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Thursday, 15 March 2012

Problems of Rapid Urbanisation

All around the world, urbanisation is taking place. The rate/pace of urbanisation is fastest in LICs. 
This rapid and often unplanned growth results in a range of problems, mainly because it has occurred so fast.

  • Housing: people moving in from rural areas causes much of the rapid growth in LICs. When they arrive, they have nowhere to live as many look for cheap housing. Millions live in shanty towns (elaborated on in another post) . Even for people with money, the demand for housing exceeds supply. Thus, housing is expensive relative to people's salary. Generally, due to poor transport, the most sought-after housing is close to the city centre with its shops and places of work. 

  • Access to water and electricity: Often, the provision of basic services doesn't keep up with the growth of population. Consequently, not all parts of a build-up area have running water, sanitation or electricity. Many people have to rely on fires for cooking and lighting (they have no choice), and on polluted streams for water and sewage disposal. 

  • Traffic congestion and transport: The provision of proper roads and public transport also lags behind the growth in population. This results in overloaded and overcrowded transport systems in the city. Traffic congestion is a big problem for everyone-rich or poor. The high numbers of vehicles cause high levels of air pollution in cities often causing smog (smoke + fog). -->Unhealthy, causes respiratory/breathing problems like asthma. 

  • Health: Not enough doctors/clinics/hospitals to cope with rapid increase in population. With large parts of city without access to clean water/sanitation, diseases and infections like typhoid and cholera spread quickly. Atmospheric pollution leads to many respiratory problems. 

  • Education: Rapid population growth means lack of schools too. Although most cities provide some primary education, not all children go on to secondary school due to cost, and because the children have to work to help support the family. 

  • Employment: Although people migrate to cities to look for work, many cannot find proper pair work. So they are either unemployed or work in the informal sector, surviving as best as they can. E.g. selling goods/foods on the streets, shoe-shiners. Even where there is paid work in new factories, these are normally many kilometres away from the shanty areas where most newcomers live. 

  • Social problems: There are high crime rates, drug trafficking and theft, which is not surprising given the close proximity they live to each other and the poor conditions they experience. The poorest areas are often inhabited by violent street gangs. 

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