Impact of Urban Living on Families and Individuals in Gulf

We know the abundance movement of populations from rural to urban surroundings and they know the subsequent changes in the suburbs as urbanization. In 2019, a study revealed that about 4.2 billion people now live in an urban area and by 2041, it will increase to 6 billion people. 

They estimated cities play a varied purpose in all civilizations. They are the backbone of the technological development and productive growth of many nations. It also serves as a propagator for poverty, divergence, ambient factors, and contagious disease.

Urbanization and modernization also affected the families in the Gulf. It is contagious, as the structural family patterns show more “modern” forms than the values of family life. 

They found this major concern:

  • To control the size of the family structural change, be it extended, modified-extended, or nuclear, and the features associated with such change.
  • Family-size(fertility), and child care patterns, as mothers started to go for work because of the growing economic needs.
  • The impending query about the elderly, as it is still the children’s responsibility to provide care, or government, or both?

Back In The Timeline

Nearly 20 years ago, the Gulf was classified as an underdeveloped “Third World” nation. Recently the Gulf has been categorized as a newcomer to modernization in both economic and social development. Infrastructures like roads, ports (both sea and air), modern hospitals, and schools became the major game-changer. The government institutions developed from a smaller number of buildings and employees because of the oil sector. 

They compare the effect of urbanization and modernization on the family to the effect of industrialization on the family in western societies. The belief during the industrialization in western societies led to dissipated nuclear family forms may not validate when surveying the effect of modernization and urbanization on family structure in third world countries. 

While the revolutions in the West provided limited occupations and privileges for the individual from kinship responsibility, urbanization in the third world has provided only specialized employment opportunities. The further limited government service sector has provided a lower degree of individual portability compared to more developed countries. 

Another factor of urbanization is that it results in major health problems that include poor nutrition, pollution, and contagious diseases, poor sanitation, and housing conditions. These issues have a direct effect on individual quality of life while stretching public health systems and assets. 

Urbanization had a negative impact on the nutritional health of poor populations, as they have limited financial resources. Also, the cost of food is higher in cities, thus the poor lack nutritious diets and lead to several illnesses. These people also suffer from malnutrition and are overweight, which contribute to several chronic diseases. 

It is noted that obesity is caused by increased calorie intake and decreased physical activity that is linked with wealth. Another reason for obesity in developing countries is due to absence of physical space, constantly desk-bound for work and uncontrolled energy intake, and shallow energy expenditure. 

Another major contributor to poor health in an urban atmosphere is pollution. The poor live in overcrowded areas, near open sewers and fester water, thus exposed to unhealthy waste, respiratory illnesses, and cardiovascular diseases. 

Added to it, the aftermath of inner-city transportation like road traffic is transpiring as a serious problem. 

Some experts suggested that to resolve the problems of the city, we must improve the socio-economic situation of the urban poor. Until then, the population will continue to hike to urban settings. 

Some suggested points the government can consider are:

  • Policies to incorporate accessible employment, community participation, portability, and social transformation, to crack generational poverty cycles. 
  • Addressing urban environmental issues, like planning urban space and taxes on the use of moving vehicles, use of bicycles, walking, or other forms of human transportation. 
  • Substantial cooperative planning between rural and urban settings that improve food security
  • Social security and universal health insurance reduce wealth similarity among urban dwellers, like setting up primary healthcare clinics that are accessible and affordable to all, including urban slums. 

Sustainable Urbanization: Key To Properly Manage Urbanization In Gulf

“Sustainable Urbanization” is the approach for managing urban growth, as it rationally overcomes the consequences of rapid urbanization in Gulf countries. It also has to consider focusing on three main issues: 

  • Protection of marine and agricultural lands
  • Preservation of urban lands for future uses
  • Improving the urban environment. 

Any urban activities need to be prevented beyond the limit, also industrial discharges into Gulf water so that it can protect the marine environments. 

Regulating the agricultural land to the maximum area of 1000 m2 should be limited to private “non-commercial” residential activities. 

Only by strict monitoring by the government can all these issues be improved, and restricted to avoid consequences of rapid urbanization in the Gulf.  

I, Priya Nagarajan, is a past Assistant Professor, mentor, tutor, counselor. Writing has always been a passion of mine and so changed my path to my passion. I believe language is the best way to convey your thoughts and dreams to get the results. I believe it takes a personal approach to reach individual success. I write with a flair for creativity and a keen eye for the professional.

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