UPSC IAS Mains: Urbanization Their Problems and Their Remedies
July 12, 2019
(GS Paper- 1 Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)
Urbanization is pervasive and recent phenomenon. In present global atmosphere, all nations undergo with the challenges of environment, social, transportation, economy in their respective cities. These issues are commonly occurred in developing countries due to the difference of development in cities and villages. Most of countries focus on development of cities instead of rural areas. Consequently, the urban areas are equipped with infrastructure, public facilities as well as provide employment opportunities compared to the rural areas. Therefore inhabitants are more attracted to migrate in cities to avail hi tech facilities, enhance their lifestyles and ultimately these activities raise numerous urbanization issues. Cities have major role to enhance economic growth and prosperity. The sustainable development of cities largely depends upon their physical, social and institutional infrastructure. An urban area is spatial concentration of people who are working in non-agricultural activities. The essential characteristic is that urban means non-agricultural. Urban can also be explained as a fairly multifaceted concept. Criteria used to define urban can include population size, space, density, and economic organization. Typically, urban is simply defined by some base line size, like 20 000 people.
Concept of urbanization: The term Urbanization is well explained by Nsiah-Gyabaah as the change from a rural to an urban society which involves an augment in the number of people in urban regions during a particular year. Likewise, Gooden argued urbanization as the immigration of people in huge numbers from rural to urban areas and this process happen due to the concentration of resources and facilities in towns and cities. Other theorists like, Reynolds (1989) characterized urbanization as the development of the population and cities, so that higher proportion of population lives in urban areas. Normally, urbanization is directly associated with innovation, industrialization, and the sociological process of good reason. Urbanization process had been started during the industrial revolution, when workforce moved towards manufacturing hubs in cities to get jobs in factories as agricultural jobs became less common. Theoretical studies have demonstrated that Urbanization is the result of social, economic and political developments that lead to urban concentration and expansion of big cities, changes in land use and revolution from rural to urban pattern of organization and governance. Urbanization is a process in which an increased proportion of society lives in cities and the suburbs of the cities. Historically, it has been strongly related with industrialization. Industrialization is processes that widely utilize inanimate sources of energy to improve human productivity.
Global urban population is growing at rapid rate from 17% in 1951 to 20% in 2001 and expected to increase 41% in 2020. It is observed that developing countries urbanize faster than industrialized nations because they have more issues of urbanizations. It has been documented in studies that Cities and towns operate as mechanisms for growth, often driving much of people’s cultural, intellectual, educational and technological accomplishment and modernization. Though, in contemporary living style of people of new, low-density approaches to urban development results in better consumption of energy, resources, transport and land, in this manner raising greenhouse gas emissions and air and noise pollution to levels that often surpass the legal or suggested human protection limits. Overall consumption, energy use, water use and waste generation go along with an increasing number of urban families.
Urban environmental management, is also the big business of local governments, play major role to offer services; civil society, and promotes citizens health and its rights to provide hygienic, liveable environment. The private sector can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery. Currently, cities are taking on roles that expand far beyond the conventional provision of infrastructure and services. A theoretical move may be perceived (European Environment Agency, 1996). The most remarkable immediate change accompanying urbanization is the fast change in the existing character of local livelihoods as agriculture or more traditional local services and small-scale industry give way to contemporary industry and urban and related commerce, with the city drawing on the resources of an ever-widening area for its own nourishment and goods to be traded or processed into manufactures.
When referring to the pre-industrial city, Wheatley (Wheatley, 1971) described urbanism as “that particular set of functionally integrated institutions which were first devised some 5,000 years ago to mediate the transformation of relatively egalitarian, inscriptive, kin-structured groups into socially stratified politically organized, territorially based societies”. The stress on institutional change relates the growth of cities to a major socio-political reorganization of society, which he considers as a main constituent in the development of society. Correspondingly, Childe offers a listing of ten characteristics of an urban civilization. These may be separated into five primary characteristics referring to primary changes in the organization of society and five secondary features indicative of the presence of the primary factors (Childe, 1951).
