What is Urbanization?
Ideally, urbanization refers to condensation of population from rural areas to urban sector. The urban sector could be a built-up area such as a town or city. The general reasons behind this migration could be better economic, political and social mileages compared to rural areas. Today, urbanization has become a common feature of Indian society. What magnetizes people to cities is better education, health care facilities, housing, business and employment opportunities, transportation, so on and so forth. Majority of people move to cities and towns because they view rural areas as places with hardship and backward/primitive lifestyle. Thence, there are umpteen reasons that entice people to pack the bags and move to urban areas. Eventually, today, more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas.
Positive Aspects of Urbanization
Urbanization yields several positive effects if it happens within the appropriate limits. Undoubtedly, urbanization has raised the notch of literacy and education, better health, child survival rates and a longer life expectancy, greater access to social services and magnified opportunities for cultural and political participation. Besides, it has made the kids smart and capable to survive in this world of competition that is as hard as nails these days. Kids of urban cities are way more competent and aptly fit in the proverb ‘survival of the fittest’. Besides, it has instilled many more hallmarks such as women empowerment, global prosperity, higher literacy rate, high-tech infrastructures and so on. But at the same time, it has bred many evils that have proved to be threat to mankind.
Dark Side of the Coin; Destruction
Let us review some of the damaging aftermaths of urbanization:
Concentration of population is a major problem of cities. It has resulted in
accommodation problem, growth of slums, etc. Cities have turned into concrete jungles. History is evident that sooner or later, this demographic explosion has taken a toll on the lives of people either in form of some natural hazard or some collapse of an infrastructure. We usually hear flyovers or towering building crumbling into layers of dirt, killing thousands of people. This makes one feel that urbanization is a cobweb that man is arresting himself in.
Urbanization has worked more in favor of abolishing joint families. Joint family can’t be maintained in cities on account of high cost of living. Therefore, people prefer to live in the nuclear type of families. This keeps, especially the children away from the prudent learning that grandparents and elders have to offer. Eventually, the kids are socially, emotionally academically maladjusted.
Urbanization has contributed largely in blending toxic elements in the air. According to a WHO study, more than 80% of people living in urban areas are exposed to levels of pollution that exceed those recommended by the same organization. Due to the increased volume of traffic, the automobile exhaust produces elevated lead levels in urban air. The industrial waste and smoke seems to be committed to extinguish even the little-left-to-breathe. Astonishingly, out of world’s 10 most polluted cities, 9 are from India. Is it not alarming?
Another vampire aspect of swelled traffic is the increased number of accidents. An estimated 1.2 million people are killed in road crashes each year, and as many as 50 million are injured, occupying 30 percent to 70 percent of orthopedic beds in developing countries hospitals. And if present trends continue, road traffic injuries are predicted to be the third-leading contributor to the global burden of disease and injury by 2020.
Crime index, there is documentation that confirms the existence of a positive relationship between crime and the size of the city. Urban areas are known for high rate of crimes. Theft, dacoity, murder, cheating, pick pocketing, rape, etc. are common in urban centres.
Because of overpopulation in most urban centers, it is common to find there are inadequate sewage facilities. Municipalities and local governments are faced with critical resource crisis in managing the sewage facilities. As a result, sanitation becomes poor and the sewage's have to be drained into neighboring streams, rivers, lakes, or seas. Eventually, communicable diseases such as typhoid, dysentery, plague, and diarrhea spread their mantle, which may cause serious ailments and even deaths. Overcrowding also highly contributes to water scarcity as supply falls short of demand.
The above drawbacks do not mean that urbanization is adverse and it should be revoked. However, there are certain safety measures that we can take to escape the evil effects of urbanization:
Reduce air pollution by upgrading energy use and less usage of private vehicles.
Create private-public partnerships to provide services such as waste disposal.
Plant trees and incorporate the care of city green spaces as a key element in urban planning.
To prevent the environmental pollution that contains air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, visual pollution and solid wastes can be decreased by making lawful to sustainable development.
Last but not the least is to go on long walks with a smile on your face. This would not only keep you fit as a fiddle but will also keep you away from the clutches of stress.
If the preventive measures are taken, the ill effects of urbanization can be disappeared substantially.
Wish you all a stress-free and healthy life!
This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat.