Urbanization: City and Public Transport Infrastructure

Table of Content


To conclude, population growth and urbanization are happening at a very high rate in the world. This growth has significant impact or foot print on the environment which is threaten the world to lack resources sooner. To cope with this phenomena a number of sustainable development policies are suggested which are designed to avoid the problems to some extent. To what extent can the problems of urbanization be met by a policy of sustainable development?

According to cultural dictionary, the concept of Urbanization means the process by which cities grow .or in other words; urbanization means the movement of people from rural and countryside area to urban or cities. This movement was incredibly increased after industrialization in 1800. According to world urbanization prospect “between 1970 and 1995, the world urbanization rate, measured by the ratio of the urban population to the total population, increased from 37% to 45%… according to projections, this rate will reach 55% in 2015 and more than 60% in 2025” (Cavallier, 1996). In fact, the incredible movements of people add to the problems of urban areas of most countries. The most common problems of urban areas are lack of urban space, transport congestion, pollution, and lack of drinkable water, low housing, and density.

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Moreover, the analyses show that the most growth was in developing countries than developed countries. The world is seeking any possible solution for these problems. Scientist, researchers and scholars propose policies of sustainable development. Sustainable development best defined by Brundtland (1987) is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (cited in Adams, 1999). Sustainable development is only possible when people and states make some effort to address the issues such as using natural resources effectively and controlling the polluted waste efficiently (Elliot, 1999). With the reference of proposed policies of sustainable development and technological improvements of humans, one can still be optimistic about the future of urbanization.

One of the major challenges of urbanization is the lack of urban areas. Lack of Urban areas leads to numerous problems in both MEDCs (More Economically Developed Countries) and LEDCs (Less Economically Developed Countries). The most common problems are low quality of housing, building houses in informal settlements (shanty towns) and traffic congestion and many others. For instance, Mexico City as a developing country or LEDC is suffering from poor and unplanned settlements, water, land and air pollution and subsidence. The estimation shows living in unplanned settlements are over 40 percent of all Mexico City population. According to Bilham-Boult et.el “housing is the highest priorities for Mexico City… the houses of poor are mostly found on the edges of the city…..

The unplanned, illegal settlement is called “shanty Towns” (Bilham-Boult p.129). Water, land, and air pollution is the other challenge of the “lack of urban area” in Mexico City. Water is mostly polluted because there is not a water supply channel to keep the rainwater separated from domestic and industrial water users. In some cities and mostly the shanty towns which are built illegally don’t have a proper sewerage system. The sewerage is directed into the rivers. Land becomes polluted as result of illegal dumping of industrial waste usually by informal sectors. The most impact of air pollution in Mexico City is the number of cars [4 million of cars] and the hills surrounding the city.

Unlike LEDCs, urbanization in MEDCs is less. However, it still has it effect on the urban areas. For instance, low quality housing; congestion living in inner-city areas, long journey to work, and migration of people out of the tax area of the city are the urban problem in most urban areas of the European countries (Bilham-Bout et.el., 1999). Meanwhile, according to Alex Steven (2005), humans are wildly using the resources and there is one Seatle—a city in the United States with 245 km2 and 120000 population, being created every four days. Therefore, we need another 10 planets to cope with current urbanization and population scale. Only three planets in size of the earth are required for the United States and European citizens (Steffen, TED talks, 2005). Besides the problem of urban space, urban transport is also a major trend of urbanization.

One of the problems of urban transport is congestion in large cities. For instance, congestion is a prevalent problem in Las Angeles, one of the most developed and urban states of the United States. It makes it very difficult for people especially for commuters who daily use transport to their work station. They have to wait hours to get to their job and this result wastage of time and productivity (Thisdell, 1993). Another problem of urban transport is car dependency. 6 million cars were owned by 8.8 million people in Las Angeles ten years ago. This variable is expected to exceed 10.2 million populations by 2010 (Thisdell, 1993). However, a huge number of technologies and sustainable development policies suggested the problems of urbanization. For lack of urban space, researchers suggest discouraging of migration from rural to urban areas. Discouragement is possible when improving conditions in rural areas.

