Monday, March 29, 2010

Urban Sprawl Around the World?

Looking at all the developed nations around the world, there is at least one major city in each of these countries that is experiencing rapid, uncontrollable growth. This growth follows the usual patterns of city development, which thus takes on similar characteristics of what we call sprawl. However, examining the parts of the cities that are growing and how the city is expanding, and in which directions, takes on an interesting view of what we see here at home. The differences in the economic status of most of these countries and their citizens plays a role, but none less valuable, and perhaps learn from it.
The patterns of growth in major cities of the developing world take on predictable characteristics, but an underlying factor that contributes to the effects of sprawl around these cities is money. Those who have no money moved near these major, international cities because of the opportunity to make money, just as we all move closer to the city in which we obtain a job. However, the poorest do not have high means of transportation and thus live very near to the city. Just on the outer skirts of the main city, large slums are found. But the wealthier live further and further away from these slums, but not too far from the city center, because they still work there and transportation too far from the city becomes limited. What about the very rich citizens? They are able to own cars, which as we know is the major contributor to sprawl, and move the furthest away from the poverty stricken lower classes. This type of growth pattern can be seen in major cities such as Delhi and Cairo, where there are VERY poor people living in the same area as some of the richest people in the world, but in different locations around the same city. But how are the rich able to move so far away from the city without the proper infrastructure? This is where I think our discussion of private roads would begin.
In other countries where they don't have very developed tax structures and ways of collecting money from even the poorest of their citizens, where do they get the money to expand transportation infrastructure? And if the rich prefer not to live close to their poor counterpart, how do they get roads out to where they want to live? The answer to the first question is to reurbanize. Many of the slums near these large cities get overridden, too dirty to live in, and then abandoned, and naturally the people that live in them move further down the river. But they can only move so far as to not have to have a means of transportation like a car, so in order to correct this, they start over in the old slum, thus reurbanizing on their own.
As for the second, the rich want to live the furthest from the slums and live in the pristine beauty of the landscape their country has to offer. But, in order to do so, they need a road to get to their house. But for the government to build them a private road to their house, this would seem absurd. For them to be able to live out there, they would need to build their own road and maintain it themselves. The privatization of roads would seem the most efficient.
With these two discussions, we can see how government intervention inhibits urban sprawl. Even though these countries are still developing, they have room for change and to learn how their practices now can save them in the future.

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