According to one survey, every year, around 70 million people relocate to the cities from rural areas, creating an unprecedented migration that may have several undesirable repercussions to health, economy and environment. Last year, 54% of the world’s population lived in rural areas, as compared to 34% in 1960. It is estimated that by 2017, a bigger percentage of the world will move to the cities.
Urbanization by itself is not the problem. Improper planning of how the cities will accommodate its population is. Currently, many cities are failing drastically in urban planning, unable to cope with the number of new arrivals. This rapid and unsustainable urban development patterns can pose a serious risk to our health and our environment.
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Ideally, the increasing population in urban cities should bolster an economy, with the number of bodies available to take on jobs. But it’s not an ideal world. In developing countries, what this means is an influx of unproductive citizens trying to find better opportunities in the cities, without the skills required to make a significant contribution. They are totally reliant on government support. The government may not have the budget to support the needs of the increasing population – and the result is less than desirable.
Here are situations that can result from unsustainable urbanization.
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We need to revisit our city planning methods to address this problem specifically. Smaller cities near the mega cities needs to be developed to evenly distribute the population. The compact cities will remain fully connected to the resources it needs – and from the get-go, we can make it green.
This can have several positive results:
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The reality of the situation is staring us right in the face and we can only predict its outcome. In your own small way, do your share where you can. Know about the current environmental concerns and see where you can make a small but significant difference. Read The World Counts Stories.
There are green companies and fair trade products that you can shift to, to help the environment and keep your families healthier and safer.