The Problems of Urbanization

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Urbanization, or urban drift is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change. Urbanization is also defined by the United Nations as movement of people from rural to urban areas with population growth equating to urban migration. The United Nations projected that half of the world's population would live in urban areas at the end of 2008 Urbanization is closely linked to modernization, industrialization, and the sociological process of rationalization. Urbanization can describe a specific condition at a set time, i.e. the proportion of total population or area in cities or towns, or the term can describe the increase of this proportion over time. So the term urbanization can represent the level of urban relative to overall population, or it can represent the rate at which the urban proportion is increasing.

urban heat island has become a growing concern and is increasing over the years. The urban heat island is formed when industrial and urban areas are developed and heat becomes more abundant. In rural areas, a large part of the incoming solar energy is used to evaporate water from vegetation and soil. In cities, where less vegetation and exposed soil exists, the majority of the sun’s energy is absorbed by urban structures and asphalt. Hence, during warm daylight hours, less evaporative cooling in cities allows surface temperatures to rise higher than in rural areas. Additional city heat is given off by vehicles and factories, as well as by industrial and domestic heating and cooling units. This effect causes the city to become 2 to 10o F (1 to 6o C) warmer than surrounding landscapes. Impacts also include reducing soil moisture and intensification of carbon dioxide emissions. Urban poverty:

Sprawling slums are now so commonly associated with cities like Nairobi that they have become unremarkable. Similarly, footage on television of children playing in open sewers, or of women picking their way through huge rubbish dumps is no longer shocking. Instead these images signify a phenomenon that is rapidly becoming one of developing countries’ most complex challenges – Urban Poverty.

World population is increasing rapidly with three-quarters of the increase occurring in developing countries. Population growth within cities, and families moving from rural homes in search of a life offering opportunity and hope, means cities in the developing world grew by 2.67% per year in 2000-2005, compared to 1.21% for the world as a whole.

Unfortunately, infrastructure and basic service development have not increased at the same rate and in countries where sanitation, roads, water, and other services were already under-developed, towns and cities are struggling to accommodate the unprecedented upsurge in urban populations. The result is hundreds of millions of people living in overcrowded, neglected urban slums that pose serious risks to their lives.

Cause and effect

Slums symbolise urban poverty. For the families living in them, they create hazardous and unsafe conditions that compound the poverty which forced them to set up home there in the first place.

* With lack of freely available safe clean water in the cities, families living in slums have often no choice but to buy it at high cost from vendors. * With inadequate sanitation, waste disposal or drainage facilities, open sewers are created by rubbish and human defecation * alongside walkways between the densely packed shelters – disease thrives and people, especially children become ill. * In these conditions simply being ill can have severe implications. It can mean loss of livelihood, leaving families struggling to buy food or water let alone medicines. * With weak ownership rights to the land, residents are vulnerable and cannot build safe, sturdy homes, so they become easy victims of weather conditions fire and crime. * With no voice to change policy decisions or demand essential services, slum...
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