Environment Magazine

Problems of Urban Growth.

Posted on the 18 June 2014 by Priyadarshi @priyadarshi64

With special reference to Ranchi city, India.
ByDr. Nitish Priyadarshi.Geologist.76, circular road, Ranchi-834001Email: [email protected]
Problems of Urban growth.
Night view of Ranchi city.
Owing to population growth, poor levels of hygiene, and increasing urban poverty, the urban environment in many developing countries is rapidly deteriorating. Densely packed housing in shanty towns or slums and inadequate drinking-water supplies, garbage collection services, and surface-water drainage systems combine to create favourable habitats for the proliferation of vectors and reservoirs of communicable diseases. Ranchi the capital city is expanding both vertical and horizontal resulting in lots of problem like irregular electric supply, water supply, ground water depletion, air pollution, noise pollution, municipal waste disposal, failure of drainage systems, traffic jams etc. Surface waters are being contaminated. Seasonal diseases have also multiplied.
As more and more people leave villages and farms to live in cities, urban growth results. Urbanization occurs naturally from individual and corporate efforts to reduce time and expense in commuting and transportation while improving opportunities for jobs, education, housing, and transportation. Living in cities permits individuals and families to take advantage of the opportunities of proximity, diversity, and marketplace competition.
People move into cities to seek economic opportunities. In rural areas, often on small family farms, it is difficult to improve one's standard of living beyond basic sustenance. Farm living is dependent on unpredictable environmental conditions, and in times of drought, flood or pestilence, survival becomes extremely problematic.
Cities, in contrast, are known to be places where money, services and wealth are centralized. Cities are where fortunes are made and where social mobility is possible. Businesses, which generate jobs and capital, are usually located in urban areas. Whether the source is trade or tourism, it is also through the cities that foreign money flows into a country. It is easy to see why someone living on a farm might wish to take their chance moving to the city and trying to make enough money to send back home to their struggling family.
There are better basic services as well as other specialist services that aren't found in rural areas. There are more job opportunities and a greater variety of jobs. Health is another major factor. People, especially the elderly are often forced to move to cities where there are doctors and hospitals that can cater for their health needs. Other factors include a greater variety of entertainment (restaurants, movie theaters, theme parks, etc) and a better quality of education, namely universities. Due to their high populations, urban areas can also have much more diverse social communities allowing others to find people like them when they might not be able to in rural areas.
Clearly, urban settlements differ greatly in size, as mentioned by their populations. Is there a Theoretical maximum and an optimum size? Criffith Taylor and others believe that the ultimate size may be fixed by the increasing difficulty of obtaining enough water to supply unduly large numbers concentrated in a small area, while Lewis Mumford and similar authors think that the continued growth of very large cities not only produces more administrative problems than benefits. This also paralyses rather than furthers social relationships and phenomenally raises central land values, so much that land ceases to be adaptable to new needs.
Views on the optimum size of a city have altered with the march of history. Plato believed that most desirable size was 5,000, a figure which would allow everybody to hear the voice of an orator and so participate in active political life and develop varied social relations. Late nineteenth – century garden city enthusiasts in Britain thought that towns of 30,000 to 50,000 would be large enough supply all necessary human needs, whether medical, educational, social, economic or cultural.
Towns could not come into being until the surrounding countryside was capable of providing a food surplus in the past. Due to modern transport and large surpluses in many parts of the world, towns generally have little difficulty in obtaining food, even from far distant lands. Developing countries may lack the capital to give all their town folk an adequate diet, and even in developed countries there are sporadic temporary shortages, owing to failures in economic planning, poor harvests, dock strikes and traffic hold-ups occasioned by excessive rain, snow, floods, droughts etc.
The problem of water supply is more permanent and applies specifically to cities. It is becoming increasingly serious even in advanced countries which certainly have no problem in paying for the water they consume. The root of the problem lies in the fact that 98% of the earth’s surface water is contained in the salt oceans and in ice-caps. The remainder is unevenly distributed and often polluted. Over half is needed for agriculture, about a third for industry, 10 percent for domestic use.
