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By synner Jan 20, 2012 1921 Words
The numbers are overwhelming: Over the next 17 years, 350 million rural residents (more than the entire U.S. population today) will leave the farm and move to China’s cities. That will bring the Chinese urban population from just under 600 million today to close to 1 billion, changing China into a country where more than two-thirds of its people are city dwellers, says Jonathan Woetzel, a director in McKinsey’s Shanghai office. The change will reverse China’s centuries-old identity as a largely rural country. Thirty years ago, when China started modernizing its economy, more than 80% of Chinese lived in the countryside. And just six years ago it still was about 60%. Today China is just under 50% urban. The newly urbanized population will live in eight megacities, those with a population of more than 10 million, as well 15 big cities with populations between 5 million and 10 million. In addition, by 2025 China will probably have at least 221 cities with a population over 1 million, estimates Woetzel. That compares with 35 cities of that scale across all of Europe today. These new urbanites are expected to be a powerful booster of growth: Urban consumption as a share of gross domestic product will most likely rise from 25% today to roughly 33% by 2025. “Urbanization is the engine of the Chinese economy—it is what has driven productivity growth over the last 20 years,” says Woetzel. “And China has the potential to keep doing this for the next 20 years.”

China Prepares for urban revolution
Advantages of Urbanization

Urbanization is a process in which overall development of a particular region takes place. New industries are set up and this in turn helps to create large-scale employment which is much-needed in developing countries. Due to employment, the per capita income of the people rises and the region achieves prosperity. Urbanization provides better infrastructure facilities, medical facilities and educational opportunities to millions of people. Urbanization also helps develop a scientific attitude among people. The overall standard of living of the people rises considerably because of urbanization. It helps the region to prosper and cater to the needs of a large population. Urbanization provides plenty of opportunities for people from all sections of society to excel and achieve their goals. Now, let us discuss the challenges of urbanization.

Challenges of Urbanization

Environmental pollution and Degradation
Pollution and degradation of the environment is one of the most prominent challenges of urbanization. The increased number of vehicles on the roads and industrial wastes are the main sources of air pollution. Urbanization also leads to a rise in the noise pollution levels. Contamination of sea, river and lake water due to various human activities is also a serious issue resulting out of fast urbanization. Land pollution is also a matter of great concern. These types of pollution can cause adverse effects on the health and well-being of people.

Urbanization has played an important role in the development of under developed and developing countries. It is believed that the developed countries of the world could achieve fast economic progress due to large-scale urbanization. Urbanization during the industrial revolution helped fast development of some European countries. However, the environmental challenges of urbanization have been quite difficult to deal with. Before we know more about the challenges of urbanization, let us know about its advantages in detail in the next paragraph.

Environmental pollution and Degradation
Pollution and degradation of the environment is one of the most prominent challenges of urbanization. The increased number of vehicles on the roads and industrial wastes are the main sources of air pollution. Urbanization also leads to a rise in the noise pollution levels. Contamination of sea, river and lake water due to various human activities is also a serious issue resulting out of fast urbanization. Land pollution is also a matter of great concern. These types of pollution can cause adverse effects on the health and well-being of people.

Population Explosion
Population explosion means a great rise in the population of a particular area over a time. It has been observed that industrialization and urbanization leads to an increase in the population of the region at a very fast pace. The population growth results in a situation where the facilities provided by the government are to be shared among many people. This can further cause inequitable distribution of wealth and resources. Providing the huge population with essential resources becomes a big challenge due to population explosion. It also puts a tremendous strain on the finances of the country.

Sanitation, Water and Transport Problems
The rise in the number of vehicles puts a huge strain on the infrastructure available for transport such as roads and railways. Water problems are quite common in many parts of urban cities. Keeping the cities clean and well maintained is surely one of the biggest challenges of urbanization.

Providing shelter to a big population is indeed a big challenge posed by urbanization. The lack of space for construction of houses and buildings results in deforestation which causes several environmental problems. The problem of slums in urban cities is becoming more and more difficult to tackle due to the issue of displacement that the huge population residing in these slums will face.

Rising Cost of Living and Wealth Inequality
The cost of living in urban cities is quite high compelling many people to live in poverty. Inequalities in the distribution of wealth which widens the gap between the rich and the poor is also a serious problem to deal with.

