ur·​ban·​i·​za·​tion ˌər-bə-nə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce urbanization (audio)
: the quality or state of being urbanized or the process of becoming urbanized

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The word urbanization started appearing in print way back in the 1880s, which says something about the growth of American cities. The expansion of Los Angeles was an early example of uncontrolled urbanization. Urbanization is often seen as a negative trend, with bad effects on quality of life and the environment. But apartments require much less heat than houses, and commuting by mass transit rather than cars can reduce pollution and energy use, and cities offer improved opportunities for jobs (and often for education and housing as well), so city growth doesn't make everyone unhappy.

Examples of urbanization in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But since the early 1990s, Bengaluru has undergone rapid urbanization, as its transformation into a major tech center resulted in exponential growth. Rhea Mogul, CNN, 15 Mar. 2024 Çatalhöyük is one of the earliest examples of urbanization and was occupied from 7400 B.C. to 6200 B.C., according to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. Aspen Pflughoeft, Miami Herald, 7 Mar. 2024 The values created by that shift, such as individualism, are spreading worldwide through education, urbanization, and jobs that take people away from their families. TIME, 3 Feb. 2024 The climate crisis is helping to fuel more intense and more frequent rainfall events, and in Brazil this combines with rapid urbanization and often unsafe construction to deadly effect. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, 25 Mar. 2024 Aside from advances in working with metal, the period often includes a number of other important developments in human societies such as writing systems, urbanization, and more complex state systems. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 22 Dec. 2023 The chief executive, who has advocated for the massive urbanization of the San Diego region, was hired in 2018 and collects an annual salary of $433,014. Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Oct. 2023 As any economy develops, its growth rate slows because of the accumulation of capital (including infrastructure), a diminishing rate of urbanization, and, usually, a declining birth rate. Zongyuan Zoe Liu, Foreign Affairs, 3 Oct. 2023 The disease has been circulating in California, Florida, Texas and New York, but cases in the U.S. have been growing over the past few years, and are expected to rise with climate change and urbanization. Dr. Adiba Matin, ABC News, 27 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'urbanization.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1888, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of urbanization was in 1888

Dictionary Entries Near urbanization

Cite this Entry

“Urbanization.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/urbanization. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

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