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Urbanization and Its Effect on Third World Living Conditions

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Urbanization and its effect on third world living conditions

Urbanization is the spreading of cities into less populated agricultural areas. Most people would not think that this is necessarily a problem. They would say that it is good that the "developing countries" were becoming more developed. With urbanization comes factories and more jobs, so the people can make more money and be happier. Right? The problem is that these people must sacrifice their traditional lifestyles, for this new "Urbanism"(the way of life, attitudes, values, and patterns of behavior fostered by urban settings Knox 234). A lot of these people don't choose this lifestyle- they are forced into it. Because there is a growing demand for natural resources in the core countries, the semi periphery and periphery countries (where many of the resources are) get exploited. The "civilized" world enters the other countries, buys land from the government and then forces the people who are on that land off of it. These people then move to the cities because they have nowhere else to go. Once they get to the city they are lucky to find a job. Sometimes these jobs pay as little as 80 American dollars a year and can barely support a family. As a result many turn to crime or prostitution to make ends meet. Our worst poverty is generally better than the average people in these third world cities.

The people in these cities lack not only those things that are necessary to sustain life- such as food, clean water and adequate sewage. But they also lack those things that we consider to be essential to life such as electricity, running water, and education, forget any of the things that we just have to enjoy, like cars clothes candy drugs television and entertainment. Eventually large slums develop around or inside of the cities, in these slums; large groups of poor and uneducated people end up living together in poverty. The World Bank met in 1999 to address these problems; in their report they write " Hundreds of millions of urban poor in the developing and transitional world have few options but to live in squalid, unsafe environments where they face multiple threats to their health and security. Slums and squatter settlements lack the most basic infrastructure and services. Their populations are marginalized and largely disenfranchised. They are exposed to disease, crime and vulnerable to natural disasters. Slums and squatter settlements are growing at alarming rates, projected to double in 25 years" So it is projected that the amount of people living in these slums will double, as it stand right now there are a billion poor people in the world, 750,000,000 of which live in urban areas, 750 million people living without adequate shelter and basic services (UN habitat, pg 1)

So just how bad are these areas? To quote the World Bank meeting again " Slums are neglected parts of cities where housing and living conditions are appallingly poor. Slums range from high density, squalid central city tenements to spontaneous squatter settlements without legal recognition or rights, sprawling at the edge of cities. Some are more than fifty years old, some are land invasions underway. Some have various names...they do not have:

* Basic municipal services-water, sanitation, waste collection, storm drainage, street lighting, paved footpaths, or roads for emergency access

* Schools and clinics within easy reach, or safe areas for children to play

*Places for the community to meet and socialize

It also went on to say that they are only getting worse.

Urbanization causes this poverty. Previous to urbanization these peoples were fine, they might have lived under conditions that we deemed poor but they still survived and could provide for the families that they made. Seems to me that what's really going on is that the core countries need resources. We need oil so we can drive, we need coal so we can have nice warm houses, and we need a lot of different things. We need cheap clothes and cheap food and cheaper everything. So we exploit these countries resources, whether it is manpower or some natural resource that they possess and we think we need. We do not end up having to see the negative repercussions of these actions. We complain when things are too expensive but that is about all we have to complain about. If some people have a lot then others have to have a little. Everyone cannot have all of the supposed niceties of life. But if the developed world is going to cause these problems they need to work to fix these problems. This is what the World Bank meeting was all about, upgrading slums. All of these people have money they can sit around and talk all day about the problems of poverty; they can make action plans to be implemented. But where will the money come from? Their pockets.... I doubt it. They expect the countries that they are exploiting to somehow come up



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