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Causes and Impacts of Urbanization

Urbanization is the process of human relocation from rural areas to urban areas. Therefore, as urbanization quickly rises it implies that the rate at which the movement from provincial to urban happens is that a nation has no opportunity to anticipate these individuals’ presences. The circumstance varies from nation to nation as the quantity of urban communities and country regions in the nations are extraordinary. Another conceivable purpose behind the thing that matters is the advancement idea of the country. A few nations are developed, others are developing while others are just considered less developed. Urbanization in developed areas can be followed from the industrialization period when a group of people migrate from the rural/ancestral home to towns in search of employment. This brings up the question: how is urbanization around the world seen as? Urbanization is different all around the world and many factors play a role in that, like rapid migration.

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According to a report from a study conducted by the University of Michigan, the percentage of the human global population living in cities in 1950 was less than 30% and by the year 2000 the numbers had reached to 47%. The study predicted that by 2025, the figure would be at 60% (World Watch, 2011). Numerous factors could lead to this, but the main one is rapid migration, which induce the migrations from rural to urban. These factors have been categories into two groups, called the push and pull factors. Push factors are those factors that are influenced by the conditions of the rural areas thus making people move away into cities. Pull factors on the other hand are the incentives that attract people to the cities. An example of push factors can be political instability of the rural area, insecurity, low standard of education, unemployment, and lack of resources. Pull factors are the items that are missing in the rural areas, which includes: employment, better education, better lifestyle, variety of resources, better health facilities, and a somewhat political stable condition among other personal reasons.

Different policies of a country also drive the rural to urban migration. Mexico for instance intrigued the migration by placing the food prices in urban areas at a low cost. Therefore, farmers in the rural areas felt misused as they would not reap any profit by selling food to urban areas. They abandoned farming and moved to the urban areas making the Mexico City to be among the top largest cities with rapid urbanization. Urbanization and especially the most rapid ones come with implications; both positive and negative. Other countries that are just developing or less developed are not well prepared for the growth in population at the cities. For that reason, it causes a deterioration on the necessary resources. This plays a key role in global negative implications as an increase in traffic, environmental pollution, overcrowding among public places,  and increase in the cost of life at the cities occur.

Another common problem is super popular in African cities. Within this place the poor hygienic conditions have been brought by the rapid urbanization. This ranges countrywide from Nairobi,Kenya to Lagos, Nigeria and Windhoek, Namibia. Rapid urbanization has led to the weakening of the environment, which includes vast slum dwellings, inadequate water supplies, poor garbage disposal, poor drainage systems, and poor medical services. This in turn has bred what is known as communicable diseases such as malaria, lymphatic diseases, HIV/AIDS, typhus and yellow fever (Potsiou, 2010). As urbanization rate grows, so is the population growth within the cities from new births and this places a strain on housing, employment opportunities and increases competition. Therefore, the poverty group cannot afford the ‘better’ accommodation leading to raggedy towns. There is no development plan for these towns, neither is there a proper place for waste disposal, no drainage system, electricity and drinking water supplies. The only services these people get from their government is health and education which are of low quality. These conditions are one of the main reasons for the growth of diseases such as malaria and cholera. A study by who predicts that about 3000 children die of malaria daily and about 3-5 million lives are lost through cholera annually (Knudsen & Slooff, 1992). To support that claim, Nigeria, Africa has experienced an increase in the mortality rate of young children with the rapid urbanization. This is so because a large number of the disadvantaged society in urban areas leads to disadvantages. According to countless reports, the increased mortality rate investigation revealed rapid urbanization as the cause. More than 40 % of Nigerian population resided in the urban areas (Barret, 2010). Urbanization is so deadly.

