IV Международный конкурс
научно-исследовательских и творческих работ учащихся
«СТАРТ В НАУКЕ»
УРБАНИЗАЦИЯ: РЕАЛЬНАЯ ИЛИ МНИМАЯ ОПАСНОСТЬ?
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The theme of my report is «Urbanization: a real or seeming danger? »
Why have I chosen this theme? I am a city dweller. I like urban style of living. A city has many advantages. But lately I see that the quality of my life is steadily worsening. I breathe dirty air, I moved in overcrowded buses, waste time in constant traffic jams. My house is surrounded by numberless private cars. It is really hard enough to find room for recreation in a city. I tried to find out why it occurs. I cleared up that the root of these problems is urbanization – the growth of our cities. It was interesting for me what speeds up the growth of city, how we can cope with dangerous consequences of the process of urbanization. We don’t live in isolation. Our city is our home. What should our city be like? I consider it should be clean, safe, healthy, comfortable, sunny, green inspiring.
Everyone must do his best to improve urban life. We all responsible for the future of our cities – our future – as the city and civilization go together. My report is an appeal to everyone to think about alarming problems of urbanization and something to save our cities.
The aims of my report are: to analyse the problem of urbanization, to reveal the main reasons promoting city’s growth and to show how they influence city’s growth, to touch upon some alarming consequences of the process of urbanization and to propose some measures that can assist to diminish dangerous tendencies of city’s growth.
II.The main part.
First, let’s answer the questions:
When did the first towns appear?
What was their role in development of man’s society?
The word city comes from the Latin root, civis, citizen. The first cities were built by the ancient Greeks and Romans. They were centers of civilization where the arts and the sciences, as also government, philosophy, law and ethics flourished. When the cities of Greece and Rome fell, so fell the glory of Greece and Rome. As for Britain, the first towns were built by Romans on the British Isles in the first- fourth centuries A.D. But soon they were destroyed and abandoned by the Anglo-Saxons, who were country dwellers. Life during the period (fifth- eleventh centuries) was rural. In the eleventh century cities began to revive. What caused the growth of new towns in England?
In the tenth-eleventh centuries handicrafts began to separate from agriculture. Crafts and trade began to develop now on a larger scale than before. Towns had begun to spring up in England as centers of trade and crafts. The towns’ people produced goods for sale. Thus, the economic progress caused the growth of new cities. And the cities in their turn stimulated economic and spiritual development of man’s society.
Cities usually located at strategic points: in mountain passes, on banks of rivers, sea coasts, cross-roads. The Domes day book mentioned about eighty towns where 5 per cent of the population lived. In the eleventh-twelfth centuries the towns were very small. London had only 20,000 people. An average town had from six to four thousand people.
By the thirteenth century there were already more than 160 towns in England. But most of the towns were still quite small. There were only a few large centers of population, such as London, Bristol, Norwich and York. By the fourteenth century London had 40,000 people, York and Bristol had 12,000. Most of these early towns did not differ very much from the villages. They were surrounded by walls. They grew in small area within their walls. This growth was not planned. The buildings were crowded together and the streets were often very narrow. Many houses had two or three stories. Nearly all the houses were made of wood. Water was fetched from the nearest well or stream. There were no pavements at the sides of the street. There was no collection of house refuse and other rubbish. There was no proper drainage system. Such fatal diseases as plague and cholera were common in towns at that time.
What can you say about urbanization nowadays? There are more than thousands cities in Britain. The largest of them are London, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool and some others. The population of London is 8308369 people. Liverpool has 730000 people. Manchester has 502900 people. We are heading towards an urban world. Cities are increasing in enormous bounds.
In Britain now only about 4 or 5 per cent of people live in rural areas and depend upon them. The world population goes up by 2 per cent a year, city population goes up by 4 per cent a year but in big cities, the rate may be as much as 5 and 6 per cent a year. There is no reason to believe that this pace will slacken.
What are the main causes of the growth of cities?
The first reason is industrial revolution. It is the main catalyst in the process of urbanization. The economic enterprises are the main generators of city growth.
The plant and offices can operate at full capacity if manpower resources flow to the areas of development. So, when the plants are established in the city they need a lot of manpower. We can see a great movement of people from rural areas where there are shortages of jobs to cities. Thus, the plants speed up the growth of cities.
The second reason is the technological revolution. As technology gradually swallows up all forms of work, industrial and agricultural, the rural areas are going to shrink and the vast majority of their people will move into the city. Modern technology permits to free a lot of rural workers employing in agriculture. So they are forced to remove to big cities and seek jobs there.
The third reason: Cityisa great attraction for those who want to achieve.There is a vast variety of chances for self-realization in different spheres of life. Today, as in the past, the great cities are magnets for the intelligent, the able, the talented- all those who want to live eventful, challenging lives. Cities also attract merchants and traders, artists, poets, musicians- all seeking an audience, appreciation and recognition. And also the nonconformist, individuals who refuse to knuckle under to local taboos and conventions who seek independence and wider intellectual horizons.
The fourth reason: the cities can create more favorable living and working conditions for urban population. In cities man live with more ease and with more comfort. Where else one can have such variety of food available to the city dweller or the professional skills of a city’s hospitals or the multiplicity of institutions that serve spiritual and cultural needs.
The fifth reason: emotionally a city dweller also lives a richer life. In a city, everything is felt more intensely. He lives close to other people and feels their proximity and warmth –shares with them, the great moments that come to people, whether in victory or defeat, triumph or despair.
The enormous increase of urbanization has its negative consequences. The society faces urbanization problems. What are they?
