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Urban Problems and Challenges

By: Haseeb Jamal / On: May 21, 2017

Excessive size

  • Excessive size both in population and geographical area 

  • Where the economic base of the cities is inadequate to cope with problems created by excessive size

Over Crowding

  • Too many people occupying too little space and competing for too few services and jobs

Urban Expansion and Loss of Agriculture land

  • Tremendous amount of land being gobbled up by sprawl of cites, especially giant conurbation.
  • The loss of agriculture land to urban/industrial sprawl is of grave concern.
  • Once loss this prime land cannot be replaced.

Shortage of urban Services

  • With too many people in the cities, Government are hard pressed to provide All the human services that are the residence would like or expect
  • Housing shortage occur worldwide
  • Typically, it is the poorest people who suffer the most 

  • Other basic services Such as piped sewage system hot and cold running water, decent telephone services, reliable city supply, adequate garbage disposal systems.
  • Educational, Health care and recreational system and facilities.

Slum and Squatter Settlements

  • Slum are the area of authorized, usually older housing.
  • While squatter settlements are that unauthorized on land which the squatter do not owns.
  • The area of tends to lack the essential services of an urban environment such as sewage, water and lighting.
  • As a result, Squatter settlements commonly are areas of health problems

Traffic congestion

  • Traffic congestion is a service dilemma that is choking many cities to a standstill in term of movement of people and goods within the cities, with extremely seriously consequences of wastage of resources (Time and energy of people).

Un-employment and under employment

  • Employment probably top most people lists of serious urban problem.
  • Hundreds, even thousands of young people may apply for handful of job in a particular company.
  • The lucky ones may infect, end up with a job that is below their capability, in effect under-employment.

Social and Racial Issues

  • Unemployment and underemployment along with other factors, breed a variety of subsidiary problems related to racial and social issues.
  • These vary from region to region.

Environmental Degradation

  • Pollution of air and water, excessive noise levels, the uglification of the landscape through lack of planning and urban poverty is another serious worldwide problem.
  • In MDCs people and government are doing something about it.
  • Thus, in general the degree of urban degradation is most severe today in cities of LDC.The cities with greatest air pollution


Improper sewage disposal contaminated city drinking water which triggered epidemics:

  • Typhoid Fever
  • Cholera

Flushed toilets and sewer systems existed by 1870’s but pollution remained due to;

  • Horse Waste in the streets:
  • Smoke from Chimneys
  • Soot and ash from coal and wood fires

Urban Politics

  • A new political system is needed to cope with the new urban problems
  • Political Machines – informal political group that would provide essential city services in exchange for votes and political power
  • Offered things like – jobs, housing, food, heat and security

Political Corruption:

  • Party bosses would accept bribes from contractors 

  • Some dominated police department 

  • Sold permits to friends to operate public facilities such as railroads, waterworks, and power systems 

  • Example – A politician would find out where the city was planning to build a park – then buy the land and sell it to the city for a profit.

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