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What are the reasons for the rapid growth of major cities in less developed countries?

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Louise Sherwin 07 March 2000 June 1997 Past Paper Geography Essay: Urbanisation 18. Part One What are the reasons for the rapid growth of major cities in less developed countries? It is estimated that 20 out of every 25 conurbations are currently located in the developing world. The growth of developing world cities over the past fifty years is unequalled in its pace, as has the rate of urbanization. The growth of cities is far from equal however, and it is predominately the largest which are experiencing the greatest rise in population. The increase of urban populations in developing countries is the result of three main factors; natural increase, net in-migration to cities and reclassification of urban borders. Natural increase is attributed to approximately 60% of urban growth and has had the greatest influence upon the growth observed. Average annual population growth rates for the developing world stand at 2.1%, over four times that of the industrialized world. ...read more.


the magnitude of it, the sheer number of people involved in it, is without precedent in human history." . A complex process underlies the nature of rural-urban migration and the reasons behind it. Colonialism can be attributed to the location and magnetism of several larger developing world cities and explains why growth is greatest in these particular cities. The underlying influence was that of colonialism which brought tropical countries into a capitalist system and a worldwide economy. Colonialism lay the pathway for industrialisation of developing world countries through the investment in infrastructure created. Most of the large cities of the developing world are based on the administrative role processes initiated by colonial powers and on economic activities bringing them into a world trading system. If rural-urban migration is considered as a push-pull system, then colonialism initiated and intensified the pull factor of cities. Incoming wealth was focused upon cities and drained rural areas of their resources. National Governments served to intensify the inequalities established by focussing economic growth upon one major city, often leading to the development of a primate city, such as Lima in Peru. ...read more.


Not all cities were affected by this trend as middle sized centres were skipped, most migrants aimed to move to the largest city. Personal mobility increased and the possibility of moving became more viable to a greater proportion of rural dwellers, as did the distance it was possible to travel. Images through global communication media and social networks have strengthened the pull of the city as greater volumes of information are available to rural dwellers. The last major factor affecting urban growth in the developing world is the reclassification of city borders. Physically even though people maybe living in the same area the way in which they are classified into regions and the accuracy of censuses can substantially affect population estimates of cities. This manipulation of boundaries and collection of figures is thought to account for approximately 10% of urban growth. Examples of how this factor may affect urban areas are the inclusion of a wider area surrounding a city and the inclusion of shantytown dwellers into figures. ...read more.

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