In the 1900s only one in ten people lived in cities, by 1994 this figure had grown to one of every two people which thus created a megalopolies of millions inhabitants; we are now in the state where 400 cities have a population of more than one million people. This recent phenomena in urban areas, has caused many problems and is inevitable to create many more in the future. Urbanisation itself is a global occurrence, which can be seen to many as a problem to the area; it is an unchecked process, that is nearly impossible to ‘keep a lid on’ – with now over half the population living in an urban area.
The two main causes of the urbanisation process are due to natural population growth and migration into urban areas from rural areas. These cause several different problems including things like housing deprivation, waste pollution, transport – arguably a loss of jobs and many others that manifest themselves from this process. This statement is true on a micro scale, if we compare two different areas of London, for example, they would hold similar problems – with a change in the location.
Looking at areas such as Tower Hamlets is a highly deprived area/ borough in London – which leads the London boroughs with low rates of literacy, high unemployment; along with its recent job cuts of 500 people and housing deprivation. Along with this area like this step migration occurs regularly, which will mean that these suburbs will see an increase in ethnic minorities. This in short will cause a problem for the local schools, putting a greater amount of pressure on them to employ teachers that speak, polish for example.
Richmond on the other hand, have similar problems in some ways – but they also have many different problems – there is a much higher literacy rate and employment rate, however there is still a lack of housing as the borough of Richmond is becoming a much more ‘wanted’ and increasingly affluent area. As this area has become much more credited, for example Richmond University are offering degrees, which are becoming recognised within the US, it will increase the population and thus causing an increase in problems to the areas.
As more people enter the area the more pollution there will be, along with an increase in housing deprivation. However, these problems are similar; regardless of the location. But this being on a micro scale, it is much easier and much more likely for the problems to be similar – as there is only a few miles difference between the two boroughs. If we look at a much more global scale, it would give us a much greater understanding if the problems are similar throughout every city.
Pollution is a massively increasingly problem throughout the world, with many cities under pressure from political figures and external government bodies, such as the EU, to become much stricter on the amount their city pollutes. London, an MEDC, is under increasing amounts of pressure to become much greener – with 31,035,791 cars on London roads and over 7 million Londoners it causes more and more problems. Similarly, an LEDC, Lagos Nigeria – has many different problems, like London with pollution.
Currently within Lagos, they are suffering from a variety of different forms of pollution – air pollution, from the old cars that are on the road, with a constant 12 mile traffic jam on one of Lagos’ main roads, secondly noise pollution – as many business as homes don’t have connection up to an electrical grid they rely on generators to create their electricity, this is not just common within Lagos but throughout Nigeria. This has led to a around 7. 3 million Nigerians having a hearing disability, that’s 17. % of the population having ‘health implications’. London does have some traffic jams, but not to the extent of miles and miles of constant backlog of traffic. This is also present in many other cities around the world for example, LA, New York and Beijing – the Tibetting expressway just outside the Chinese capital has had constant traffic jams since 14th August of over 100km, 400 police offers have been assigned to the area to muffle down angry drivers.
This shows that the problems faced in one city, transfers to many cities around the world – nevertheless these problems are not completely identical with different ranges and scales of the problems e. g. the Biejing and Lagos traffic jams, are less than ones within London. Housing deprivation is also seen as a very large problem to many cities around the world.
As the population increases, the need for housing increases; however, there comes a time when there just isn’t enough space for cities to adapt to the through flowing influx of migrants and citizens to the urban area. Lagos, Nigeria, is home to this problem with of their citizens unable to afford the housing (due to lack of well paid employment, another problem caused in major cities) but also the lack of housing within the area – which has led to a large number of people living in make shift houses or ‘slums’, which gives Lagos the nickname “mega-city of slums”.
This crime ridden, city is reliant on these slums – without them then one of the most increasingly populated cities will be in further chaos, with around 15 million inhabitants, it is believed to increase to 25 million by 2015 (and believed Lagos will have the same population as the East coast of America by 2020) – the pressure of population growth on a faltering economy is causing an increase in crime.
The ex governor of Lagos believe that Lagos needs ‘time’ and ‘money’, along with ‘patience from the people’, to become a true mega city and recognised for its economic value – some believe that Lagos will become the “new” London. Comparatively London’s house prices are on the rise, mainly due to the necessity for more housing.
The need comes from more and more people migrating into the city trying to look for work, either Polish economic migrants looking for jobs or people migrating from rural areas more into London, it is also aided by the life expectancy increasing which leaves less houses available on the mark, along with a change in demographic over the years Also lack of proper facilities, or relative poverty in terms of housing occurs within both cities, however in Lagos it could be argued has a much more stereotypical view point of housing with no running water or electricity in many of their ‘houses’/ slums.
The accessibility of many areas, especially within MEDC, is seen as a considerable problem within many cities. Within LEDC as transport becomes much more available, as more brands become accessible within their countries and new brands within their country are made (such as Kia or Daelim), more vehicles will be on the road – which will of course cause more pollution and a greater increase in traffic.
This has led to many cities needing to spend more money on their transport system and peoples accessibility, and in some cases pedestrians or tax traffic for entering a certain area. Within Lagos, transport is a large problem – with a lack of road awareness, fully working traffic lights and in fact corruption, means many people are hurt on their roads – however, there are still many people who can barely survive on the jobs that they have, which mean they cannot buy cars.
This faces further problems, as they wont be able to get to work easily, which in short means less money for the government. This has meant Lagos, invented in eighteen sitter buses to travel around the city, especially around the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, home to many threats on human lives and security. These transports will allow commuters to ride on the Lagos highways in a safer environment, which could potentially decrease the crime rates on the Lagos highway. Similarly, London faces transport problems -as an umbrella term, however technically in a different form.
London homes millions of cars on their roads, which does lead to an increase pollution – less than Lagos as they are newer cars as the people can afford to buy them, but with the cars on the road leads to a large amounts of congestion and still leads to more green house emissions. This is why London has an effective public transport system, of buses, Docklands Light Railway, Tube and overground train. London, also have a large amounts of congestion within their CBD and more central areas – the government came up with the congestion charge scheme, which effectively charges people eight pounds a day to travel within the city centre.
Another city which faces transport problems is Curitiba, a city that is regarded as ‘environmentally friendly’, which homes 3 million people, the council have developed a bus service which now reduces a large amount of traffic on the roads which takes 2 million passengers a day. This shows that the statement above can be generalised in a broad sense that many cities face similar problems regardless of their location. Throughout this essay I have looked at a variety of cities from around the world and a range of problems that have occurred within these cities.
Cities in general do face similar problems, be it transport, housing, pollution, employment and waste – they will have similar problems, as it is almost impossible to create a perfect city. However, there is idea of relativism, which comes into the problems within cities – as the problems set within cities vary depending on a variety of characteristics i. e. political stability, financial stability etc. This is why I personally agree to some extent with this statement, as an umbrella term, as I believe that cities do follow a similar pattern of problems.