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Discuss the suggestion that the problems of urban areas in economically less developed countries (ELDCs) are more likely to get worse than to improve.

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Geography S Paper Discuss the suggestion that the problems of urban areas in economically less developed countries (ELDCs) are more likely to get worse than to improve. It is generally believed that urban areas in ELDCs will suffer for worsening problems, even as economic activities and capital formation increase. The unique urban problems that urban areas face in ELDCs include urban sprawl, congestion(traffic and people), lack of infrastructure (clean water, housing, roads, transport, etc) and pollution. This essay will discuss why this trend of worsening problems is more likely by examining the factors that exacerbate these problems. In addition, this essay will also discuss a few more general problems that is more likely to worsen, paying attention to environmental impacts. There are several key processes and factors responsible for the worsening of problems in ELDCs. The first major factor is the rapid increase in rural to urban migration. This process occurs because the growing prosperity and economic growth in urban areas of ELDCs are hotspots that attract a large volume of rural migrants in search of better standards of living and job opportunities. The lack of barriers to the urban areas, coupled with poor methods of boundary restrictions in ELDCs, results in the uncurbed influx of low-skilled rural migrants who by their sheer size alone cause physical congestion. ...read more.


The urban population are also victims of this vicious cycle as the prevalence of MNCs limits local involvement severely and forces local firms out of business. MNCs are guilty of exploiting the cheap labour available in urban areas, paying low wages while work is tedious and long hours. This is barely sufficient for the local employees to support their families, not considering the prospect of increased standards of living. Moreover, the rise of the service sector in particular the tourism industry, draws a higher number of females into the workforce, with jobs such as clerks, receptionist, chambermaids, salesgirls, etc. This could be detrimental to the social fabric of ELDCs, where women are usually seen to be the care-takers of the children at home. MNCs enjoy economies of scale as well as seasoned expertise and recognized brand names, and hence with their entrance into the local economy, pose a strong competitive threat to local businesses. Local entrepreneurs face smaller profits and in worse cases, are forced out of business. They are then forced into the vicious cycle of being employed by MNCs. With the combined effect of the lack of the trickle down effect to the population due to leakages and the exploitation of locals, locals find themselves worse off then before and problems in urban areas continue to worsen. ...read more.


A strong law and legislature must also be in place to curb crime, enforce pollution laws. Authorities are also corrupt-free and this ensures that the welfare of the urban population is taken care off and the urban problems a priority. With such measures in place, it is evident urban areas in ELDCs are able to manage and even solve some the urban problems. However keep in mind the above listed cities are exceptions and are actually aided strongly by inherent factors. These countries were all previously ruled by colonies and the trend is that they are all coastal urban centers, perhaps the reason for their origin of growth as entrepot trading centers. Moreover, the urban areas of Singapore and Hong Kong are fortunate not to experience the impact of rural to urban migration due their inherent size. The physical constraints of these two islands also inhibit urban sprawl, promote easy governance and force them to utilize resources efficiently. Hence it is generally accepted that the problems of urban areas in ELDCs are more likely to get worse than improve. Even when some problems improve, urban areas in ELDCs are faced with yet a new set of challenges that continue to worsen the overall situation of these urban areas. Therefore they are stuck in this vicious cycle that only a few ELDCs are able to break away from, given that they have unique experiences and are exceptions. ~end~ Shawn Quek 2AHR ...read more.

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