(alsospelled"urbanisation") is the physical growth of urban areasas a result of globalchange. Urbanization is also defined by the United Nations as movement of people fromruralto urban areaswith population growth equating to urban migration. TheUnited Nationsprojected that half of theworld'spopulationwould live in urban areas at the end of 2008.
As more and more people leave villages and farms to live in cities, urban growth results. The rapid growth of cities like Chicago in the late 19th century and Shanghai a century later can be attributed largely to peoplefrom rural communities migrating there. This kind of growth is especially commonplace indevelopingcountries.The rapid urbanization of the world’s population over the twentieth century is described in the 2005 Revisionof the UN World Urbanization Prospects report. The global proportion of urban population rose dramaticallyfrom 13% (220 million) in 1900, to 29% (732 million) in 1950, to 49% (3.2 billion) in 2005. The same reportprojected that the figure is likely to rise to 60% (4.9 billion) by 2030.
. However, French economist PhilippeBocquier, writing in THE FUTURIST magazine, has calculated that "the proportion of the world populationliving in cities and towns in the year 2030 would be roughly 50%, substantially less than the 60% forecast bythe United Nations (UN), because the messiness of rapid urbanization is unsustainable. Both Bocquier andthe UN see more people flocking to cities, but Bocquier sees many of them likely to leave upon discoveringthat there’s no work for them and no place to live."
According to the UN State of the World Population 2007 report, sometime in the middle of 2007, the majorityof people worldwide will be living in towns or cities, for the first time in history; this is referred to as the arrivalof the "Urban Millennium" or the 'tipping point'. In regard to future trends, it is estimated 93% of urban growthwill occur in developing nations, with 80% of urban growth occurring inAsiaandAfrica.