Reflect upon the impact of urbanization on the environment.
Work, life and leisure are interdependent. The need to work is an essential aspect of human life. The nature of the work determines the life style. The leisure life reflects the values and character of a nation. This unit will enable the students to understand what the conditions of people were and their life styles when the cities were developing. Urbanization has been the result of continuous human development in different spheres of life. The rich as well as the poor contributed to the development of cities. Urbanization had positive and negative impacts on the natural and human environment. It would draw the attention of students towards the impacts of urbanization on natural and human environment.
Development of agriculture enabled man to lead a settled life. Work, life and leisure became the need and requirement of man that led to the emergence and development of urban centers of living in the ancient, medieval as well as the modern times. These needs were of the similar nature worldwide and hence the process, problems and consequences of urbanization have also been similar in most of the countries in various parts of the world.
By taking up a case study of one city each, from the developed as well as the developing countries, London and Delhi respectively, as discussed in this unit, one can develop keen interest and do a thorough study in order to understand the factors that led to their emergence, the contrasts, contradictions, benefits of urbanization and above all, the pressure that city life puts on people and the environment. One would also get to understand and accept the fact that, not only the rich and influential contribute towards the growth of a city; the poor, the slum dwellers and the marginal people also play an equally important role in this regard. Hence, they deserve empathy, attention and a better treatment from all of us.
While focusing on the course of urbanization in general and its impact on the natural and human environment, awareness and sensitivity needs to be developed towards this issue.
WHY TEACH THIS UNIT?
Urbanization, as a process, has a long history. Cities have been there in existence since the ancient times, from the beginning of the civilization in different parts of the world. But, on the contrary, modern cities have emerged worldwide only over the last two centuries.
Teaching of this unit will:
Help the students explore and understand the process of urbanization in the ancients well as the modern time period.
Allow them to investigate the factors responsible for the rise of modern trends with multi ethnic population in the modern cities.
Enable the students to travel back in time to the middle of the 18th century to get a complete and a holistic view of the emergence and development of cities, which they know or live in today.
Enable the students to acknowledge the fact that most of the countries at that time were rural with only a few urban centers which were small political, military or trading settlements. Each of these townships later grew into a city or a metropolis due to a variety of reasons; industrialization, growth of trade and commerce, migration, being some of the most important causes of them.
Allow the students to critically analyze the demographic information in order to understand that when the cities took shape, things, situations, condition of people and their life style at that time were totally different.
Appreciate the fact that urbanization was a result of the continual human development in different spheres of life.
Explain that cities emerged in contrast to the village life, with roads, bridges, buildings, new modes of transport, glittering shops and market places being their main attraction. They provided an array of job opportunities, business possibilities and scope for industrial development. All these factors led to massive migration and a sharp increase in the city population. Such a large population could be an asset, liability or a problem in turn.
Facilitate the students to understand that city life also led to the loosening of social norms. Social distinctions that used to appear natural and normal at one point of time now started fading away.
Explain that cross cutting of cultures and intermingling of people from diverse backgrounds pertaining to different castes, regions, religions, colour and creed started taking place and resulted in developing multicultural nature of the modern cities and metropolises.
Enable the students to recognize and acknowledge the glaring contrast within the city life itself as everyone was not fortunate enough to get a job or work opportunity and had to face a lot of disappointment. Hence, the city had two different sides or aspects to its existence. One was full of beauty, splendor, luxury, wealth and opportunity while the other was filled with dirt, poverty, disappointment, misery and crime.
Make the students realize that not only rich, resourceful and influential contributed to the growth of the city but also the common people like the urban poor, factory workers, labourers, artisans, servants, hawkers, street vendors played an equally important part in its development.
Make students and teachers understand that the respective governments of the cities or the national authorities cannot ignore, discard or turn a blind eye towards the less fortunate or the marginal groups, as these people not only form the industrial, public or domestic work force but their poor living conditions have enough potential to create a variety of problems, crises and disasters like outbreak of fires, spread of diseases and epidemics, riots, rise in crime rate and even outbreak of rebellions or civic disturbances.
Make the students understand the damage and impact of urbanization on the natural environment and the laws made at that time to protect and conserve it.
The case studies of London and Delhi, will allow the learners to draw a link between urbanization in one part of the world with the other(developed v/s developing) and to conclude that the causes, process and problems related to urbanization have been almost similar everywhere, world over, with only a few local disparities. This will finally help the students to develop a global perspective towards human development.
Brainstorming and Interactive Session:
Divide the class into 4-6 groups.
Write the term URBANIZATION in bold letters on the class board and ask the students to brainstorm on this term for five to ten minutes.
Ask each group to come forward with their findings and discuss them in the class.
Explain the concept of Urbanization and its stages through a Power Point Presentation or a Slide Show prepared beforehand.
