Urbanization is taking over the world’s population at an extreme rate. It is expected that by 2050 3.4 billion urbanization will increase by 84% to 6.3 billion people (Harf & Lombardi, 2013). This is an increase from 3.4 billion in 2009. In contrast, 2020 will see the peak of rural population of 3.5 billion, but will begin a slow decline to 2.9 billion by 2050, revealing population growth in only urban areas and a decline in rural areas from migration or death rates (Harf & Lombardi, 2013). The issue with urbanization is its impact on the poverty level of its people and their ability to address social issues caused by urbanization (Harf & Lombardi, 2013).
Urbanization is not bad in itself, but can the people within urban communities be equipped to overcome the challenges, or will they succumb to them? Larger cities offer more hope of a job, better health care, and greater educational opportunities (Abhat, 2005). However, the sentiment among some researchers is that mega-cities are likely to be a drain on the Earth’s dwindeling resources, while contributing mightily to environmental degradation themselves (Abhat, 2005). Others, though would argue that urban productivity is a more efficient way of turning inputs into outputs, and allow a greater increase in productivity (UN Human Settlements Program, 2012).
Whether it is a greater source of productivity or a drain on the world’s resources, the urbanization of the world is a phenomenon that must be managed, so it must be determined who is responsible: the local or federal authorities. It is this writer’s sentiment that it is both in different roles. It is the federal’s responsibility to inform and educate the local authorities, and the local authorities need to make decisions beneficial for its people long term.
Abhat, D. (2005). Cities of the Future: Today’s “Mega-Cities” Are Overcrowded and Environmentally Stressed. E/ The Environmental Magazine, (September/October).
Harf, J., & Lombardi, M. O. (2013). Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Global Issue (Eight edition). Boston: Mcgraw-Hill Education.
UN Human Settlements Program. (2012). Productivity and the Prosperity of Cities (State of the World’s Cities 2012/2013) (pp. 36–47).