Urban Sprawl

The world is developing at a faster pace. The overall development in all areas has provided humans with a  better quality of life. But, this development usually happens without proper planning and restrictions. As a result, along with the development comes Urban sprawl or Urbanization. This has resulted in the loss of productive agricultural lands, open spaces, and water bodies taking a toll on the environment. Natural habitat and wildlife are destroyed to accommodate the increasing urban population as a matter of fact. In short, urban sprawl consumes a significant amount of both natural and man-made resources.

urban sprawl
Aerial view of urban sprawl

1.Positive Effects of urbanization

Urban areas of course have advantages over the rural regions. They also provide better financial and educational growth with improved life quality.

1.1.Modernization: Uran areas easily support all new developments that facilitate a better living.

1.2.Access to technologies: All modern facilities are easily accessible from urban regions. They have the potential to boost the economy of the region too.

1.3.Better infrastructure: Medical areas get more beneficial from advanced infrastructures.

1.4. Increased opportunities: Increased opportunities result from Industrialisation and urbanization. This is evident in the educational and employment sectors.

2. Negative Impacts:

An increased population in the urbanized areas have many negative impacts. Furthermore, overpopulation leads to congested places.

2.1.Increased air pollution: Longer and frequent use of transportation increase air pollution and ground-level smog. This has far-reaching consequences on the ecosystem. Likewise, the growing emission of greenhouse gases has resulted in the degradation of air quality in urban areas.

2.2.Water pollution: Rainwater and natural rivers and streams are polluted with oil spills, wastes, gasoline, and chemicals. Moreover, wetland destruction also leads to water pollution.

2.3.Increased water consumption: More water, not to mention, is wasted for activities like watering gardens, lawns, etc.

2.4.Loss of vegetation: Vegetative lands are transformed into highways, parks, malls, etc. Furthermore, commercial industrial areas, in addition to housing developments also take place. This makes the survival of wildlife species very difficult leading to an imbalance of the ecosystem.

2.5.Urban Heatwaves: The increase in air temperature in urban areas leads to heat strokes, cramps, exhaustion, and heat mortality.

2.6.Decrease in health conditions: As the environment is polluted, it consequently takes a toll on human health. Respiratory diseases, hypertension, gastrointestinal diseases are common in the urban population. In addition to this, it is reported to have increased cases of obesity in urban areas. Besides, life-threatening conditions like cancer also occur at a larger rate in urban people due to their lifestyle.

2.7. Increased risk of floods: Sprawling destroys wetlands that absorb floodwaters and this can lead to the risk of floods in highly urbanized regions. When environmental laws are not properly followed and where development in wetlands and flood plains take place, this commonly occurs.

2.1.2.More negative impacts

    • Fewer food resources
    • The increased cost of living
    • More energy consumption
    • Reduced diversity
    • Increased economic disparity
    • Habitat fragmentation and degradation.
3. Most urbanized cities in India
        • Mumbai
        • Delhi
        • Kolkata
        • Bangalore
        • Chennai
urban sprawl toronto
Toronto- urbanization

The cost of living in urban areas increased and this leads to the development of slums where more people live in less space. This results from rural immigrants coming to city areas in search of better livelihood. This leads to sanitation problems eventually leading to water scarcity and communicable diseases that spread at a faster rate. Overcrowding leads to unemployment and poverty and may result in an increase in crimes. Poverty related crimes are now increasing in urban areas disturbing the peace.

4.Methods to measure urban sprawl

Aerial photographs help to map city development. Remote sensing technology coupled with GIS providing spatial data is a more commonly used effective measurement method. Certainly, the satellite images give a bigger picture of urbanizaion. The collection of census and density data of places are equally important methods in such studies.

urban sprawl
Comparison of rural population- Africa and Asia
5.Effective Measures

We cannot control or stop urban sprawl. But, certainly, we can build sustainable and environment friendly cities. Pass laws to ensure sustainable use of resources. Also, uniquely develop green infrastructure. Encourage the use of renewable energy sources. Set strict permit limits in urban areas. Likewise, recycling of waste and campaigns to reduce all types of pollution should be effectively carried out. Developing smart cities by combining technological innovations with economic, social, and ecological challenges is an equally important measure. Give special attention to traffic congestion. Encourage shared transportation definitely. In addition, implementing road sensors and smart parking with increased green spaces will bring a positive change. San Fransico uses renewable electricity. Oslo, the Norwegian capital, and Singapore have successfully experimented traffic lights with sensors. After all, effectively implementing these mitigation measures can help urbanization positively.

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