Many cities, especially in developing countries, lack a clean supply of fresh water. In India, e.g., less than a third of the urban population has access to pure water, and the main reason why water borne diseases are rampant. Even when people are provided with purified water for drinking, they usually wash themselves and their clothing in contaminated supplies.
Owing to population growth, poor levels of hygiene, and increasing urban poverty, the urban environment in many developing countries is rapidly deteriorating. Densely packed housing in shanty towns or slums and inadequate drinking-water supplies, garbage collection services, and surface-water drainage systems combine to create favourable habitats for the proliferation of vectors and reservoirs of communicable diseases. As a consequence, vector-borne diseases such as malaria, lymphatic filariasis and dengue are becoming major public health problems associated with rapid urbanization in many tropical countries
Another change that has occurred after the oil crisis of 1973 is the vertical growth of large cities. People who were living in suburbs found it costly to travel to the city. The open spaces within the city got filled up by the construction of high rise buildings. Large bungalows and old residences were demolished and high rise buildings have come up both as commercial complexes and as residential flats. Many rich families are migrating from the suburbs to flats or apartments near the city center. The vertical expansion of cities poses further problems in water supply, sewage disposal and traffic congestion on the roads. Traffic causes urban noise, air pollution, stress and strain in an individual.
Urbanization results in construction of a large number of buildings, more roads factories, parking places, etc. for all these, land is secured either by diverting agricultural land or by cutting forests. There may not be one example where a large urban center has been developed on barren land. It is always the agricultural land or forest land which is utilized. At some places beaches, lakes and rivers are filled to create land to accommodate the growing population. In these cases too, natural habitat is disturbed or destroyed.
Urbanization also introduces new types of plants and animals. When human beings occupy any area they prefer to those animals and plants which are of immediate value. For example, dogs, horses, cows and other domestic animals, are maintained. Parks and garden are created where plants of ornamental and economic values are cultivated. There is also another class of animals, which automatically start living in areas which are occupied by humans. There are rats, crows, mosquitoes, houseflies etc.
The demands made on water by urban industries, power stations and homes are growing at a more rapid rate than the growth of population. Many wells do not yield enough water, river pollution, like Ganga, Damodar etc. in India, is a continuing evil, and the remaining water resources- mostly in thinly populated highland areas of abundant rain- are far from many consuming centres.
  1. To understand the problem of the Ranchi city due to population growth after becoming capital of Jharkhand state.
  2. To enhance equal and good environment planning on every aspect of development in Ranchi city.
  3. To create awareness of water contamination and water depletion.
  4. To examine the relationship between urbanization and climate change.

In order to achieve the purpose of this paper and to answer the research questions, information was gathered in several ways. These are: field interviews, and field observation . Secondary data also is an important source of information for this paper which was collected through local news papers and web sites.
Case study of Ranchi.

Ranchi is located in the southern part of the Chota Nagpur plateau, which is the eastern section of the Deccan plateau. Ranchi is known as the "City of Waterfalls" because of its numerous waterfalls, the most well known of which are Dassam Falls, Hundru Falls, Jonha Falls, Hirni Falls and Panchghagh Falls.
The Subarnarekha river and its tributaries constitute the local river system. The channels Kanke, Rukka and Hatia have been dammed to create reservoirs that supply water to the majority of the population.
Ranchi has a hilly topography and its dense tropical forests a combination that produces a relatively moderate climate compared to the rest of the state. Although Ranchi has a humid subtropical climate, its location and the forests surrounding it combine to produce the unusually pleasant climate for which it's known. Its climate is the primary reason why Ranchi was once the summer capital of the undivided State of Bihar and was designated a preferable "hill station". Since that time, rapid population growth and industrialization have caused a marked change in its weather patterns and an increase in average temperature. This has resulted in gradual loss of its eligibility for "hill station" status
Demographic history of Ranchi shows that its population grew slowly during 1901-1941. In the subsequent decade of 1941 and 1951, its rate of growth was higher than national average. Due to enhanced importance of the city and its environment, people are attracted towards the city, and occupy land for businesses and residential purposes. The decade 1961-1981 saw the highest growth of population due to migration and attraction of people towards the old summer capital of Bihar. Population increased with 82 percent in 1961-71 and 92 percent in 1971-81. Obviously, people occupied the area where they felt secure in terms of education, hospital, infrastructure, employment, etc.
