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To What Extent Can the Problems of Urbanization Be Met by a Policy of Sustainable Development?

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Name: Khalilullah Ahmadzai

ID#: 13081

Course: ENG 115

Date: Nov, 23, 2012

To what extent can the problems of urbanization be met by a policy of sustainable development?

     Urbanization is the process of migration of people from rural areas to urban areas. Recently, this rapid migration of people from rural to urban areas has attracted more and more attention of most countries around the world. Urbanization has created many problems with its arrival, both in LEDCs (Less Economically Developed Countries) and MEDCs (More Economically Developed Countries). However, the problems caused by urbanization in LEDCs seems to be more difficult to cope with than in MEDCs. The reason which caused this phenomenon is that people began to realize that urbanization not only brings some benefits, but also will bring more problems than benefits. Now the question to be answered is that, to what extent can the problems of urbanization be met a policy of sustainable development? Sustainable development, as (Brundtland.,1987) defines, is the "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (Cited in Adams,. 1999). Also, English Nature defines sustainable development as "Sustainable development seeks to improve the quality of human life without undermining the quality of our natural environment" (Cited in Adams,. 1999). Therefore, sustainable development can be occurred when urban areas make enough efforts to demonstrate the challenges like the excessive consumption of natural resources and reducing the usage of polluted wastes (Elliot,. 1999).

     The Policies of sustainable development are helpful to some extent for the problems brought by urbanization. However, I believe these facts about the policies of sustainable development will be for a short period of time and it cannot guarantee the future generation's life. The main discussion of this essay will be the answer for the question that (to what extent can the problems of urbanization be met a policy of sustainable development?) and at the first step the essay will discuss the two main and major problems of urbanization: Shortage of urban land and urban transportation problems. After that, we will discuss the solutions to these problems and finally we will find out that to what extent can the shortage of urban land and urban transportation problems be met by a policy of sustainable development.

     The land shortage in urban areas is the main reason of different problems both in MEDCs and LEDCs. These problems are such as, poor housing, shanty towns, traffic congestion, sewerage system and some other problems. For instance, Mexico City as (Bilham - Boult et al,. 1999) describes it "crowded, polluted, and chaotic but also passionate, exotic and beautiful" (P.128) is one of the LEDCs cities, which is facing problems such as housing, water, land and air pollution as well as subsidence (Bilham - Boult et al,. 1999). By the arrival of large numbers of migrants from rural areas to urban areas, Mexico City's population grew rapidly as (Bilham - Boult et al, 1999) states that "housing is seen as the highest priority...[and] the houses of the poor are mostly found on the edges of the city. These are often found in unplanned, illegal settlements called 'shanty towns'"(P.129). In addition, water, land and air pollution are another major problem in Mexico City led by shortage of urban land. As (Bilham - Boult et al, 1999) mentions that "Water pollution is a problem because rain water is not kept separate from industrial and domestic users. This leads to the pollution of drainage channel. The high temperatures and heavy rainfall make this worse.... In Mexico City only 75 per cent of the rubbish is collected by the refuse collection service...[and] Illegal dumping of industrial waste and refuse from the 'informal sector' creates land pollution"(P.129). This indicates that rural to urban migration has created such a big problem and encourage people to settle on illegal and unplanned houses. Since MEDCs are also experiencing similar problems like Mexico City, amongst them some European cities are also being affected by urbanization problems. For instance, London, Paris, Randstad (Holland), Rhine-Ruhr and Moscow being Europe's large and well developed urban areas had various problems of urbanization like "Shortage of good quality housing, overcrowding and the creation of slums. Congested living in inner-city areas. Dangers of urban sprawl using up the country side. Restless migrant populations. Long journey to work...". Therefore, in order to make sustainable development happen in such areas and cases the governments should take a huge step against urbanization and discourage people from rural to urban migration by providing them those facilities which are not available in rural areas such as, better quality of education,  better housing, hospitals, provide job opportunities and increase employment rate, improve transport system, earn international aid to repair infrastructure (Bilham - Boult et al, 1999).

     Furthermore, alongside shortage of urban land, there are numerous problems concerned with urban transport system. Among these problems, traffic congestion is considered as a major transport problem. For instance, Los Angeles one of United States biggest cities is also facing a lot of traffic congestion problems. It has brought very difficulties into people's daily life for example, people have to wait a long time in traffic jam, especially in the mornings when they are leaving for their offices. As a result it causes a loss of time and productivity (Thisdell, 1993).

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