water bodies.
    • Vast quantities is solid wastes are produced in the industries and pollute the environment.
    • Traffic congestion and noise pollution are major environmental impacts of large cities.

Benefits of urbanization

  • Moderate urbanization helps in improvement of economy.
  • It helps in the growth of commercial activities.
  • There is a socio- cultural integration as a result of urbanization.
  • There is an efficient use of resources.
  • There is an increase in the supply of labour.

The problem of this rapid urbanization is faced by the whole world. The greatest challenge is to minimize the negative aspects of urbanization and build the benefits of urbanization. For this, more opportunities should be created in the rural areas for people to take up. The rural infrastructure also needs to be taken into consideration in order to keep urbanization in check.