What is urbanisation?

Towns and cities in LEDCs are growing very rapidly, with increasing numbers of people choosing to live In the cities, a process called urbanisation. LEDCs are undergoing a transitional period of urban growth and urbanisation similar to that that took place throughout Europe in the nineteenth century. Urbanisation occurs due to peole leaving the rural areas to come to the city, urban, areas.

Urbanisation is an issue in LEDCs, MEDCs have already gone through this process…

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The high rate of natural increase in many LEDCS Is having an effect not only on the population growth. Why are cities growing faster than the rural areas???

Urbanastion over time…


A high birth rate

Although the birth rates in many LECDs are falling, they continue to be high, with the main reasons for this been limited birth control, or lack of family planning. Over reasons contribute to a high Birth Rate.

o Large families are usually more prosperous, with the many hands available to work and share tasks such as water and food collection. The more children available to work on the land, the greater a familiy can cope with a harvest.

o In spite of many improvements in health care and infant care, infant mortality remains to be high in LEDCs; if many children are likely to dide in infancy, more births will compensate for loss.

o Some religions in LEDCs promote large families or condem contraceptive measures. For example, Mexico City in Mexico has a very large catholic population, in which relgion, contraceptive measures are frowned upon and discourages contraception.

Fallin Death Rate

In the past, the very hight deaths rates experienced my most LEDC countries tended to counterbalance the hight birth rates. Due to modern technological and medical advances death rates are fallin sharply. A combination of this fallin death rate and hight birth rate is producing a population explosion in LEDCs.


During the 19th century, in what are now refered to as the more economically developed countries, the industrialisation led to huge demand for labour in the mills, minging and manufacturing centres. These were centred around the towns of the countries, or even the cey foundation for the major cities in these MEDCs. Urbanisation was as a result of strong ecocmionc development in thes parts of the world.

Urbanisation has not slowed in most MEDCs. In fact many large urban areas are now experiencing counter-urbanisation (movement of people out of town and cities). This is happening because:

People are now more mobile than in the past so they can live further away from work

Developments such as the fax and Email means more people can work from home

Urbanisation around the world

Looing at this data we can draw some usefull observations

1. nearly 50% of the world’s population live in an urban environment.

2. The majority of people in indutrailed countries live in an urban environment.

3. Over the last ten years urbanisation has been takin place most rapidly in the least developing counties.

A map to show the spread of urbanisation in the modern world

Millionaire Cities

Urbanisation in LEDCs has led to an increase in million or millionaire cities (cities with a population of +1 million inhabitants).

Mega Cities – a very large city of at least 8 million inhabitants.

Case Study – MEXICO CITY

Mexico city is a rapidly growing city in and LEDC. 100s of migrants arrive from rural areas everyday increasing the population. The Mexican authorities say there are currently 16 million people in Mexico city, the UN estimates the true figure to be double this. The population in the city is “beyond sustainable limits”.

Overcrowing in the poorer areas of the city increase congestion and decreases quality of life by affecting health. Many ares are poorly built shanty town ares where no planning control is in force, as a result infrastructure and basic needs shuch as accsees to clean water is hard to ensure. There is much underage pregnancy in mexico city, this increases the birth rate and puts more stress on the city. Most employment in the city is in the informal sector, shoe cleaners, car washers etc. these peole earn every little for a lot of hard work. These people have no qualifications and no access to education and as such have very little hope of working their way out of porvery. As most of the poor live in tempory housing, healthcare and rubbish disbosal is very poor and basic. The air pollution from traffic and industry in mexico city is eqevilent to having 60 ciggarettes a day.

There is a severe shortage of land in the city and very high land prices, especially anywhere near to the city centre, only the wealthy can afford to live close to the center. A severe lack of space inthey city, creates a claustrophobic atmosphere.

A severe lack of houding at eh lower end of the price range has led to widespread development of shantytowns on the outskirts of the city.

From wikipedia “This city has a high number of street children; some estimate as many as 50,000.”

How are the problems been solved?

o To help deal with congestion Mexico City has built up an excellent, clean and efficient metro service.

o Taxis and buses in the city have been made to be environmentally friendly. All buses use un-leaded petrol. Cars operate on a system of so many days “on” and then so many dyas “off”, when they cant’t be used.

o Many charities are involved in the developmt of mexico city, many of them offer sevices such as education and healthcare. Some allow people in MEDCs to sponser a child in an LEDC city.

o Police forces are wokining hard to effectivwlly combat the spread of drugs, violent crims and prostitution present in the city.

o NGOs such as the Valle Gomez community housing scheme help the poor improve their accodation by provindign better and strong materials to built their houses.

o The city needs investment to be susatibable, incestment in education, investment in housing and investment in industrial and manufring sectors.

Layout of Mexico city

The Future of urbanisation

We can expect that over the next 30 years or so, LEDC cities will continue to grow, very rapidly through the process of urbanisation. When the growth has slowed and the majority of people live in the city (70-80%), we can expect ur banisation to level off and slow down. They will have reached this stage far quicker than the MEDCs have done in the past. We can expect more and more people in MEDCs to leave the city for a “better life” in the countryside (counter urbanisation).

Eventually over time we can also expect the millionaire cities of the LEDC countries to boost the economy of the country in which they lie, making thes country more economically developed, which such high numbers of people in these cities, and the potential man-power available, the sheer size of these cities may make them the next major capitals of the world.

Global stress factor

Urbanisation will affect the whole world, as new, strong, healthy economies emerge our’s will gave to adapt, making the nessesry adjustments to make sure our’s is not wiped out by this new super-power. Industry around the world willl be affected, certain contries will contine their long traditions of worling for a particular industy the the output in LEDCs will be massivly increased, until we become relient on them. Trade laws must be refined and used effectivwey to prevent an industrial and manufacutrail collapse aroud the world.

# for example, the European Union recently imposed sanction on the amount of cloth china can export, when china overwent this figure, and the union blocked it’s shipments, many stores around the European union reported shortages off clothing.

Cities of the future…….

The mega cities of the present will continue to grown and grow becoming larger and larger. The largest cities of te future can be expected to be

1. Tokyo

2. Mexico

3. Sao Paulo

4. New York

5. Bombay

6. Shanghai

To cope with this stress on the environment these cities will have to develop and be controlled like independent countires. Factors to overcome

o The city must have excellent transport links from secoto to sector

o Healthcare must be easy to find and enjoy the benfits of scale.


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