chapter  3
32 Pages

Urbanisation

One of the most immediate and dramatic consequences of industrial development in the developing world is rampant and unchecked urbanisation, which, since the Second World War, has proceeded at a dizzying pace. Even in countries where significant portions of the population still live in rural areas, sprawling metropolitan centres with large concentrations of urban dwellers, cramped houses and narrow streets and high-rise buildings have appeared. Development, in its broadest sense, has entailed not only economic and industrial changes but rapid urbanisation and the growth of cities. In fact, the preference of Third World governments and industrial concerns alike to establish factories and plants near existing large urban areas has resulted in the development of a complementary and mutually reinforcing relationship between the two processes of industrialisation and urbanisation. On the one hand, industrialisation serves as a main locus in enhancing the economic and political powers of existing urban centres as well as population and geographic size. On the other hand, cities have facilitated access to and provided the infrastructure, the skilled and the abundant labour and almost all of the other ingredients that are necessary for industrial growth and development. It is within this context, one which considers industrialisation and urbanisation as intertwined and complementary processes, that both phenomena need to be examined. Industrialisation and its various economic, political and cultural ramifications for developing countries were discussed in the previous chapter. This chapter focuses on the causes, processes and consequences of Third World urbanisation. However, before examining these developments in detail, some general observations regarding the nature and characteristics of urbanisation in the developing world are in order.