Urbanization in the United States began with the beginning of the industrial revolution. As a result of this revolutionary change in the U.S., there was a mass demand in labor for factory jobs and as people began to migrate into these areas to fill this demand, these areas were becoming densely populated cities. As more people migrated to where the jobs were, there needed to be more housing developed; this meant closing the gaps between buildings and buildings growing taller to accommodate for more people. A common form of housing during this time was tenements which were two narrow apartments side by side with two tenements behind connected by a courtyard. There were few windows and several people living together in one room. These tenements were a threat to public health due to no water treatments or modern sewage disposal. This increased congestion within the city also had a huge impact on increasing illness since there were no modern antibiotics and several people living in tight quarters together.
(Images of tenements)
In today’s society, with more knowledge and acknowledgement of public health, proper precautionary measures are taken as society not only urbanizes, but urbanizes more efficiently. However, there is a more present issue about food security and nutrition when it comes to urbanization that includes availability, access, and utilization of resources that are greatly impacted by socioeconomic factors.
As areas begin to urbanize, there is an increase in those who live in poverty. Individuals who live in poverty generally have poor and unbalanced diets because of the lack of availability of healthy foods and their expensive prices. Healthy food is significantly more expensive than unhealthy junk food. For example, if you need to feed a family of five while living in poverty and you can buy three frozen pizzas for $5 or five apples, you’re more than likely going to pick the frozen pizzas. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean the individual doesn’t know how to eat a healthy meal, but that they can’t afford to. This partly has to do with produce being imported into cities since they do not have the areas within the community to grow their own food.
(Fast food VS Fresh Produce)
As cities begin to urbanize, city planners need to work with public health workers and engineers to ensure that first of all, fresh fruits and vegetables are accessible by guaranteeing there are grocery stores and farmers markets available and easily attainable by all people. Additionally, urban planners can work to supply designated areas for produce to be grown within the city which would reduce the cost. Once the produce is accessible and available, it is important that the people within the community know how to correctly cook and prepare meals with these fresh ingredients. Having a community center available in a city where cooking classes can be held would be important to have during the city planning process. It could also be argued that building a community center or turning a previous building into a community center would be in the best interest of the public. No one benefits from people in their community being poor, but everyone benefits from increased food security, less expensive food, and more accessibility to resources.
Levy, John M (2017). Contemporary Urban Planning, 11th edition. Prentice Hall.
“The Impact of Global Change and Urbanization on Household Food Security, Nutrition, and Food Safety.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, http://www.fao.org/ag/agn/nutrition/national_urbanization_en.stm. Accessed 25 Sept. 2017.