What Is Urban Decay?

Wednesday, 17 Nov 2010 04:34 PM

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Some of the most promising cities and towns have now turned into neglected wastelands that breed criminals and diseases. This is a phenomenon observed the world over and has various causes. Sociologists refer to this phenomenon as urban decay.
 
Urban decay, in simpler terms, is the gradual falling apart of a previously functional city or town. Urban decay may be caused by deindustrialization, economic breakdown, and failure of businesses, which in turn leads to increasing crime rates, growing unemployment, and rising poverty in the area. This condition is evident from abandoned buildings, overrun sewers, trash and rubble on the streets, and a desolate landscape.
 
Urban decay was a term that was mostly associated with regions in Eastern Europe, North America, and parts of the British Isles, which were ravaged by war, natural disasters, diseases, and economic fluctuations. However, over the years, almost every country in the world has faced the problem of urban decay. Cities that were once the cradle of prosperity, peace, and happiness have now fallen prey to various phenomena like economic meltdown, social unrest, establishment of crime dens, and vandalism. The abandoned city, in its derelict buildings, often houses drug peddlers, addicts, prostitutes, and criminals.
 
Another important reason for urban decay is the development, both economic and social, of some other area in close proximity, to which the population has migrated for better opportunities.
 
Governments of many countries around the world have recognized the curse of urban decay and have taken active steps to reestablish normalcy in the dead areas of the cities, which give birth to the problems of urban decay. In addition to this, steps are being taken to control depopulation and maintain a stable economic and social atmosphere for every individual. Deindustrialization has been identified as the main reason that has led to economic stagnancy, depopulation, rise in illicit activities, and urban decay. Regeneration plans are being constantly formulated to revitalize cities suffering from this unfortunate state.
 
Urban decay has no single cause, but is a result of interrelated social and economic conditions. In order to save our cities from this condition, we need to take care of not only our homes but also the world outside. This will ensure that the city, which might be slowly rotting away, is saved from decaying and a stable economic and social future is maintained for everyone.

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