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Urbanization refers to the population shift from rural to urban areas, "the gradual increase in the proportion of people living in urban areas", and the ways in which each society adapts to the change. The process whereby a society changes from a rural to an urban way of life. India's urbanisation is accelerating, with over 34% of the country's present population living in urban areas (UN World Urbanisation Prospects Report 2018). It has grown quickly in recent years as a growing number of individuals seek economic opportunity in towns and cities.

Smart urbanisation entails the effective integration of physical, digital, and human systems within the built environment in order to provide residents with a sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive future.

Factors leading to Urbanisation

There are plethora of reasons which led to the growth of urbanisation, one of the major reasons are discussed below:

  • Industrialization: It is one of the major causes of urbanization due to this the employment opportunities are expanded. People have migrated to cities on account of better employment opportunities and better life.

  • Social factors: Factors such as attraction of cities, better standard of living, and better educational facilities compel people to migrate to the urban centres.

  • Employment opportunities: Rural centres have limited employment opportunities but urban centres give large domain of employment.

  • Modernization: Urban areas are characterized by sophisticated technology better infrastructure, communication, medical facilities, etc. People feel that they can lead a comfortable life in cities and migrate to cities.

  • Rural urban transformation: It is an interesting aspect that not only cities are growing in number but rural community is adopting urban culture, no longer rural communities are retaining their unique rural culture. Rural people are following the material culture of urban people.

  • Spread of education: Education play an important role in transforming of societies

  • Migration is a term that refers to the movement of a geographical or spatial unit from one geographical unit to another. Internal migration can be classified as rural-rural, rural-urban, urban-urban, or urban-rural. The duration of migration also varies; it can be periodic, seasonal, or long-term.The primary driver for urbanisation is migration.

  • Push and Pull Factors: (Push)People may relocate to cities as a result of poverty in rural villages or as a result of the city's attractions. A combination of these push and pull variables may also be an influence in urbanisation. Due of these circumstances, migration is the only viable option for farming people. The typical push causes for rural people include the following: land degradation, a lack of suitable land, unequal land distribution, droughts, storms, floods, and clean water scarcity. These significant disadvantages make farming, the primary source of income for rural people, difficult and at times hopeless. Lack of contemporary resources, firewood shortages, religious disputes, and local economic collapse are also significant reasons for urbanisation.

    • (Pull) High industrial earnings in urban regions are a major draw for rural residents. People will continue to relocate to cities as long as they believe urban salaries will outpace rural wages. Opportunities for employment, increased wages, integration with other rural refugees, liberation from oppressive lifestyles, and improved access to health care and education are the "bright lights" for rural people.


Overcrowding and haphazard development of urban areas Overcrowding leads to a constant problem of scarcity of houses in urban areas. This problem is particularly more severe in those urban areas where there is large invasion of jobless or underemployed immigrants who could not find place to live when they come in cities and towns from the nearby areas.

Reserve Bank of India's quarterly residential asset price monitoring survey (RAPMS) on housing loans has shown that housing affordability has worsened over the past four years as the House Price to Income (HPTI) ratio increased from 56.1 to 61.5 (from 2015 to 2019). Haphazard development has led to annually recurring instances of floods, diseases and fire in many cities.

Rising urban poverty, inequality and unemployment The problem of joblessness is also serious as the problem of housing. Urban unemployment in India is estimated at 15 to 25 per cent of the labour force. This percentage is even higher among the educated people. It is approximate that about half of all knowledgeable urban unemployed youth are living in four metropolitan cities such as in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. Additionally, although urban incomes are higher than the rural incomes, they are awfully low because of high cost of living in urban areas.

Roughly a third of the urban population today lives below the poverty line. There are glaring disparities between haves and have- nots in urban areas. The most demanding of the urban challenges, unquestionably is the challenge posed by poverty, the challenge of reducing exploitation, relieving misery and creating more human condition for urban poor. Since the aspirations of many remain unmet, it leads to many deviant activities. Due to lack of sufficient employment opportunities, it also leads to emergence of politics of nativism.

Rising demands for basic services such as clean water, public transportation, sewage treatment and housing. Water is one of the most essential elements of nature to maintain life and right from the beginning of urban civilisation. However, supply of water started falling short of demand as the cities grew in size and number. Urban centres in India are almost consistently beset with inadequate sewage facilities. Most cities do not have proper arrangements for treating the sewerage waste and it is drained into a nearly river or in sea as in Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai and these activities pollute the water bodies. Transport problem increases and becomes more complex as the town grows in dimension. With its growth, the town performs varied and complex functions and more people move to work or shop.

