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Urbanization: Cause and Effect

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  • Last Updated : 29 Nov, 2022
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The world is advancing and society is getting modern; thus, many people are moving from rural areas to urban colonies. And thus urban regions such as cities and towns are expanding to accommodate more people and this process of expansion of cities and towns is called urbanization. However, urbanization comes with its pros and cons, and many factors contribute together towards urbanization. In its early times, few countries experienced urbanization, but at present, almost every country is steeping forward towards urbanization.

History of Urbanization

The beginning of urbanization dates back to the Catholic period in 10,000 BCE when some people moved to permanent settlements. However actual urbanization begins in the 8th century BC when a city has more than 100,000 people. But soon urbanization multiplied several times and by 1800, more than 3% of the world’s total population started living in urban areas. This urbanization boosted further and by the mid-1960s the people living in urban areas reached to a quarter of the world’s total population. Mesopotamia is considered to be the earliest city that appeared between 5400 BCE – 600 BCE.

Causes, Effects and Solutions to Urbanization

Causes, Effects and Solutions to Urbanization

Causes of Urbanization

Industrialization: Industrialization is one of the primary causes of urbanization as its shifted many people from agricultural to non-agricultural jobs. It’s a fact that industries are usually set up in Urban areas or it can also be said that an urban town develops near an industry as it offers high job opportunities. 

Commercialization: Urban regions opened new doors for trade and commerce with a bigger market and better business possibilities. Trade and commercialization become easy in urban regions with better transportation facilities, huge demand, and plenty of availability of resources.

Employment Opportunities: It’s a fact that there are significantly higher job opportunities in urban areas than in rural regions. Additionally, education, public health, transport, and business opportunities, are also one of the primary reasons for many people migrating from rural to urban regions.

Modernization: Urban areas are highly exposed to advanced technology, outstanding infrastructure, dressing, and living standards. Thus people seeking all this advanced technology and infrastructure are readily moving toward the urban region.
Social Benefits: Apart from job opportunities, urban regions also offer better education facilities, proper sanitation facilities, and easy access to the public health system. 

Effects of Urbanization:

Economic Effects

  • Urbanization is a major player that leads to positive economic growth, as urbanization results in the development of more industries and thus increases the gross production capacity of the nation.
  • Urbanization offers an elegant and clean infrastructure that attracts foreign investors and results in increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
  • Improved health and education facilities contribute significantly to the nation’s growth.
  • Urbanization may also negatively impact the economy such as an increase in slums, high investments in infrastructure, etc.

Environmental Effects

  • Urbanization may have a serious impact on the environment, as urbanization demands more space, thus leading to deforestation. 
  • Urbanization leads to industrialization and industries release many harmful gases that can have serious impacts on the environment, and health and is also leading to ozone layer depletion and leading to Global warming.

Solutions to Urbanization

  • Sustainable Development: Individual governments as well as global leaders should come together and enact strict laws that ensure sustainable development. The main motive for developing sustainable cities is the development of cities should not impact the environment. Also, waste-water recycling, the use of renewable energy, and public transport must be promoted by the government. 
  • Job Creation: The Government should focus on job creation and work on developing job opportunities in rural areas so that people from the rural areas don’t need to migrate in search of jobs. The Government should promote private sector investment to create more job opportunities. 
  • Population Control: Population control is the most perfect solution to Urbanization, as the population grows each day. The cities are expanding, thus limiting population can help a lot in dealing with overcrowding and urbanization. 

Importance of Urbanization

Urbanization comes with lots of benefits, improving the quality of life for many people.

  • Urbanization improves infrastructural facilities and helps in developing new technologies.
  • It also creates new job opportunities and improves transportation, medical, and education facilities as well.
  • The high rate of literacy helps create a better working environment and enhances public involvement in social and public issues.
  • Urbanization, leads to industrialization, thus boosting the economic growth of the country.

Drawbacks of Urbanization

  • The increased urbanization requires a huge labour force, thus a large number of people move from rural to urban areas for this fulfilment of labor. But due to the high cost of land in the cities, this group of people starts living in temporary shelters and soon turning them into slums.
  • Urbanization usually demands a highly skilled and educated workforce, and thus less educated and unskilled workers get exploited. 
  • Urbanization requires space, thus resulting in cutting down forest lands to turn them into residential, thus leading to deforestation and climate change.
  •  In overcrowded cities, there is a high risk of transmission of Communicable illnesses like typhoid, plague, diarrhoea, and dysentery. Also observed during the COVID-19 pandemic, urban regions were more vulnerable to the COVID.
  • Accommodating a higher population in a lesser space leads to increased pollution from vehicles. Also, sewage management and improper disposal of waste turn out to be major problems in many urban regions.
  • One of the major drawbacks of Urbanization is the fall in Agricultural employment. As people start moving towards Urban areas employment in the agricultural sector drops.

Way Forward:

Urbanization is the new constant and it’s expected to increase drastically in the future, thus global leaders need to make sure that urbanization must be sustainable. Also, it’s important to ensure the forests should not sacrifice for the greed of urban development. Also, it’s important to invest in developing technologies that make better and more intelligent use of space. As Urbanization demands more space, it’s important to make proper use of available space.

FAQ’s on Urbanization

1Q. What is urbanization in geography?

Ans: It can be described as an increase in the proportion of people living in any particular city or town.

2Q. What is Urbanization in the Industrial Revolution?

Ans: Urbanization increased during the industrial revolution as industries required large workforces, thus workers and their families started living in the nearby regions of the industry and soon that area turned into a city.

3Q. What are the differences between industrialization and urbanization?

Ans: Industrialization leads to transforming an agriculture-based economy to an industrial-based economy, while on the other hand urbanization refers to an increase in the population of people living in cities.

4Q. What is Urban Moral Reform Movement?

Ans: The Urban Moral Reform movement was initiated during the industrial revolution and the main goal of the Urban Moral Reform Movement was to eradicate immoral behavior brought on by the industrial revolution.


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