Urbanization – components and stages of urbanization, i.e. the city’s life cycle

Urbanization – components and stages of urbanization, i.e. the city’s life cycle

In the first association, we see urbanization as a process of creating a city, a density of people different from the village. This is not a misleading statement, only slightly depleted. Urbanization is the whole of spatial, economic, but also social and cultural processes that lead to the emergence and development of cities, increasing the urban or living in an “urban style” population, as well as the proportion of this population against country or region. We commonly distinguish four stages of urbanization.

Urbanization components

As you can see, urbanization is the creation and growth of cities, as well as mental changes of the population on the village-city line. For example, people from cities and working outside agriculture live in the countryside, while those born in the countryside often move to cities. Therefore, several components of these processes can be distinguished:

  • demographic urbanization – real increase in urban population, increase in the percentage of urban population
  • economic urbanization – an increase in the number and percentage of employees work outside agriculture
  • spatial urbanization – building expansion, creation of urbanized areas
  • social urbanization – popularizing the urban lifestyle

Stages of urbanization

Urbanization is a very complex and constantly evolving process. For this reason, there are four main stages (division proposed by L.v. Klassen):

  1. Urbanization
  2. Suburbanization
  3. Deurbanization
  4. Reurbanisation

Let’s take a look at them in turn.

Urbanization is initially a slow and then fast concentration of people permanently coming to cities. Residents mainly join the employee ranks in craft (then industry) and trade. They live in central areas while depopulating the village and the distant outer zone. In highly developed countries, urbanization had two climaxes – during the industrial revolution in the nineteenth century and the technical revolution after 1945.

Subsequent waves of immigrants from the village can no longer fit in the centre, so they inhabit the suburbs, where the Latin name of the next stage comes from – suburbanization. Industry and trade still dominate among the main industries. At the end of this stage, the centre is slowly becoming depopulated, transformed into jobs in basic services. Further areas between the suburbs and the village are populated. This facilitates the development of public and private communication.

This is a short way to deurbanization. The poorest inhabitants live in the centre, gradually moving to strongly developing remote areas and a bit to the suburbs. In the place of demolished or revitalized buildings, shopping and service centres are being built. Services are the most important for the economy – basic and advanced, the role of industry is weakening.

The last phase is reurbanization. Initially, the urban population fled to rural areas, most of the suburbs. In the end, however, there is a reverse tendency. The furthest zone depopulates the most, but the village and centre gain new inhabitants. In the city budget, the largest revenues are obtained from the taxation of services of the 4th sector.

Fazy urbanizacji – schemat ruchów ludności components and stages of urbanization, i.e. the city's life cycle
Stages of urbanization, the city’s life cycle

Along with passing through the various stages, the main causes of urbanization also change. Initially, there are demographic and economic factors. There is a spatial reason in suburbanization, and the demographic factor disappears in the next phase. Ultimately, the city is shaped by spatial and social reasons.

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