Increase in Crime
One of the biggest challenges of urbanization is the increase in the crime rate. Surveys conducted suggest that the crime rate is much higher in urban cities as compared to backward regions. The rise in the number of crimes is due to the need to earn wealth which results in people resorting to unfair means. The average person in the urban areas suffers the most because of the rise in criminal activities. You can read more on:

Columbia has three IGERT fellowship programs, one in Urbanization Challenges, one for the Optical Techniques for Actuation, Sensing, and Imaging of Biological Systems, and another for Study of Multiscale Phenomena in Soft Materials. All are funded by the National Science Foundation and offer fellowships of $30,000 for multidisciplinary graduate study. Urbanization Challenges

This IGERT program seeks to address the growing challenges of urbanization through a PhD program that integrates architecture, engineering and planning perspectives to focus on adaptive, ecological and resilient urban planning and design. Each IGERT trainee will be empowered to conduct research at the emergent boundaries between architecture, urban  planning, and engineering, and will be uniquely capable of contributing to the advancement of technological and scientific solutions that can address the grand challenges of urbanization. Optical Techniques for Actuation, Sensing, and Imaging of Biological Systems This IGERT program seeks to train a new generation of scientists and engineers through a set of five research thrusts that cross three fundamental core competency areas: optics, photonics, and sensor electronics; biomolecular detection and cellular-level analysis; and applications to medicine and public health. Each IGERT trainee will be empowered to work at the boundaries between the disciplines and will be uniquely capable of contributing to advancements in this important emerging field. ‘’Urbanization’’, an essay by Michael J. Dear, states that people who live in megacities have more advantages than people who live in rural areas. The benefits of urbanization outweigh it’s negative effects. When people move to megacities, they gain Access to beter facilities and opportunities. People who come to a city where she or he has relatives or acquaintance can live with each other in this city. Therefore, if they stay in the same city, they can get rich ethnic and cultural mix. For example, they establish an associaton and they organize activities related to their customs. I can speak only from my own personal experiences, but l disagree with Dear’s thoughts about the urbanization. However, I believe that there are negative effects of living in a megacity like Istanbul. Dear thinks that while people live in a megacity they can establish good or bad relationship. From the point of rich ethnic and cultural mix, Dear claims that ‘’To them fast pace, the convenient go-all-night action of the city and its rich ethnic and cultural mix outweigh the negative aspects’’. To a certain extent he is right. However, l believe that when people stay in a megacity such as Istanbul, many people who immigrate from a different cities live in Istanbul they have different cultural backgrounds. For example, some parties in parliament support ethnic conflicts so when these parties want to be with each other in İstanbul, sometimes due to protesters chanting pro-terrorist slogans, it will clash between the police and the demonstrators. They want to live only each other. I think, that’s not good but government or president of city should say we can live together and maybe they can solve this problem with different ethnic people will married with each other. Michael J. Dear supports that when people come to rural areas to urban areas, they can find new jobs easily. Many people lose their jobs in rural areas. To a certain extent he is right. However, we know that lots of people come to megacities, it leads to many problems such as poverty,squating,enviromental pollution. For example, people who live in shanty houses, they can lose their homes due to shanty settlement. Also when the population of the city increases, education,health,natural gas and traffic problems will happen. Therefore, l disagree with Dear’s thoughts. I think,  If some big companies start to establish new factories in other city, people can be relax and these problems will not happen. In summary, the philosophy stated in Michael J. Dear’s ‘’ Urbanization’’ and my personal beliefs about living in a megacity are almost alike. When people come to megacities, they have more negative problems. If they want to live in a megacity, they have to plan their future because of megacities beautie  that people cannot see negative affects of megacities.

Seoul, South Korea

A view near Olympic main stadium in Seoul
Few cities have seen such a rapid population growth as Seoul in South Korea. Starting at a population of 900,000 in 1945, the population rose to over ten million by 1990.[6] This urbanization boom brought increased revenue and economic prosperity for the city, but it also created new kinds of problems. Incineration plants and garbage dumps were constructed without consulting local residents, leading to angry residents and their migration from the area. Transportation systems have not been easy to coordinate, as competing transit systems have different bus routes and time tables. Construction also has played a role, as physically expanding a city requires heavy construction, which creates traffic congestion. The government of Seoul has found it essential to work closely with local authorities and citizens to manage these issues.[7]

New Trends Bring New Risks
UNDP disaster experts say better preparedness saves lives, money WASHINGTON—Urbanization, globalization, and climate change are converging to pose a new pattern of serious disaster risks, mainly in the world’s ever-expanding cities, according to experts from the UNDP Bureau of Crisis Prevention & Recovery (BCPR).Massive global urbanization poses a whole new set of challenges, Senior Recovery Adviser Sue Lautze said. “It’s all about cities.” more| |

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