Illegal houses being demolished in Epworth, Harare. Image credit

Illegal houses being demolished in Epworth, Harare. Image credit

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Settlements:The benefits and problems of urbanisation

  • Urbanisation brings about certain effects
  • There negative and positive effects
  • These effects affect both the source (rural areas) and receiving areas (the towns)

Positive effects on source areas (rural areas)

  • There is reduced pressure on land and other resources
  • There is reduced deforestation which is the primary source of fuel in rural areas and is used for other things as well e.g. tool handles
  • The emigrants send back money to rural areas which is now easier to do with technologies such as mobile money e.g. Ecocash.
  • More inputs can be sent back by those employed in urban areas e.g. seed and fertilizer
  • Enables the rural areas to catch up with the entire world as the urban population brings back some of their knowledge and advancements during visits

Negative effects on source areas(rural areas)

  • Rural depopulation
  • Shortage of manpower as migration tends to selectively target the young and the educated
  • This is also known as brawn drain
  • There is also brain drain as the most skilled and knowledgeable people leave rural areas
  • Decreased production
  • Increased incidents of poverty

Positive effects on destination areas (towns)

  • There are increased human resources
  • There is an enlarged market for goods
  • Urban centers will be able achieve the threshold population of more services
  • An increase in the Multiplier effect on industries and services

Negative effects on destination areas (towns)

  • There is increased unemployment
  • There are housing shortages
  • Shanty towns emerge
  • There is increased pollution
  • There will be overpopulation and overcrowding
  • There is increased pressure on services such as schools, hospitals, water, power etc
  • There are transport problems such as congestion and shortage of transportation
  • Shortage of resources such as fuel and urban deforestation
  • There might be urban expansion into productive farmland
  • The destruction of vital ecosystems due to expansion of towns
  • Increased urban poverty

NB The word town is used colloquially to refer to urban areas.

To access more topics go to the Geography Notes page.