Cities have expanded and multiplied rapidly in Developing countries worldwide
due to urbanization. Urbanization can be a boon as well as a bane to the
Environment. The purpose of this paper is to provide a broad overview of the
recent trends of urban growth in developing countries, problems, and regulation
Urbanization refers to the general increase in population and the amount of
industrialization of a settlement. It symbolizes the movement of people from
rural to urban areas. Urbanization happens because of the increase in the extent
and density of urban areas.
Urbanization is caused by various reasons such as Industrial Revolution, for job
opportunities availability of transport, migration, Infrastructure Facility in
an urban area, better standard of living, diversity in Social Community, Growth
of private sector. There are a number of reasons urbanization can be good for
the environment if managed properly.
First, environment-friendly infrastructure and public services such as piped
water, sanitation, and waste management are much easier and more economical to
construct, maintain, and operate in an urban area. Urbanization allows more
people to have access to environment-friendly facilities and services at
Secondly, urbanization brings innovation, including green technology.
Soon possibly environment-friendly equipment, machines, vehicles, and utilities
will determine the future of the green economy and finally, the higher standard
of living provides people with better food, education, housing, and health care.
Urban growth generates revenues that fund infrastructure projects, reducing
congestion and improving public health.
Though urbanization can be good for the environment, when not managed properly
it can impact the environment causing many problems. The most emerging issues
are climate change, freshwater scarcity, deforestation, and freshwater pollution
and population growth. These problems are very complex and their interactions
are hard to define. The Global Risks 2015 Report looks at four areas that face
particularly difficult challenges in the face of rapid and unplanned
urbanization is infrastructure, health, climate change, and social instability.
How does urbanization affect the Environment?
Urbanization can create impact Atmosphere and climate, lithosphere and land
resources, hydrosphere and water resource and on biosphere Impact on Atmosphere
and climate: it creates heat island, Materials like concrete, asphalt, bricks
etc absorb and reflect energy differently than vegetation and soil. Cities
remain warm in the night when the countryside has already cooled. Secondly
Changes in Air Quality, Human activities release a wide range of emissions into
the environment including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, sulfur oxides,
nitrogen oxides, lead, and many other pollutants. thirdly, changes in patterns
of precipitation, Cities often receive more rain than the surrounding
countryside since dust can provoke the condensation of water vapor into rain
Impact on the lithosphere and land resources: Flow of Water into Streams,
Natural vegetation and undisturbed soil is replaced with concrete, asphalt,
brick, and other impermeable surfaces. This means that, when it rains, water is
less likely to be absorbed into the ground and, instead, flows directly into
river channels. Secondly, the flow of Water through Streams Higher, faster peak
flows change streams channels that have evolved over centuries under natural
conditions. Flooding can be a major problem as cities grow and stream channels
attempt to keep up with these changes. Finally Degraded Water Quality, The water
quality has degraded with time due to urbanization that ultimately leads to
increased sedimentation thereby also increasing the pollutant in the run-off.
Impact on Biosphere: firstly there is a modification of habitats, The
fertilizers that spread across lawns are discharged and the waste dumped into
streams lowers oxygen levels during its decay and causes the die-off of plants
and animals. Secondly, we Destruct Habitats, there is also complete eradication
of habitats as an outcome of urbanization and native species are pushed out of
cities. Thirdly, the creation of New Habitats, New habitats are also created for
some native and non-native species. Cities also create habitats for some species
considered pests, such as pigeons, sparrows, rats, mice, flies, and mosquitoes.
Urbanization has, for example, eliminated many bat colonies in caves, but has
provided sites such as bridges for these species to nest.
Impact of urbanization on the Environmental quality in Metropolitan Cities: Slum
Situation in Cities, Total slum population in India according to size/class of
towns during 1991 shows that 41% of the total slum population was residing in
million-plus cities, where 27% of the total population of India resides. An
estimated 72 percent of the urban population of Africa now live in slums. A
large number of urban residents in developing countries suffer to a greater or
lesser extent from severe environmental health challenges associated with
insufficient access to clean drinking water, inadequate sewerage facilities, and
insufficient solid waste disposal.
Waste Water Generation, Collection and Treatment in Cities, Water resources are
diminishing not just because of large population numbers but also because of
wasteful consumption and neglect of conservation. With rapid urbanization and
industrialization, huge quantities of wastewater enter rivers. As we discussed
various problems due to urbanization, we have many agreements, strategies at the
international level as well as the national level for the welfare of the people.
The United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat I) in Vancouver in
1976, which adopted the so-called Vancouver Declaration, was the major starting
point for urbanization (UN-Habitat, 2006), to promote socially and
environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate
shelter for all. Habitat-I regarded urbanization as a problem which ought to be
contained by promoting rural development and lowering rural-urban disparities.
An important outcome of Habitat I was the establishment of the United Nations
Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS) in 1978. The second United Nations
Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), in Istanbul in 1996, adopted the
Habitat Agenda. The two major goals of this agenda were ‘adequate shelter for
all’ and ‘sustainable human settlements’ (UN-Habitat, 1996).
