Sociology BA LLB
Sociology BA LLB

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‘Urbanization concerns the movement of population from agricultural to industrial work and from rural to urban places of residence. People are attracted to the city by visions of a better life or they feel compelled to leave rural places because they are disadvantaged there’.
– By Rajendra Kumar Sharma

‘Urbanization refers to the process of growth in the proportion of population living in urban areas. Historically, the concept of urbanization has been related to specialization, industrialization and consequent economic development. Although the form of this relationship has remained contested, there is a general consensus among scholars that a fundamental characteristic of urbanization is the structural shift in employment from agriculture to non-agriculture pursuits.’
– Dr. Pitamber Sharma

Features of urbanization

  1. Growth in non agriculture based population
  2. Growth in city based population
  3. Weakening of traditional cultures
  4. Higher economic class based consciousness compared to rural areas
  5. Higher politically conscious population
  6. A center of conflict between tradition and modernity(in most rural places there is a dominance of traditionalists)
  7. Westernization, Modernization and urbanization are interconnected and mostly urban areas starts westernization. Then move towards modernization and later de westernizes itself.

Urbanization in Nepal

Urban Population: The urban population (population residing in 58 municipalities) constitutes 17 % (4,523,820) of the total population. Based on the recorded urban population, Kathmandu Metropolitan City is the most crowded city with the population of 24.3 percent (Population–1,003,285) of the total urban population. Dhulikhel Municipality has the least proportion (0.31%) of the total urban population. Population Density in Kathmandu Metropolitan City has found about 20,289 per square km

Total Population by urban-rural residence and urban population as a percent of rural population. Nepal, 1952/54 – 2001

1952/54 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 (2011) 
Urban Population  238,275 336,222 461,938 956,721 1,695,719 3,227,879
Urban Population as  Percent of Nepal  Population  3.0 3.7 4.2 6.8 10.1 16.2 17% 

Urban life & experience

Emotional-psychological responses

  • You take for granted encounters with strangers
  • You become tolerant of difference
  • You accept impersonal forms of social coordination (e.g. walk-signals, laws, regulations)
  • You accept a wide range of specialized authorities (police, doctors, EMS, bouncers, librarians, etc.)
  • Your extended family probably takes a back seat to a wide range of non-family social ties
  • You think of yourself in terms of “what you do” which means a specialized job or profession

Physical-biological impacts

  • You live longer than hunter-gatherers and early farmers
  • You are protected from wild animals, many bugs, and some (but not all!) natural hazards & therefore
  • Your food supplies are more secure, leading to less malnutrition but also a struggle against obesity
  • Your health suffers in “special” urban ways
    • Noise pollution can affect your tension levels, sleep patterns, concentration, etc.
    • Air pollution affects your eyes, lungs & brain
    • Urban jobs can cause you to physically atrophy
    • Urban routines (colonization of night for leisure) can affect your sleep cycles
    • Your reproductive choices are greatly multiplied, which leads to better health over many generations
  • You internalize particular ways of moving (e.g. driving a car, a bike, a motorcycle, walking a certain way …)

Your impact on the city

  • Environmental degradation
  • Pollution in “ordinary ways” such as
    • Human wastes
    • Solid waste
    • Driving
    • maintaining a lawn
    • Using mass transit or driving
    • Pollution in “deviant ways”
    • Graffiti & vandalism

Emile Durkheim:

  • In urban areas there is organic solidarity
  • There is Anomie (normlessness)

Georg Simmel:

  • Apathy, privacy

Louis Wirth

  • In urban areas there is
  • Aloof
  • Selfishness and self centeredness
  • Social segregation by class
  • Lack of social support except for impersonal (and less adequate) forms of support
  • Vulnerable to neurosis, chemical abuse, and other forms of deviance


  • In either case, the city raises difficult moral and ethical issues

    • What can be done?
    • How much can be done?
    • What is the best means of addressing “urban pathologies”?
    • What are urban pathologies and what are lifestyle choices?
    • Homelessness
    • Drug addiction
    • Prostitution
    • Homosexuality

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