How Did the Industrial Revolution Change the Urban Environment in Industrializing Countries? Essay

How did the Industrial Revolution change the urban environment in industrializing countries? The Industrial Revolution was a period of time from the 18th until 19th century when significant changes transpired, and these changes contributed to the economic, social, political, and environmental conditions of that time. A major turning point occurred in the history due to the Industrial Revolution, which positively changed lifestyle in various ways. Opposing that, these changes damaged the environment in industrializing countries, leading to major issues.

This purpose of this essay is to describe the several environmental changes that occurred in industrializing countries during the Industrial Revolution. Urbanization occurred, starting in the UK, and then spread to America and different parts of Europe. The majority of citizens from the countryside migrated to town and cities, where they could find jobs in factories to support themselves and their families. According to Bulliet et al. (2009), London’s population grew from 500,000 to 959,000 in a century, and then to 2,363,000 in the next 50 years.

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Similarly, New York City’s population increased sixfold in 35 years, reaching 600,000. According to Merriman, an increase of 506,000 people occurred in Paris between 1801 and 1851 (p. 577). Smaller towns united, creating megalopolises, including “the English Midlands, central Belgium, and the Ruhr district of Germany” (p. 560). This rapid increase had consequences: firstly, cities and towns became overpopulated, which worsened the pollution. In urban cities, a number of families shared small, cheap houses that lacked hygienic expectations.

As more people resided towns and cities, water cycles slowed down, and as a result sewage and rubbish were thrown out of the windows to be washed off by water (p. 560). Chemicals from factories were also eventually dumped into rivers and bodies of water, making it impossible to prevent water pollution. Quite commonly people “drank water drawn from wells and rivers contaminated by sewage and industrial runoff” (ibid). Unhygienic conditions not only caused water pollution, but also became the reason for new health issues brought to these urban areas.

One of these “ailments” was Rickets, which was a bone disease caused due to the deficiency of vitamin D. Along with this, cholera, an epidemic disease, infected poor regions of urban countries. Due to the high level of harmful emissions of smoke and harmful gases from factories, air pollution was exacerbated. The damage caused by pollutants was not fully recognized by the population. Factories were built in urban areas, and machines to aide this process also emitted pollutants, as well as using up resources.

As coal was a significant source of energy, a huge amount was used and as a result carbon particles were released into the atmosphere. This caused the weather to constantly be dark and smoggy (ibid). This was done mostly in America and in the UK, and then in other parts of the world where urbanization was taking place. Thus, the Industrial Revolution not only brought advantages, but also harmed the environment. In summary, it caused overpopulation due to urbanization, created water and air pollution, the latter leading to complicated health problems throughout the countries where industrialization was taking place.

Therefore, it can be seen that the Industrial Revolution significantly changed the urban environment. (478 words) Bibliography Bulliet, R. W. , Crossley, P. K. , Headrick, D. R. , Hirsch, S. W. , Johnson, L. J. , and Northrup, D. 2009: The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History: Brief Fourth Edition, Boston: Houghton Milfin Company Merriman, J. A History of Modern Europe. 2nd edition, volume 2: From French Revolution to the Present. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.