Industrialization leads to urbanization by creating economic growth and job opportunities that draw people to cities. Urbanization typically begins when a factory or multiple factories are established within a region, thus creating a high demand for factory labor. Other businesses such as building manufacturers, retailers and service providers then follow the factories to meet the product demands of the workers. This creates even more jobs and demands for housing, thus establishing an urban area.

Urbanization Occurs Near Bodies of Water

Throughout the history of human civilization, urbanization patterns have been the strongest near large bodies of water. Initially this was just to meet the water and food needs of large populations. However, since the Industrial Revolution, the trend of urbanization along waterways has continued because large bodies of water are needed to sustain industry. Not only do many businesses require large quantities of water to manufacture products, they also depend on oceans and rivers for the transportation of goods. This is partially why 75% of the world’s largest urban areas are in coastal regions.

Urbanization Continues After Industrialization Occurs

As industrialization creates economic growth, the demand for the improved education and public works agencies that are characteristic of urban areas increases. This demand occurs because businesses looking for new technology to increase productivity require an educated workforce, and pleasant living conditions attract skilled workers to the area.

Once an area is industrialized, the process of urbanization continues for a much longer period of time as the area goes through several phases of economic and social reform. This concept is best illustrated by comparing a city such as Bangkok, located in a lesser-developed country, with an American city such as Los Angeles and a European city such as Berlin. Each city has a progressively higher level of social, environmental and economic prosperity achieved through increased education, government intervention and social reform.

(For related reading, see: What are some of the drawbacks of industrialization?)

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  2. Is industrialization good for the economy?

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  4. What caused the American Industrial Revolution?

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