Major causes of urbanization: Following are the main causes of urbanization:
- Industrial revolution: Industrial employment catches the attention of people from rural to urban areas. In the urban areas, people work in modern sector in the occupations that assist national economic development. This represents that the old agricultural economics is changing to a new non-agricultural economy. This is the trend, which will build a new modern society (Gugler 1997).
- Emergence of large manufacturing centres.
- Job opportunities: There are ample job opportunities in mega cities therefore village people or individuals from town frequently migrate to these areas.
- Availability of transportation: Due to easy transport, people prefer to stay in big cities.
- Migration: Migration is main cause for rapid growth of mega-cities. Migration has been going on over centuries and it is normal phenomenon. When considering urbanization rural-urban and urban-rural and rural-rural migrations are very important. Urban-urban migration means that people move from one city to another. People may move to the city because they are forced by poverty from rural community or they may be pulled by the magnetism of city lives. Combination of these push and pull factors can force people to migrate to cities.
- . Infrastructure facilities in the urban areas: Infrastructure has vital role in the process of urbanization in the development of countries. As agriculture becomes more fruitful, cities grow by absorbing workforce from rural areas. Industry and services increase and generate higher value-added jobs, and this led to economic growth. The geographic concentration of productive activities in cities creates agglomeration economies, which further raises productivity and growth. The augments income and demand for agricultural products in cities.
- Growth of private sector.
Factors lead to urbanization: There are several aspects that lead to urbanization. According to Gooden, the factors can be categorized into three categories that include, economic opportunities, proper infrastructure and utilities and availability of public facilities.
Economic opportunities: It is general perception that living standard of urban area is superior as compared to village areas. People consider that more job opportunities and more jobs are offered in the city instead of rural area. Besides, the income also will be higher.
Proper infrastructure and utilities: In today’s economy driven society, majority of nations in the world are focusing on the development of major cities as the centre of government and business. As such, the cities will be certainly equipped with a better infrastructure and utilities such as roads and transportation, water, electricity and others. Apart from that, the communication and internet coverage also are good in the cities which are believed as one of the pulling factors of migration.
Availability of public facilities: To make smart city, metropolitan cities also offered better public facilities which are not there in rural areas. Since a variety of public facilities such as health and education are provided in the cities, people have more choices either to use public or private. Additionally, the provision of leisure area, postal services as well as police station and others are also provided to meet the needs of the urban community. In urban area, a greater variety of entertainment such as restaurants, movie theatres and theme parks attract more people to live in cities.
Global perspective: The urbanization progression and nature of the problems in more developed and less developed ones are very dissimilar. While in the framework of more developed countries, urbanization and city growth were necessary conditions for industrialization and modernization, it has become a risk to better living in the less developed countries because of the unpredictable growth of the cities, mainly of a few super cities. The speedy population growth in urban areas is due to migration of people from rural to urban and small cities to large ones are creating problems such as urban overcrowding, poor housing, and crowded transportation, lack of basic services, ill health, low educational status and high rate of joblessness. Such problems in the less developed countries may become heightened. It is necessary that studies should be undertaken on the patterns of urbanization observe the process so as to lessen its unfavourable consequences. India, the second most crowded country in the world has reached a state where urban problems have assumed to be serious.
Urbanization Issues and Problem: Some scholars think that the process of urbanization will bring numerous benefits for monetary growth, expansion of business activities, social and cultural incorporation, resourceful services, as well as resources of utilization. Though, there are some issues occur due to the urbanization. These include:
Rapid rate of urbanization: It is observed that fast rate of urbanization which is increasing every year has needed more growth of new areas for housing, social amenities, commercial and other urban land uses. Though, the lack of clear urban limits has led to the formation of urban slump encroaching upon environmentally sensitive areas, major agricultural areas and areas which are not appropriate for development (TCPD, 2006). In addition, the high demand of land use at strategic areas also has led to land use variances. These situations led to various urbanization issues such as environmental pollution, traffic congestion, depletion of green areas and degradation in the quality of urban living.
