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What is urbanisation?
Urbanisation is when more and more people move away from country areas and into suburban areas near cities. This leads to cities growing bigger, and more cities being created.
In what countries is urbanisation happening?
Why is urbanisation happening all around the world?
A lot of people can not find jobs in country areas, so they move closer to a city, where there tend to be many more jobs.
In parts of the world, governments spend much more money on cities and suburbs than they do on country towns. This causes people to move to cities and suburbs so that they can have a better quality of life.
People who live in the country can feel isolated from the rest of the world. They move to suburban areas so that they feel closer to "where the action is".
Prices of houses and land are cheaper in suburbs within cities than in country towns. Many people dream of owning a big house that isn't too expensive, and they can do this if they buy a house in the suburbs.
Does urbanisation harm the environment in any ways?
Yes, in many different ways.
Wetlands, forests and farming land are destroyed to make way for roads and houses.
Smog and air pollution replace clean air because of more and more cars being used.
Noise pollution replaces peace and quiet.
Many species of wildlife lose their homes, as they have to compete with people and their pets for space which they used to live in.
Is there anything governments could do to stop urbanisation harming the environment?
There are a lot of things that could be done. Some of these are:
Spending more money on research into a better public transport system. If public transport was cheaper and easier to use, more people would use it to travel from the suburbs where they live to the cities where they work. Less air pollution and noise pollution would happen because of this.
City centres can be made safer, healthier and more comfortable to be in by closing them off to traffic. This would encourage people to live as well as work in cities, meaning fewer people have to travel from suburbs to cities each day.
More trees could be planted in cities to provide shade, shelter and a home for birds and small animals.
What can you do to help?
When you are travelling short distances, walk or use your bicycle rather than asking someone for a lift.
Ask your parents to use the telephone and the internet for paying bills, shopping or searching for information.
Urbanisation is harming the environment, but it doesn't have to be that way.