Environmental concerns such as urban areas becoming heat islands, rising air pollution, groundwater pollution and persistent water crisis. As per CPCB report, 41 metros faced bad air quality in 60% of total days monitored. In four metros 90 crore litres of dirty water is thrown out in rivers daily but only 30% is treated. Water scarcity has often led to riots among common people in slums and undeveloped colonies where population density is high. Delhi has been ranked second in the world in terms of both noise pollution and hearing loss. Scientists believe that as the world gets warmer and more polluted, the frequency and intensity of lightning may rise. Estimates suggest that lightning kills over 2500 people annually in India.

The proliferation of slums due to policy, planning, and regulatory deficiencies. The fast urbanisation in combination with industrialisation has resulted in the enlargement of slums. The explosion of slums occurs due to many factors, such as, the lack of developed land for housing, the high prices of land beyond the reach of urban poor, a large influx of rural migrants to the cities in search of jobs.

Urban Crimes such as human trafficking, sexual assault,child labour. The problem of crimes increases with the increase in urbanisation. In fact the increasing trend in urban crimes tends to upset peace and tranquillity of the cities and make them insecure to live in mainly for the women. The problem of urban crime is becoming more complicated in current situation because criminals often get shelter from politicians, bureaucrats and leaders of the urban society. Dutt and Venugopal (1983) stated that violent urban crimes such as rape, murder, kidnapping, dacoity, robbery are more prominent in the northern-central parts of the nation.

Huge quantities of garbage generated by the cities which are posing a serious health problem. Urbanization pushed Indian cities to grow in number and size and as a result people have to face the problem of trash disposal which is in alarming stage. Enormous quantities of garbage produced by Indian cities cause a serious health problem. Most cites do not have proper arrangements for garbage disposal and the existing landfills are full to the edge. These landfills are breeding grounds of disease and countless poisons leaking into their environs. Wastes putrefy in the open inviting disease carrying flies and rats and a filthy, poisonous liquid, called leachate, which leaks out from below and contaminates ground water.

Urbanisation and Economic Growth:

There are strong correlations between urbanisation and economic growth. Urbanisation could generate millions of jobs for the growing youth population. Productivity increases when rural farmers become urban factory workers, as has happened most spectacularly in China.

Between 1978 and 2018, China’s urbanisation rate jumped up from 18% to 58%. In the process, over 500 million people were lifted out of poverty and the country attained middle-income status. India’s present level of urbanisation (34%) is far lower than China (58%) or even Indonesia (55%). Naturally, there is a huge scope for growth.

A high degree of urban concentration is more important in the early stages of development. Because cities offer a range of ‘agglomeration benefits’ and this allows the economy to save on economic infrastructure and managerial resources, which may be in short supply. In developing countries, employment opportunities often open rapidly through the process of industrialization. Every developing country goes through a period of industrialization, where jobs move from agriculture to production. People begin to move to cities and towns more frequently, adding to the urbanization of that place.


Urbanisation is accelerating at a faster rate than ever recorded previously. There is an immediate need to address both the elements that contribute to the process and the consequences of the process. Given the numerous impacts of urbanisation on cities' environment, policymakers should consider urban planning to handle the surge of migrants. Policies on housing, sanitation, and employment are in place, but they need to be implemented more effectively.As the world continues to urbanise, sustainable development depends increasingly on the successful management of urban growth, especially in low-income and lower-middle-income countries where the pace of urbanisation is projected to be the fastest. Integrated policies are required to improve the lives of urban and rural residents while also enhancing the economic, social, and environmental ties between urban and rural communities.

Accelerating the efficiency of welfare and humanitarian programmes while also guaranteeing that slum dwellers have access to free immunizations, food security, and suitable shelter. Improved sanitation and transportation infrastructure in slums, as well as the establishment of clinics and healthcare services.

Assisting nonprofits and community-based organisations with a stronger connection to these marginalised communities. Innovative approaches to urban planning and governance are urgently needed. The necessary efforts should be made to ensure the long-term viability, robustness, and inclusion of infrastructure.

Instead of a top-down strategy, a bottom-up method will be used to better comprehend the urban poor's particular issues.


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