With the increasing pace of urbanisation along with the baggage of problems it comes.


  • Urbanisation is the process of transformation that occurs as a society evolves from predominantly rural to predominantly urban areas.
  • It involves the increase in the proportion of a country’s population residing in urban areas, leading to the expansion and growth of cities and towns.
  • Urbanisation is not just about the physical expansion of cities but also encompasses social, economic, and cultural transformations.
  • It involves the migration of individuals from rural to urban areas in pursuit of employment opportunities, improved living standards, access to better education and healthcare facilities, and a more cosmopolitan lifestyle.

What is urban?

Urban refers to areas characterised by:

  1. high population density,
  2. advanced infrastructure, and
  3. diverse, typically non-agricultural economic activities.
  4. These areas typically have a concentration of buildings, housing complexes, commercial establishments, and social amenities.

The Indian Census identifies two categories of ‘urban’ areas:

Statutory towns — those which have urban local bodies like municipal corporation, municipality or municipal committee.

Census towns — All those places satisfying the following 3 criteria:

  1. Population of atleast 5000 persons.
  2. Minimum population density of 400 persons per sq. km. and
  3. 75 per cent of the male workforce is employed in the non-agricultural activities.

Urban agglomerations:

Urban agglomerations encompass a broader area, including not only a city but also its surrounding suburbs and neighboring towns that share economic, social, and functional ties. 

Over Urbanisation:

It happens in rural areas due to expansion of urban activities and characteristics in rural areas which gradually replaces the rural traits.

Positive impacts of urbanisation

Economic Growth and Opportunities:

  • Urban areas serve as engines of economic growth.
  • According to the World Bank, more than 80 per cent of global GDP is generated in the cities.
  • The concentration of industries, businesses, and services in urban centers leads to increased productivity, innovation, and entrepreneurial activities.

Improved Infrastructure and Services:

  • Urban areas tend to have better-developed infrastructure and a wider range of services compared to rural areas.
  • Urbanisation drives the expansion of transportation networks.

Social and Cultural Exchange:

  • Urbanisation fosters social interaction and cultural exchange due to the diversity of people from different backgrounds residing nearby.
  • Urban centers become melting pots of diverse cultures, languages, traditions, and ideas.
  • This cultural vibrancy promotes creativity, tolerance, and the exchange of knowledge, leading to social cohesion and a rich cultural tapestry.

Education and Skill Development:

  • Urban areas offer better access to educational institutions, including schools, colleges, and universities.
  • This facilitates higher levels of education and skill development among urban populations.

Technological Advancements:

  • Urban areas often witness the adoption and development of advanced technologies.
  • The concentration of research institutions, technology parks, and innovation hubs in urban centers fosters technological advancements and promotes innovation.
  • Urbanisation facilitates the dissemination of new technologies, leading to improved efficiency in various sectors such as transportation, communication, energy, and healthcare.

Various social problems due to urbanisation

  • Overcrowding and Housing Shortage
  • Traffic Congestion and Pollution
  • Inequality and Social Exclusion
  • Environmental Degradation
  • Inadequate Service Provision


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