This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.
half the world's people now live in cities. The latest "Global Report on
Human Settlements" says the historic change took place last year. The
report came out this week from U.N. Habitat, a United Nations agency.
century ago, less than five percent of all people lived in cities. By the
middle of this century it could be seventy percent, or almost six and a half
three-fourths of people in developed countries live in cities. Now most urban
population growth is in the developing world.
can lead to social and economic progress, but also pressure on cities to
provide housing and services. The new report says almost two hundred thousand
people move into cities and towns each day. It says worsening inequalities,
driven by social divisions and differences in wealth, could lead to violence
unless cities plan better.
issue is urban sprawl. This is where cities expand into rural areas, sometimes
at a much faster rate than urban population growth.
Sprawl is common
in the United States. Americans move a lot. In a recent study, Art Hall at the
University of Kansas found that people are moving away from the major cities to
smaller cities. He sees a trend toward "de-urbanization" across
urban economies still provide possibilities that rural areas do not.
Deitrick at the University of Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania, is an expert on
cities. She notes that urbanization brings social change that can empower
SABINA DEITRICK: "Women entering the labor force
is one big change and that always goes up with urbanization and certainly will
proceed in many, many countries where urbanization is increasing rapidly."
Deitrick has closely studied Pittsburgh from the loss of its main industry,
steel, to its rebirth as a smaller city with different industries. She says the
reuse of existing land and spaces and the reinvention of urban life is important
if cities are to succeed.
Professor Deitrick notes that a city's ability to
educate and train its people is important to jobs and new industries. Even new
industries based on old ideas.
the world, people leave rural farm jobs to go to the city. Yet now there is
growing demand for farm products grown close to the cities where they are used.
Urban farming is taking hold in some of the world's biggest cities. Sabina
Deitrick says studies show that urban farming is one area where woman can earn
more than men do.
that's the VOA Special English Economics Report, written by Mario Ritter. I'm Steve Ember.