Problems due to rapid rate of urbanization
Degradation of environmental quality: Due to urbanization, there is environmental degradation especially in the quality of water, air and noise. With the influx of more people in cities, there is great demand of facilities such as housing. Some unlawful factories and even houses which have a poor infrastructure, the waste from buildings are directly channelled to the nearest river or water resources which directly pollute the water. The domestic waste, industrial effluents and other wastes that were dumped directly to the river, degrade the water quality. Another after effects of rapid urbanization is the air pollution which has also increased due to emanation from motor vehicles, industrial development and use of non-environmental friendly fuel sources. The noise pollution is produced from the various human actions which also degrade the environment and ultimately affect the human health. The growth of population has generated a very high quantity of solid waste and there is pressure to provide a waste disposal place in the urban areas.
Inefficient transportation system: Urbanization created severe problem of transpiration. Due to movement of people into metropolitan cities, the number of vehicles on the road is increasing every year. Although various types of public transportation are provided in the cities but people in cities still prefer to drive private vehicles. This is due to the ineffective public transportation. The public transportation facilities are provided without referring to the need to integrate the different modes of transportation. Consequently it is difficult for the user to change the modes of transportation. Since the public transportation is not trustworthy, people usually travel from private vehicles which led to the severe problem of blockage in the cities. If any traffic jam happens, public transportation, especially bus and taxi and private vehicles are trapped together and cannot move. It creates lot of problem for people.
Decline in quality of living for urban dwellers: Urbanization is major concern for management researchers because it decline in quality of living for urban inhabitants. As the metropolis becomes a developed city, the land value will also increase. The housing provision will focus more to fulfil the needs of the high income group. As such, there will be a problem in the provision of housing, especially for the middle and low class people. The supply of housing for the urban poor is still inadequate as the cost of these houses is very high to which low and middle income group cannot afford. The lack of housing provision for the low income group has led to the continuation of unlawful resident settlements in the city. These unlawful tenant settlements will certainly lack in proper infrastructure that will bring about many hindrances to the urban environment and create social problems such as child education, crime, drugs, delinquency and others. Besides housing problem for low income group, the process of urbanization has also increased the demand on infrastructure and utility which cannot be fulfilled from the existing facilities. The maintenance of drains and debris collection is incompetent which can raise other serious problems such as flash floods and poor public health. The reappearance of flash floods is due to the drainage system being unable to contain surface water run-off that has greatly increased with the higher intensity of urban activities.
Unsuccessful urban governance: The urban authority undergoes with multifaceted challenges to manage a city. The fast speed of urbanization is major challenges which need every party to be more focused in undertaking each and every responsibility in urban development. However, the involvement of several agencies and departments in urban management made it complicated to synchronize many actions and resultant, it affects the efficiency of those actions. Besides this, the local authority also deals with the different goals and interests of community groups which they need to fulfil. The local authority also needs to find solution for different social issues.
Cities are developed on two percent of the land’s surface. Their inhabitant uses over three-quarters of the world’s resources and release similar amounts of wastes. Urban wastes have local impacts but these are issues at global scale. The impacts of the cities are usually seen both locally and globally such as air pollution, city populations, as the major users of energy, cause both regional and worldwide pollution. These factors have adverse impact on health of the people, air quality and biosphere.
Urbanization issues in Indian context: India is known for its rural population in the world with about 73 percent of its population living in rural villages. The growth of urban population as well as the speed of urbanization has been usually slow as compared to most of the other Asian countries. When evaluating urbanizing process in Indian perspective, it is observed that major problems of urbanisation in this nation are Urban Sprawl, Overcrowding, Housing, Unemployment, Slums and Squatter Settlements, Transport, Water, Sewerage Problems, Trash Disposal, Urban Crimes, and Problem of Urban Pollution. While urbanisation has been a mechanism of economic, social and political progress, it can pose serious socio-economic problems. The absolute magnitude of the urban population, random and unplanned growth of urban areas, and lack of infrastructure are major issues in India due to urbanization. The fast growth of urban population both natural and through migration, has put immense pressure on public utilities like housing, sanitation, transport, water, electricity, health, and education.
