Cities all around the world face some sort of dilemma. Whether those problems are major or minor, or whether the city belongs to an EMDC (Economically More Developed Country) or an ELDC (Economically Less Developed Country), all of those cities make attempts in order to solve their crisis. This essay will investigate problems and solutions that cities in ELDCs face. The successfulness of each solution will be briefly evaluated. Four actual examples of cities will be examined; Rio de Janeiro, Bangkok, Jakarta, and Calcutta…
Rio de Janeiro is a city among the ELDCs. This city is located by a bay in South America and has a population of a little over 10 million people, which also makes it a megacity. Similar to the last two cities investigated, Rio also has experiences a problem with overcrowding and, consequently, shelter and housing. Around half a million people take the streets to be their home and another two million people live in favelas and poor quality housing. These less fortunate residents are not applicable to benefit from running water, sewage systems or electricity and have no legal right to be on the land. This means that if another family wanted to buy the land that specific family would have to move without any say. An attempted solution was when the government cleared all the favelas and built new homes. However this was not successful as the new homes were almost as bad as the favelas. Thus the government decided to work with the residents of favelas to improve their conditions.
One of the other main troubles that Rio de Janeiro faces is crime. The most area with the highest crime rate is within the vicinity and locality of the favelas. Thus many people believe that favelas are part of organized crime, where drugs and other harmful substances can easily be attained. Hence, many of the richer families move away from favelas and furthermore to the extent of a new city or town. The public is also warned when entering dangerous areas as to take off jewelry, etc.
Traffic is yet another problem faced in this famous city of South America. The mountainous terrain disables making the road network easy to plan and hence traffic congestion increases. As this means that cars will be switched on for a longer period of time, pollution will also increase. However, pollution does not only increase in the manner of exhaust fumes emitted from a car. There is also a lot of rubbish around the favelas. This opens new (but forbidden) doors to cholera and other fatal diseases.
However, the local authority introduced the Favela Bairro Project; this is an organization that is working to benefit the people existing in and within areas of favelas. Some ways that have been thought to improve living conditions in favelas are as follows: replacing buildings that are easily vulnerable to collapse, maintaining roads to make easier usage, installing pipes for water and wires for electricity, as well as improving the sewage system and health facilities. Also, jobs were provided to favela residents to help them develop and utilize new skills.
A major problem was the lack of space in this city. The only way to solve this problem was to expand. A new town was built which was named Barra da Tijuca; the ‘new Rio’. The more wealthy people moved to this town as it was safer and less densely populated. This process is known as counterurbanisation. The new citizens of Barra da Tijuca had more luxurious and spacious houses as well as new and improved amenities such as malls, restaurants and much more.
Bangkok is a city located in Thailand that is home to about 10 per cent of Thailand’s total population. In 20 years, the population has shot up from three million to 10 million people. Bangkok is quite a beautiful city; in fact, it does not seem to look like a city that belongs to the ELDCs. This city that is nicknamed ‘Gridlock City’ (due to the traffic congestion), it resembles a rich city such as Los Angeles, New York and many others; however, they say you never judge a book by its cover. Bangkok, a primate city, suffers from “car-mania”! There are a total of 600 cars produced in a day; this in turn causes a large amount of carbon dioxide emission that is very harmful for the environment. Adding to this bizarre fact, there is no underground metro in Bangkok and there are only two rail tracks.
This shows that the primary mode of transportation is using the road and means that there is a lot of pollution from fumes and also a lot of noise created. These can both be very harmful to humans and animals alike. The major step taken by the government to ease this problem was to build an elevated train route. However, as the completion of this new mode of transportation depended on the economic status of Bangkok, construction kept on being interrupted. This elevated train route may be cheaper than owning a car, thus many people will be attracted to this mode of travel, but unfortunately it takes long to build.
As a result of traffic, policemen have even been trained to deliver babies and doctors use motorbikes so that they can reach their destination quicker! Policemen and many residents of Bangkok wear masks to filter the air they breathe in, when they walk on the street. As a matter of fact, 13 per cent of hospital patients in Bangkok suffer from lung problems and bronchial illnesses. This 13 per cent did not only experience pollution from cars, but also the dust from buildings that were under construction played quite a major role in damaging their health.
