The Challenges of Urbanization

Dr Asangba Tzudir

Urbanization as a phenomenon is happening at a very rapid pace and because of a multiplicity of reasons like better livelihood facilities, education, communication, business and commerce, etc. However, there is hardly any scope for township expansion especially in districts like Mokokchung, Kohima and Dimapur. And because of its limit scope the very nature of township and the pattern of housing and livelihood is taking up the form of a slum, except that the dwellings are not like the typical slum constructions. Alongside, there is degradation of air quality, traffic congestion, improper drainage system also caused by unplanned township and colonies.

The growth of the townships due to urbanization poses serious challenges to the very idea of development especially when there is hardly any scope for growth except upwards where buildings are converted to skyscrapers. Various problems, issues and hindrances that come with urbanization get accumulated and create into a heap of problems leading to the emergence of negative impacts and have assumed serious dimensions including housing problems, environmental pollution and health hazards, deterioration in air quality, challenges of equitable distribution of resources and basic necessities, etc. Urban problems are on the rise so much so that it has become a big challenge even to meet the urgent requirements like water and power. It has also led to serious environmental issues, and that tackling immediate issues and challenges is in itself a surmounting challenge. Yet at the same time, human beings need to think and prepare so that the coming future generation will be able to enjoy quality life. 

Urbanization has also led to an increase in unemployment rates, and which also finds tied to various other issues and problems. Not only is there unnecessary addition to the urbanization baggage but it leads to escalation and rippling of various connected issues and problems like drugs and alcohol, prostitution, heinous crimes etc. All these and more adds to the making of our city into dwellings which can be likened to a slum, and a place where a whole lot of ‘illegal’ activities comes to pollute our towns.

Now that the ULB electioneering process in Nagaland has began in right earnest, one may hope for a new regime of welfare development. However, the present condition marred by unplanned activities, the selfish attitude of the people are issues that will come in the way of development besides the surmounting challenges posed by rapid urbanization. That,  development is at a threshold, at a limit beyond which it seems impossible to undo, and redo, ‘unpack’, ‘re-plan’ and ‘re-develop’ the present urban situation. 

Realistically, humans as moral beings, as change agents, that has the capacity to envisage good from bad, and right from wrong needs to be sensible enough so that the impact of urbanization and its associated problems do not get worse, while at the same time exploiting the little opportunities and turning it into possibilities and creating the little changes which brought within a collective can really be an impact factor. There is also need for greater consciencetisation and analysis of the larger related urban issues so as to avoid the present going from bad to worse.

(Dr Asangba Tzudir writes guest editorial for The Morung Express. Comments can be emailed to asangtz@gmail.com)