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Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Written by Murat Aydın

Aim and Methodology

Aim of this study is to analyze and evaluate the main characteristics of urban development in North America and Canada, Former Soviet Union, Oceania, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and East Asia.

The evaluation will include urbanization trends, models of city structure and major urban problems.

When evaluating urbanization trends of the regions, we find out that urbanization rate is not related with total population and population growth. In World urban system, mostly urbanized region is North America and Canada. Two-tihrd of the population (over 165 million) resides in settlements with a population of 5.000 or more. Only 86 million people live in small towns, villages and rural areas. In fact, one of the key features of North America is metropolitanism. Although there are only 8 "millionaire" cities in the United States and one in Canada, the number of "milllionaire metros" has increased to 39 in the United States and 3 in Canada. In North America (United States), 2008 population is estimated as nearly 315 million, and the population growth rate is %0,97 (earthtrends.wri.org).

The Republics of Soviet Union were a part of highly centralized federal union that was dominated by the Russian SFSR. In 1991, the population the population was 293 million.

FSU was the least urbanized among more developed regions of the modern world. Urbanization proceeded at a dramatic pace after revolution: %18 of urban population in 1913, over %50 in the 1950's. In 1989, %66 of total population were living in urban areas. Most urbanized areas are generally the capital of new states. In 1989, there were 296 cities with more than 100.000 population. %23of those had more than 1 million inhabitants. Including worlds one of the largest cities with aproximately 14 million people in its metropolitan area.

When we look at East Asia, it does not seem possible to make certain generalization like the other regions because of countries' differences. Japan has approximately 128 million people and China is the world’s most populous country with 1.5 billion of total population. However the urbanization rates are different from between in Japan and China. Japan is nearly complete urbanized, but China has rural areas at 60%.

With more than 69% of its population living in cities, Latin America is the most urbanized region in the developing vvorid and urbanizalion rate is quite close to Europe and North America (roughly 75%). It is the region of Developing/Less developed Countries with the combination of rapid rural to urban migration and high natural population growth. In 1950, some 66 cities in Latin America had populations of at least 100.000 and none exceeded 5 million. In 1990, at least 37 cities surpassed the 1 million. In the 2000s, 41.8% of the urban population lived in the region's 50 cities exceeding 1 million inhabitants.

When we look a little bit different region like The Middle-East, it can be seen that there is a historical and political region of Africa-Eurasia with no clear boundaries. The Middle –East and North Africa is slightly more than 50% urbanized, having doubled the percentage of urban population since 1950. 13 nations are already urbanized more than 50% of their population in cities. Kuwait, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates with over 99% urban population. Israel is at 91%, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Iraq are fairly urbanized at respectively 83%, 77%, and %74. In region, growth rate is an average of 2.1%. So the Middle East and North Africa region has one of the most world’s most rapidly expanding populations. Urban share of total population is 60% in 2000, and it is expected to exceed 70% by 2015. Cairo and Tehran are the most important cities of region and contains 25% of total population.

Oceania is a region which consists of numerous islands in the Pasific. Australia covers 90% of the total area. The urban population of the region is the smallest of the 10 world regions. Also the continent is the smallest one, but Australia is the 6th largest country. Despite the urban population is small, it is one of the most urbanized regions of the world at 71%. Especially Australia (87%) and New Zealand (85%) are leading this situation. The growth rate of total population of Oceania region is 1.21 from 2005 to 2010 (earthtrends.wri.org).

South Asia is characterized as a whole by a low level of urbanization, %25. ındeed, this one of the least urbanized regions of the world. Total population of the region is approximately 1,6 billion, and population growth rate is at %1 level according to earthtrendswri.org. In South Asia, there is a rapid growth in cities because of rural-to-urban migration, and this is one of the main factors that shape cities.

And the last region of this study is Sub-Saharan Africa. Suıb-saharan is the term used to describe the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara desert. Africa is the 2nd largest continent and it covers 23% of the world’s total land area and also, it is the 2nd most populous continent after Asia. The growth rate of total population of Sub-Saharan Africa is 2.42 (earthtrends.wri.org), and this means that there is a huge population growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Most of Africa’s population lives in the Sub-Saharan. Over 1/3 of population live in urban areas, and in the next 30 years that figure may increase to over half the continent’s population. Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the least urbanized regions of the developing world (38%).

