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.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Egypt has an $8 billion adaptation plan, but for now its agricultural economy is at risk from climate change, water scarcity, inflation, and urbanization. Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, 27 Oct. 2022 The biggest factor driving epidemic trends is land-use change, Epstein said—especially increases in deforestation, agriculture, and urbanization. Matthew Hutson, The New Yorker, 2 Sep. 2022 Other potential contributors to the temperature fluctuations are cloud cover, air pollution and urbanization. Meris Lutz, ajc, 29 Aug. 2022 The westward expansion and urbanization of the 19th century left clusters of families scattered across rural America, with only muddy ruts and a rudimentary web of roads to connect them. Lyz Lenz, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Aug. 2022 Neither urbanization nor population movements can be addressed. Sourav Goswami, Forbes, 8 Aug. 2022 While the small eatery has held fast against the onslaught of the Valley’s urbanization, success has never been smooth sailing for Phoenix Blue Fin's owner Betsy Yee, 88, a second generation Phoenix resident. AZCentral.com, 7 Nov. 2022 Previous predictions missed urbanization and female empowerment as trends that radically pulled down the fertility curve. Parag Khanna, Time, 24 Oct. 2022 As the oil-producing nation grapples with a rapidly growing population, trees are being lost to urbanization, wood burning, and environmental disasters such as oil spills. Ahmad Adedimeji Amobi, The Christian Science Monitor, 18 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

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 9 Dec. 2022.

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