Urbanization is occurring at a faster rate than any time before. As a result, there are currently more people living in cities than in rural areas (Brenner 32). An urban area is simply a human settlement that has a high population density and a lot of infrastructures. On the contrary, a small town refers to a region that has a low population and few infrastructure (Buckley et al 81). Due to the current socio-economic pressures in most countries, there has been a lot of urbanizations. The primary causes of this urbanization are the rural-urban migration and the presence of more employment opportunities in cities than in rural areas.
Urban areas usually have high population densities, high density of buildings, and high levels of pollution. The huge population is typically due to rural-urban migration, while the scarcity of land in urban leads to the development of high-rise buildings. Normally, the shortage of resources combined with the high concentration of industries results in high levels of pollution in urban areas (Birch and Wachter 131). On the contrary, small towns usually have low population densities, few buildings, and low levels of pollution. Further, the availability of land results in large areas of green spaces. Additionally, the lack of slums and the presence of only a few industries results in low levels of pollution in these regions. Further, unlike small towns, urban areas have high levels of class extremes. In these places, slums of the poor exist alongside palatial homes of the rich, and towering apartment blocks of the middle class.
The multicultural nature of most urban areas makes them shape human relations and cultures. In particular, people in urban areas learn cultures, traditions, religions, beliefs, and customs of people from various parts of the world. As a result, they become more tolerant and appreciative of people who are different from them (Wagner 89). Therefore, urban areas promote social integration. Noteworthy, the multicultural nature of the urban regions leads to erosion or a combination of cultures. In this case, the exposure to people from the different areas makes some people abandon some of their traditions, which they view as being retrogressive.
Besides facilitating the exchange of cultures, urbanization leads to a breakage of the social fabric in most communities. The cost of living and the small sizes of urban buildings makes most people live in nuclear families. Aggravating this situation is the individualistic and materialistic nature of urban dwellers (Wagner 142). In urban areas, most people are usually concerned about their welfare and happiness. Similarly, social existence of people in urban communities revolves around a person’s possessions. Consequently, most dwellers in these areas do not allocate a lot of time to interact with their extended family members, which leads to a breakage in relationships.
Cities are usually more prone to freedom than other regions due to their unique economies and their social setup. Typically, various factors such as trade, service, and manufacturing drive the economies of cities. Additionally, individuals have a wide gap in incomes, which makes them enjoy different lifestyles. Consequently, the different financial pressures cause people to have varying opinions on issues such as the cost of living and the government’s role in the society (Birch and Wachter 76). The multicultural societies in most urban areas also lead to people having liberal ideas. These cultural and social variations of urban dwellers make them have different opinions. Finally, the levels of isolation are usually higher in cities than in rural areas. This individualistic lifestyle makes the former have unique views.
Overall, the increased levels of rural-urban migration in the world will result in the formation of larger and more diverse cities in the future. The urban environments will lead to the creation of more multicultural and tolerant societies. Additionally, these areas will increase people’s freedoms since all individuals will be able to express their unique views. Since the rate of urbanization has been growing, governments should allocate more resources to these regions to ensure they have adequate infrastructure to facilitate the establishment of safe, conducive, and healthy urban settlements.
Birch, Eugenie, and Susan Wachter. Global Urbanization. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011.
Brenner, Neil. Implosions/Explosions: Towards a Study of Planetary Urbanization. Jovis, 2014.
Buckley, Robert, et al. Urbanization and Growth. The World Bank, 2009.
Wagner, Lucas. Urbanization: 21st Century Issues and Challenges. Nova Science Publishers Inc., 2008.