ChildrenGrowing Up Towards the Future:
Whichis better – a Bigger City or a Village?
Aschildren grow up, there is an important factor that matters on howthey will see their future ahead of them – the environment they aregrowing up in. It has been a common knowledge that a child can eithergrow up and be exposed to the world by living in the city (urbanarea) or in the countryside (rural area). Cheney (2004) interviewedseveral kids from a country in Africa, the Uganda, on whether whicharea they do prefer to live in. One child prefers to have a villagebased lifestyle compared to the town based lifestyle due to theabundance of food and discos are non-existent. On the other hand,another child prefers otherwise (the town lifestyle) since theybelieve that it has also the ability to provide a quality education.Having responses of living in entirely different setting, it is hardto generalize whether which is a better setting for growing up forchildren at young age.
Asthe world progresses towards the future, the cities have become lesshomogenous (UNICEF, 2012). Urbanization’s fast pace has affectedmillions of children who are susceptible to the unwanted effects ofinequality and poverty. Millions of children affected by urbanizationare suffering from deprivation and exclusion as also experience bythose living in the rural setting. In 2012, UNICEF has reported thatthere will come a time that majority of the children’s populationwill be living in the cities and towns. It has been predicted that bymid-century, two thirds of the global population will be consideringthe urban setting as their home.
Geographershave contributed in correlating the impact of the chosen place to thenature of the lifestyle of young age children (Matthew et al., 2000).As the world rapidly changes, young age children growing up, despitethe benefits and downsides of living in an urban or rural setting,must be entitled to their rights, be treated equally and be nurturedwell by their family.
Lifestylein a Bigger City (Urban Setting): The Advantages and Disadvantages
Anurbanized place is certainly beneficial for a children’s lifestylegiven the advances in the world’s technologies. For familiesguaranteed with high incomes, living in a bigger city is morecomfortable with the amenities and freedom it can offer. A lot ofopportunities when it comes to necessities as human are available.When it comes to education, high quality of schooling is attainablefor children at young age and adolescent stage. Large number ofschools, colleges and universities offers quality education in whichthe family of the child can choose from depending on the qualitiesthey are looking for in a school as well as their financial capacity.Furthermore, it is believed that schools at urban areas are bettercompared to rural ones. As for medical benefits, there are a lot ofpublic and private hospitals that are open for everyone. However, itis still dependent on one’s financial capacity especially forprivate hospitals. The children can have easy access to pediatriccheck-ups, medicines and treatments whenever they are sick.Recreational facilities are also abundant in bigger cities. Shoppingmalls exists as a one-stop source for everyday necessities such asfood and clothing. Cinema houses and theaters are available forvisual development. Parks and gardens as play place whenever theyneed to get out of the house. Being surrounded by these amenities canenhance a child’s skills, interests and intrapersonal andinterpersonal development. One of the most important advantages ofliving in a city is employment. Usually, bigger cities are centers ofcommerce, trade, big offices, factories and mills. These offer a lotof opportunities to the citizens within the city in order to gaintheir income for their personal or family purposes. This isadvantageous for children since their parents can also stay with themeven though they are working for them. Other important servicesoffered usually in big cities are better transportation andcommunication (UNICEF, 2012 United Nations, 2011).
Theurban areas tend to be better compared to rural setting given thehigher standards of the amenities such as health, protection,sanitation and education. Urbanization has a lot to offer such to thechildren growing up such as securing their rights and to furtheraccelerate the pace in attaining the Millennium Development Goals asset by UNICEF. Furthermore, bigger cities draw interest in jobgeneration, wealth and investment. It is common belief that the moreurbanized a place is that the more likely it is economically stablehaving higher income and stronger economic foundations. However, theadvances in the urban setting had resulted to imbalance in thesystem. Instead of enjoying the advantages of an urban life, millionsof children are denied with the essentials such as clean water,health care, electricity and safety protection due to poverty. Thus,the advance in bigger cities has resulted to an inequality that isbeing overshadowed by the average statistics generated whenconducting economic surveys. The poverty experienced by poor familiesis unnoticed due to the wealth of others. UNICEF revealed in their2012 children state report that there is “wide disparities inchildren’s rate of survival, education and nutritional status”thus resulting to inequality. From these inequalities arise thedisadvantages of living in a bigger city. Child security is notguaranteed since there are forces that will make them do dangerousand exploitation work. This hinders their freedom and the time theyshould be spending for their education. Urbanization has been likenedto slum formation due to increasing growth in population whichstrains the amenities available. Living in the cities without exactlya life plan has resulted to families being informal settlers inseveral neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the children living with themare excluded from their rights to have their necessities and socialprotection. The constant threat of being evicted from their livingplace will always be there if they stay in their “homes”. The UNHabitat has reported that major disadvantages of living in biggercities include pollution, traffic, high cost of living, impropersanitation, slum conditions, lack of security especially inovercrowded places, unemployment, poor amenities available, and thenever-ending competition over the resources towards their survival.With these conditions, the consequences results to the young agegrowing up children being deprived by their rights. As a movedtowards removing these loopholes in the urbanized system,opportunities must be shown to children in order for them to realizetheir potentials and equality.
