URBANIZATION: Merits and Demerits


By Emmanuel N. Nnani

Urbanization is a process whereby a large density of people leave in towns and cities as results of perceived better chances of good quality life and survival because of the concentration of industries, factories and firms for a better pay and modernized life. Urbanization and growth go together; no country has ever realized middle- income status without a significant population shift into cities. Urbanization is necessary to sustain growth and development at the urban centres, though it does not necessary drive growth in developing countries and it yields other benefits as well as development. In terms of development and growth theory, urbanization occupies a puzzling position. On the one hand, it is recognized as fundamental to the multi – dimensional structural transformation that low- income rural societies undergo to modernize and to join ranks of middle and high income countries. Lands in 1969 further situates urbanization as essential ingredients in modernization. Industrialization is at the heart of a large, more complex process often designated as modernization. Modernization comprises establishment of an effective, fairly centralized bureaucratic government, the creation of an education system capable of training and socialization, children of a society and of course, the acquisition of the ability and means to use an up-to- date technology.
Surprisingly, it places wonders in one’s heart why urbanization till today is relatively little-studied area of development economics and political economy and policy, it is in scholarly literature that spatial is most dramatically demonstrated by the role of urbanization, and of mega-cities. Development, despite the massive diseconomies associated with developing countries mega- cities of which Nigeria is one, there are even more powerful economies of scale making it worthwhile for firms to locate in these cities.
Urbanization is one of the clearest feature of development of manufacturing and service activity in developing countries, yet discussion of urbanization is strangely absent from economic analysis of growth and development. Yes, so far, we have identified that modernization is the purveyor of urbanization which in turn is the purveyor of industrialization, growth and which improves skills and knowledge of the people.
Just like nothing on earth with perfections lacks imperfections so has urbanization despite all its positive impacts such as modernization, growth and development and educational advancement attributes, has not left us without negative implications. For instance, urbanization, industrialization and oil exploration among others are responsible for widespread pollution of the environment and the unprecedented accumulation of wastes. Urban centers being looked as a man –created human ecosystem have left us with certain problems ranging from rural –urban migration, rural brain –drain, high –level of unemployment and underemployment, social disequilibrium, concentration of growth and development at less than ten percent of a country geopolitical landscape. Also, it generated problems such as pollution, time wasting difficulties, segregations, psychological stresses and other social dangers and all these are agents of environmental modifications.
In Nigeria federation today on a practical parlance one can see that outside the urban centers rarely do government care about or think of diversification of development density to the rural areas thereby leaving a high density of the rural populace at abject and disproportionate poverty. Administratively, Nigeria run the top-bottom approach of development which fundamentally concentrates growth and development variables at the urban centers to the detriment or risking of the development of the rural areas. With this, our growth and development will remain unevenly and marginal as large portion of our ecosystem and geopolitical landscape will remain in abject and disproportionate poverty, undeveloped and underdeveloped political economy and societies until the other way, bottom –top administrative approach is adopted and utilized which encourages the diversification of development variables and tentacles such as industries , firms, factories and markets across all the rural areas in the country, the problems associated with urbanization will continue. The government must therefore take action now which is the right time by taken the bull by the horn, if not more problems associated with urbanization will keep to linger and generate new one’s from time to time.



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