Human Population and the Environment
Urbanization is the movement of people from rural areas, such as country sides, to urban areas, such as cities. Cities like Los Angeles did not come to be the way it is simply overnight of course, urbanization is also the transformation of rural areas into urban ones. According to the text book, “When Europeans first settled in North America, the majority of the population consisted of farmers in rural areas. Today, approximately 79 percent of the U.S. population lives in cities” (Berg, Ch. 7.5). One more important distinction between rural and urban areas isn't how many people live there but how people make a living. Most people ...view middle of the document...
Age is also a factor of population size and urbanization. When people get old and retire they tend to move out of urban populations to live out their retirements and younger people move into the urban populations looking for those available jobs. In developing countries gender is also a factor. In the text book it states, “Cities in developing nations tend to have more males. In cities in Africa, for example, males migrate to the city in search of employment, whereas females tend to remain in the country and tend their farms and children. Cities in highly developed countries often have a higher ratio of females to males” (Berg, Ch. 7.5). Along with factors you have benefits and challenges with urbanization.
With the increasing population of urbanization, more land use is needed. With more land needed the suburbs need to push outward encroaching on wetlands, forests, fragmenting more wildlife habitats. “Portions of Chicago, Boston, New York City, and New Orleans, for example, are former wetlands” (Berg, Ch. 7.5). There are three major challenges to urbanization. One of the major challenges is called brownfields which are patches or areas of abandoned, vacant factories, warehouses, and residential sites that may be contaminated from past uses. Brownfields may not be able to be reused because of the contamination that may be there. The second major challenge to urbanization is the reliance on the automobile for transportation. Development is so spread out, having automobiles is a necessity to accomplish everyday chores. This dependence on motor vehicles as a primary means of transportation increases air pollution. According to Berg, “The high density of automobiles, factories, and commercial enterprises in urban areas causes a buildup of airborne emissions, including particulate matter (dust), sulfur oxides, carbon oxides, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds. Urban areas in developing nations have the worst air pollution in the world” (Visualizing Environmental Science, Ch. 7.5). According to an annual smog report run in 2004 in California, “The annual report concluded that about 159 million Americans, or 55 percent of the country, reside in 441 counties threatened by air that’s heavily polluted with ozone or tiny particles of soot, known as particle matter” (nbcnews.com, 2004). The third challenge is urban runoff or polluted water from the city. When it rains in the city the water picks up garbage, animal droppings, motor oil, lawn fertilizers, and heavy metals and brings it into rivers and streams. “In China, where population size is the biggest in the world and environmental destruction is proceeding due to the rapid economic growth and urbanization, there is a serious water pollution problem. Since 1949 water pollution caused by industrial wastewater has increased, and especially since the economic reform in the 1970s, pollution has escalated” (Banister 1998: 995).
Urbanization doesn’t only pose challenge however, there are...