Use a map to show ancient urban centers in Asia, Africa, Europe and Americas.
Invite response, comments and queries from the students and try to answer them.
Explain the factors that led to the emergence of early civilizations and cities with the help of a Power Point Presentation or a Slide Show.
Put up a few open ended questions in the class based on the present day cities and their comparison with the ancient ones to initiate interaction with the students.
Highlight the features of these ancient cities and explain them in detail with examples.
Build your own explanation on the said topic on the basis of the information given in the teachers’ as well as the students’ manual.
Ask the students to build their explanation on urbanization on the basis of previous knowledge, class discussion and sheer imagination and put it on a sheet of paper, group wise, in the form of articles, pictures, cartoons, poems or riddles etc, in order to make the teaching-learning session more interactive, lively and fruitful.
Refer Worksheet No: 2 and 3.
EMERGENCE AND GROWTH OF MODERN CITIES
URBANIZATION: A HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
Urbanization has a long history, as the first cities of the world emerged around 3500 B.C. to 2500 B. C., though conditions required for their emergence started being set, as early as 8000 B.C. with the beginning of the permanent settlements. It was by the fourth millennium B. C. that the urban revolution had all its foundations laid and was now ready to arrive. This unit will discuss the entire process of urbanization in the ancient and the modern ages from three perspectives – work, life and leisure.
During the Neolithic period the discovery of agriculture encouraged the humans, who were food gatherers and hunters at this time, to settle down in order to look after their agricultural establishments. This is how the nomads became the permanent settlers and added to the population of their respective areas. Denser populations encouraged farming and resulted in a larger production of food grains, sufficient enough to feed the entire community and to relieve it from the fear of hunger and starvation.
Division of labour was done and the agricultural activity was to be done by a few selected groups of people. It was the freedom from the task of arranging food supplies, which gave some people the leisure time to observe nature and think about climate, seasonal changes, hydrological cycle, ever changing skies and fury of rivers etc and come out with possible solutions to the problems related to these phenomena. Technological developments like mining and metallurgy, making tools and implements, use of plough, potter’s wheel, handloom along with surplus production of food created the situation for further development of a complex social and economic system in these areas. It was the work and efforts of these ancient communities and their observations during the leisure time that led to enhancement of their life styles and formation of human culture in the ancient period.
Historians have different views regarding the reasons that led to the emergence of these cities:
According to the traditional view agricultural activity was an essential prerequisite for the cities to develop in a particular area, as surplus food production created scope for people to focus on other aspects of human development in their free time, once the food requirements for the village community were met.
Some other historians are of the opinion that it was the availability of surplus raw materials which encouraged trade and led to the emergence of cities around markets, along the trade routes.
As per another theory, the cities came up as political centers or capitals, for the purpose of performing administrative functions, having seat of the government and its important offices.
A few scholars of history also hold the view that it was religion which played a vital role in the development of a city as they give examples of various cities of the ancient and medieval times which grew around temples, sacred places, cemeteries, shrines, monasteries and monumental buildings. (Source: greeceathensaegeaninfo.com)
Whatever may have been the reasons behind their origin, once emerged, cities were here to stay, work and develop. They were the living evidences of human toil and labour, expertise in variety of tasks, their recreational and social activities which they had taken up in their leisure time to develop various arts, music, writing etc.
Characteristics of old cities:
These urban centers were larger in size and population than the surrounding areas and were comprised of the non food producing inhabitants. They were dependent upon the rural population for supply of food and conducted administrative, military, economic or non agricultural activities.
These cities emerged in the natural form as well as in the planned manner and generally had complex social and economic system based on division of labour.
Town planning in these urban centers involved construction of houses, roads, government buildings, granaries and drainage system etc. and facilities like transportation, proper sanitation were made available to the city dwellers along with a variety of means for recreation.
In a way cities created environment for the development of human culture which led to the expression of talents, intermingling of people, growth and spread of religion, development of customs and traditions.
They also provided foundational ground for the growth of various forms of art, scientific and technological research, architectural innovation and other processes of progress and human development. It is for all these reasons that the life in these ancient cities was called a civilization.
Activity – 2
Time Travelers’ Interview
Divide the class into three groups. Assign each of these groups with one ancient civilization to research and work upon at home.
Ask the students to imagine themselves as the inhabitants of the civilization assigned to them and also to prepare questions in order to interview the king of the respective area in an imaginary assembly meeting.
Organize the assembly meeting in the class and act yourself as the king in order to be interviewed. Ensure that the students travel back in time and ask the questions from the perspective of a person living in that period of history and you also answer these questions from the same perspective.
Allow students to be as creative and inquisitive as they can, while they conduct the interview.
As a teacher try to explain the origin and features of the assigned civilizations through your answers and ask the students to prepare a small question bank on the said topic, including the ones they have already asked during the time travelers’ interview.