Chapter 24 -- Urbanization and Sustainable Cities
 
After studying this chapter, you should be able to:
  • distinguish between a rural village, a city, and a megacity.

  • recognize the push and pull factors that lead to urban growth.

  • appreciate the growth rate of giant metropolitan urban areas such as Mexico City, as well as the problems this growth engenders.

  • visualize living conditions for ordinary citizens in the megacities of the developing world.

  • understand the causes and consequences of noise and crowding in cities.

  • critique options for suburban design.

  • see the connection between sustainable economic development, social justice, and the solution of urban problems.

 



Urbanization

What Is a City?

World Urbanization

  • The United States underwent a dramatic rural-to-urban shift in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

  • Many developing countries are experiencing a similar demographic movement.

  • Only Africa and South Asia remaining predominantly rural, but people there are swarming into cities in every-increasing numbers.

  • Ninety percent of the population growth over the next 25 years is expected to occur in the less-developed countries of the world.

 


  • Recent urban growth has particularly dramatic in the largest cities, especially those of the developing world.

    • In the next 25 years, Mumbay, India; Delhi, India; Karachi, Pakistan; Manilla, Philippines; and Jakarta, Indonesia all are expected to grow by at least 50 percent.

  • Where to draw city boundaries and how to count everyone is controversial.


 
Table 24.1 -- Urban share of total population (percent)
Region  1975  1995  2025*
Africa253454
Asia253555
Europe677483
Russian Federation667686
North and Central America576879
South America647888
Oceania727075
World384561
*Estimated values
Source: Data from World Resources 1996-97, World Resources Institute.


Table 24.2 -- The world's largest metropolitan regions (populations in the millions)
1990 1995 2015
London, England

New York, USA 

Paris, France

Berlin, Germany

Chicago, USA 

Vienna, Austria

Tokyo, Japan

St. Petersburg, Russia

Philadelphia, USA

Manchester, England

Birmingham, England

Moscow, Russia

Peking, China*

6.6

4.2 

3.3

2.4

1.7 

1.6

1.5

1.4

1.4

1.3

1.2

1.1

1.1 

Tokyo, Japan

Mexico City, Mexico 

Sao Paulo, Brazil

New York, USA

Mumbay, India**

Shanghai, China

Los Angeles, USA

Calcutta, India

Seoul, S. Korea

Beijing, China

Osaka, Japan

Lagos, Nigeria

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 

26.9

16.6 

16.5

16.3

15.1 

13.6

12.4

11.9

11.6

11.3

10.6

10.3

10.2 

Tokyo, Japan

Mumbay, India**

Mexico City

Lagos, Nigeria

Sao Paulo, Brazil 

Shanghai

New York

Calcutta

Beijing

Los Angeles

Buenos Aires

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Osaka, Japan 

29.0

26.2 

25.1

24.6

20.3 

18.0

17.6

17.3

16.0

14.2

13.9

11.9

10.6 

  *now known as Beijing
**formerly known as Bombay
Source: Chandler, T. Three thousand years of Urban Growth, Academic Press, 1974; and United Nations Population Division, 1998



Causes of Urban Growth

Immigration Push Factors

Immigration Pull Factors

Government Policies



Current Urban Problems

The Developing World

The Developed World



Transportation and City Growth



City Planning

Garden Cities and New Towns

Cities of the Future

Urban Redesign

Designing for Open Space


Table 24.3 -- Urban Sustainability Indicators
Children in poverty

Violent crime

Access to health care

Air and water quality, litter

Vacant or deteriorating housing

Participation in neighborhood organizations

Money earned and spent in neighborhood

Access to public transportation

Shopping and services in walking distance

Quality of schools

Cultural and recreational opportunities

Source: MN Citizen's Environmental Action Committee, 1999




Sustainable Development in the Third World



Summary



Questions for Review

  1. What is the difference between a city and a village and between rural and urban?
  2. How many people now live in cities, and how many live in rural areas worldwide?
  3. What changes in urbanization are predicted to occur in the next fifty years, and where will that change occur?
  4. Identify the thirteen largest cities in the world. Has the list changed in the past fifty years? Why?
  5. When did the United States pass the point at which more people live in the city than the country? When will the rest of the world reach this point?
  6. Describe the current conditions in a typical megacity of the developing world. What forces contribute to its growth?
  7. Describe the difference between slums and shantytowns.
  8. Why are urban areas in U.S. cities decaying?
  9. How has transportation affected the development of cities? What have been the benefits and disadvantages of freeways?
  10. Describe some ways that American cities and suburbs could be redesigned to be more ecologically sound, socially just, and culturally amenable.



Questions for Critical Thinking

  1. Picture yourself living in a rural village or a Third World city. What aspects of life there would you enjoy? What would be the most difficult for you to accept?
  2. Are there fundamental differences between the lives of homeless people in First World and Third World cities? Where would you rather be?
  3. A city could be considered an ecosystem. Using what you learned in chapters 2 and 3, describe the structure and function of a city in ecological terms.
  4. Look at the major urban area(s) in your state. Why were they built where they are? Are those features now a benefit or a drawback?
  5. Weigh the costs and benefits of automobiles in modern American life. Would we have been better off if the internal combustion engine had never been invented?
  6. Boulder, Colorado, has been a leader in controlling urban growth. One consequence is that housing costs have skyrocketed and poor people have been driven out. If you lived in Boulder, would you vote for additional population limits? What do you think is an optimum city size?
  7. Eleven proposals are presented in this chapter for suburban redesign. Which of them would be appropriate or useful for your community? Try drawing up a plan for the ideal design of your neighborhood.
  8. How much do you think the richer countries are responsible for conditions in the developing countries? How much have people there brought on themselves? What role should, or could, we play in remedying their problems?