Urbanization – Pros and Cons

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 laborers  This leads to menacing problems of urbanization – the growth of slums.

Slums are urban areas that are heavily populated with substandard housing and very poor living conditions. These  result in  several problems.

  • 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.

Environmental Impact

  • 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 absorption 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  naturalhabitats to many birds and animals.

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.
  • Better Social integration – People of many castes ,group sand religions live and work together in cities, which creates better understanding and harmony and helps breakdown social and cultural barriers.
  • Economic Improvement – High-tech industries earn valuable foreign exchange and lot of money for the country.

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