chapter  3
38 Pages

Urban growth and urbanisation: historical patterns

The present pattern of global urban development is merely the most recent product of processes of urban change that began over 8,000 years ago. It represents an intermediate stage in the progression from a wholly rural to what will possibly be a completely urban world. The global urban pattern is changing in three different and unconnected ways through urban growth, urbanisation and the spread of urbanism. Urban growth occurs when the population of towns and cities rises. Urbanisation refers to the increase in the proportion of the population that lives in towns and cities. Urbanism is the name that is most commonly used to describe the social and behavioural characteristics of urban living that are being extended across society as a whole as people adopt urban values, identities and lifestyles. This chapter and Chapter 4 identify and attempt to identify and account for recent patterns of urban growth and urbanisation at the global scale. The origins and spread of urbanism are the focus of Chapter 6.