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Video transcript

in its simplest sense urbanization is the movement of people from rural areas to urban areas so what is the difference between rural and urban well a rural area is anywhere that has less than 1,000 people per square mile so think farm country or Alaska if you're looking for somewhere remote any rural settlement has to have less than 2,500 residents otherwise it gets put into the urban category urban areas include cities and towns that have at least 1,000 people per square mile from here it gets interesting there are a bunch of different levels of urban areas as you get more and more people living their cities have 50 thousand people or more if the urban area grows to more than five hundred thousand people then it's classified as a metropolis kind of sounds like something from Superman don't you think then if you get a bunch of metropolis is that are all connected and grown into each other that's called a megalopolis or a mega city there's a megalopolis that includes New York City running from Boston to Washington DC that has over 44 million people living in the sprawling urban complex there are a few major theories about urbanization and cities if you take a functionalist perspective you can see that cities have many important functions but they also have their dysfunctions they are sites of culture and promote diverse populations but they're also hosts to crime and other disruptions to society according to conflict theory cities are sources of inequality that are mainly entertainment centers for the wealthy political and economic elite run the city to increase their personal resources while taking from the poor the diversity of cultures and social backgrounds just increases conflict over beliefs and values if you look from a symbolic interactionism viewpoint you can see the positive side of cities rather than a chaotic place cities are places where people have a different way of looking at life there are strong cultural values and the people have different interactions and perspectives of urban life where there are strong norms and values all right so we know what an urban area is and a few of the major theories about urbanization let's look at why people want to move to urban areas what's so great about cities that people flock to them well initially urbanization began during the Industrial Revolution mainly because of the major improvements in technology people who are losing their jobs on the farms during industrialization to machines and so the people had to move to cities to find work in housing causing the urban areas to grow and the cities were made possible because of better construction techniques and improved utilities like water and power and transit all of this made it easier to build cities than ever before today a lot of the same reasons still apply for people moving out of rural areas reasons such as more job opportunities and improved utilities there are better services or perhaps more options for education and transportation and faster access to medical help the increasing population has also forced people to move to cities to find new places to work and live because there just isn't enough land for everyone to farm as more and more people move into cities and away from rural areas you really have to look at the effects of so many people living in such close quarters there are many positives like the wide variety of cultures you can get in one place or the anonymity an individual can obtain in a big city but there are also some negative effects on the people who live there with such a high density of people living in cities you have to be aware of crowding crowding is the feeling that there is too little space or too many people some cities can have a high density but not feel crowded depending on the situation unlike a small town where everyone knows everyone in a city there are just too many people to form those close connections but as human beings we crave that sense of belonging to a community so we join groups and create small pocket communities within the larger population of the city we do yoga or go to the same sports bar or visit the same dance club every Friday individuals begin to fall into categories because of what kind of connections they are looking for in the city and what communities they form you've got the cosmopolite who are people drawn to the city for its cultural benefits in overall convenience like students artists entertainers and intellectuals then you've got the singles who are looking for jobs partners and entertainment you have the deprived and trapped you just cannot afford to leave the city these are the unemployed elderly homeless or poor who collect or make just enough money to get by day to day but not enough to actually leave the city then there are the ethnic villages which are often the most obvious spot because the people there bring their native culture with them when they emigrate they settle together with people who have similar backgrounds and create a community that looks like their home this is how we get Chinatown and Little Italy and all the other cultural microcosms and big cities sometimes communities are planned into the design of an urban area urban villages are designed to the residents who live there can work live and recreation area they often promote biking or walking because of how close everything is and they help to facilitate community interactions you get people out walking and living and working near each other and they are more likely to form a stronger community but sometimes those connections aren't enough many people move out to the fringes of cities where they can have their own home instead of living in an apartment where they can have a yard and a picket fence instead of cramped quarters with common walls this small movement away from cities is called sub urbanization which is where we get the term suburbs this is what became the classic American dream but even suburban life has its own problems usually the commute into the city for work is quite time-consuming and it can be more difficult to have quick medical help than if you're living in the city proper but sometimes these suburban areas build their own economic centers and begin to become independent of the city they border Silicon Valley for example has turned into one of these edge cities when tech companies bought up cheap land on the outskirts of San Jose which created an independent economic center in the former suburb sometimes the suburban areas don't turn out as well as they could have because there is no real plan involved think Atlanta people bought up land willy-nilly resulting in an urban sprawl spreading out in the city as people move out of the city centers the city can fall into disrepair a process known as urban decline buildings are abandoned and unemployment and crime can rise as the population of the city itself changes even beyond the suburbs can be areas known as Xers areas like the woodlands near Houston Texas or Rochester outside of Detroit these are often very prosperous areas outside the city where people live and then commute into the city for work similar to suburbs instead of spreading outward people try to redevelop areas of the city itself into something nicer safer better plant this is called urban renewal it sounds great the idea of revamping parts of the city that are old or falling apart and for some people it really is but it can lead to gentrification which means that when these areas of the city are redone they tend to target a wealthier community which increases property values the people who live there before the redevelopment are often pushed out because I just can't afford the property anymore this often leads to buckets of inequalities in the inner city recently there has been an interesting phenomenon of rural rebound where people are getting sick of the cities and are moving back out to rural areas these are people who can afford to leave the city and who are looking for a simpler and slower life most of the rural resettlement happens relatively near urban centers so the residents can still have the convenience of a big city another place people will move is to rural areas that are very scenic so while urbanization is just the movement of people from rural areas to urban its effects are much more widespread both on the people who live in the cities and the development of the cities themselves people seek new ways to find community and enjoy the freedoms and benefits of the city life along with its difficulties and dangers Urban development's spread outward from economic centers and sometimes form new economic centers or slowly merged with nearby cities to form massive urban areas linked geographically economically and socially