Sample Urban Studies Paper on What Causes Urban Poverty

  1. Explain four models of urban growth

An urban growth model is a particular type of numeric model that involves economics, geographical aspects, sociology, and statistics to explore the mechanisms of urban evolution and feedback of the urban systems. (Li, X., & Gong, P. (2016). Urban growth models: progress and perspective. Science Bulletin, 61(21), 1637–1650.

Integrated land use or transportation model. Urban land use determines the location of activities such as manufacturing,   retailing, or residence. It generates flows that assist in town planning supported by transport systems. Urban growth and development are determined by the transport networks. The transport systems enhance essential mobility options for people and goods to move from one place to another. It also influences patterns of growth in urban areas and the level of economic activities carried out by providing good access to the land.  Activities in urban centers have different locations for example industrial and residential houses are located in different places within a given town. Their separation will therefore become a generator of movements of people and goods supported by transport networks.

Cellular automata model. This is a computational method, capable of simulating urban growth processes by describing complex systems through a set of simple rules. It was designed for urban growth to simulate the process of urbanization. This model consists of a set of rules that describe the spatial interaction of cells and a set of parameters that lead to exploring different urban forms. In this model, space has been defined as the grid and each part in the grid is called a cell. The grid might be used to represent different estates in an urban center. Its ability the simulation of urban growth, changes in land use, and population expansion had become suitable for simulating complex geographical processes. This process has been greatly used in the planning of cities in the world.

Agent-based model.  This refers to powerful simulation techniques that allow one to build an artificial world and populate this world with individual agents called actors. Each actor has unique behaviors and rules which govern their interactions with each other and the environment. The main aim here is on interactions of individual entities with their behaviors stated and impacts that emerge through such interactions for example the traffic jams that may be caused by individual cars in urban areas. It is through interactions of agents that the city or urban area planners make decisions and decide what actions are to be carried out based on the stated goals.

An ecological model of urban growth. It describes and explains the spatial patterns taken by the distribution of people, buildings, and activities across a city or town. This orderly set of estates and buildings in an urban center is called the city’s land use pattern. This type of model has greatly enhanced the proper arrangement of the city’s structures and the transport network.

  1. Evaluate the strategies that the government can adopt to enhance urban development

The government can enhance urban development through industrialization. Industrialization brings about new production techniques and encourages agribusiness. Manufacturing creates more job opportunities for people to be employed in the new sectors. Industrialization will help to draw people from rural areas to cities and towns in search of new job opportunities. It makes its population grow rapidly. When industries are constructed in a given area, the infrastructure of that area is developed to ease transportation of both raw materials and finished products into and out of the industry, facilitate the construction of good rentals for workers, health facilities, and schools for their children. Industries may also supply clean water to the communities living around the industry.

Construction of quality and affordable housing. This will help to reduce the number of people living in slums because they will be able to rent quality houses constructed by the government at lower prices. People will invest more in other activities such as businesses hence generating more income. Slum areas will also be eliminated or reduced.

Adoption of modern farm machinery to reduce employment in rural areas. This will force workers to move in search of new jobs in processing and manufacturing industries in urban centers hence increasing rural-urban migration. The increased number of people in urban areas, therefore, means that the government has to invest heavily in healthcare facilities, schools to accommodate the rising number of children, and also the transport network to ease the movement of people.

Advancement in transport and communication networks. Good transport networks facilitate the easier movement of goods and services from one place to another within the urban center. Business people will be able to transport their goods to consumers’ premises at relatively lower prices hence maximizing their profits. Consumers will also be able to acquire goods and services at relatively lower prices due to a good transport network enabling them to invest in other projects such as the construction of their own houses. This will in turn enhance urban development.

The government can also facilitate proper sanitation, drainage, and solid waste disposal. Investors are more attracted to areas with good drainage and proper waste disposal. Proper sanitation reduces urban centers’ pollution levels and also helps curb disease outbreaks. Reduction in environmental pollution is an urban development by itself.

Promoting urban agriculture. This can be achieved by preserving agricultural land in urban centers. The food supply chain will be shortened. Carbon (IV) oxide emitted when transporting food from rural areas to urban centers is also reduced. Urban agriculture improves the urban environment and also provides the urban poor with enough food.