Evolution of urban system changes in every region around the world urban system, every single one of them affected by different factors and as a result showed different evolution steps. For example, Colonization is the most responsible issue for the establishment of cities in China, on the other hand Japan is not colonial.

Cities originated thousands years ago in the Middle-East. The first urban settlements appeared as early as the 4th millennium B.C. in Mesopotamia. When we look at the process of urbanization; settlements were generally located on the largest rivers such as the Nile, Tigris, and Euphrates. Trade is also one of the most important factors for choosing location for cities. The largest cities of the Middle East developed not only because of trade but also political circumstances, such as Baghdad, Cairo, Istanbul, and Tehran. The development of the petroleum industry has provided some employment, largely in terms of labor for construction and services.

When we look at a clearly different region, Oceania, we can see a completely different evolution of urban system from Middle-East. The first inhabitants of Australia were the nomadic Aborigines, They lived rural Until 1960s, but afters a few decades they began to move to urban areas but generally to the peripheral areas. European explorers found Sydney in 1788 and by years, natural sources discovered at the time of industrial revolution of Australia make the city a favorite colony. Sydney Harbor is one of the world’s best natural harbors, so it can be described as beginning point of development in Oceania. At that time, the population of city has been increased overly in 1850s because of the Gold Rush. Also, the gold rush at that time speed up the development of the social and political systems. However, the goldfields began to decline in 1860s. In 19th century, the effects of industrialism and capitalism were very important to urban process of Oceania cities. After the World War II, a policy that reasoned the admission of emigrants was very important rush aspect of development.

Colonization is also most responsible issue for the development and establishment of cities in Sub-Saharan Africa. To ensure the supply of raw materials the colonial settlements developed, so the inter-regional differences in terms of development increased.

In FSU, Modern urban system was in place prior to economic and political changes which began in 1917. Urban centers were sites of administration, defense for regions (closed cities) and trade centers and with regard to trade, there are 2 types of cities which are local trade and long distance trade.

3 main historical stages can be identified for evolution of FSU urban system: Pre-soviet (pre-1917), Soviet (1917-1990) and Transition period (after 1990s). Pre-soviet period is characterized by expansion of the state. Country remained rural and agricultural, and cities performed administrative and trading roles. The importance given to the cities can be understood from the names given to the pre-revolutionary history: non-slavic beginnings, the middle age and cities of Kievan Rus, Moscow Rus, Russian Empire and Urban Revival and Capitalist period.

In Soviet period, a new era of urban system evolution began. A dramatic shift in the political and economic character of the country led by the Communist Party transformed the Russian Empire into a highly urbanized and industrialized society within just a few decades. This period characterized by a rapid, centrally planned and government controlled transformation to an urban industrial economy. The cities were crowded, and standard of living was low. When Stalin came in charge, a transition from rigid central control to a somewhat softer. But also social and spatial inequalities grown. Transition period was from a totally State-controlled economy to political fragmantation, rise of liberal economies, personal freedoms and greater cooperation with Western nations.

Speaking of Latin American cities, it's clearly seen that evolution of urban system is affected by two historic periods. Pre-Columbian cities have ptayed a major role in Latin American civilization formore than 1500 years. They were major administrative and marketing centers as we1l as religious sites. Monumental buildings, including pyramids and astronomical observatories of religious significance, were often linked by massive avenues. In European Urbanization, 4 types of urban settlements emerged. Settlements located on active pre- Columbian urban sites with large indigenous populations and productive agricultural areas.

North American and Canadian cities' urban system development are bothly effected three main movement: Merchantilism (1790-1840), Capitalism (1840-1975) and Global capitalism (1975-...). In Merchantilist period, the economy was based on agriculture, and the urbanizaton level was low. Largest cities were founded along the Atlantic Coast with New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Boston; and the other 3 largest cities were located along the routes that traditionally led into the heart of North America: Ner Orleans, Quebec and Montreal.

Capitalism involved investments by the owners of capital in labor and equipment to produce goods: The development of factory system, realization of scale economies, and nationalization of urban system. Big cities started to emerge. Urban population has grown from %8 to over %60's from 1830 to 1975. Cities have completed their transition from an agricultural to an industiralized and finance based structure. Wars have also effected this period. First World War accelerated the growth of manufacturing, and after Second World War large urban areas were renewed. Post-war years were a period of rapid growth based on atural population increase and accelerating personal consumption. Suburbanization is laso a significant feature of this era between 1935-1975.