Another evidence of rapid urbanization has caused the environmental state of Shenzhen town in China to deteriorate. The previously constructed drainage system has been hampered and the rivers are compromised, interfering with the ecological system in China. The environment has also been degraded by the various activities carried out in the area; river banks of Guanlan River have been encroached, wetlands have also disappeared in the consequence of rapid urbanization (Zhou et al, 2010). China at large is facing further challenges with the rapid urbanization which has caused increased the concern for land as the land for cultivation has been minimized as it has been converted for industrialization purposes. Rapid urbanization has caused soil pollution as a result of waste disposal from the industries which introduce acids into the soils. China has been listed as the most populated country in the world. Therefore, this has the country’s resources strained and environmental degradation. The introduction of acid into the soil from waste disposal has affected the food production, livestock feeding, fiber and biotic fuel, habitat lose and affected the whole ecosystem at large which has posed some other physical environmental change such as global warming effects.

In Asia, Bangladesh is considered a highly populated city which has been a case of rapid urbanization which has been accredited to the search for employment, away from the agricultural sectors in rural areas. The Food and Agriculture Organization reported that a large population of habitants in Bangladesh lived on what is considered a fragile land along the coastal areas. Urban poverty, slum dwellings, deteriorated diet, life expectancy, nutrition and literacy are characteristics that define the state of rapid urbanization in Bangladesh. Dhaka city in Bangladesh had a slum population of 2,840, 000 in 2005 which has been attributed to low and underemployment and low household income (Haider, 2008).

In Istanbul Turkey, it has been estimated that about US $ 40 billion is needed annually to deal with the rapid urbanization implications. According to a statistical report, one out of five people lived in cities in the mid-1960s compared to the current one to three. Istanbul has been caught unplanned and just like other countries with rapid urbanization; it is experiencing the same problems of slum dwellings and inadequate water supplies. Turkey is not complaining about the rapid urbanization, they believe that with capital, they can channel the population into “engines of national economic growth” as the scenario in Bangkok, Thailand. Turkey believes that if they can develop their infrastructures like transport and water, then the population influx in cities can expedite the much needed economic growth for the country. According to the 2005 Mayor of Istanbul, Kadir Topbaş, development will only be achieved by incorporating the participation of city people. Meaning that everyone has to come together to make good out of the bad circumstance.

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Everything is not bad about rapid urbanization. After discussing with my peer, Bailey Adams, her document,” Poor People, Poor Places, and Poor Health: the Mediating Role of Social Networks and Social Capital”, by Vicky Cattel talks about how even if urbanization occurs poor people are going to stay poor and wealthy people will always have money. This means that positive change does not occur. However, that is false it has helped in setting women free. Rapid urbanization has no doubt exposed women to financial independence and pursuit of their own interests. In China rapid urbanization has exposed women to education opportunities and has also created middle class society. Before these women were not going to school and China had only two classes; the rich and the poor but with women going to school and working now, there is a new society, the middle class which has contributed significantly to the economic growth in China. In Khartoum, Sudan, Africa, rapid urbanization has contributed to the accessibility of better health care for the children. What some people say is not always true more evidence needs to be found to support their claim.

There are different sources of livelihood apart from agriculture, standard of living has definitely improved and there are better housing conditions than those in the rural areas. Accompanying the positive implications of urbanization in Khartoum is the fact that children get to attend school, receive better nutrition and health care. (Cederblad & Rahim 2002) India’s economic growth has been accredited to the rapid urbanization among other factors. According to Mckinsey Global Institute, India’s rapid urbanization has lifted its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to the heights of rivalling China’s and the United States. The more her urban population increases, the more products are produced and with their demand, the economy of India goes up. Even though, many believe that rapid urbanization has a negative impact, that is always not the case.

As outlined in my essay, some of the rapid urbanization implications such as slum dwelling and environmental degradation are similar globally. Experts are cautious that in developed countries such as China, to deal with the implications, the barrier between urban and rural areas should be eradicated. With the help of that the spread the population will shift the burden. Developed countries have been called to create and take on plans that correlate between the physical location of the objects and provide accommodation. This includes planning, engineering and health services, construction plans and natural resource management. In the case of developing counties, public health education has been called for to enlighten the population so as to eradicate the conditions for breeding and spread of communicable diseases. To find a definite answer more research has to be conducted to find a fully developed answer on how urbanization varies in countries.

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