Ecology and Development in the Third World

By Avijit Gupta | Go to book overview

6

Urban development and environmental change

Types of environmental modification

Cities are areas of the greatest alteration of the environment, areas where almost all the effects of ecological modification as a result of development come together. Cities have their own type of climate, vegetation and surface relief; their own brand of pollution; and their own specialized demands for physical resources. Our world is being progressively urbanized, the number of people living in the towns and cities is rising at a much faster rate than the world population, and increasingly an artificial environment is created, replacing the natural one. Urbanization can be defined as the proportion of thed total population of a country or a region which lives in an urban settlement. The current rate of urbanization is especially high in the developing countries but is not so for the developed ones, although the percentage of people living in cities there is high from an earlier period of urban growth. By early next century, more than half the total population of the developing countries will be urban.

Although cities of all sizes are growing, the growth of megacities (those with a population exceeding 8 million) in the developing countries is extremely impressive. In the 1950s, most of the biggest cities were in the United States or Europe; currently such cities are located almost entirely in the developing countries. The projected future trends indicate that this pattern is going to continue. For example the fifteen largest cities of 1994 in order of their population were:

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Ecology and Development in the Third World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Plates viii
  • Figures ix
  • Tables x
  • Preface to the First Edition xi
  • Preface to the Second Edition xiii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Development and Natural Vegetation 4
  • 3 - The Environmental Impact of Land Development 21
  • 4 - Development of Water Resources 35
  • 5 - Development and Changing Air Quality 54
  • 6 - Urban Development and Environmental Change 66
  • 7 - The Global Concern 80
  • 8 - Concepts and Mechanisms for Environmental Management 95
  • 9 - Environmental Problems and the Third World Development 108
  • Review Questions, References and Further Reading 115
  • Index 121
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