ENV200 Chapter 15 Notes

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School of Environment
Romila Verma

CHAPTER 15 – ECONOMICS AND URBANIZATION [15.1] CITIES ARE PLACES OF CRISIS AND OPPORTUNITY ­ More than 50% of humans live in cities ­ Vast majority of urban population growth will occur in less-developed countries o Populations are expanding faster than infrastructure can adapt o Building new infrastructure is hard in poor countries ­ Urban agglomerations = merging of multiple municipalities ­ Mega-cities = cities with populations of over 10 million people o Pave over vast landscapes o Consumer large amounts of resources, but per capita resource use is relatively efficient ­ Cities are one of the places where we can learn new ways to live sustainably ­ Cities can be engines of economic progress and social reform o Innovative leaders can focus knowledge and resources on common problems o Mass transportation can move people around o Goods and services can be more readily available than in the country o Leaves open space available for farming and biodiversity ­ Cities can be dumping grounds for poverty, pollution, and unwanted members of society Large cities are expanding rapidly ­ Dramatic shift in size and location of big cities ­ China represents the largest demographic shift in human history o Many people are moving from rural areas to cities o China plans to build new urban centers o Chinese cities have plans for massive building projects  Skyscrapers = buildings with more than 25 floors  Eco-cities = cities the size of a large Western capital  Self-sufficient in energy, water, and most food products  Zero emissions of greenhouse gases from transportation Immigration is driven by push and pull factors ­ People migrate to cities for many reasons o Mechanization o Opportunities (e.g., jobs, better housing, entertainment, freedom from the constraints of village traditions, upward social mobility, prestige, power) o Independence o Specialization in professions o Government policies often favor urban over rural areas  Developing countries commonly spend most of their budgets on improving urban areas, especially around the capital city  Gives the major cities a virtual monopoly on new jobs, housing, education, and finance Congestion, pollution, and water shortages plague many cities ­ Traffic in developing countries grows faster than the road network o Traffic jams occur at almost any time of day ­ Pollution from traffic and from unregulated factories degrades air quality ­ Unsatisfactory sanitation services o Most cities cannot afford to build modern waste (and water) treatment systems ­ Difficult to find clean drinking water o Some cities face severe water shortages Many cities lack sufficient housing ­ Slums = inadequate multifamily tenements or rooming houses o Generally legal o Often converted from some other use o Inadequate ventilation and sanitation ­ Shantytowns = shacks built of scavenged materials o Usually illegal o Unplanned and unauthorized squatter settlements around the city o Occupy the most polluted and dangerous parts of cities o Grow on vacant land in many cities in the developing world o Lack clean water, sanitation, public services, or safe electrical power ­ Many countries are recognizing that the only way they can house all their citizens is to cooperate with shantytown dwellers o Recognizing land rights, providing financing for home improvements, and supporting community efforts to provide water, sewers, and power [15.3] ECONOMICS AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Can development be sustainable? ­ Development = improving people's lives ­ Sustainability = living on the earth's renewable resources without damaging the ecological processes that support us all ­ Sustainable development = meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs Our definitions of resources shape how we use them ­ The way we treat resources depends largely on how we view and define them ­ Classical economics o Developed by Adam Smith and Thomas Malthus o Assumes that natural resources are finite o As populations grow, scarcity of these resources reduces quality of life, increases competition, and ultimately causes populations to fall again  Boom-and-bust cycles of population and resource use  Scarcity of resources is the trigger for conflict and suffering o In a free market, the price of goods is determined by supply and demand ­ Steady-state economy o Developed by John Stuart Mill o Agrees that most resources are finite o Economies can achieve an equilibrium of resource use and production ­ Neoclassical economics o Resources include labor, knowledge, and capital o Labor and knowledge  Necessary to create goods and services  Not finite because every new person can add more labor and energy to an economy o Capital = any form of wealth that contributes to the production of more wealth 1) Natural capital (e.g., goods and services provided by nature) 2) Human capital (e.g., knowledge, experience, human enterprise) 3) Manufactured (built) capital (e.g., tools, buildings, roads, technology)  Social capital (e.g., shared values, trust, cooperation, and organization that can develop in a group of people but cannot exist in one individual alone) o Emphasizes the idea of growth  Growth results from the flow of resources, goods, and services between businesses and individual workers/consumers  Continued growth is always necessary for continued prosperity  Natural resources contribute to production and growth, but do not limit growth because considered to be interchangeable and substitutable o Consumption is an important measure of growth and wealth  E.g., more wealth = more consumption o Throughput is a measure of consumption and wealth  E.g., more consumption and more wealth = more throughput  Throughput = the amount of resources a society uses and discards  Measured in terms of:  Gross national product (GNP) = the sum of all products and services bought and sold in an economy (including offshore companies)  Gross domestic product (GDP) = the sum of all products and services bo
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