ur·​ban·​i·​za·​tion | \ ˌər-bə-nə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce urbanization (audio) \

Definition of urbanization

: the quality or state of being urbanized or the process of becoming urbanized

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Did You Know?

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

The uptick in tiger population is good news for India, which has increasingly grappled with human-wildlife conflict amid rapid urbanization. Niha Masih, Washington Post, "India’s tiger population doubles in a dozen years, despite growing human-animal conflict," 29 July 2019 America has undergone or is undergoing several trends that bring nationalist passions to the surface of politics: rapid urbanization, mass immigration, and some social dislocation that is related to economic globalization. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Divided We Fall," 16 July 2019 In social terms, urbanization has dissolved much day-to-day discrimination. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "India’s Ethnic Quotas Are a Cautionary Tale," 24 Jan. 2019 The tiny home is the creation of El Sindicato Arquitectura, an Ecuadorian architecture studio that created the prototype as a way to address housing shortages associated with gentrification and rapid urbanization. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "This $11K tiny home is designed to perch on rooftops," 24 July 2019 But government flood-control projects have altered the delta, hindering vendors’ ability to quickly move between farms and customers, and other urbanization — including gleaming supermarkets — have siphoned business from the rivers. John Briley, Washington Post, "Endangered destinations," 18 July 2019 But rapid urbanization has diminished these sources; millions of city residents now line up daily in sweltering heat to collect small rations of water. Suyin Haynes, Time, "India Grapples With a Water Shortage as City Residents Reach Their Limits," 12 July 2019 Even though the rural landscape has given way to urbanization in Broward County, about 70 percent of the riders come from the Davie, Southwest Ranches and Plantation areas, which is still known as horse country. Emmett Hall, sun-sentinel.com, "Plantation Equestrian Center features Heritage Horse Show," 3 July 2019 In the 20th century, industry, urbanization and the growth of suburbs dominated, eating up major portions of Connecticut farmland while other areas were gradually reforested. Gregory B. Hladky, courant.com, "Connecticut’s Farming Landscape Continues To Evolve," 25 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'urbanization.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of urbanization

1888, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near urbanization






urban legend


Statistics for urbanization

Last Updated

14 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for urbanization

The first known use of urbanization was in 1888

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English Language Learners Definition of urbanization

: the process by which towns and cities are formed and become larger as more and more people begin living and working in central areas

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More from Merriam-Webster on urbanization

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with urbanization

Britannica English: Translation of urbanization for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about urbanization

Comments on urbanization

What made you want to look up urbanization? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

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