As Bangkok is a megacity, overcrowding is a very big issue that is continuously haunting the poor. 1.5 million people from Bangkok’s total population live in ‘Do-it-Yourself’ houses where they cannot retrieve clean water, electricity and other necessities of an everyday (‘normal’) life. The more people who leave the countryside, and enter Bangkok the tougher and more difficult it is for them and many others to live together. As one of the citizens of Bangkok, who was interviewed in the documentary watched, stated, “The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.” This means that only the rich people can afford having a high quality of life in Bangkok. A solution to this problem that haunts many residents was to build schools, shops and other pull factors in their own villages and towns. This enabled the residents to achieve a better quality of life and also saw that less people played a role in ‘rural-to-urban’ migration.
Jakarta is yet another city to be found in an ELDC. Jakarta, the biggest city in South East Asia, is a prime city in Indonesia. A primate city is when everyone who leaves the country side migrates to a specific city. This means that Jakarta is a very rapidly developing city and the population is also increasing exponentially at a high rate. The first and most obvious problem that Jakarta faces is obviously overcrowding. In fact, conditions are so bad that there is an average of eight people living in one room among the poorer citizens and residents of Jakarta.
Not all homes in Jakarta have access to clean and safe drinking water either. The action taken about this problem was to install water pumps next to homes. As a result, much of the population pumps their water from the country, which may be harmful as the water may be polluted. Unfortunately this still means that many citizens of Jakarta yet do not have continuous running water. As the population is increasing rapidly, there are many consequences that Jakarta face. Some of these consequences include less employment opportunities for some people (as not all people are educated well, job posts provided are being occupied quickly, etc) and an increase in traffic, which also has an effect on the environment, and much more (including the safety of people, property, etc).
The fact that jobs have become rare, especially for the more uneducated citizens has forced a part of the population to own small kiosks and to vend on the road-sides. This type of job is very hectic and yet can pay off half the fee of school and also pay for food. The market of items sold includes magazines, small toys and much more. However, as Indonesia has many factories and industries, the opportunity of obtaining a job for some people increases. Many factories also operate during the night; this enables people who are busy during the day to acquire a night shift job. One of the most popular factories in Indonesia is the shoe factories. Many famous shoe companies, such as Nike, Adidas and Reebok have their base in Indonesia. However this job too is very hectic and not very high paying but is “nevertheless, better than being a farmer.”
Indonesia is home for many kinds of traffic. From simple bikes to much more sophisticated vehicles such as cars. Most rich people prefer to buy their own private cars. The solution conferred by the government was partly of improving railroads and encouraging different means of transportation, but mostly, they installed road tolls at many different locations scattered over the city. This was a plus point for the rich people as they have the means to pay and also as it encouraged car pooling.
Another problem this city encounters is competition for space. Development was mainly concentrated in the middle of the city. To repair this, the government decided to build three new towns; to the east, west and south. However, this turned drastically into a failure as all the three new towns merged into one huge megacity with Jakarta. As there was a competition of space, the cost of housing and renting also increased while resident who could not pay were forced to move out.
Calcutta is located to the West of India. Transportation, housing, employment, water supply and sanitation are just some of the typical problems being faced by people living in Calcutta. Calcutta is one of the largest cities in the world and is also the capital city of the Indian state of West Bengal. This immense city is a major port of India and is estimated to be the dwelling for around 15 million people in the year 2000. This straight away can tell us that overcrowding and population density is an obvious problem. Out of these 15 million people, a quarter is expected to live in the open and on the streets, and another 3 million to reside in temporary housing. Houses are packed with people and thus living conditions are insufficient and not decent among the poorer residents of this city. These houses are part of housing communities (which are called bustees) that are made from temporary materials such as wattle, mud and many more, these houses belong to land lords. Hence, if the tenants are unable to pay within a period of time, they are disallowed from the houses and have no where to go.
