Urbanization brings with it several consequences – both adverse and beneficial. They impact on social and environmental areas.
Adverse effects of Urbanization
There is increasing competition for facilities in urban areas, which results in several negative effects. Many people mainly farmers who move to cities in search of a better life and better occupational opportunities end up as casual labourers. This leads to menacing problems of urbanization – the growth of slums and unmanaged Urban Sprawl. Urban sprawl often leads to negative consequences.
Slums are urban areas that are heavily populated with substandard housing and very poor living conditions. They are manifestations of urban poverty.
- Land insecurity – Slums are usually located on land, not owned by the slum dwellers. They can be evicted at any time by the landowners.
- Poor living conditions – Crowding and lack of sanitation. This often contributes to outbreak of diseases. Utilities such as water, electricity and sewage disposal are also lacking in these areas.
- Unemployment – Since the number of people aspiring for jobs is more than jobs available, unemployment is a natural outcome of situation.
- Crime – Slum conditions make maintenance of law and order difficult. Patrolling of slums is often not on priority list of law enforcing officers. Unemployment and poverty force people to engage in anti-social activities. Slums therefore, often become a breeding ground for criminal activities. The Social Disorganisation Theory discusses about the relation.
- Temperature Increase- Due to factors such as paving over formerly vegetated land, increasing number of residences and high-rise apartments and industries, temperature increase due to increased absoption of Sun’s energy and production of more and more heat due to very intense human activity.
- Air pollution-Factories and automobiles are most visible symbols of urbanization. Due to emissions of harmful gases and smoke from factories and vehicles, air pollution results.High amount of suspended particulate matter in air, particularly in cities, which contributes to allergies and respiratory problems becoming a huge health hazard.
- Changes in Natural Water Cycle – When urbanization takes place, water cycle changes as cities have more precipitation than surrounding areas. Due to dumping of sewage from factories in water bodies, water pollution occur which often resulting in outbreaks of epidemics.
- Destruction of Natural Habitats of Flora and Fauna – In making of an urban area, a lot of forested areas are destroyed which otherwise would have been natural habitats to many birds and animals.
- We have extended the urbanisation to the sea also. This tendency is damaging the ocean ecosystem also.
Benefits of urbanization
Urbanization is not all bad, it has its benefits.
- Efficiency – Cities are often more efficient than rural areas. Less effort is needed to supply basic amenities such as fresh water and electricity. Research and recycling programs are possible only in cities. In most cities flats are prevalent. In flats many people can be accommodated within a small land area.
- Convenience – Access to education, health, social services and cultural activities is more readily available to people in cities than in villages. Life in cities is much mored comfortable, compared to life in villages. Cities have more advanced communication and transport networks.
- Concentration of resources – Since most major human settlements were established near natural resources from ancient times, lot of resources are available in and around cities. Facilities to exploit these resources optimally also exist only in cities.
- Concentration of Educational facilities – More schools, colleges and universities are established in cities to train and develop human resources. Variety of educational choices are available offering students a wide choice for their future careers. In this age of knowledge society it has become more and more important.
- Better Social integration – People of many castes ,groups and religions live and work together in cities, which creates better understanding and harmony and helps breakdown social and cultural barriers.
- New Markets-Internet has opened up a new market world wide. Any one can sell in this market by posting Free classifieds web from the comfort of the home.
- Economic Improvement – High-tech industries earn valuable foreign exchange and lot of money for the country.
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