Automobiles are now an indispensable way for citizens to go out for working and shopping. Cars have shaped the development of motorization, which leads to the increase in private car use. As a result of automobiles’ growing popularity, a network of roads is built to satisfy the need for car travelers. Therefore motorization finally stimulates urban sprawl, which is the spread of cities into impoverished and rural areas on the periphery of cities. Urban sprawl obviously has led to some serious social and environmental problems such as inequality in society and climate change. Several organizations support to develop advanced technology in order to restrict urban sprawl and decrease greenhouse gas emissions while some experts disapprove of this opinion. This essay will argue that technological solutions just reduce social and ecological pressure to delay the consequence. The reasons why it is impossible that technology can absolutely cope with these problems also will be explained in the essay.
In terms of surroundings, at present technology is not perfect enough to protect the natural environment and to deal with the greenhouse effect throughout the world. According to Gonzalez (2005), urban sprawl promotes automobile industry and gasoline manufacturers, which eventually increase carbon emissions. The extensive use of private cars causes rising greenhouse gases, which create global warming. In addition, negative ecological influences can directly cause public health problems such as asthma and lung diseases (Freund and Martin, 2005). Although technology can partially reduce certain environmental strain, it may also create some additional problems (Gonzalez, 2005). For an instance, nuclear energy can indeed reduce carbon emission though the waste in a nuclear power plant can also pollute the environment. Moreover, Gonzalez (2005) stresses that scientists at present do not develop any technology to completely cope with climate change. It may take a long time and considerable resource to find an effective technological method. Thus, there is no efficient technology to deal with ecological problems like global warming.
With respect to problems in society, technology cannot prohibit main reliance on automobiles. Motorized urban expansion brings severe social problems, such as food supply threats from loss of farmland, transport injustice and health problem. Urban sprawl increases reliance on automobile transport, which means more car owners, more frequent and longer trips and, therefore, more greenhouse gas emissions. Except harmful gas exhaustion from vehicles and annoying noise, dominance of private cars still does harm to citizens’ health, because the drivers exercise less and become fat. The crowded traffic degrades the shared space and makes squares and parks useless (Martin, 2007). It may be true that clean and energy-efficient automobile can be manufactured in science and technology. However, such technologies cannot stop the growth of travel distance (Martin, 2007). Furthermore, Martin (2005) claims that there is no or few technology available for problems of land consumption and the degradation of public space. Therefore, technological solution cannot categorically handle some serious problems such as the deterioration of public space and loss of farmland.
Technological methods are expected to work out problems in society and environment. However, social and ecological injustice cannot be addressed by technology. People in poverty who are unable to afford personal cars have to live in the fringes of the city which has inadequate public transportation and infrastructures just like supermarkets and hospitals (Martin, 2007). In general, the edge of the city is industrialized, where factories emit harmful gases and let out waste into nearby rivers. Thus, the poor’s health problem is more serious than the citizens in the inner city. With different circles of people supplied with separately various resources, the imbalance between classes results in societal polarization, fragmentation and segregation (Martin 2007). As a result of inequality, people who want to have a better life migrate from rural area to urban area because of well-paid jobs in the city. More facilities and houses need to be constructed so as to fulfill the demand of increasing people in the centre of city. Construction of homes and commercial buildings in urban peripheries also consumes a lot of energy. Therefore uncontrolled urbanization leads to land consumption and loss of farmland, which decline the food production. In some way, technology can manufacture economical and fuel-efficient
automobiles with shoddy materials so that the poor can afford this kind of car, whereas, it cannot cope with the gap between the rich and the poor. In addition, technological methods cannot intervene in collective civilization such as culture and social cohesion. Thus, social and ecological inequality cannot be intervened by technology in any way.
To sum up, this essay has analyzed how motorized urban sprawl leads to social and environmental problems. The essay also explained that technological solutions are incapable of solving the ecological and social problems originating from urban sprawl due to the lack of core technology. Even if the competent technology appeared, it would be too late to solve these problems. The technology cannot stop people from relying on cars to go out. Public health problems are also one of the main consequences of increasing car use and industrialized countryside. Technology solutions ignore the underlying causes of global warming- urban sprawl. It is necessary to limit the expansion of cities and to efficiently use the limited area. Otherwise, environmental degradation could not be reversed at all. Governments should pay more attention to urban sprawl even give up some financial and political policy. No. of word: 890 References:
Freund, P., & Martin, G., “Fast Cars/Fast Foods: Hyper consumption and its Health and Environmental Consequences”, Frontiers of Sociology, The 37th World Congress of the International Institute of sociology, Stockholm, Sweden, 5-9, July 2005. Gonzalez, G.A (2005), “Urban Sprawl, Global Warming and the Limits of Ecological Modernisation”, Environmental Politics, 14:3, pp. 34-362. Martin, G., 2007, “Motorization, Social Ecology and China”, Area, Vol. 39:1, pp. 66-73.