Geography essay

Topics: City, World population, Population Pages: 7 (2008 words) Published: February 26, 2014

Department of Geography


First Semester 2013-2014

Essay 1: Compare and contrast the main characteristics of the urbanization process in the First and Third Worlds

Urbanization refers to the process by which an increasing proportion of a national population lives in towns and cities. It can be movement from rural to an urban or simply involves a growth in the number of people in urban areas. On the other hand, starting from Cold War era, threefold division of the world was employed. In political sense, ‘First World’ regards to capitalist industrial market economies or more-developed countries while ‘Third World’ refers to some initially nonaligned states, which eventually became clients states of one camp or the other. In a socio-economic sense, the Third World refers to countries that failed to develop economically after independence (Pacione, 2009). From the above, we can see that there are some fundamental differences between First World and Third World, which lead to various characteristics of the urbanization process between two worlds. Although it was inevitable to have differences in the urbanization process between these two worlds, some similarities can be found. In this essay, I shall attempt to analyze both the similarities and differences between the main characteristics of the urbanization process in the First and Third Worlds. I will focus on investigating social and economics aspects.

Market Force – The invisible hand
Undoubtedly, urbanization has a close relationship to the economic development. One of the similarities of the urbanization process in First and Third World is that the processes in both places are mainly driven by the economic development. (Pacione 2009) In 18th century, Industrialization began gaining popularity in Britain. Increasing jobs opportunities and the higher wages in industrial regions attracted people living in the rural areas to flock to the cities as it is believed that living and working in urban areas will raise their living standards. Same phenomenon was found in Africa. In 20th century, the establishment of new industries in North Africa drove people, which around 47.8% of African, from rural to the urban areas for higher wages and job opportunities (African Development Bank Group 2012). Actually, the above phenomenon could be implied by Rostow’s stages of economic growth model, which tell that once countries start developing, there would be a central role of primate cities in development. As a consequence, the primate cities would provide lots of job opportunities, which led to urbanization to primate cities. From the above, we can see that the urbanization process in both First World and Third World countries were actually driven by market force, the invisible hand.

Due to historical difference as well as the variation in soft power1, it is inevitable to have differences in the urbanization process between these two worlds. The most explicit differences, concerning social and economic aspect, are population growth and urban poverty.

Population growth
In social aspect, the population growth in the Third World is much greater than that in First World in urbanization process.
To commence with, the speed of population growth of urbanization process in the Third World exceed the First World. According to the Demographic Transition model (Thompson, 1929) (figure 1) (BBC, 2013), it described the population change in different stages of industrialization and urbanization. At the beginning of the industrialization, the population growth and the rural migration into urban area are rapid, and then the trend slows down and finally reaches near zero. First world countries have passed through the second stage after the Industrial Revolution, and most of these countries are in the third stage nowadays while some...

References: African Development Bank Group, Human Capital Development (2012) Urbanization in Africa
Binns, Tony, et al. Geographies of Development: An Introduction to Development Studies, Rostow’s Stages of Growth Development Model, 3rd ed. Harlow: Pearson Education, (2008).
UN-HABITAT Twenty First Session of the Governing Council (2007) Slum Dwellers to double by 2030: Millennium Development Goal Could Fall Short
Giok Ling Ooi & Kai Hong Phua
Jianfa Shen. 2000. Chinese urbanization and urban policy. China Review 2000, pp. 450-480.
Kingsley Davis. (2012) The origin and growth of urbanization in the world. The Chicago Journal.
BBC, Population change and structure, The demographic transition model (2013)
Pacione, Michael, Urban Geography: A Global Perspective, 3rd Edition, London and New York, Routledge (2009)
Philip O
World Urbanization Prospects. 2011. The United Nations.
World Urbanization Prospect
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