This sample paper on Urban Giantism offers a framework of relevant facts based on recent research in the field. Read the introductory part, body, and conclusion of the paper below.
Urban bias exists when the overall economic development of a country is restricted or hindered by the urban-dwellers that are more able to pressure and manipulate the government and can do so to their own advantage. Wikipedia describes urban bias as “a political economy argument according to which economic development is hampered by groups who, by their central location in urban areas, are able to pressure governments to protect their interests”.
The theory of urban bias stems from the Urban Giantism problem.
Todaro and Smith begin to describe the effects of Urban Giantism in Economic Development Ch. 7: Urbanization and Rural-Urban Migration: Theory and Policy. Here we can see contrasts between Urban Metropolitans in Developed countries such as Britain and France versus those in developing countries such as Argentina and Peru. “Sometimes one urban core becomes too large to keep the costs of the industries located there to a minimum” this is true in most cases where a particular city has urbanised very quickly and most industry is located there.
Infrastructural amenities may become strained. This is why in many developed countries they have distributed the urban core, sometimes to a different city in completely different part of the country, and this helps to enable the regions to continue to reap benefits from agglomeration, but still keep costs to a minimum. In no way is this change automatic, it takes time but most developed countries have had hundreds of years to expand.
The case in less developed countries is more difficult as their governments tend not to be as involved in dispersing the economic activities.
Mostly firms want to remain within the capital cities or others existing urban giants which are all too often over populated and find their resources straining. For example New York city is the largest metropolitan area in the United States, however, according to the US census bureau, there are only 19,541,453 people living in New York State as a whole, compared to 307,006,550 people in the United States as a whole (2009 estimates), i. e. approximately 6% of the National population.
In Nigeria, the largest metropolitan city is the former capital (now the Economic capital) Lagos. The population of Lagos State as a whole according to census on the official Lagos state website is approximately 17million people, with 85% inhabiting the metropolitan area, constituting only 37% of the total land mass of the state. There are approximately 150 million people in Nigeria as a whole, meaning that the population of Lagos accounts for about 11% of the population, and is geographically the smallest city.
Lagos is a prime example of what is known as First-city bias. This occurs when the country’s largest or first place city receives a disproportionately large share of public investment in comparison to the second largest city and the rest. In cases like this, more and more industries and firms choose to locate in the “first city” in lieu of other cities which may be better suited to accommodate them e. g. space wise and in terms of cost of raw materials etc. This is primarily because the city is an established mega-city.
The extreme overpopulation means that not only are the bare essential resources strained, hiking up cost of production, but also the infrastructure may be unsuited to accommodate the further expansion in population which, will result from more and more firms opening, and urbanisations as people from other cities and rural areas seek job opportunities and to improve their standard of living. To understand how urban bias may result from unbalanced growth, we must first consider possible causes of unbalanced growth and increased rural-urban migration.
As with Lagos, many of the cities which are now Urban Giants are located in economically resourceful areas, as well as easily accessible geographical locations for trade to take place (both international and local). Lagos is located on the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean, which is a prime location for its fast development. The boosting era was during the 18th century when the Portuguese first arrived and began to trade slaves and after the abolition traded other goods such as crops.
Lagos was a port for exporting goods from other regions in Nigeria and so the infrastructure was developed for transporting the natural resources from the North East and Middle regions. In Argentina the capital city Buenos Aires is also one of the largest metro cities in South America. It is located in the North East; the whole Eastern Part of Argentina is coastline. Greater Buenos Aires has a population of around 15. 2 million people (according to the 2010 Argentine population census), about 37% of the total population of Argentina (over 40 million).
During the 17th and 18th century due to pirates’ threats to the Spanish ships, Buenos Aires was used as a gateway to places like Peru and Lima. Buenos Aires depended on trade from its earliest days. Buenos Aires is the financial, industrial, commercial, and cultural hub of Argentina. Its port is one of the busiest in South America; navigable rivers by way of the Rio de la Plata connect the port to north-east Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay – Wikipedia. Lagos and Buenos Aires are both commercial industrial capitals of their respective countries, and contribute much of their countries’ GDP.
In non-OECDs (less developed economies) we find patterns of rural-urban migration i. e. people move from the rural areas to the larger cities and metropolitan areas in search of better employment prospects and to possibly improve their standard of living. Rank City Country GDP in $ID BN Population (MIL) 1 Sao Paulo Brazil $ 388 18. 845 2 Buenos Aires Argentina $ 362 12. 795 3 Rio de Janeiro Brazil $ 201 11. 748 4 Santiago Chile $ 120 5. 720 5 Brasilia Brazil $ 110 3. 599 South America Rank City Country GDP in $ID BN Population (MIL) 1 Johannesburg South Africa $ 110 3. 35 2 Cape Town South Africa $ 103 3. 215 3 East Rand South Africa $ 54 2. 986 4 Lagos Nigeria $ 35 9. 466 5 Luanda Angola $ 33 4. 000 Sub-Saharan Africa (Source: Wikipedia. com – list of the richest cities and/or their metropolitan areas in the world by GDP according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. For the non-OECD countries PricewaterhouseCoopers was only able to make approximate estimates based on plausible ratios of city-to-national GDP per capita) Nigeria – Urban population = 48% of total population (2008 estimate) rate of urbanisation = 3. % annual rate of change (2005-10 estimate) Argentina – Urban population = 92% of total population (2009 estimate); rate of urbanisation = 1. 2% annual rate of change (2005-10 estimate) (Source: http://www. indexmundi. com – originating source CIA World Factbook – Unless otherwise noted, information in this page is accurate as of November 3, 2010)