Thursday, June 28, 2007

ultra urbanization

The UN reported on Wednesday that by next year, over half of the world's population will live in urban areas, representing some 3.3 billion people. (you can check out the UN's report on this by clicking here). This site has a plethora of resources for understanding the extent and impact of urbanization.

So why does urbanization matter? There's a lot of positive and negative to it. on the good side, urbanization allows for a concentration and centralization of resources. Because more people live close together, the resources of those people can be pooled together in a more apt way, allowing for a greater variety of goods, services, and aid. For example, hospitals, fire departments, and post offices can serve more people when those people are in closer proximity. Good and services that would not be sustainable in rural areas can be dreamed and consequently created in urban areas.

However, urbanization also usually leads to the disintegration of the family unit and/or fabric of community found in rural areas. This is a bit of a generalization, in the sense that it's not true in every case. It does merit consideration, though. Rural areas tend to be more supportive of the family unity: you might have several generations of a family living together, pursuing life together. In cities, families tend to split generationally, if not in other ways as well. Urbanization seems to too often lead to individualization. This doesn't have to be the case, though. How can we make a greater effort to engage in community-driven activities within an environment that would split us? How can we pursue people of personal prosperity? Though city-life may lead us to more easily create a personalized existence, the call of justice ought to challenge us to engage in creative thought that considers our proximity to others and our impact upon their lives.

No comments: