If you are an urban dweller, you may know the real meaning of urbanization. However, this does not always indicate your sufficient insight in the topic too. To form a causal chain, it is right to say that more jobs, more services in the urban side and absence of land in the countryside force people to migrate to larger cities which brings about uncontrolled urbanization. As a result, some problems arise such as unemployment,inadequacy of infrastructure/services and some environmentally unwanted events as well as unpleasant demographic incidents.
To begin with, it is a good point to dig up the reasons for people to come to larger cities. First of all, by all accounts, cities are perceived to offer a wide variety of job opportunities on the grounds that there are very different branches of businesses in cities. Inasmuch as unemployment level is hugely high in the rural areas and the work is only about farming in contrast to countless business sectors in chief cities, more and more people choose searching for their chances in the metropolis.
Secondly, comes another significant reason: There are better services in cities. As a matter of fact, transportation is extremely developed so as to make use of time efficiently. Medical services are supported with the latest technological improvements, there are unbelievably modern hospitals. Besides, education is taken into account seriously. There are very high-quality schools with excellent teachers, teaching with up-to-date techniques. None of these can be found in the rural areas, at this stage.
Apart from these pull factors causing migration to big cities, there is a strong push factor stemming from absence of enough land. It would be very hard and useless to cultivate the land if it is too small to make an agricultural production. One important thing triggers this incident increasingly during the last years; namely, division of land. To explain, in the rural areas when someone dies, the inheritance would usually be the land. Yet, the land is divided into many parts due to the fact that in the countryside it is common to have lots of children and they all have rights to take one part of the inherited land. Therefore, what they get are useless small lands rather than a gigantic land which is capable of making a great deal of agricultural production itself. The inability to do the only thing, farming, again brings about migration to big cities with the hopes of making money.
As mentioned earlier, all these facts and figures necessitate uncontrolled urbanization, in the midst of the causal chain. So, what are the side effects and drawbacks of this growth?
The first main problem is unemployment rate in the cities, no doubt. Imagine that a city with a population of 5 million people and everything is fine, everyone has work. Then, other citizens of the same country – especially from the rural areas – see the opportunity to have a better life and migrate to this city. Another 1 million people may be OK, 2 million might be accepted due to newly created sectors; nevertheless, if another 5 million people come to this city, what will be the result? Excess unskilled labourers will certainly occupy everywhere.
There will be a dramatic rise in the unemployment level owing to the limited capacity of workers. Looking from a different angle, since young adults come to cities before their families, unemployment will reach a maximum point that is defined by the term “unable to cope with”.
The next shortcoming is, of course, inadequacy of infrastructure and services. This uncontrollably growing kind of urbanization results in so much pressure on the infrastructure that no means of infrastructure can respond to any needs of urban life effectively. For instance, when there is a sudden rain, there would be floods all over the city, but in fact, there should not be by the help of regular working sewers and drainage. Garbage removal is another bad aspect as well as destroyed roads and the inconsistencies of the power supplies. Electricity and natural gases have innumerable problems as a consequence of this denial of service. Services sectors are also in deep trouble. There do not seem to be any noticeable investments in transportation; hence, it cannot meet the needs of city residents. For the expensiveness of highly equipped private hospitals, urban crowds choose the state hospitals mostly and this leads to very long queues indeed. As a result, people cannot get a good examination in medical centers. Education is also badly hurt; because, children are made to receive education in incredibly crowded classrooms such as 60-80 students in one classroom.As you see, the teacher cannot show the same interest to every child and that drops the learning level sharply in this so-called educational system.
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Within this type of urbanization, some unwanted events occur, specifically environmental e.g. pollution and deforestation. Factories and motor vehicles pump large quantities of carbon dioxide and other waste gases into the air. More vehicles mean more pollution. For example, the poisonous gases coming from the vehicles result in acid rain that damages trees, buildings and can kill fish in lakes and rivers. Rivers can also be polluted by industrial waste from factories. Deforestation, on the other hand, is very widespread in recent years; large areas have been destroyed, as the trees are cut down for wood or burned to clear the land for building universities, shopping centers, skyscrapers and so forth. It is not wrong to say that this unplanned urban growth influences accommodation in the form of illegal buildings by ruining the nature and natural beauties.
The last impact is about unpleasant demographic results. At this point i.e. the last ring of the overall causal chain, there is a mini chain relevant to demography. When the uncontrolled urbanization occurs, the most noticeable effect is overpopulation in chief cities. In the meantime, this flow causes depopulation in the rural areas. Subsequently, this contributes to a decrease in agricultural production. Besides, there are a lot of crises in the urban side, there is an economic one in the countryside too. It is appropriate to give this incident as an example for lose-lose principle if two sides are considered opposites.
In conclusion, it is a very deep subject existing in the middle of a causal chain with causes; for example, more job opportunities and better services in urban life in contrast to absence of land in the rural areas and effects; such as unemployment, insufficiency of infrastructure, unwanted environmental events and unpleasant demographic theories. In the right hands, urbanization can determine or at least influence the destiny of a city and may be a turning point for its existence and optimistic future, whereas in unstable and unplanned conditions, urbanization creates nothing but a real mess. Therefore, migrants to an uncontrolled urban side may meet the worst disappointments in their lives instead of hopes of making easy money; because, it is not perpetually true that “Roads are paved with gold.”, especially in today’s world…
Mehmet ÇELEB ADV-I 2004