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Impact of urbanization on the environment

Production-functional types of cities

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Urbanization as a historical process of raising the role of urban settlements and the corresponding mode of life in the development of society has achieved a large scale. The urban population in Ukraine in early 1999 reached 68% of the total population. The number of urban settlement in Ukraine is increasing as well. At the beginning of 1999 there were 448 cities and 897 workers’ towns.

The highest percentage of urban population and the largest number of settlements are in Donetsk Region, where 90.2% of the urban population, 51 towns and 134 workers’ towns were registered in the mentioned period. In Lugansk Region these indicators were 86.4%, 37 towns and 109 workers’ towns, respectively, in Dniepropetrovsk Region 83%, 20 towns and 48 workers’ towns, in Lviv Region 61%, 43 towns and 34 workers’ towns, in Kyiv Region (not including the city of Kyiv) 58%, 25 towns and 30 workers’ towns, and in Kharkiv Region 78.9%, 17 towns and 60 workers’ towns. A high concentration of urban settlements and people in the territory of these regions led to the formation of urban agglomerations as the most active factor of influence on all the environment components in the regions of their location. These regions also have a considerable population density: from 96 people/km2 (Kharkiv) to 189 people/km2 (Donetsk). Average population density in Ukraine is 83 people/km2.

The more than 34 million people forming the urban population of Ukraine are arranged in the territory of Ukraine rather nonuniformly. An especially high concentration is observed in Dniepropetrovsk, Donetsk, Lugansk and Zaporizhzhia regions with more than one third of the urban population of Ukraine (33.8%).
The urban population dynamics has significant territorial distinctions. A natural decrease of the population was first registered in the urban settlements of Ukraine in 1992, and in 1993 it increased five times to 73,000 people. The migration increase (about 7,900) also became smaller, while in 1989-1992 it varied within 150,000- 209,000 people. In 1998 there was a tendency towards a decrease (254,200 people) of urban population in all regions of Ukraine. The highest numbers were observed in  Donetsk (52,000), Lugansk (28,800), Dniepropetrovsk (26,000) and Kharkiv (20,100) regions.

Population migration, which was the main factor of increase of the urban population, now has a negative value (-80,900). Administrative and territorial transformations are not of essential significance, and a positive increase of the urban population is observed only in five regions: Volyn (+200 people), Zakarpattia (+400), Ivano-Frankivsk (+700), Rivne (+500) and Ternopil (+800 people). These low figures do not cover the negative balance of migration.

In recent years a decrease of population has been observed in almost all cities with more than 100,000 people.
An analysis of distribution according to kind of settlement shows that though number of urban settlements constituted slightly more than 4% of total number of settlements of Ukraine in 1998, they had about 68% of the population. Besides, their share (more than 50%) falls on big cities with a population of more than 250,000. More than 16 million people live in such cities (30 million people are living in urban area). More than 6 million people live in small towns. 29.9% of the urban population live in 9 towns with a population of more than 500,000.

The considerable territorial concentration of urban settlements in Donetsk and Dniepropetrovsk regions and in the vicinities of cities, especially those with a population of a million people or more, as well as the high concentration of rural settlements around them, has caused the formation of agglomerative forms of settling. The settling form in Donetsk Region, in central and southern parts of Lugansk Region and around such cities with adjacent settlements as Zaporizhzhia, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, etc., acquired the most significant features of agglomerations.

Development of agglomerative forms of settling leads to the formation of very active zones of interaction of territorial communities of people with the environment. The result of this interaction is pollution of all the environment components. The environment is polluted as a consequence of production and public and domestic activities. The deterioration of the natural conditions of people’s lives is reflected in a negative influence of the transformed environment on the health of the inhabitants. Thus it is necessary to introduce better forms of territorial organization of settlements, to determine optimal types of settlements and to introduce regional mechanisms of compensations for the negative impact on nature as well as for the creation of living conditions that are harmful for people. It is necessary to define the influence of agglomerations on the environment, and to develop conservation mechanisms and standards of compensations for damage done, etc. Such arrangements will be necessary since there is a correlation between the quality of environmental conditions and population morbidity.

The dynamics of social and natural processes requires permanent monitoring of their changes in order to define the results of the environmental effect on people, as well as to determine concrete mechanisms of harmonization of people’s interaction with the environment.


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