Reasons for increased urban growth

There are many reasons for increased urban growth in the developing world. Some of which are:

  • increasing birth rates and decreasing death rates
  • improved health care in many developing countries leading to longer life expectancies
  • employment opportunities are greater within urban areas
  • better paid jobs in the cities, an expected higher standard of living, and more reliable food are all pull factors - reasons why people are attracted to the city
  • people who migrate to towns and cities tend to be young adults and therefore have higher birth rates
  • better medical conditions compared to the countryside mean more successful births and a better life expectancy

However, there are many problems associated with rapid growth. These include unplanned housing (squatter settlements/shanty towns), dealing with urban waste, pollution and stress on infrastructure and the city's services.

Problems in urban areas

Population growth has led to problems in many urban areas.

Traffic congestion is a major issue in developed and developing countries.

In developed world cities, there has been an increase in the number of cars on the road. As more people move to the edge of towns and cities, traffic congestion may get worse.

A five lane motorway full of cars and thick pollution

Many people will drive their cars into the city centre for work. Substantial numbers get there on newer, larger roads or motorways.

These roads then link up with older, narrower roads in the city centre. This causes a bottleneck and congestion. Many inner city areas, with a network of narrow roads and many junctions, cannot cope with the increased volume of traffic.

Further traffic issues include:

  • increasing numbers of private and commercial vehicles in the city centre
  • cost or lack of public transport
  • cars parking on the main roads and a shortage of adequate parking facilities in the city centre

In developing countries, population growth in urban areas has exploded, leading to many people trying to access the cities for work. This situation is worsened by poor public transport. Developing world governments cannot afford to invest in the infrastructure, therefore roads are in disrepair.