Concept: In the years ahead, urbanization could slow or even be reversed in a world of land, water and energy scarcity, where the value of each resource may increase substantially and generate a drifting in terms of the trade between countries and cities.
The World population by 2050 will reach 9.1 billion people, with nearly half of this increase occurring in developing countries, where urbanization will continue to accelerate at a pace where the ratio to will rise from the present 49%:51% to an astonishing 70%:30% urban /rural population distribution ratio, according to The Food Agricultural Organization (2009).
A critical question that needs to be answered from the imposing challenge will be, whether urbanization can be slowed or reversed in light of the increase in value of resources like land, water, and energy due to their scarcity, and also the possible drifting of trade between countries and cities.
An International Federation of Surveyors (FIGO) (2010), Number 3 Commission report identifies with some degree of accuracy the problems cause by urbanization and its impact on the need for the process to be reversed, when it argued that as cities expand beyond their administrative boundaries, they lack the judicial and financial capability to provide the necessary services like water, electricity, sanitation and planning among others, to all its inhabitants.
The scarcity of these resources, the rise of carbon emissions through traffic congestions, poor quality and shortage of water, rise in crime levels, unemployment and scarcity of housing, which are feature strongly on the fringes of urbanized areas, can serve to drive those less capable financially to resort to reverse urbanization.
According to FIG (2010), the administration of cities experiencing urbanization challenges become complicated and bureaucratic, especially in less developed countries, where land management is weak, and the new technology and necessary spatial tools are not implemented. However it could be argued that under good governance in rural areas, government will as much as possible develop strategies to better utilized land, exploit energy sources like solar, wind, hydroelectricity, bio-fuels, and geothermal energy to supplement the high demands in the urban areas, while providing jobs and better livelihood for its rural population.
Increase in high quality jobs will also accentuate the reverse urbanization process, especially when government and private sector companies work in partnerships.
Business organizations that are constantly revising their business and marketing strategies, will become cognizant of the change in the rural/urban ratio, and adjust their distribution of goods and service portfolios to meet the shifting demands in order to maintain competitive edge as well as profitability and viability.
As a consequence, as the reverse urbanization increase in intensity and the business begin to realign themselves with the trend, the burden on city administrations will become less, and as such they will be able to better allocate their scarce resources to more efficient land management, energy and water distribution, road and traffic management, and reducing the emission of green house gas emissions.
Reverse Urbanization in cases like this gives both rural and urban administrations opportunities to strive for an equilibrium points where excess of resources in one area where transmissible or viable, will be transferred to where shortages exists with minimal population migrations.
Countries in the final analysis, that recognizes the challenges presented by the threatening world population growth forecast for 2050, and become proactive by instituting rural land management as well as more efficient alternate energy developmental programs, will be better able to feed their populations, provide jobs, maintain sustainable environments, and in the process drastically reduce the impact of urbanization, especially on the fringes of their cities.
Food Agricultural Organization, (2009). “How to feed the world by 2050” <www.fao.org/fileleadmin/template/wsfs/docs/expert_paper/how-to-feed-the-world-in-2050.pd>f , 01/30/12
International Federation of Surveyors (FIG), (2009).”Rapid Urbanization and Mega Cities: The Need for Spatial Information Management: Research Study by FIG Commission 3 <www.fig.net/pub/figpub/pub48/figpub48.pdf>, 01/30/12