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Lecture 2

Course Code
Susannah Bunce

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L02 - An Urbanizing world: the Role and Importance of cities
urban: the characteristics attributed to a physical space (city)
- factual features
- higher densities = (population and buildings)
- less farming area
- higher concentration of employment
- more roads and transportation infrastructure
- higher concentration of political, religious, cultural, and educational institutions
- higher concentration of industries
city: a physical space with urban characteristics
- roles: political entities, centres of cultural and economic power, intellectual centres,
religious centres, places with geo-political boundaries, physical entities
urbanization: the process of becoming urban (can be in the city, or outside of an already
established area)
- removal of rural characteristics of an area
- social and technological advancements
- physical density: more buildings
- population density: more people
Urbanization and Cities
- 21st century = 'urban millennium' (United Nations) [living in what can be defined as an
urban area]
- 1900: 13% of the global population was considered to live in an urban area
- 2005: 50%
- 2020, predicted 60%
urbanization level: number of people living in an area that is defined as 'urban'
urbanization rate: speed of urbanization process
- USA has a higher urbanization level but not rate
- global South, more people moving into urban areas at a rapid pace - 90% of the
urbanization will happen in Asia/Africa - as the global North is already developed and has
- Netherlands, Holland - 89% of the population is living in an urban area; Ethiopia 13%
Increase in urbanization and "megacities":
1. need for employment - change in labour structure Æ new economy (technology)
- have to go TO work - only available in urban locations
2. family connections - access to housing, family relations
3. consolidation of agricultural practices in rural areas forces rural displacement - buyouts,
monocropping, etc forces small farmers off of their land
- cities offer easy access to education, housing, transportation, employment
- most of the world's largest urban agglomerations [megacity/metacity] are in: Asia
(Tokyo, Mumbai, Delhi, Shanghai, Calcutta, Jakarta, Dhaka, Karachi, Osaka, Beijing Manila),
Latin America (Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro)
global cities: economic importance in global economic production - command centre of the
global economy
- increasing connection between large cities in relation to change in political economic
- change in the division of labour - high-tech, finance oriented economic production
- change in the technological features/practices of globalization - increase the speed
between these urban locations
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