# Promotion of security of tenure throughout the developing world;
# Support for vulnerable groups, especially women and the poor;
# Provision of adequate and equitable access to basic urban services; and
# Promotion of decentralization and good urban governance.
We also have the new millennium, the UN hosted the Millennium Summit, gathering
more than 150 heads of state who adopted the so-called Millennium Declaration
(UN General Assembly, 2000). One of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG),
which has been laid out in this declaration, explicitly states ‘By 2020, to have
achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum’.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 1965: The United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) is the United Nations' global development network.
Headquartered in New York City, UNDP advocates for change and connects countries
to knowledge, experience, and resources to help people build a better life. It
provides expert advice, training and grants support Other major developments
include the foundation of a local authority network, named United Cities and
Local Governments (UCLG), in 2004, and the establishment of a Commission on
Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) by the World Health Organization (WHO) in
The CSDH is based on several knowledge networks, one of them being the
Knowledge Network on Urban Settings (KNUS) which has recently published its
final report on the often life-threatening urban conditions, their social
determinants, health consequences and possible interventions (KNUS, 2008). For
2010, KNUS plans a ‘Global Forum on Healthy Urbanization’ (KNUS, 2006).
Some notable program regarding urbanization in developing countries,
# The UNDG Guide for Integrating Urbanization into CCA and UNDAF (2015)
# Urban Governance for Sustainable Urban Development Guidance Note(2014)
# The UNDP Strategy Paper on Urbanization in Asia and the Pacific (2013)
# UNDP Guidance Note for Urban Programming Asia and the Pacific (2015)
We also have strategy programs and policies under the national level for urban
development, the two urban-related ministries at the national (GoI) level- the
Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty
Alleviation (MoHUPA). The Government of India's overarching urban development
objectives is to create economically productive, efficient, inclusive and
responsive ULBs, by focusing on strategic outcomes:
(i) universal access to a
minimum level of services;
(ii) establishment of city-wide frameworks for
planning and governance;
(iii) modern and transparent budgeting, accounting and
(iv) financial sustainability for ULBs and service delivery institutions;
(v) utilization of e-governance;
(vi) transparency and accountability in urban
service delivery and management;
(vii) Slum-free cities.
In pursuance of these goals, the Government of India (GoI) launched a flagship
urban development program called the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal
Mission (JnNURM), in December 2005. The Mission targets 65 ULBs (7 with
populations greater than 4 million, 28 greater than 1 million and 30 other ULBs
of religious, historic or tourist importance). JnNURM is reform and
incentive-based - in return for a commitment to adopt the obligatory reforms
over a period of seven years, ULBs may access funds for investment and capacity
The investment component of the Mission consists of two sub-missions:
(i) Urban Infrastructure and Governance (UIG), implemented by the Ministry of
Urban Development (MoUD), with investments including
(a) water, sanitation, sewerage, and drainage;
(b) solid waste management (SWM);
(c) urban transport;
(d) street lighting; and
(e) environmental protection; and
(ii) Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP), implemented by the Ministry of
Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA), with investments supporting
integrated development of slums. More recently GoI launched the Slum-free City
program of Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) a scheme working towards the goal of a
slum-free India. we also have smart cities project, the Government of India has
launched the Smart Cities Mission on 25 June 2015. The objective is to promote
sustainable and inclusive cities that provide core infrastructure and give a
decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean and sustainable environment and
application of Smart
In addition, many of the state governments have their own urban development
schemes and programs at the state and level, focusing on many of the aforesaid
Thus, the causes of damage to the environment due to urbanization lies in the
legislation and the regulating agencies of the country. To overcome the problem
we need to ensure green urbanization, developing countries need to continue the
downward shift by adopting the following recommendations. The first priority is
to improve energy efficiency and conservation through appropriate pricing,
regulations, and public sector support. It is vital to get prices right so that
they incorporate the full social costs and benefits and ensure the efficient
allocation of resources. This can be done by imposing congestion and emission
charges. Countries need to introduce regulations and standards in a timely
manner. These can correct for market or coordination failures on air, water,
vehicles, and appliances, as in India. The government can build green industrial
zones to attract manufacturing, as in Indonesia.
Cities need to build rapid public transport systems to improve connectivity and
reduce pollution. Speedy connections to and from satellite cities can ease
congestion in central megacity hubs. The second priority is to promote renewable
resources and new energy technologies.
Waste-to-energy plants reduce pollution
and generate energy, as in the Philippines and Thailand. Green technology can be
acquired either by importation or innovation through research and development,
as in the PRC. The third priority is to help the poor by reducing disaster risks
and improving slum conditions. Disaster risk reduction can be done by building
dwellings in safe areas, improving housing affordability for the poor, and
investing in drainage infrastructure and climate forecast technology.
to improve slum conditions include providing basic services, granting land
titles to slum dwellers, and issuing housing vouchers linked in value to the
length of a resident’s tenure in the city. The fourth priority is to strengthen
public finance, transparency, and accountability. Public finance can be improved
by broadening the tax and revenue base and by increasing the access of urban
governments to broader and deeper capital markets in order to lower
infrastructure and public service costs.
Failure of governance in today’s cities has resulted in the growth of informal
settlements and slums that constitute unhealthy living and working environments.
Serious attention should be given to the need for improving urban strategies,
which promote efficiency in resource use.