This unit describes the settlement process of urbanisation

This is the process through which towns are created. It involves population concentration and the people’s dependence on one another rather than the natural environment.

It’s also a process of economic development.

Some urban areas have very high population densities due to the rapid population increase e.g. in New Delhi there are 9000 people per square km and in Bombay they are 10,000 people per square km.

Some of the highest population areas are Mexico with 19 million people, Cairo with 20 million, Tokyo 11 m and manila 20 m.

In South America over 44% of the population re urban dwellers while in Europe and North America, the largest percentage is urbanized.

In Africa only approximately 13% is urbanized

Causes of urban growth

  1. Availability of space and land for costs of urban structures i.e. transport networks, sky scrapers etc
  2. Growth of the population as a result of natural increases and migration
  3. Strategic coalition i.e. accessible sites are easy to develop into towns. E.g. coastal areas and central places i.e. Boston, Lagos, New York, and Cairo etc.
  4. Government policy.

The government may desire to have equal regional growth and it may develop rural areas into urban centers i.e. Cuba.

In other cases, the government has changed capital cities to make them more accessible to the population e.g. Nigeria from Lagos to Abuja

  1. Availability of natural resources e.g. minerals which create employment i.e. Kimbley, Johannesburg
  2. Historical background. Some towns are grown mainly because of the colonies desire for a particular location e.g. Accra especially if it had an economic potential.
  3. Other towns grow especially along transport or trade routes especially where they are cross roads e.g. Kisumu.
  4. Availability of capital which enables the government to set up infrastructures resulting in town development e.g. in Florida
  5. The growth of trade, commerce and industries also helped towns to grow up and expand e.g. Tema in Ghana, Kitakyushu in Japan

Problems resulting from urban growth

  1. Pollution of air, water and sound which are a very significant problem in developed countries as most urban centers are industrialized.

In developing countries poor management of wastes increases the problem.

  1. High crime rate due to the fact that there are many ideas and juveniles. There is a lot of petty stealing.
  2. Families are also separated increasing the number of street children of which 40 million are found in Latin America and 10 million in Africa.
  3. Unemployment and underemployment.

Many people move from rural areas with high expectations of getting jobs but most of them are frustrated because they lack the skills to the jobs available.

  1. Traffic congestion is a very common problem especially in developed countries which are only a few roads networks which creates congestion.
  2. Development of slums.

Most of the unemployment cannot afford the well developed accommodation facilities and therefore they have to construct them shanty houses that are nearer urban areas.

Most of these lack proper facilities (sewage and sanitation) e.g. Rio de Janeiro which has over 160 slum areas, Free Town where half of the families live in 1 roomed houses and Kibera slum which is the largest in East Africa .

  1. Easy spread of diseases due to high concentration of people in small areas especially contagious diseases like cholera, flue, dysentery, etc.
  2. Shortage of land because of the high population and the expansion of building facilities.
  3. Over population which leads to shortage in the supply of social services.
  4. High cost of living since most commodities is expensive. In developed countries there’s a breakdown of cultural norms which leads to moral decay.


  1. The problem of unemployment can be solved by setting up a number of small scale industries to offer employment opportunities to people and also developing rural areas to prevent migration to urban areas hence reducing the pressure on the job market.
  2. Improving on security in the region helps to reduce the prevailing high crime rates also providing job further idlers and street kids and removing them from the streets also helps to maintain good security of the region.
  3. Problems of traffic congestion can be solved enlarging the needs and also constructing underground tunnels for trains to pass and also construction of this in turn helps to ease the movement of vehicles, thereby reducing congestion.
  4. Constructing sky scrapers or strayed buildings to help ease the problem of and shortages on the vehicle constructions, leave more room for development and future construction.
  5. Encouraging urban rural migration to help solve the zip of environmental degradation and over exploitation of resources in urban areas due to pressure put on the environment by the large population.
  6. Upholding strict laws against social evils like prostitution and homosexuality. This in turn helps to improve good morals to the country.
  7. Increased social services like education, health to improve the living standards of the people in the area, through good sanitation being taught.
  8. The government should setup housing estates to solve the zib of slums in the region hence improvement in sanitation and limited spread of diseases
  9. Treating the wastes


70% of the population in USA lives in towns.

Due to the improvement in transport and communities most towns have become bigger and others have turned into coronation like New York.


New York

It started as a small training point and dripping in the 20 years into an international city.

Today its one of the most important cities in the world. New York is sited on various islands which include long island state island, governess and cobley island.



Located on the Atlantic Ocean which in one of the major waterways in the world.

Presence of deep water which allows navigation of big ocean going vessels.

Located in a good position to ease defense a great any defender latitudinal range allowing a charge of ships.

The ports which is free from ice all year round, allowing its use thus foundation for building sky scrapers ports.

Presence of hard basement racks which provide a firm foundation for building the port.

Topography of the area is relatively flat. This has facilitated the construction of the port and building

Presence of a large and productive hinterland providing agriculture and mineral resources to be handled by the port i.e. iron over, wheat.

Located on well deep sheltered houbours which allow large vessels.

Well developed transport and common routes by roads and railways, water and air.

Location of many industries of which attracted many people for employment opportunities.

Government policy to develop the city has led to its growth

Political stability which has led to its growth

Political stability which has enabled development to take place without any wars.

Availability of power in form of HEP, oil, natural gas

Large population provides labour and market for the commodities proactive leading to further industrialization location.

Availability of capital from information technology and rich merchants to develop the city.



  1. High population consisting of people from different nationalities e.g. Japanese, Spaniards, Chinese, Switish, Blacks have different interests each catering for different groups.
  2. Unskilled workers, who have few job opportunities, so they are left poor, live in slums like Hariem, unemployment and therefore lead to rise of crime rate.
  3. High cost of living which can’t be afforded by the people.
  4. Street congestion especially in the rush hours as a major traffic problem.
  5. Maintaining the city is extremely expensive. Slum clearance, water supply sewage disposal, public transport and other essential services have failed to keep peace with the spread of urbanization.
  6. The numerous industries have polluted the city.


It has grown up so rapidly for its now the second largest conurbation after New York.


Factors that have favoured its growth

Discovery of oil which made it possible to have large quantities of power as well as raw material especially in the chemical industries.

It has many migrants who retired in that city, had originally been skilled in various areas i.e. they use skills to establishment of industries and other developmental projects.

It’s within easy reach of the HEP production from R. Colorado providing more power necessary for the industries.

It has a dry summer Mediterranean climate, which has led to the growth of a number of fruits and this has to the growth of fruit canning industries.

This climate along with other landscape features has led to growth of tourism and the film making industries which have played a significant role in the town growth.

It has water supply that’s provided from R. Colorado include all other general factors.


Factors that have limited its further growth

  • Water supply.

It’s in a semi arid area, 300 km from a major river with over 10 million people. Its therefore becoming increasingly difficult to provide abundant and clear water to the area.


  • Relief

The built up areas have reached the steep mountain ranges of the Rockies. Though they may not prevent further expansion, the cost of blasting the rocks will be very high.


  • Air pollution

There’s a dangerous layer of smoke and mobilization as a result of the mixture of the vehicle and industrial times with the cool air in the atmosphere.

This therefore makes it difficult for vehicles to move and also discourages the further establishment of industries.



ASSIGNMENT : URBANISATION assignment MARKS : 10  DURATION : 1 week, 3 days

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