In today’s world, “urbanization” is a very common and discussed term. It essentially means the process of developing an area and making it more urban. Urbanization has been taking place with the evolution of man himself and it is natural that with the growth in population and scientific progress, the rate of urbanization is increasing by the minute. It is leading to a significant push of people from the rural areas to the urban area, increasing the concentration in cities. In an analysis by the United Nations, it has been predicted that almost all the population growth that will take place in the next 13 years, which is an estimated 1.1 billion people, will be absorbed by the urban areas. The urge in people from rural areas, to move to big cities, is due to the striking difference in condition of living and scope of work in rural and urban areas. While urbanization may seem like a good idea to some, it is far from being entirely so. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of urbanization are as given below.
Negative effects of Urbanization:
• As stated above, most people move to the cities from the rural areas in the hope of better jobs. Now, pressing issue that arises is that in most cases, the urban areas cannot supply as many job openings as required, which results in many unemployed urbanites.
• Due to large scale urbanization, it is obvious that the bulk of population that has globally moved to the urban areas is much more than what the cities are equipped to accommodate and support. This desperation to stay in the urban parts of the world has led to extreme land insecurity, with slums coming up on any land that is found empty. There is immense overcrowding and consequently very poor living conditions in these areas. In most slums, there is no proper sanitation, sewage disposal or even basic amenities like water and electricity.
• The uncomfortable living conditions in the slum and frustration of unemployment often lead people to take resort to antisocial activities for the sake of earning their bread. This, along with lack of proper law and order in the sum areas, results in a much higher crime rate in the urban areas.
• Not only does urbanization adversely affect humans, it is also damaging the environment in multiple ways. For starters, cities are continuously expanding their area to accommodate more people, which results in the natural flora and fauna being under constant threat. With each passing minute, more and more forested areas are being cleared to make houses and factories, with many trees and animals running the risk of becoming extinct. Apart from this, urbanization is creating significant environmental stress by disrupting the natural water table, increasing the rates of air pollution and contributing to the overall global warming.
Positive effects of Urbanization:
• Despite the above disadvantages of urbanization, we must also remain thankful for its benefits. To start with, it is an undeniable fact that urban areas offer much more scope for an efficient living. Many rural areas lack amenities as basic as clean water and electricity, which are available in the cities with less effort.
• Urbanization also contributes in the betterment of the rural areas. People who move to the cities and get employed are better equipped with knowledge about the rural areas and tend to go back to those areas and work for their development. They also often migrate to the city with their goods and materials that prove to be beneficial in foreign trade.
• Apart from the basic amenities, people migrating to the city also gain access to better health and social services, transport and most importantly, better education. Urbanization helps in somewhat decreasing the illiteracy rate, making sure that more and more children get the basic education they need. Even for higher education, there is more variety in the courses available in the urban areas.
• Urbanization is also a blessing in the aspect of social integration. It enables people from different origins, cast and religion to live and work together, slowly breaking down the barriers of discrimination, culture and language.
Considering the current rate of population growth, it is safe to say that urbanization is not going anywhere. However, with the increasing awareness about environmental issues, more care is being taken to ensure that urbanization takes place while protecting the environmental and human resources. In this way, we can reap the benefits of urbanization without having to face the downsides of it.