Urbanization refers to the development of cities and towns in a particular area. Urban formation is a continuous process which is necessitated by the growth of population and expansion of trade. Different theories have been formulated to explain the origin and development of urban centers. These theories include the hydraulic theories, economic theories, the military theories, the religious theories among others. For any urban center to develop, there are different conditions which have to be met which includes population, technology, environment and social organization (Pacione, 2005).
For effective civilization to take place, planning is essential and a vital component in ensuring growth and development of urban centers in an area. Preconditions of urban development and theories of urban origin in relation to growth and development of urban cities Before an urban center could be developed, there must be a certain size of population permanently residing in that area. The size of the urban center is also influenced by the environment surrounding that particular place. This includes the topography, the climatic conditions and natural resources available in an area.
The environment should be able to support the population in that area. Technology and social organization are other preconditions to urban development. These two conditions set the limits of population growth in the future. The social organization requirement includes organizational structures like infrastructure, leadership, politics and economic infrastructures. For an area to be considered fit for an urban center development, technology employed must be adequate to ensure that the needs of the population are fully met (Pacione, 2005).
Different theories were formulated to explain the emergence of urban centers. Hydraulic theory stated that the presence of water for irrigation purposes led to development of some of the urban centers. As agricultural revolution was taking place, there was need to manage large scale water for irrigation. This management required centralized organization, division of labor and coordination thus the emergence of urban centers like was the case of Mesopotamia (Pacione, 2005).
Agriculture in Mesopotamia necessitated formulation of a central form of governance to ensure that the large scale water which was being used for irrigation was profitably used and technology was being updated. This led to urbanization in Mesopotamia. Military theorists argue that the need for a centralized protection from external threat and also the initial agglomeration led to urban expansion. Economic theory is also another theory which has been formulated to explain the origin of urban centers.
Massive trading necessitated for a common meeting place to be established which led to the emergence of urban areas. Religious theory explaining the origin of urban areas argues that the religion had well and developed structures of power which were governed by religious elites. Religious was vital in civilizations and thus urban formation. Existence of religious places like temples in most urban areas serves as evidence of religious contribution to urban growth and development (Pacione, 2005). Conclusion
Urbanization is made possible by the coming together of people with a common need which requires a central and organized form of administration. People living in a particular location have different needs which necessitate interaction and exchange of goods as well as ideas. This thus leads to the development of an urban center. Increased needs as population increases and technological advancement demands better administration and division of labor in the urban centers leading to their expansion and growth.
Pacione, M. (2005): Urban Geography: A Global Perspective. ISBN 0415343062 Published by Routledge