1. It is a traffic problem. The city is helpless without transport for all that it needs must be brought in. Rising incomes and rising population aggravate perplexing traffic problems. Urban density increases by something like 4 or 5 per cent in a decade. The car has a curious ambivalence. On the one hand it creates mobility but on the other hand it destroys it. The car tempts people further out and then gives them the problem of getting back. Thousands car drivers spend hours in the constant traffic jams in the strain and anxiety of having to reach the office or factory on time. The human cost for daily shuttling between dormitory and work- place is psychological wear and tear and exposure to infectious disease in overcrowded cars.
2. It is the problem of parking lots. The car density increases. With the increase of private motor cars, the streets, the avenues, yards become sprawling parking lots. The cars are parked everywhere. They devour more and more space. This situation worsens the quality of living of city dwellers and arouses the demand for more parking lots and garages.
3. The next problem is wanton destruction of a city’s architectural and cultural heritage. Each city is unique, has its own atmosphere, by virtue of its climate, topography, natural features (river, seashore, mountains, forest, desert, street pattern and architecture). All cities have specific features due to their activities, culture, traditions and arts. Rising of land values in cities, private ownership and the race for maximum profits often cause wanton destruction of a city’s architectural and cultural heritage and violence to its natural environment.
4. The problem of pollution is very serious nowadays. Megalopolises have very dirty air. The cities almost choke from the smoke and dust. More and more factories, cars, trucks add their bad breath to the air. Air pollution can cause different diseases. Nearly all the rivers are polluted. Often companies dump chemical wastes into water. Many fish and birds die because of the polluted water. Cars are the biggest air polluters in the cities. City dwellers breathe tons of toxic chemicals (lead, cadmium, arsenic and others). Motor oils contain toxic chemicals. One gallon of used oil can ruin million gallons of fresh water.
5. The problem of trash and its utilizing is very urgent in big cities. Each person in Great Britain throws away about 1, 8 kg of trash daily. About 13 of this waste comes from packaging. Wastes contain toxic ingredients. They represent a threat to public health and the environment.
6. A city dweller has also psychological problems. The city offers an abundance of communication. The city is the centre of ideas and culture. On the stage, on the radio, on television, on lecture platforms the city dwellers are entertained amused, instructed, inspired. But at the same time community life of a modern city is weak. Life for many city dwellers of today can be one of appalling loneliness and boredom. They are lost in a crowd. The constant stopping of traffic, tightly packed subway trains and buses, lack of office room, lack of house room, strain and anxiety of having to reach the office or factory on time lead to stress and depression. Brutal speed and rhythm of city’s life very often cause psychological wear. So, despite all the crowds, it is still possible to feel very lonely in a city. People often don’t know their neighbors.
From my point of view what measures should be taken to stop the growth of big cities and eliminate the negative consequences of urbanization.
As the economic enterprises are the main generators of city growth, they should be removed outside the cities. Companies with many outlying plants should be established. It can turn manpower resources to the rural areas.
To diminish uneven distribution of work places.
Farmers who stick to the land and hence homes, should be subsidized.
To create the more favorable working conditions for villagers. To use new technology and modern equipment in agriculture.
To improve the quality of life in rural areas.
To eliminate the gap in the standard of living between the city and village.
As motor cars are the main air polluters in the city I propose to raise taxes for those who have more than one car in the family.
To develop public transport.
To encourage people to use the underground more often.
To make the underground cheaper.
To establish new parking lots and garages.
To free the centre of the city from private motor cars on weekends.
To reduce building coverage.
To green the cities.
To widen green areas and improve the urban microclimate.
To open cities to the sun, the sky, the breeze and the freshness of waters.
Provide natural environment for recreational and health facilities for city dwellers.
To diminish bad breath from motor cars I propose to use another fuel. To change petrol for natural gas.
To make tougher laws against air pollution.
In the process of planning, construction and reconstruction of cities one should take into account a city’s architectural and cultural heritage, its relics, unique silhouette and surroundings.
To use alternative energy such as solar energy.
Not to be buried in trash the following steps should be taken:
to establish new factories for utilization of trash
to sort the rubbish for its further recycling
to reuse bags, containers, paper and other items
to use paper packaging instead of plastic one
to start different recycling projects
to put higher fines for throwing trash away on the streets.
In short, I think these measures can diminish some negative tendencies of urbanization and help to keep the size of cities within national limits.
Thus, in my report I tried to analyse the problem of a city’s growth in the last years. I revealed the main economic and social reasons of this problem. The main one among them is the influence of industrial and technological revolution on the growth of cities. I also touched upon some negative consequences of the urbanization, such as: traffic problems, the problem of parking lots, the problem of pollution, the problem of proper city’s planning and some others. I also proposed some measures which might diminish some negative tendencies in modern urban growth and help to solve urban problems. These problems are very urgent nowadays. They demand complex economic, social and political solution. Is it possible to control city spread? I think, -Yes.
Proper economic and city planning can control the establishment and location of economic activities, hence the size of cities and quality of urban life. Recently some studies were made in the behavior of mice when exposed to more than a certain degree of density, frustration and noise, and mice just become deranged. Some sociologists wonder whether it might not be the same for men.
This combination of very high density of population, goods and services and machines, all increasing with almost brutal speed does account for some really antisocial tendencies in cities. Will the cities survive? Will they have future? I believe -Yes, they will. For what better than the city feeds the spirit of man? Where can he achieve better? Where else can a man better find others to join him in common enterprise but in a city, built by man for man, the product of his intelligence?
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