Good health is a threat to inhabitants of Calcutta. A quarter of Calcutta’s population lives without access to running water and toilets and sanitation seem to be rare or even , one could say, on the verge of extinction. Furthermore, as instruments for sanitation such as pipes are not maintained, it is very likely to find leaking sewage pipes and clogged drains on the streets of Calcutta. This all leads to poor health and living conditions for the people of Calcutta.
A solution to this problem was the founding of The Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority. This organization was established in 1970 and is working towards improving the conditions of bustees. The organization improves conditions by working on digging more drains, enabling easier access to running water and public toilets as well as paving alleys and constructing roads. However, the sad fact is that this society to help the people of Calcutta has seen their progress slow down due to financial setbacks, immigration and the constant increase in population.
Many people have no choice but to walk to their work place as there is an overcrowding in the transport sector of Calcutta. Buses and other forms of public transport are not sufficient enough to carry all the passengers to their work areas. The public transport buses stay packed, until people are literally dangling out of them! The only way to solve these problems is to encourage the use of different modes of transport, so that the people can be spread. Thus, the construction of a new bridge and an underground system has taken place. This helped the citizen quite a bit; however the roads still experience a lot of congestion.
This area in the South of Asia has a lot of people working unregistered jobs such as those like vending on the streets and running after cars trying to get people to buy magazines and newspapers. However there are not many people unemployed, so that is a good fact of living in Calcutta.
The two cities of Jakarta and Bangkok are very similar cities, both considering their status and the problems that they face. They all belong to the economically less developed countries (ELDCs) and all face similar dilemmas. The main problems looked into within these cities are overcrowding, as people move to urban areas expecting a better life, traffic and pollution. Although each city makes an effort to try and restore their city, some solutions are more successful than others. Jakarta’s solution to competition of space was to establish three towns, in the east, west and south.
This was a good idea, however, as the population increased, urbanization took place and the new towns expanded and caused an even bigger problem when they merged with the current megacity of Jakarta. This shows that the solution that the government came up with, considering Jakarta’s problem was not anticipated carefully; not all situations were thought about before carrying out this proposal, or maybe the city was desperate for a solution. The rural population of Bangkok began establishing schools, shops and other amenities such as health care facilities in the surrounding area of the low class districts. This was supposed to encourage the people staying in rural areas and not to carry out rural-to-urban migration.
The first city, Rio de Janeiro, was facing the same crisis, and yet had the most successful scheme. A new town, named Barra da Tijuca, was built next to Rio. The wealthier citizens moved into this town as well as the more poor, who were employed by the wealthier citizens. This plan was the most successful as the ‘new Rio’ does not consist of favelas (or slums) and is not spreading too quickly. Furthermore, the government is more able to control events that take place in this new town.
The solution of coping with traffic was also best dealt by Bangkok in my opinion. Bangkok’s government decided to build an elevated train route that flowed throughout the city. This technique of transportation is inexpensive and can take one all through the city. The development of the elevated train route took quite a while to construct, which is a disadvantage economical setbacks. However, as soon as it was built many residents of Bangkok used the elevated train as their principal means of transport. Jakarta’s plan to control traffic was somewhat passive; toll-roads were allocated at many places in the city. However this just made it worse for the poorer citizens, but yet encouraged more people to car pool, which meant decreasing pollution from fumes emitted by motor vehicles. This shows that constructing a different mode of transport, if traffic is a problem in a city, would be a good idea. If the road is the primary source of travel, it would be a good initiative to build a new underground like the one portrayed in Calcutta.
However, if a city is suffering from overcrowding, it would be a good idea to establish a new town close to the main city. This plan though is very risky as there is every possible chance it may not go as planned. Thus planning is necessary and quite vital when it comes to making all these decisions and choices.
Therefore, as stated in the beginning of this paper, it can be said that cities all over the world experience some problems once in a while. In this study/analysis, four cities in particular were viewed and their problems were examined; Rio de Janeiro, Bangkok, Jakarta and Calcutta. All these four cities are part of economically less developed countries. They experience problems such as overcrowding, traffic, employment, health threats, housing and many others. These problems occur in many scales, from minor to major. However, all these cities attempt to solve whatever problems they face; some succeed, while others need to try harder.