Another, policy is to create job opportunities to the people in rural area. Alongside the mentioned possible policies, increasing the essential life facilities such as health care and education institutions in rural and suburban areas are also a key thing to do to prevent migration to the cities. Another, policy which has a vital role in-migration from rural to urban cities is providing improved transport. Improved transport helps those living out of the cities to commutes daily to the cities. These policies have their direct impact on migration from rural area to the cities (Bilham-Bout, et.al., 1999). In addition, migration from rural areas to the cities needs to be regulated. This policy was successful in Indonesia. Migrating in Indonesia needs permission and people are holding specific identity cards of every region within the state territory. People are involved to challenge their problems through the local council. Local councils are formed to act as citizen’s voices in order to influence the authorities and citizens to cope with all social, environmental, economical and many other problems (Bilham-Bout, et.al., 1999). Another way out of this issue is building smaller metropolitan cities. For instance, Singapore and Hong Kong have built high density buildings around the urban areas. These buildings are much cheaper and affordable to pay and resulted to attract people to live (Bilham-Bout, et.al., 1999).

The other major problem of urban areas is urban transport. Urban transport can be tacked in a number of ways. Researchers suggest for “public transport infrastructure, “pedestrian/Cycle orientation, density planning and control. Improvement of public transport infrastructure does not only shape the cities but decreases traffic congestion and avoids private vehicle dependency. For instance, investment in metros, railways, rapid bus stations as a public transport infrastructure (Newman, 1993). Officials In Los Angeles found the metro the only solution to ease traffic congesting and other relevant problems. This solution is only for MEDS as it is too costly. This system cost Los Angeles $200 million per kilometers (Thisdell, 1993).

Another solution of this issue would be pedestrian or cycle orientation. Creating wide enough, clean, and safe cycling facilities and specific tracks for walking both on streets and public squares (Newman, 1993). Density is another way to address the urban transport issues. Finally, alongside the all the sustainable policies suggested to cope with urban transport, planning and control are the requirement of every suggested policies. It is ensured that none of the suggested policies are only possible if we have planning and control (Newman, 1993). In order to cope with the problems of urbanization, analyst, researchers and governments have suggested many ways of sustainable policies. Alex Steffen (2005) suggests improving infrastructures “by changing the impact we have on environment” world is changeable.

For LEDCs, Alex highly suggests not to invest on last generation technologies (Steffen, TED talks). Governments also suggested a number of sustainable development policies. Most of the efficient policies are discussed in Agenda 21. Agenda 21, include policies such as “the atmosphere, oceans, freshwaters, and water resources, and resource management, deforestation, desertification, mountain environments, sustainable agriculture, and rural development … [as well as] conservation of biological diversity and biotechnology, toxic, hazardous, solid and radioactive wastes” (Adam, p. 142)

To conclude, population growth and urbanization is happening in very high rate in the world. This growth has significant impact or foot print on the environment which is threaten the world to lack resources sooner. and has resulted a number of problems such as poverty, low employment rate, lack of health and education facilities mainly in LEDCs and transport congestion, pollution and low housing facilities in MEDCs .To cope with this phenomena a number of sustainable development policies are suggested which are designed to avoid the problems to some extent. Many well-purposed policies of sustainable developments are will probably avoid problems created by rapid urban growth.

References List

  1. Adams, M. W. (1999). Sustainability. In P. Cloke, P. Crang & M. Goodwin (Eds.), Introducing human geographies, (pp. 125-130). London: Arnold. Print.
  2. Bilham-Boult, A., Blades, H., Hancock, J., Keeling, W. & Ridout, M. (1999). People, places and themes, (pp. 202-205). Oxford: Heinemann. Print.
  3. Elliot, J. A. (1999). An Introduction to Sustainable Development. London: Routledge. Print. Newman, P. (1999). Transport: reducing automobile dependence. In D. Satterthwaite (Ed.), The Earthscan reader in sustainable cities, (pp. 67-92). London: Earthscan Publications. Print
  4. Thisdell, D. (1993). Can L.A. kick the car habit? New Scientist, 138(1877), 24-29. Print. Alex, S. (2005, December 21). Alex Steffen: The route to a sustainable future. [Video file]. Retrieved from:http://www.ted.com/talks/alex_steffen_sees_a_sustainable_future.html

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