Poverty, joblessness and under employment among the rural immigrant, beggary, thefts, dacoities, burglary and other social sins go wild. Urban slump is encroaching the valuable agricultural land. According to the statistical reports in 2001, the urban inhabitants of India were more than 285 million. It is estimated that by 2030, more than 50 per cent of India’s population is expected to live in urban areas. Numerous problems need to be emphasized.
Urban sprawl or real development of the cities, both in population and geographical area, of rapidly increasing cities is the major cause of urban troubles. In most cities, the financial support is unable to deal with the problems created by their expansion. Huge immigration from rural areas as well as from small towns into large cities has occurred almost consistently and as a result the size of the city is increased. Historical records signify that initial large flow of migration from rural to urban areas was during the “depression” of late 1930s when people moved for searching employment. Afterwards during the decade 1941-51, another a million persons migrated to urban areas in response to period of war industrialisation and division of the country in 1947. During 1991-2001, more than 20 million people migrated to urban areas. It is commonly observed that such big cities attracted to majority of people to get employment opportunities and live in modern style. Such hyper urbanisation leads to increased cities sizes which challenge imagination. Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore are examples of urban slump due to huge migration of people from the nearby places.
Overcrowding is a situation in which large number of people lives in too little space. Overcrowding is a consistent result of over-population in urban areas. It is obviously expected that cities are increasing their size due to massive movement of people from undeveloped areas but it squeezed in a small space due to overcrowding.
Housing: It is another intense problem due to urbanization in India. Overcrowding leads to a constant problem of scarcity of houses in urban areas. This problem is particularly more severe in those urban areas where there is large invasion of jobless or underemployed immigrants who could not find place to live when they come in cities and towns from the nearby areas. The major factors for housing problems are lack of building materials and financial resources, insufficient expansion of public utilities into sub-urban areas, poverty and unemployment of urban immigrants, strong caste and family ties and lack of enough transportation to sub-urban areas where most of the available land for new construction is to be found.
Unemployment: The problem of joblessness is also serious as the problem of housing. Urban unemployment in India is estimated at 15 to 25 per cent of the labour force. This percentage is even higher among the educated people. It is approximate that about half of all knowledgeable urban unemployed youth are living in four metropolitan cities such as in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. Additionally, although urban incomes are higher than the rural incomes, they are awfully low because of high cost of living in urban areas. Major causes of urban unemployment are the huge relocation of people from rural to urban areas.
Slums and Squatter Settlements: The natural development of unchecked, unexpected and random growth of urban areas is the growth and spread of slums and unlawful resident settlements which present a prominent feature in the environmental structure of Indian cities, particularly of urban centres. The fast urbanisation in combination with industrialisation has resulted in the enlargement of slums. The explosion of slums occurs due to many factors, such as, the lack of developed land for housing, the high prices of land beyond the reach of urban poor, a large influx of rural migrants to the cities in search of jobs.
Transport: Urbanization poses major challenge to transport system. With traffic blockage, almost all cities and towns of India are suffering from severe form of transport problem. Transport problem increases and becomes more complex as the town grows in dimension. With its growth, the town performs varied and complex functions and more people move to work or shop.
Water: Water is one of the most essential elements of nature to maintain life and right from the beginning of urban civilisation. However, supply of water started falling short of demand as the cities grew in size and number.
Sewerage Problems: Urban centres in India are almost consistently beset with inadequate sewage facilities. Resource crisis faced by the municipalities and illicit growth of the cities are two major causes of this pitiable state of affairs. Most cities do not have proper arrangements for treating the sewerage waste and it is drained into a nearly river or in sea as in Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai and these activities pollute the water bodies.
