Technically, urbanization refers to the migration of people from rural areas to more richly populated areas of settlement with more opportunities. Any area above 1200 residents is termed as urban area.
There are different classifications of urbanization.
- If an urban area has more than 50,000 residents, it is known as a city.
- If an urban area has more than 5,00,000 residents, it is known as a metropolis.
- A collection of such metropolises that are interconnected or interrelated is known as a Megalopolis.
Initially, urbanization began during the Industrial Revolution mainly because of the major improvements in technologies. People were losing theirs in the farms during the industrial revolution and so people had to move to cities to find work and housing, causing the urban areas to grow.
And the cities were planned better because of improved construction techniques, improved water, drainage, and power and transit system. All of this made it more tempting to go to cities than ever before.
Today, a lot of these still apply to people living in rural areas. Reasons such as more job opportunities and improved utilities. There are better services, or perhaps more options for education and transportation and faster access to medical help.
Major factors which causes Urbanization
- Newer jobs were now available in the urban areas which were much more satisfying and diverse than the age old monotonous practice of farming.
- Not only were newer jobs available, the pay in those jobs were also tempting. And the amount earned was much more satiating than the meager nimble received from toiling in the fields.
- Increased standard of living is yet another reason for the people to shift in herds from villages to cities.
- Industrial activity is always bustling in the city. This creates better and diverse scope of work and business for individuals.
- Because of better connectivity and advancement in science and technology, the urban areas have far superior medical healthcare services. These services are very agile in their services and are easily approachable.
- Because of this increase in healthcare, diseases could be tackled with in a superior way which led to lower death rates, still births, etc. and natality rate was higher.
- Because of the diverse skill requirement in urban areas, there are better centers of education too.
- One of the major positivities about urbanization is that it has forced several diverse communities and from different walks of life to mingle with each other and interchange their thoughts and ideas.
Contribution of urbanization to humanity
Urbanization has resulted in a wave of advancement in scientific and technological and even in literary field. The best minds of the bests were grouped in these urban areas that led to marvelous feats of science. Had it not been for urbanization, we would still have been living like cave men, and dying like them too.
Newer methods of treatment and surgeries have helped sustain human lives. We have learnt to use the resources of this earth in a better way and we are now exploring inter planetary opportunities of urbanization and subsequent colonisation.
Consequences of urbanization
- Pollution rises due to an increase in consumption of various resources.
- As more and more people are shifting from rural to urban areas, the pressure of population on urban land also increases and accommodation becomes a big issue. This leads to a rise in price of land and property.
- As a result of excessive population, the end product of their resource-consumption, i.e., the waste is also enormous and unmanageable in quantity.
- Due to this unmanageable quantity of waste, waste disposal and management also becomes a grave issue and negatively impacts the environment.
- Due to increased competition, unemployment occurs which leads to increased criminal activities and thus the crime rates go up.
- Pressure on public transport increases which gets congested and uncomfortable.
- The indiscriminate use of fossil fuels due to urbanization in vehicles and industries also contribute to degrading our environment.
- In order to feed the growing population, pressure on agriculture increases, which leads to the indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers to generate sufficient food to feed all the urban mouths.
- Groundwater lowers and becomes polluted due to indiscriminate extraction.
- Due to poorer waste management, drainage problems can occur clogging the drain pipes and disposal outlets. Thais results in waterlogging and flash floods.
- Due to people from diverse cultures and communities co-existing in the same place, racial discriminatory and segregation issues might occur which may even lead to riots and mass slaughtering of men.
- Because of growth of business and profits, the gap between rich and poor increases. This might lead to movements of class struggle and halting of factories. These jobless workers then turn to crimes for their sustenance. This is exactly how the ‘underworld’ crime syndicates in Maharashtra started when the sugar mill workers were unemployed.
Population is urban areas as per 1901 census was 11.4% which has increased to 28.53% in 2001 census and has crossed 30% as per the 2011 census. As per UN reports more than 40% of the country’s population is expected to be living in urban areas. As per 2011 census data, Tamil Nadu is at the top of the list of urbanized states with 48.45% of the population living in urban areas.
Government activities like building of bridges and highways and pressure in population is also eating away village area in an exponentially rapid way. In India, five of its largest States are estimated to have a bigger chunk of their population living in the cities rather than rural areas.
From a functionalist perspective, we will see that urbanization has many important functions but they also have their dysfunctions. They are the sites of culture and with more diverse population, but they are also hosts to crime and other disruptions to the society.
According to the conflict theory, urban cities are mainly entertainment centers for the wealthy. Political and economic leads run the city to increase their personal resources while taking more. The diversity of social values and cultures just increases conflict over beliefs.