Ranchi started as a small city occupying an area of around 6 sq km in 1869 with a population of approximately 12,000 in 1871. The area gradually increased to 43.44 sq km in 1965, 175.29 sq km in 1985 and eventually stood at 177.19 sq km in 2004.
Geographically Ranchi city is heterogeneous and due to its varied topological features, development process disturbs-land, village forests, and natural resources. Use of land and steep slopes for cultivation, and heavy engineering works can easily activate ecological degradation. Since natural resources are important base for subsistence, some means should be devised for planned use of these resources. Ranchi region needs much more attention due to regular occurrences of deforestation and improper urbanization.
Rapid urbanization has resulted due to several factors. However, natural population growth remains one of the major factors since 1980s.Ranchi City is experiencing a high rate of growth and it is one of the fastest growing cities in India. As per census from 1901 to 1941 the rate of growth was 3.5 percent per annum, whereas it was 14 percent during 1951 to 1971 and 8 percent during 1971 to 2001. After independence, population of Ranchi City in 1951 was only 1,06,849, which increased by over eight times to 8,63,180 in 2001.
After being separated from Bihar, Jharkhand state of India is now fast growing in terms of business. Ranchi the capital city is expanding both vertical and horizontal resulting in lots of problem like irregular electric supply, water supply, ground water depletion, air pollution, noise pollution, municipal waste disposal, failure of drainage systems, traffic jams etc. Surface waters are being contaminated. Seasonal diseases have also multiplied. More and more people are concentrating in the city flats which has raised the land values many fold. Ranchi earlier known as the summer capital has now become the heat furnace during summer. It is all due to the unplanned expansion of the city.
Problems of Urban growth. Expansion of Ranchi city.
Problems of Urban growth. Dams and ponds are polluted.
Problems of Urban growth. Fine dust created by stone mining to fulfill the demand of Ranchi city is affecting the forest cover.
Problems of Urban growth.
View of Ranchi city from top of the hill.
Some of the major problems of urbanization in Ranchi are 1. Urban Sprawl 2. Overcrowding 3. Housing 4. Unemployment 5. Slums and Squatter Settlements 6. Transport 7. Water 8. Sewerage Problems 9. Trash Disposal 10. Urban Crimes 11. Problem of Urban Pollution.
The sheer magnitude of the urban population in Ranchi, haphazard and unplanned growth of urban areas, and a desperate lack of infrastructure are the main causes of such a situation. The rapid growth of urban population both natural and through migration, has put heavy pressure on public utilities like housing, sanitation, transport, water, electricity, health, education and so on.
Poverty, unemployment and under employment among the rural immigrants, beggary, thefts, dacoities, burglaries and other social evils are on rampage. Urban sprawl is rapidly encroaching the precious agricultural land.
A considerable change in land use has occurred during the last four decades. Change from rural to urban land has been fast as a result shortage of land has led to speculation and increase in land values.
Over the last thirty years, expansion of the urban settlement has left adverse impact on the health of surface water bodies. Apart from the lessening of the numbers (around 300) of water bodies, it has also lead to the shrinkage of wetlands. Now-a-days, residential or business apartments, at the expense of the water bodies, have become a common phenomenon in the city. According to the study the area has from 1960s onwards suffered from substantial decrease of agricultural lands, open spaces, water bodies, along with an increase of settlements. In 1972, the total area under the surface water bodies was only 66.23 sq. km, while in 2010, the area was 62.14 sq. km. The area under the major reservoirs of the study area (Kanke, Rukka, Hatia reservoir) too has undergone shrinkages.
According to Ranchi district Gazetteer published in 1970, “The climate of Ranchi is cool and pleasant. The general elevation of 2,180 feet above sea level gives it a uniformly lower range of temperature than the plains. However, in spite of the high day temperature, the nights are cool and the atmosphere is so dry that the heat is by no means so oppressive as that in plains. About 5 to 6 thunder-storms and nor’-westers occur in April and May and cause refreshing fall in the temperature”. But today climate is changing with rising temperature and erratic rainfall. Earlier Ranchi received rainfall almost throughout the year but the now it has changed.