Trash Disposal: Urbanization pushed Indian cities to grow in number and size and as a result people have to face the problem of trash disposal which is in alarming stage. Enormous quantities of garbage produced by Indian cities cause a serious health problem. Most cites do not have proper arrangements for garbage disposal and the existing landfills are full to the edge. These landfills are breeding grounds of disease and countless poisons leaking into their environs. Wastes putrefy in the open inviting disease carrying flies and rats and a filthy, poisonous liquid, called Leachate, which leaks out from below and contaminates ground water. People who live near the decomposing garbage and raw sewage get victims to several diseases such as dysentery, malaria, plague, jaundice, diarrhoea, and typhoid.
Health problem due to urbanization: Factors affecting health in slums are Economic conditions, Social conditions, Living environment, Access and use of public health care services, Hidden/Unlisted slums and Rapid mobility. Environmental problems can cause many other problems such as Poor air quality that can produce asthma and allergies or contribute to physical inactivity, an impure water supply can cause the spread of infectious diseases through the water supply or through food such as waterborne and food borne diseases, climates changes can cause deaths from severe heat or cold , noise can cause sleep disturbances, and hence poor performance at work and in school, Lead poisoning leading to developmental and behaviour problems, Second-hand smoke and exposure to carcinogens can cause cancer. In general, poor environmental quality contributes to 25â€“33% of global ill health. Physical, mental, and social health is affected by living conditions. There are numerous examples that impact on human living such as lead exposure, noise, asbestos, mould growth, crowding, respiratory disease, and spread of infectious diseases, accidents, and mental illness. Health impacts of inadequate housing conditions are an intricate issue involving variety of exposures (physical, chemical, biological, building, and social factors) and various health outcomes such as asthma and allergies, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular effects, injuries, poisoning, mental illnesses. Issues of overcrowding, lack of resources, poverty, unemployment, and lack of education and social services can lead to numerous many social problems for example crime, violence, drug use, high school drop-out rates, and mental health problems.
Urban Crimes: In developed cities of India, people get connected with different types of individuals who do not have similarity with one another. The problem of crimes increases with the increase in urbanisation. In fact the increasing trend in urban crimes tends to upset peace and tranquility of the cities and make them insecure to live in mainly for the women. The problem of urban crime is becoming more complicated in current situation because criminals often get shelter from politicians, bureaucrats and leaders of the urban society. Dutt and Venugopal (1983) stated that violent urban crimes such as rape, murder, kidnapping, dacoity, robbery are more prominent in the northern-central parts of the nation. Even the economic crimes such as theft, cheating, breach of trust are concentrated in the north- central region. Poverty related crimes are prevalent in the cities of Patna, Darbhanga, Gaya and Munger. This may be due to poverty existing in this area.
Problem of Urban Pollution: Rising urbanisation in present situation led to develop industries and transport systems out of proportion. These developments are mainly responsible for contamination of environment, particularly the urban surroundings. Urban pollution is mainly the collection of impurities created by cities which would certainly shock city dwellers. It includes Air, water, ground the entire environment. Air pollution has dangerous consequences which emerge due to urbanization. Cities are the source of several dangerous gases, particularly vehicles like passenger cars, Lorries, buses which generate carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrous oxides (NOx), benzene, ozone in addition to fine particles released by diesel motors which create a serious threat to human health. Heating installations use fossil fuels which also contaminate the air of urban centres. However, in numerous urban agglomerations, the main source of the worsening of air quality is from industrial facilities which emit veritable poisons into the air, which is then inhaled by riverside dwellers. Water is also source of pollution in urban areas. Since earlier times, cities are attracting millions of rural residents to their recognizable shores. Each of these individuals has required water to live, and consume for other basic needs. Cities under continuous development must increase their water resources and their water treatment capacities. In many countries, this has created nearly insoluble problems and millions of human beings are not assured daily access to potable water. As regards wastewater, the lack of effective collection and treatment facilities means that wastewater is often quite simply dumped back into Nature, often into the ocean, which creates severe and long lasting pollution problems.
|Remedy to fix issues of urbanization in India|
India has rapidly increasing population. According to the estimates of New McKinsey Global Institute research, cities of India could produce 70 percent of net new jobs by 2030, may generate around 70 percent of Indian GDP, and drive a near fourfold increase in per capita incomes across the country. If India upgrades its urban operating model, it has the capacity to reap a demographic dividend from the increase of around 250 million expected in the next decade in the working-age inhabitants.