The era of global capitalismappears to be marked by a decrease of dominance of North American corporations, new technologies, low contribution of agriculture to national wealth, increaing importance of service industries and decreasing employment of manufacturing. A number of new features in the spatial organizaton of the North American urban system during this era: urban regions are extended, major metropolitan areas have become transaction centers and birthrate, immigration and intercity migration have declined. To summarize, in mid 19th century, urban system extended to midwest by rail and late 19th century urban system developed in west coast.

Though the realm, or the Indian subcontinent as it is often termed, was influenced by various cultures and subcultures, five distinctive civilizatîons made significant inroads. The civilization of the Indus Valley (3000 to 1500 B.C.): the Aryan Hindus (since 1500 B.C.); the Dravidians (since about 200 B.C); the Muslims (since the eighth century); and the West Europeans (since the fifteenth century). These civilizations also affected the urban forms and patterns of South Asia, with the impact of Hindu, Dravidian, Muslim, and West European civilizations much greater than that of the Indus Valley civilization.

Speaking of urban characteristics, all of the country and regions affected by their historical development periods an we can see footprints of past civilizations.

For South Asia, there are three main models that shaped cities.

The Colonial-based city model is developed because of the need for trade and military reinforce-ments required a waterfront location acces-sible to oceangoing ships because the colonial power operated from Europe. A minimal port faciliry was a prerequisite and was the starting porat of the city. The traditional bazaar-based city is widespread in South Asia and has certain features that date back to precolonial times. Ordinarily, the city grows with a trade function originating from agricultural ex-change, temple location, transport node, or various administrative activities. Usually, a crossroad is on a linear business concentration, and is formed where commodity sales dominate The functional demands created by activities in the colonial, the bazaar-type, and the planned city generated interaction among them. The British administrative requirements in the traditional cities re-sulted in the establishment of Civil Lines, generally on the periphery of the city. The Civil Lines were composed of a courthouse, treasury, jail, hospital, police facilities, club houses, and residential quarters for the high administrative and judicial officials.

Internal structure of North American cities dominated by several components: transportation, location of retail, office and manufacture and people in cities.

In North America, transportation system is automobile oriented, and this factor caused suburbanization movement after late 19th century, and home and work places seperated. Ring roads surrounded cities, and wide roads spread to the urban area. For manufacture areas, the ara four major groups: central clusters, decentralized clusters, random spreads and peripheral patterns. Retail areas are decentralized with planning policies away from the core of the city. Otherwise, office buildings takes place of retail activities in the CBD. But after 1970's, office buildings were also decentralized to suburbs. In Atlanta, %43 of office buildings were located in suburbs in 1980, but in 1986 this rate grown to %60.

Population densities are generally highest close to the CBD and decrease regularly from the center to periphery, but this pattern has changed substantially in 1950's. Population density is fairly even over metropolitan area because of income, short working weeks and decentralization of manufacturing and employment.

For Latin cities, there are two types of internal structure. In traditional internal structure of Latin cities, urban life centered on the main plaza. All major govermental offices, the great majority of commercial activities, and all of the social amenities from
banks and theaters to restaurants and clubes (clubs) were located within a short distance of the plaza. As a result, employment opportunities were concentrated in the cily centers. The dualistic nature of Latin American societies severely limited social and economic mobility. This increased the inequal distribution of public services In modern Latin cities, a distinctive structural pattern in which traditional elements of Latin American culture have been merged with modernizing process. The inner city is dominated by CBD, commercial spine and elite residential sector and concentric zones.

Region has an important role about the city structure in Middle-East. Effects of Islam can be seen on the structure obviously. Most of the cities in this region overlap with the Islamic city model. The Islamic city is a compact mass of residences, open courtyard houses which create a cellular urban texture. Privacy is very important in this model. Entrances are L shaped and not facing one another; to prevent seeing into a house, walls on the alleyways are windowless, and separate guest rooms or courtyards for the man are present. Islamic city includes a permanent central market, mosques, shrines, public baths, city walls, citadel, inns, and small markets in the individual quarters. The Islamic city logically organized with narrow alleyways for climate purposes. In addition to the Islamic model, primate and dual city models can be seen at East Asia.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, rural life is more effective. At the same time, population has increasing terribly and causes migration from rural to urban. Therefore, the slums emerged and has a big portion of urban areas. Sub-Saharan Africa cities are generally colonial, and also there are some primate cities such as Nairobi and Lagos.

