Rapid urbanization is the direct and desirable result of rapid economic development

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Rapid urbanization is the direct and desirable result of rapid economic development. According to the Cambridge dictionaries online, urbanization is referring to "the process by which more and more people leave the countryside to live in cities" (2006, Internet). Historically, growth in economic activities has conceived many mega cities as well as social problems due to the migration of a rural work force in search of a better livelihood. The United Nations estimates that about 180,000 people are being added to the urban population every day. This means the world's urban infrastructure has to absorb the equivalent of the population of two Tokyo cities each year (BBC website, 2006). Increased urbanization, especially in developing countries such as China and India, has caused problems such as pollution, pressure on resources and urban unemployment. According to the BBC website, Developing nations are shouldering the vast majority of this burden, leaving them struggling to cope with the huge influx of people into urban areas (Source: BBC website). This project will discuss such social costs which are the result of rapid urbanization and economic development. Social costs of urbanization are mainly caused by massive increases in population of cities at certain periods. Main causes for such urban problems are population growth and the inability of governments to provide basic amenities such as clean water. Moreover, social costs also include pollution and deterioration of quality of life.

According to Wikipedia, urbanization causes rapid increase in the population of cities

Economic growth and rise in cost of living will cause inequality of incomes and lifestyles of skilled and unskilled workers. According to UNEP, unemployment is a pressing concern in most cities in the South Asian countries because the formal economies are unable to absorb the enormous influx of workers (Source: UNEP website, 2006). Also, rapid growth and affluence of urban centers and sluggish growth of rural economy causes wide disparities between rural and urban populations. This effect has become very significant in China where the government's primary concern is not economic growth but reducing the disparities between urban and rural areas. Poverty, due to structure of economy is one major issue that needs to be addressed to distribute fruits of economic growth to all section of society. In most of the countries, income inequalities are wider in cities than in rural areas. Urban poverty significantly affects urban environment and quality of life.

The prevailing pattern and trend of urban growth is more material and energy driven (Source: UNEP website, 2006) Rapid urbanization can cause serious health hazards and environmental damage. Unplanned rapid urbanization in southern Africa has given rise to problems such as contaminated water, deprived sanitation, air pollution, and exposure to mosquitoes - conditions which are favourable to the spread of serious diseases (September 2005, Internet). Air pollution is caused due to rising vehicular emissions and industrial activity whereas inadequacy of public amenities and sanitation cause water logging and impure potable water. Health and quality of life are main casualties of such pollutions caused by rapid unplanned pollution. For example, Beijing city (China) is one of the top 10 cities which have heavy air pollution levels (cited from World Health Organization, 1998, Internet). Beijing's sky always looks hazy even on a sunny day because the tiny particles can scatter the sunlight strongly (State of Environment- China, 1998, Internet).

Noise pollution is another fall out of rapid urbanization. Data collected along heavily travelled roads in Mumbai in India indicate sound levels of 65 to 85 dB (Source: UNEP website, 2006). The noise of thousands of vehicles operating in close proximity to people leads to hearing loss, stress and many psychological disorders. Poor conditions of vehicles in developing...
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