India’s current Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi also came forward to resolve the issues related to urbanization. To manage city system and fulfil the great demands of inhabitants due to the rapid urbanization, specialists have stated that government must focus on two critical factors which is solid waste management and waste water treatment. But the Gujarat government on its part has taken up 50 towns in the state and took initiatives like ‘Clean city, Green city’ in partnership to execute solid waste management and waste water treatment. In order to decrease discrimination, Mr. Modi stated that there is a need to concentrate on comprehensive growth and must recognize the most backward areas in cities and towns and provide basic amenities in place. There is an urgent need to develop social mechanisms which will assist to reduce inequality and make sure the basics like health, sanitation, education to reach those who have been underprivileged of the same. Mr. Modi has realized that most of the urban actions are technical but the employees who do these jobs are often clerical level therefore there must be focus on opening universities on urban planning, urban infrastructure, urban development for the assistance of young people to learn how to meet the demands of urbanization. To lessen urban crime, Mr Modi stresses that police staff in urban areas need a specific training to maintain demands of the law and order situation.
Possible remedy for the urbanization issues and problems at global level:
The most effectual way to resolve issues of urbanization is to make the economy of village and small scale fully viable. Economies must be revitalized if government undertakes huge rural development program. It is suggested that surplus manpower must be absorbed in village in order to migrate to urban areas. It is needed to control traffic congestion in urban region and people must be encouraged to use public transport. India must improve the traffic control system to avoid accidents. It is necessary to implement resilient clean-up campaign. Government must make polices to construct low cast multi-storeyed flats in order to accommodate the slum dwellers. Government should provide funds to encourage entrepreneurship and also find solution for pollution in the nation. Reports of WHO stated that the health cities proposal aimed to develop the physical, mental, environmental, and social welfare of people who live and work in urban centres. People from different backgrounds, including community members to government representatives, from cities were organized and encouraged to come together and work together in order to deal with the problems that emerge in urban environments. This association of people shared strategies, success stories, and resources to tackle the concerns of the local society. WHO reports indicated that, “A healthy city is one that is continually creating and improving the physical and social environments and expanding the community resources that enable people to mutually support each other in performing all the functions of life and in developing to their maximum potential.”
To summarize, Urbanization is the substantial expansion of urban areas due to rural migration and it is strongly related to modernization, industrialization, and the sociological process of rationalization. Urbanization commonly occurred in developing countries because government has keenness to accomplish a developed city status. As a result, almost all area in the city has been developed and in the worst case scenario, even the green areas are also turned into industrial or business area. It illustrates that speedy urbanization has many unconstructive implications especially towards social and environmental aspects. While the process of urbanization occurs at global scale, it is more visible in developing countries. This growth has led to concerns about the sustainability of these urban centres. Explosive growth in the world population and migration of people to in urban centres is causing major concern about the quality of life in these urban centres and the life-supporting capacity of the planet ecologically and communally.
The government should not be keen to develop a city without considering the impacts towards the social and environmental aspect. Instead, the government should modify the urban development process in order to accomplish a developed city and make efforts to lessen the possibility of problems that might arise. In order to triumph over urbanization issues and problems, Khosh-Chashm (1995) recommended that the society should work together closely with the authorities to assist in modernizing life in urban area. The changeover from a rural to urban wealth is very rapid in historical terms for most economic systems. The task to fulfil all the demands for jobs, shelter, water, roads, transport and other urban infrastructure is overwhelming. Presently, India already has numerous mega cities. Many researchers believe that urbanization is good for the financial growth of country but careful planning is required to develop cities and offer basic amenities for healthy living.
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