Cities or urban areas have existed for thousand s of years and can be traced
back to the River Valley Civilizations of Mesopotamia (present day Iraq,
!ypt, India and China"# $t %rst, these settlements depended lar!ely on
a!riculture and domestic cattle, but as they !re& in size they became
centers for merchants and traders &hich !ave birth to urbanizism#
'ue to urban !ro&th of those areas, also kno&n as urbanization, their sizes
accelerated dramatically &ith the advent of industrialization some ()) years
a!o# $t that time, lar!e numbers of people moved to these areas* cities to
search for +obs, mostly in factories# ,ith the increase in population %!ures,
this has led to a rapid urbanization and this has taken place over the past -)
years# ,hile less than one third of the &orld.s population lived in urban
areas*cities in /0-), about t&o thirds and more of humanity is expected to
live in urban areas by ()1)# Most of that urbanization is takin! place in
$frica, $sia and 2atin $merica#
3hese urban areas*cities make a lot of sense for humans# $nd here you %nd a
lot of people concentrated in a small space rather than bein! spread out over
a lar!e territory &hich led to the birth of a ne& profession called urban
3herefore, modern urban plannin! emer!ed as a profession in the early
decades of the ()
century lar!ely as a response to the appallin! sanitary,
social and economic conditions of rapidly !ro&in! industrial cities* areas#
Initially the disciplines of architecture and civil en!ineerin! provided the
nucleus of concerned professionals# 4ut later they &ere +oined by public
health specialists, economists, sociolo!ists, !eo!raphers, la&yers amon!
others and this &as &hen the complexities of mana!in! urban areas* cities
came to be fully understood# 5rom an interdisciplinary synthesis of these
%elds, contemporary 6rban and re!ional plannin! techniques for survey,
analysis, desi!n and implementation developed#
3oday urban plannin! can be described as a technical and political process
concerned &ith the &elfare of people, control of the use of land, desi!n of
urban environment includin! transportation and communication net&orks
and protection and enhancement of the natural environment# 4ut this is
becomin! so di7cult to achieve due to the rapid urbanization s&eepin!
across the !lobe mostly in the developin! countries of the &orld#
Rapid urbanization has made the cities to become the only centers for
economic !ro&th and technolo!ical advancement# 3his coupled &ith a
number of other services like promise for +obs and prosperity amon! others
pulls people from rural areas to cities# 3his rapidity has led to di7culty in
re!ulatin! and caterin! for as &ell as plannin! for these populations &ithin
these urban areas*cities# 4ecause of this di7culty, violence, poverty,
overcro&din!, pollution, healthy problems amon! others have become the
orders of the day in these areas# 3his poses a threat to 6rban plannin! in the
follo&in! &ays8
In a &ell9planned city, infrastructure is created in a sensible &ay to
accommodate the population# lectric !rids, se&er facilities, !as lines and
roads are expanded at the same rate as the population# ,hen rapid
urbanization occurs, many of the ne& residents of a city are there
uno7cially, livin! in informal slums and shanty to&ns that have inadequate
or nonexistent public services# ,ith no census or o7cial information, it is
di7cult or impossible for municipal authorities to plan for or provide
adequate infrastructure for bur!eonin! populations#
'iseases that are caused by unclean &ater, impure air and overcro&din! are
epidemic in some rapidly !ro&in! cities# Cholera, diarrhea and other &ater9
borne illnesses thrive in places that don:t have &ater %ltration plants, &hile
lun! diseases and breathin! problems are caused by dirty air# Rapidly
expandin! cities are often characterized by hu!e tra7c problems, somethin!
that contributes to unclean air# $ll of these health problems are made &orse
&hen people don:t have access to reliable and lo&9cost health care#
;uman activity that isn:t controlled throu!h appropriate infrastructure leads
to dama!e to the natural environment, and this dama!e increases &ith
lar!er populations# Inadequate se&er facilities lead to polluted &ater,
unre!ulated !ro&th leads to housin! bein! built in environmentally sensitive
areas and a lack of !as or electricity leads to intensive cookin! &ith &ood
%res, somethin! that seriously compromises air quality# <opulation increase,
&hich is hi!her in countries &ith lo&er education levels and less empo&ered
&omen, make all of these problems &orse
=ince employment levels are related to levels of economic activity and
development of infrastructure, it isn:t surprisin! that cities &ith many shanty
to&ns have hi!h levels of unemployment# 3he economic base of such a city
is d&arfed by the numbers of people# ,ith such a surplus of &illin! &orkers,
this situation drives &a!es do&n, meanin! that even &hen a poor person has
a +ob, it may pay very little#
Many cities in developin! countries in particular are experiencin! rapid
urbanization &hich they have not taken stron! measures to control it have
su>ered and still likely to su>er the ne!ativities or rapid consequences &hich
&ill become unbearable for urban plannin! so solve at the time# 3his &ill
make service provision di7cult throu!h plannin!, land !rabbin! &ill be the
order of the day as the land &ill not be &ell re!ulated, land use classi%cation
and usa!e &ill not be so easy to establish, tra7c and transportation plannin!
&ill not be easy and applyin! plannin! principles &ill not be so di7cult
amon! others#
,ith all the above ne!ativities of rapid urbanization, it.s a total indication
that if urbanization is not &ell controlled it automatically becomes a threat to
urban plannin!# =o fello& planners you need to &ake up and take action as
&e plan for the future#

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