Urbanization is a much more civilized form of life than our usual standard of living. This form of livelihood is supported by technology, equipment and machinery aiding in the day to day activities in the house, as well as in for employment purposes. It has even the ideal of travelling, at every point of urban life. The question at hand is whether this mechanical fast life is a blessing in disguise.
The phenomenon of urbanization has been upheld since the Mesopotamia era. One of the oldest cities of the world, Rome, has experienced Urbanization in the second century. And the phenomenon has only grown rapidly since the industrial revolution.
However, India, among the other third world countries, has not experienced Urbanization to the required level in accordance with increasing its economic growth in proportion with the high population density. It is a slow process, yet it is surely happening.
What is Urbanization?
Urbanization refers to the population shift from rural areas to urban areas, the gradual increase in the proportion of people living in urban areas, and the ways in which each society adapts to this change. It is the process whereby people of urban area increases many fold as compared with people surrounding rural area.
Urban and rural are the two important parts of India. As the time evolves, people from the rural area are shifting to a more urban space. Most of them move to the urban areas in search of job, some for health and other reasons. Urbanization is in fact an important parameter of social-economic structure of a region.
They even play a vital part in the progress of any economy.
Of course, there is wide range of difference in the definition of an urban area. In Argentina, a population of more than 2000 people in a settlement constitutes an urban area whereas in Canada, if there is a house every two hundred metres, the area is considered to be urban.
Urbanization has three main characteristics. Firstly, it involves an increase in the population concentration, also known as population density. Population density is the number of people that can be found at any given time in the year in an area of one square kilometre. When Urbanization occurs in a country, there are several points of increased population density.
Secondly, these points grow larger in size. As the population increases, more area is required for habitation purposes. Hence the area used expands. More often than not, it extends onto forested or agricultural land.
Lastly, with the rise in Urbanization, there is a distinct change in the occupational bias. One observes a transfer from agricultural to non-agricultural occupation.
Economic Advantages of Urbanization
The first and most important advantage of Urbanization is the economic development. The economic structure of a country is affected by this process in three different ways. Firstly, urban areas, cities and towns act as an engine for production of raw material. In addition, it also provides a market.
Satisfactory purchasing power and a high demand provides the necessary impetus required for the growth of industries. This leads to the all-round economic development of the area.
Secondly, urbanization is an important index of the socio-economic structure of a region because urban centers have a special role to play in its development. In the statistical sense, urbanization connotes to the ratio of urban population to the total population size, its characteristics and the administrative setup of a particular area. Statistics reveal that nearly half of the world’s population lives in cities.
Lastly, urbanization and industrialization go hand in hand and are positively correlated with each other. Each one determines the other’s development. It is an established fact that urbanization is always accompanied with industrialization and vice versa. In urban areas, there is a huge concentration of industries and other related activities which act as pulling forces for people from rural area, thus proving as a blessing in disguise.
More on Industrialisation
Industrialisation refers to the growth of industries in urban area in a large scale, beneficial as it provides the opportunity of employment and hence acts as magnetic attraction for most people from rural area and other small towns.
Urbanization is closely connected to the growth of industrialisation. By providing employment to the masses, a high percent of whom are illiterate and can only work in industries, it raises the economic standards.
In present times, with the spread of industrialisation, the process of urbanization has received unprecedented momentum all over the world and more specifically in the third world countries. It is predicted, on the basis of the current rates of Urbanization, that within a few decades the urban population of the third world countries will grow twice that of the present industrialised societies.
Urbanization certainly has multiple benefits. Some of them are:
- Improvement in Transportation
Urban centres not only have much more well-developed roads, but also faster and easier to use vehicles. Cars, bikes and buses leave the old fashioned bullock carts and tractors in the dust. The whole economy of the city is indirectly dependent upon the transportation in the city.
Transportation helps rural people to connect with urban areas and also foreign tourists get attracted to good cities/towns with better transport facilities. However, the sharp increase in the number of vehicles on the road overburdens the transport system hence leading to traffic jams and congestion.
The average speed of travelling by car in Bangalore is 4.5 km/hour, which implies that one would reach faster by just walking. Nevertheless, the advantages of the improvement in transport overpower the disadvantages.
- Improved Means of Communication
Gone are the days when we wrote long letters and waited almost two weeks to receive a reply from our correspondent. In the industrialised and developed world of today, messages are sent and received within moments with the help of technology. The means of communication has played a vital role in the city’s economic development.
- Higher Education Facilities
Urbanization encourages higher education for the rural people. It is an established fact that governments have set up all the higher educational centres in the big and small urban areas, which have acted as source of attraction to many people seeking the facilities for higher education.
- Better Health Care
A major advantage of Urbanization is the the fertility rates. It reduces both mortality and fertility rates, because of the better medical and health care. Urbanization has increased the life expectation with its more hygienic form of living and with an advancement in the field of medicine.
To sum it up, urban areas ensure that all the services that people require such as home, workplace, shops etc. are all within close proximity. This reduces transport costs and boosts energy efficiency. It is also far more easy and economical to supply gas, water, electricity, fuel, sewage system to people who live in close proximity than people who live far apart.
Cities versus Villages
Cities bring together communication, creativity and competitiveness. It has always provided intellectual stimulus and educational leadership. In developing countries there is often a substantially higher proportion of educated people in the cities than in villages.
Urban environments also often encourage improvement in women’s status. Cities also offer more opportunities to break the vicious circle of poverty, by providing employment to the masses.
Urbanization also promotes cosmopolitanism, which is the ideology that all human beings belong to the same community. This will subdue conservative and orthodox mindsets that prevail in the society, which will in turn eliminate social evils such as discrimination, untouchability, and child marriages, amongst many others. Urbanization acts as a knowledge centre, which will imbibe values such as equality, secularism, fraternity, etc. This will uphold the fundamental rights of the citizens of the country+.
The government has taken several steps such as ‘Make In India’, ‘Digital India’ and ‘Startup India’, to further deepen urbanization and to achieve its ambition, that is, to become the manufacturing hub of not only the Asian continent but also the world.
Increased employment opportunities, better lifestyle, easy and fast way to work, more knowledge of worldly affairs: these are the gifts of urbanization. It is most definitely a boon, a blessing in disguise.
To quote Narendra Modi, “The days when urbanization was seen as a problem are now over; it is now seen as an opportunity.” Let us make the most of this opportunity and strive to improve the standards of our country, as well as ourselves.