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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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 Like other trees, Atlantic white cedars are threatened by a dizzying array of forces, including encroaching urbanization and development, sea-level rise and salination and other impacts from climate change. Washington Post, 15 July 2021 Historically, forced urbanization and the entry of women into the labor market often followed the disappearance of reindeer herds, removing a platform for teaching Sami language, customs, and traditional knowledge, Ms. Omma said. The Christian Science Monitor, 1 July 2021 In the Southwest, the problem of burns from hot surfaces is growing as temperatures rise due to climate change and increasing urbanization. Bob Christie, ajc, 15 June 2021 In the Southwest, the problem of burns from hot surfaces is growing as temperatures rise due to climate change and increasing urbanization. Bob Christie, Star Tribune, 14 June 2021 Large cities, primarily in the Northeast, have seen a de-urbanization. Ellen Paris, Forbes, 28 Apr. 2021 With this rise of global urbanization, cities play a fundamental role in integrating sustainable, safe and resilient economic and social policies to protect urban prosperity. Sean Toussi, Forbes, 15 June 2021 Foremost among these is public indifference, followed by urbanization, industrial agriculture, mining and development, among others. Star Tribune, 11 June 2021 Eduardo Bartolomeo, Vale’s chief executive, expects this iron-ore cycle will be different because the previous one was underpinned by a demand shock from China’s urbanization. Rhiannon Hoyle, WSJ, 28 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for urbanization

Time Traveler

The first known use of urbanization was in 1888

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Last Updated

25 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Urbanization.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/urbanization. Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for urbanization



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

More from Merriam-Webster on urbanization

Britannica English: Translation of urbanization for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about urbanization


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