Urbanization refers to the development of urban areas. It involves population growth as well as physical development in such areas. Many global south countries like India, Brazil and Nigeria have high rates of urbanization than northern countries like England, Canada and Japan.
This can be attributed to the natural increase in population of these areas through birth or migration of people from rural areas to urban areas. Most of these countries are developing countries. They have potential for industrialization and people migrate from rural areas to urban areas to offer labor to the growing industries.
There is also rapid development of rural areas in these areas that transforms them into urban centers. On the other hand, in developed countries, there is little migration to urban areas due to decentralization of the countries’ economies. This gives the rural people favorable conditions to stay there. There is also reduced natural population increase through birth than in most of the southern countries.
People move to cities for various reasons. Cities provide employment opportunities to people because of the growth of industries that takes place in them. Most cities also offer people better social facilities and services like entertainment and health care. There are also better economic and market opportunities in cities than can be found in most rural areas of most countries.
People therefore migrate to cities so as to come closer to these opportunities and exploit them for improving their economic status and living standards (Knox, Marston & Nash, 2007). Most rural family farms also produce hardly enough to support their family members with the required food and other basic needs. As a result, some members of such families move to cities and work hard to earn extra income which they send back home to support the needs of their family members.
Most of the rural population in most countries depends on agricultural production in order to survive. Therefore, the importation of similar low priced food materials as those produced in these countries lead to general reduction in the crops’ prices. This leads to low benefit for the farmers. Such farmers in most cases abandon their farms and move to urban areas where they look for jobs mostly in the industrial areas. Population increase in rural areas is another factor that leads to rural- urban migrations.
Increasing population in most cities of the world comes with many problems associated with settlement, infrastructure, environmental issues and service delivery. The urban poor stay in slums where there are poor infrastructure especially housing and other associated services like electricity, running water, sewage system, and roads. To make these cities livable, some of these situations and services have to be improved. The cities of the world should address issues of urban planning, urban development and urban governance.
If these three aspects are well addressed in the cities, then they will be comfortable places to stay in. Urban planning should involve proper laying out of water distribution patterns and networks in the cities, planning sanitation systems and methods of waste management, transport network as well as health systems. Each city should also develop urban development strategies that adequately address the circumstances surrounding its regions.
Urban governance is also important as it directs the way the city is administered and directs the service delivery within the city. The city governance is responsible for urban development and planning and ensures that the residents live in a sound environment by providing them with essential services like rubbish collection and disposal. The city governance should be able to transform the city slums into legitimate residential areas and improve the living standards of its urban poor.
There is lack of food security in most countries of the world. Despite enough production of foodstuffs in many parts of the world, still there are high levels of food insecurity even in countries that produce more than they need. According to UN’s FAO and USDA, a country is food secure when all its citizens have physical and economic access to enough, safe and nutritious food at all times to meet their needs and provide them with a healthy life.
Through this, we understand that in order for a country or a region to be food secure, there must be enough quantity of food, high quality of food, food access for all people and food use by the people. Over 920 million in the world are starving while a good percentage of people in some countries like the United States, United Kingdom and Australia are facing obesity epidemics.
Various stakeholders in food issues react differently and contribute to this problem either positively or negatively. These stakeholders include food producers, markets and trade unions and blocks, governments, non-governmental organizations, various policy makers and food users.
Food producers ensure that there is enough production of food to feed the population of a country and there is surplus for export. Agricultural mechanization in many countries has made it possible to produce large volumes of food substances with little labor requirements. However, cheap foreign imports of food lead to low prices of food products in the local markets making farmers in some countries to put their land to other uses like cash crop production.
This leads to reduction in local production, which can lead to high levels of starvation in these countries. The low farm produce prices discourage some people; consequently, they abandon their farms and move to urban areas to look for other jobs. Even though this is the case, there is generally high food production in the world enough to feed its population.
Individual consumers also play an important role in this scenario. The economic status of individuals determines whether they access food when it is available. Those individuals with enough money are able to buy food in the quantity and quality they desire while those who are limited financially are unable to buy what they need and end up depending on relief food. The high prices of food in some regions of the world make most of the people to starve.
Most of the people in developed countries like in US, UK, Canada and Australia are well endowed financially and get access to food in high quantities. Their high consumption rate leads to many cases of obesity. High rates of food wastage by individuals also contribute to food scarcity, which in the end lead to starvation of some people.
Individual countries’ governments also play an important role in distributing food to their citizens. They also set important policies that govern imports and exports of food. Importation of low price food commodities may lead to reduction of local food production. The governments are also responsible for food distribution to its citizens. If there is poor food distribution, then there is a likelihood of increased starvation in the country.
The governments also offer services of educating its people on the appropriate use of food so as to avoid wastage and disorders associated with food misuse. Various Non-governmental organizations and international organizations such as the UN, FAO, World Bank, and WHO also help in educating people on appropriate food use as well as aiding in their distribution to the needy. In addition, they give financial assistance to other organizations to distribute food to people.
In conclusion, people generally move to urban centers where they seek for better living conditions and increased economic and social gain. This migration may constrain the infrastructure and facilities available in the towns. The migration also deprives the rural areas of farm labor, which is important for food production. Low food productivity and distribution to all parts of the world lead to starvation of a number of people. Food wastage and misuse also aggravates this problem and creates other problems such as the rising cases of obesity in the world.
Knox, P. L., Marston, S. A. & Nash, A. E. (2007). Human Geography: places and regions in global context. Toronto: Pearson Prentice Hall.