Increasing proportion of land surface devoted to urbanization
Loss of agricultural land to urbanization Competition between industry and agriculture for land Loss of land to industrialization
The migration to cities and the high birth rates there are creating urban sprawls and suburbanization which annually consume tens of millions of hectares of open spaces. Vast conurbations with populations of multi-millions are created and continue to increase in size.
In the USA, for example, 25% of the population lives on 1.8% of the country's total land surface, creating, on the eastern seaboard, a megalopolis extending from Massachusetts to Maryland. Each year, over half a million hectares (equal to the state of Delaware) are built on or surfaced with (asphalt or concrete). In Europe 60 to 80% of the population lives in dense conurbations which increasingly take land from the surrounding area. This is true around Paris, in southeast England, in the built-up areas of the Ruhr, and in the Netherlands Randstadt, for example. In England and Wales, it is calculated that 80% of the 3 million new homes required by the year 2000 will urbanize an additional 11 or 12% of the land.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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