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Cities of Today, Cities of Tomorrow

Unit 4: What Makes Cities Grow?
Objectives Summary Text Activities

The movement of people from the country to the city—or “rural-urban migration“—has traditionally been considered the single most influential factor for urban growth. This was true for the period following the industrial revolution, but is less of a factor today. As mentioned, urban growth in many developing countries is principally due to high rates of natural increase. In Europe, North America and Latin America less than 30% of the population live in rural areas and the rest are already in cities.

International migration, on the other hand, is a growing influence on the size of cities. 1992 estimates say that 100 million people live outside their country of origin, of which 20 million are refugees. Singapore, for instance, has 11 percent of its workforce made up of foreign workers. Globally, 25-30 million workers are thought to be foreign nationals.

Urban-urban migration is worth a mention here. When people move from one city to another, it does not affect the overall rate of urbanization in a country. It does, however, affect the growth of a particular city. This is a particularly important point in North America. In the United States, for instance, it is estimated that 1 person 5 moves each year.



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