Country Classifications and Urbanization Processes

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Compare and contrast the main characteristics of the urbanization process in the First and Third Worlds

Urbanization, meaning the increase in the proportion of the total population living in urban areas, has been a worldwide phenomenon since 1950 (Pacione), particularly due to the rapid economic development after the second world, but such a process has existed for centuries, as early as in the 18th and 19th century when the industrial revolution took place in Europe. Even so, the urbanization processes in First World and Third World are different. This essay will focus on and compare the characteristics of the urbanization process in First World and Third World, from the 16th century till now.

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For example, more than 1 million people were living in Tokyo, the capital of Japan, as early as 1700. (Pacione) Also, according to the United Nations (1995) World Urbanization, almost all the first 15th largest urban agglomerations were found in First World while the first three largest urban agglomerations were New York, London and Tokyo and the 15th was Berlin in Germant, which is still in First World. Only two in fifteen were found in China – Beijing and Shanghai. However, when the United Nations released the report about the urban agglomerations in the world again in 2009, the ranking has been totally different: the largest cities in the world is still in First World – Tokyo, but the second has been Delhi in India while the third Sao Paulo in Brazil. Only four in the first 15th largest cities are found in First World. (UN Urban Agglomerations 2009) This indicates that Third World now is experiencing the phrase of urbanization while the First World has gone into another phrase – suburbanization or even counterurbanization.
In fact, population growth in rural areas has continued to rise over recent decades in advanced nations such as Britain, Canada and Australia. (Pacione) Such a trend is mainly due to the push factors – urban problems such as poor air quality, traffic congestion and high land price, as well as the
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