ur·​ban·​i·​za·​tion | \ˌər-bə-nə-ˈzā-shən \

Definition of urbanization 

: 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

Most invertebrates get smaller on average in cities, although a few very mobile species respond to urbanization by growing. Jason G. Goldman, Scientific American, "City Life Favors Downsized Invertebrates," 3 July 2018 The proliferation of these extremely high low temperatures is the expected result of climate warming in Washington, both from urbanization and increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, "Washington’s temperature hasn’t dropped below 80 degrees in 80 hours," 5 July 2018 Furthermore those methods usually do not include the new urbanization that may occur just outside official urban boundaries. Annette M. Kim, The Atlantic, "Satellite Images Can Harm the Poorest Citizens," 5 June 2018 Often touted as Africa’s answer to Alibaba, Jumia seeks to ride on changing trends in e-commerce, entertainment, urbanization, music, and more. Matina Stevis-gridneff, WSJ, "Meet the Startup Building a Market From Scratch to Become Africa’s Alibaba," 23 May 2018 Yellow fever nearly wiped out Memphis, Tenn., in the 1870s as urbanization and river transport brought infected people and mosquitoes together. Dan Strickman, Scientific American, "Buzz Kill: Our Best Weapons against Mosquitoes," 13 July 2018 About half a billion people live in informal settlements in cities in the region, as the pace of urbanization quickens, according to the lobby group Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR). Rina Chandran, The Christian Science Monitor, "Slum dwellers in the Philippines build homes through community programs," 7 June 2018 The lie detector arose from an era of industrialization, of urbanization—a time when humans were crowded together and chaotically exposed to each other. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "The Lie Detector in the Age of Alternative Facts," 29 Mar. 2018 With urbanization comes pressure on local government to improve housing affordability, workforce education and public transit, Mr. Briley said. Cameron Mcwhirter, WSJ, "As Nashville Rapidly Expands, Residents Worry the Metropolis Is Growing Too Fast," 18 June 2018

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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Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

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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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