  1. Analyse the manifestation of urban poverty, and its causes and suggest measures that can address this phenomenon.

Urban poverty can be manifested in the following ways;

Unemployment rates in urban areas. This is where the number of people competing for the same jobs is more than the jobs that are available at that time. Unemployment will then become a problem for many people in urban settings hence leading to increased poverty levels. Most people will not be able to provide for the very basic needs of their families. ,

Limited access to education and other basic services. If most people are not able to afford the very basic needs such as education, a balanced diet, and good housing shows that they live in extreme poverty. Individuals in urban areas should be able to access a better system of education and training.

Lack of safe and readily available water supply. Lack of enough supply of clean water poses a major threat to several sectors, including the health of the people and their food security.  People will then have to use more money for them to purchase clean water from supermarkets hence reducing their savings and leading to poverty. A higher proportion of the budget is used to acquire clean water. There will also be a reduction of businesses requiring water inputs thus reducing job opportunities.

Increase in crime rates (insecurity). Poverty and unemployment force youths into anti-social activities such as theft and robbery. They have to engage themselves in such activities for them to support the city or urban life.

Poor quality housing. Slums are the physical manifestation of urban poverty. A good number of people living in slums live in extreme poverty. This means that most of them are not able to rent or own quality houses in developed estates. Also, the land owners in slum areas are not in a position to construct quality rentals due to poverty or are a risk of forceful eviction if they lack title deeds.

Poor access to proper sanitation, drainage, and solid waste collection. Poor sanitation and drainage are linked to the transmission of diseases such as cholera typhoid and dysentery. It also affects the supply of clean water to people living in those areas. The cost of living will be high because people will use more money to access health facilities due to the increased number of diseases and also to get clean water leading to a reduction in savings and investments.

Causes of urban poverty                                                                                                                                    Rise of rural-urban migration. People from rural areas tend to move from rural areas to big cities to secure better employment and earn a higher income. This, however, depends on their level of education and skills.  Urban areas do not usually have a lot of job opportunities for those that lack certain skills or with a low level of education. This, therefore, means that most of them will end up engaging in crimes such as robbery and theft due to a lack of job opportunities and idleness. Even if they are employed as manual laborers, there is a likelihood that the salary that they are paid at the end of the month might not be enough to support city living leading to poverty.

Living on a low income is also another cause of urban poverty. This reduces the chances of children from families living in this bracket from accessing quality education and skills training, this, therefore, means that most of them will not be able to secure a source of income through better job opportunities and businesses that can only be attained through better education and training.

Shortages of affordable housing.  The lack of quality affordable housing in urban areas is one of the contributing factors to the increase in urban poverty. This can lead to a state whereby many people will lose their homes or have to get into debt because they are not able to afford those hiked rents with an average salary.

Low Agricultural Production. The lack of subsidized fertilizers and seeds has led to the high cost of farm inputs. Farmers will not be able to purchase the required number of fertilizers leading to low production or if they are in a position to acquire enough fertilizers, their cost of production will be high. Also, a lack of knowledge in using modern technologies in agriculture has resulted in the inability of farmers to maximize their production. High cost of production will therefore raise the prices of food in urban areas leading to a high cost of living which in turn reduce savings and investments.

Large family size. Family heads have to maintain a large family. The consumption cost of large families is very high leading to low investments.

Measures that can address urban poverty are as follows;

  1. The government should give subsidized fertilizers to farmers. This will help to reduce the cost of production hence reducing food prices.
  2. Development of Small-Scale industries. Agriculture on its own cannot generate employment. Small-scale industries have the potential to generate sufficient job opportunities for people in urban areas.
  • The adoption of labor-intensive technology and cottage industries was revived to reduce unemployment rates.
  1. Proper Implementation of Developmental Programmes such as the construction of affordable housing, supply of clean water, and also proper sanitation.
  2. Provision of proper security to reduce chances of theft and robbery.
  3. Provision of good transport networks to reduce the cost of transportation. This will help to reduce food prices.
  • Empowering the urban poor.



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