In FSU, territories segregated along classlines. State remold the shape of the city and determine its operating structure, such as elaborate public transportation system predicated on an enforced low levels of private car ownership. In city centres; downtown function not associated with the headquarters of the corporate economy. Scarce amenities are equally accessible by the absence of a price-driven land-allocation mechanism. The ongoing attractiveness of the centers explains a particularly Soviet pattern of gentrification. The city centers are also centers af political ritual. Workers housing areas are surrounded by Growing around railway circlesa nd semicircles. There are several types of suburbs such as satellite cities and captured villages. The internal structure of the Soviet city conforms to the zonal pattern.

There are two types of cities which are described as socialist and non-socialist in East Asia. Japan and North Korea have the non-socialist cities, and China and South Korea represents the socialist one. In Japan, capitalist system is the main factor of affecting urban character. There are some Chinese cities such as Shangai which are affected from the Japanese cities. On the other hand, Beijing is the most important city of being socialist.
The urban characteristics of cities in Oceania depend on the harbor, and transportation of raw materials and international trade has an important role about improvement of these cities. Therefore, most of the Oceania cities are described as “colonial city”.
Primate city type can also be seen. Sydney is not the capital city of Australia, but the rest of the country depends on Sydney for cultural, economic, political, and major transportation needs. Melbourne is also another primate in Australia. However, Canberra is the “planned city” as the capital.
Finally urban problems are generally the same in every region, but in some regions there are spesific problems related with urban characteristics.
The rapid growth of the cities of the Middle-East and North Africa region have resulted in big problems. Many of the difficulties are similar with the other developing country’s cities. Some of these are housing shortages, inadequate services, underemployement and overconcentration of primate cities. In addition, this region has some different problems related with oil-based rapid expansion of the economies. It causes influx of foreign workers, indigenous rural immigrants and formation of squatter settlements, inadequate city planning and big wars. The rapidity of urban development has placed a great strain on the municipal services of the cities. Electrical blackouts, inadequate water pressure, environmental problems are the other problems in this region.
Urban problems in FSU can be bring together in three topics: Planning-decision making and chronic problems. Planning, Decision-making problems are optimization of the city network, size and functions; spatial segregation of different types of urban land-use, sectoral tensions between sectors and city goals as a result of economic planning, lack of coordination, and weakness of financial position. Chronic problems of Soviet cities are; Dire shortages in housing and overcrowding, overindustrialization, limited intraurban mobility, social alienation, crime and environmental pollution.

In North American cities, there is a politically fragmented structure with thousand of municipalities, townships and school districts. This results in inequalities of access to employment, education, amenities, housing and safety. Inner city and outer city are too seperated from each other, and living population is quite different. Local governments are in competition with each other to maximize tax base and minimize expenditures, attractin clean light industry and shoppin centers and creating zones for large lots and high-income families. The house and land prices are growing rapidly, environmental damage and overcrowding are occuring with continued growth. Also enironmental problems, such as erathquakes in San Fransisco and los Angeles and hurricane in New Orleans.

Several important urban problems, inherent in the urbanization process of the developing countries, are also prevalent in South Asian cities, among them the post-WorId War II urban population explosion, housing shortage, insufficient development of utilities (water supply, drainage, sewerage, and electric supply), increasing water and air polluion, and financial incapability.
The push out of the rural economy, coupled with accentuated natural growth of the urban areas, has augmented the city population, particularly in large cities. This has happened without a reciprocal increase in the manufacturing sector, resulting in large-scale unemployment

Primacy and urban sprawl are the main problems in Oceaina. In residental areas, density is very low and it causes an urban sprawl and also infrastructure problem. Environmental quality is another big issue in Oceania, and it is caused by globalization. Another problem is unemployment in some areas where Aborigines live. Social divorsion is another problem as a result of unbalanced growth trends. Public transport is not being used efficient because of high percentage of private car owners.

Speaking of Sub-Saharan Africa, this region is relatively problematic. To summarize, slum areas, environmental problems and migration leads the other problems.

Finally, Latin America's urban problems can be summarized as rapid population growth, extensive areas of substandard housing, inadequate public services, unemployment and underemployment, traffic congestion and environmental degradation

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