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Essay on Rapid Urbanization and Bangladesh

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Hints: Introduction, What is urbanization? Historical evidence of urbanization, Cumulative urbanization in Bangladesh, Low increment, Its advantages, Its disadvantages, the Necessity of urbanization, Conclusion.


Urbanization is a widely used word in Bangladesh. ‘civilization’ and ‘city’ are analogous words in manner. Geography is now a well-known and much-studied branch of social science of which urbanization is an important chapter. Today, urbanization is one of the major normative factors of social development which is recognized all over the world. To the people of the third world countries, urbanization is a rather distant application as they are suffering from different kinds of problems like poverty, unemployment, lack of industrialization, etc. Therefore, urbanization has been built up here in various manners. According to the United Nations Organization report, urbanization is a process in which a greater part of a country in cumulative progress becomes living in the city or township.

What is urbanization

Modern civilization is a civilization that is made up of cities. With the tremendous fleet of science and technology, the world is now becoming more concrete and urbanized day by day. Defining urbanization, an expert on urbanization, Nadira Begum, wrote “Urbanization is a simple term referring to the proportion of the total population living in an urban area. The term urbanization also refers to the process of change of residence from rural to urban areas and the diffusion of a particular cultural system —the urban culture. After all, urbanization is one of the mainstream ways of evolution of a country, of a nation through which society also changes, rises, or declines according to the respective merits or demerits of urbanization. Francis Cherulliam (Indian writer) said urbanization refers to an increase in the percentage of the urban population (total population). Migration is a necessary process in urbanization.

Historical evidence of urbanization

Bangladesh is one of the least urbanized countries in the world. The ratio of urbanization is very low in the country. This rate in between the 1960s and 80s was only 6% biannually which has jumped nowadays. One of agro-based Bangladesh’s major characteristics is its village. Rural areas are occupying the country’s 75% or more than 75% of land areas. Instead, since the historical ages, the urbanization process has been in remarkable condition. According to historical background, the urbanization progress and trends can be explained within some certain manners as bellow.

In the third century B.C, there were many cities built up in ancient Bengal for various purposes. Some of the remarkable cities among those are Tundra Bardwan”Tamralipi” Kout Barsho’, Bikrampur, `Sompur or Paharpur’ `Mahastan’ etc.

During the medieval age, the Muslims ruled the sub-continent as well as Bengal and established some cities too. Dhaka became the capital of Bengal in 16th and 17th centuries.

Meanwhile, the British colonial era led the country’s urbanization and gave it some new dynamics which hadn’t ever before. The distribution of administrative power and the municipal system became part of the urbanization process of the country for the first time. A remarkable period for the Bengali urbanization process was the time after the 1947s post-British regime. The population growth had been generating much more at a proliferating rate at that time.

Cumulativeness in the urbanization of Bangladesh

Though the mainstream of our urbanization has begun from the post-1947 phase, several development programs have been taken that time like, rehabilitation, the establishment of new industries and business centers establishment of new schools, college and educational institutions, growing necessity of different office and institution, court and improvement post-1947 phase of urbanization.

Low increment

Despite the decrease merit of the urbanization trend at the recent time in Bangladesh, until 2015, the trend will continue to rise at a rate of 3.9% annually. Where there only 5.19% of urban people lived in Bangladesh in the year of 1961 now, there live more than 25% which was 25% during the year of 1991 and 9% of the total population lived in urban areas in 1974. It can be assumed that in 2050, half of the total mass-people of Bangladesh will live in city or urban areas. There are various reasons and factors in the increment of potential urbanization of Bangladesh, among which three major factors are in focus: The usual high rate of population growth around the city area, the definition of the urban or city has almost changed. Therefore, many old cities or townships are expanding day by day to make a new city, transportation development between villages and cities.

Its advantages

Usually some facilities and utilities of everyday life and some other useful and resourcefulness of livelihood make us concerned and consensus about urbanization. Human beings are the center of all creations and innovations and so the first thing in Urbanization is that it is a developing process that serves the basic lifestyle of human beings and eases difficulties.

Nowadays, one cannot think of living in an apartment, which might be a high-rise one, one cannot think to drive colorful useful cars, cannot think to fly to other cities and other countries, cannot think to save and deal money with a bank, cannot enjoy different types of entertainment, sports, etc. except living in or around a city. So, it is nothing confused that urbanization is an ought to be and people must accept it worldwide. At the same time, not only material facilities are gained from living in a city, but one can also have a virtual and human advantage like prestigious life, comfort employment opportunity, self-dignity, social-charm, happiness, above all, well-being.

Its disadvantages

Most of the problems, disadvantages of urbanization, however, come from eco-logical and economical sectors of the country. Generally, urbanization means the brick and concrete walls and buildings, high rise of skyscrapers, growing out multilevel or multistoried constructions. So, there are threats to ecology and the environment. When urbanization garbs a village, the environment usually falls in danger. Rapid urbanization progress results in different problems including slum and sanitation problems. For example, we should look over Dhaka city where more than 10 million people are inhabiting dirty, complex, and congested accommodation. Very few people in Dhaka city live in proper comfort. Most of them live in lower standards and lead a troubled culture. Gutter garbage is another crisis of urbanization. Though employment opportunity rises in urbanization, we have to see, how better or how productive opportunities those are actually! People are rapidly leaving a social life in the village and drive out to the booming city for pulling rickshaws. Very few people are leaving their house in the village with the actual and better condition to the cities. This danger of mobilization of mass people may be harmful enough for building an unhealthy society that presently exists in Dhaka city.

The necessity of urbanization

Instead of its disadvantages and demerits, urbanization is ought to be. The everyday life of mankind is changing day by day with the virtual facilitation of life and science. Innovativeness, utility, and usefulness lead the people to build a city. One has to come to the government office, share market, industrial areas, courts or elsewhere like a hospital for better treatment, or university, college for better education which he/she cannot find in a village. Urbanization is a great process involving multiplicity and diversity in life and society. This is a reality, we cannot afford to get away from it. There was a conference held on `human inhabitant’ in Vancouver, in 1996, where there were some prescriptive documents presented on the urbanization of Bangladesh. The government had to make some improvements in its policy of urbanization with the effort of UNO. Besides from 1976 to 1997, the five years plan program was in the remark. Therefore, now urbanization is an obvious trend of modern civilization.


As there is no certain portfolio or regulatory acts on urbanization in Bangladesh, the process becomes a ‘loss impact type of vulnerable development. There is no sustainable development in the urbanization progress of Bangladesh. Due to these, various imbalance, environmental degradation are jumping in one hand and on the other hand, the expansion of urban areas, to some extent, requires the existing people’s lives.

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