The urban heat island has become a growing concern in Ranchi and is increasing over the years. The urban heat island is formed when industrial and urban areas are developed and heat becomes more abundant. In rural areas, a large part of the incoming solar energy is used to evaporate water from vegetation and soil. In cities, where less vegetation and exposed soil exists, the majority of the sun’s energy is absorbed by urban structures and asphalt. Hence, during warm daylight hours, less evaporative cooling in cities allows surface temperatures to rise higher than in rural areas. Additional city heat is given off by vehicles and factories, as well as by industrial and domestic heating and cooling units. This effect causes the city to become 2 to 10 degree F (1 to 6 degree C) warmer than surrounding landscapes. Impacts also include reducing soil moisture and intensification of carbon dioxide emissions.
Inhabitants of Ranchi city of Jharkhand state of India are facing acute water crisis. Most of the dug wells and deep wells and the corporation taps of this populated area have run dry forcing people to consume polluted surface water. Extensive deforestation, urbanization and industrilization has led to uneven spread of rainfall, on which the water supply from the dams to the city area is depended. Even the ground water table has been affected due to uneven rainfall. From last few years rainfall due to western disturbances during winter season has shown decline trend. This rainfall earlier used to recharge groundwater which helped to maintain water table in peak summer season.
The process of urbanization and industrialization from last 30 years has caused changes in the water table as a result of decreased recharge and increased withdrawal. Many of the small ponds which were main source of water in the surrounding areas are now filled for different construction purpose affecting the water table. Lots of DEEP- BORING in the Ranchi city has also forced the water table to move down as well as Ranchi plateau consists of metamorphic rocks which are relatively impermeable and hence serve as poor aquifers. They bear groundwater only in their weathered top portion which rarely exceeds 10 meters.
Now the Ranchi air has become highly polluted. Children are suffering from different lungs diseases. Eyes burning while driving scooter or even walking, is now a very common phenomenon. Toxic gases emitted from the automobiles are increasing many folds. Lots of trees have also been cut down for making houses, marketing complexes etc. Due to thin vegetation Ranchi is under the grip of dust pollution. Due to the dust pollution sky above the Ranchi looks pale yellow.
Ranchi topped the list of increase in vehicle registrations in 2001-2002, the largest in buses, cars, taxis, jeeps, two-wheelers and three wheelers were recorded in Ranchi. Transportation (cars, trucks, buses etc.) is responsible for a significant percentage of criteria pollutants, such as Sulfur dioxide, Nitrogen oxides, Volatile organic compounds, Particulates, Carbon monoxide and Lead.
Emissions from an individual car are generally low. Average emission of carbon monoxide from the two wheelers varies from 0.04% to 0.10% and average emission of hydro carbons was 500 ppm in Ranchi city.But emissions from thousands of vehicles plying in the streets of Ranchi city add up, making the automobile the first greatest polluter. Main problem is with old cars especially diesel operated. In fact, driving a car is probably a typical citizen’s most “polluting” daily activity.
Ranchi City has put heavy pressure on the ecologically sensitive areas, due to deforestation and loss of cropped area. Agricultural land is being gradually converted into built-up land for industrial, commercial, residential and others, uses.
Theme of the paper is urban growth and its haphazard nature, which is obvious while traveling on the streets of Ranchi. Areas are being converted for urban use without any systematic development plan and without a corresponding investment in infrastructure. Ranchi City is expanding towards northeast and southwest, encroaching adjacent small towns and engulfing rich agriculture land. Ranchi City has put heavy pressure on the ecologically sensitive areas, due to deforestation and loss of cropped area. Agricultural land is being gradually converted into built-up land for industrial, commercial, residential and others, uses. Poor water and poor land management has resulted in urban areas with inadequate services and infrastructure and a corresponding lack of accessibility, that may prove very costly to resolve in future.
One solution for both lateral expansion and vertical growth of a city is to develop satellite towns at a distance of 40 to 50 km from the city. The satellite town will not be a mere residential town to accommodate commuters. Such a satellite town will be both a place of work and a place of living.
Cherunilam, F. and O.D. Heggade, !987. Housing in India, Himalaya Publishing house, New Delhi.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog