The problem of urbanization is among the major issues that world faces currently. That is why, there exists a great variety of meanings and visions of an ideal city and what it should look like. Louis Wirth had his own vision of a typical city. He claimed that the world of today was no more than just groups of people, joined together by a vast territory (Wirth, 1938). At the same time, Wirth (1938) believed that an ideal city was not just a great piece of territory but also a center of economic, cultural, and political life. If a city is considered only according to the number of people who live there, it is quite difficult to identify the real one. City is a place of social community, where people are able to find a job position they like and to be involved in the life of this community fully. While the number of cities grows, an ideal model of them should keep such notions as culture, history, and folklore of a countryside life as it is a part of people’s life as well. It is important to distinguish urbanized, industrialized, and capitalized cities. Some of them were built in last two centuries due to the industrialization of production, and numerous factories in these cities employed many people. Now, there is another vision of city, and this prototype gives an opportunity to provide people with possibilities to choose the way they want to live.
There are different types of cities. Thus, some can be industrial hubs, political or university centers, and fishing resorts, while there are such cities where several types are combined. At the same time, an ideal city can ensure the growth for a social community and improve people’s lives. For sociological purposes, a city should be quite large and filled (Wirth, 19388). However, density is not the only indicator that identifies an ideal city, but it is rather a cultural factor that should be taken into consideration when planning one. A city is a place where different people live, and these people have various desires, attitudes, knowledge, and talents. That is why a typical city should reflect the possibilities and capabilities of these people and give them what they need. Finally, a city provides social interaction so if people are not able to interact by applying their knowledge and attitudes, they will not be satisfied living in such a city.
The real situation in the world is that big cities are overwhelmed by slums. Even if such giants house millions of residents, it does not mean that such a city has success. The way people live there is not an example of a happy life. One of the reasons why people want to move into a big city is lack of job in the villages they live. That is why these people immigrate to bigger cities or even other countries. One of the examples of such cities that are overcome by slums is Mumbai. It is well known fact that slums and diseases, overwhelming, dirtiness, and poverty are almost synonymous. Slums also can be defined as a dirty overcrowded area on the streets, full of tents, where poor people live because they have moved to another country or city (Davis, 2006b). They cannot afford to find a decent place to live, which is why slums have become their only shelter.
Many people have moved here because of poverty, and they have agreed to live in slums only on the condition to get an opportunity of work. As a rule, it is low-paid work, and these people work here like servants. It should be mentioned that only men work there since many immigrants are Indian. It is unacceptable for women to work, according to Indian customs and traditions, and their task is to take care of children and make their family happy. Therefore, there is a great problem of poverty in slums. Moreover, these immigrants are forced to live in tents that are located near each other, and one room can house even eight persons, including parents, children, and in-law relatives. Conditions are horrible; there is no water for everybody. People should wait in line in order to get water for the family, which means water is limited and one cannot take as much water as one needs. Even if there are many people in slums, it cannot be an ideal city for living as there are no conditions for leading a healthy life there. Therefore, people cannot be satisfied with their life.
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A great number of people dream to live at least in their own room, where they can possess their own things and space. As one girl said in the movie: “I dream about own bungalow with a several cars near the gates of my house” (“Ordinary lives,” n.d.). Poor life is not easy, as it was mentioned in the movie, some girls are willing to make a career, they study hard and achieve to acquire education and care for the family in order to make their dreams come true. Nevertheless, according to their cultures and traditions, they are afraid to stay alone without anything, they forget about dreams and they choose marriage only to avoid remaining poor and alone. Some of them are afraid to leave their cruel and despotic husbands as they believe that they will be not able to find another man and they will die in poverty without food and shelter.
There is no doubt that urbanization is a great problem for the government. Which is why they attempt to solve this problem as quickly as possible. The government plans to demolish the houses of poor people since slums are harmful for the whole country due to lack of territory and unsanitary conditions. People cannot live in such conditions as it can cause numerous problems with health. However, as the result of demolishing slums, many people will remain without food and a place to live. The only reason to avoid this problem is to give these people living places and forbid the arrival of new immigrants to cities. As it was mentioned in the movie, these people will live in the apartments, given by government; these apartments are in the process of being built now (“Ordinary lives,” n.d.). One can only hope that this situation will be resolved in the near future and Mumbai will be a good city, thus losing its fame as the city of slums.
Unfortunately, Mumbai is not the only one with such a reputation. Some cities in Ethiopia, Chad, Nepal, and Afghanistan are the leaders based on the number of poor dwellings in the streets (Davis, 2006a), The poorest people live in Luanda, Maputo, Kinshasa, and Bolivia (Davis, 2006a). Therefore, the problem of urbanization and poverty is the problem of the entire world as it reflects on all its inhabitants. Poor living standards lead to dirtiness and cause the appearance of new diseases.
People should live happily, and that is why cities should provide opportunities for such a life. An ideal city should give the ways of earning money equally for its longtime residents as well as those who have just arrived in it. Everyone needs to reveal their talents and attitudes. Following Louis Wirth’s meaning of city, which is not only the density of population, one can see that Mumbai is an extremely overcrowded city, but it does not mean that it is urbanized. People do not live in proper conditions and an ideal city presuppose them. Therefore, ensuring necessary conditions for living is the first task for the government of any city.
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