Lifestylein a Village (Rural Setting): The Advantages and Disadvantages
Matthewset al. (2000) described in their paper that countryside is the “lastrefuge of primitiveinnocence”.A heaven-like place that is far from being corrupted and penetratedby the rapid and harsh changes brought about by urbanization. Growingup in a village has always been viewed as a peaceful and beautifullife, just like in folk stories. The villagers protect theircommunity from impending destructions that can be cause byurbanization. They protect their beautiful, pleasant and peacefulenvironment. Thus, promising a secured life. They also protect theirtraditional habits and tend to preserve their culture. Thecleanliness of the air in the village shuns away the thoughts of airpollution. The villagers earn their money by working very hard. It isbelieve that there is less competition when it comes to employment.Socializing with other members of the community is not very hardsince they are closed enough with each other. Food security is not aproblem since food is abundant in their place. Cheney (2004) pointedout that children with minimal connection to their rural homesbelieved that it is vital to their ethnicity and national identity.They believe that being exposed to villages will help them developtheir personalities through different life strategies. They tend toengage in social activities that relates them to the inclusion in therural system.
Livingin a rural area like the village has drawbacks as well. The qualityof education is not as advanced as in bigger cities. Many are notable to attend schooling since they have to help in their familybusinesses. They also experienced difficulty when it comes to keepingup with the developments in their respective fields. Thus, thisresults to poor employment. The transportations system has broughttravelling problems as well. They have to travel back and forth tothe city in order to get their daily necessities or work supplies ifneeded. Matthews et al. (2000) reported in their paper that somerural parents contradict the popular beliefs of the lifestyles in therural areas. There are parents that recognize the opportunities ofraising their children away from the urban constraints. There arealso parents that recognize the dangers of the rural areas. Basedalso on their conducted interview, children are somewhat detached tothe feeling of village life and feel alienated and powerless. Theyeven try to recreate mini-urban space just to meet their socialneeds. The lack of amenities has resulted to feelings of isolation.This is a problem that requires urgent action.
TheBest Choice for Children
Giventhe advantages and disadvantages of living in a bigger city and avillage, there are indeed a lot of factors that must be considered inchoosing which best influences the growth environment of a child atyoung age. Since it is evident that most of the world’s populationsettles in urban areas, an intense competition for necessities is tobe expected. Along with increase in population in bigger cities isthe increase of number of children growing up. As part of a child’sright, whether living in a bigger city or village, they must beprovided with their amenities and opportunities in order to realizetheir potentials. It has been proven that villages lack manyamenities as compared to bigger cities. As a way to enhance theloopholes of living in a bigger city or village, some actions must betaken which focuses on equality. This is a priority that must begiven to the children who experiences disadvantages.
In2012, UNICEF had proposed these urgent actions in order to gainequality and properly established the rights of children. For anurbanized city with a lot of children growing up, it is important tounderstand the case of poverty and exclusion in order to properlyback-up and established their rights to the amenities such asprotection from dangerous work and people, survival, schooling,medical, sanitation and personal development. Identification andremoval of barriers to inclusion can help prevent child abuse andexploitation by child traffickers as well as their families. Properplanning for the urban areas must be ensured. Development ofinfrastructures and amenities that can be of service to everyone inequal terms will also help in clearing the loopholes. Amenitiesdelivery must not only be limited to those who are financiallycapable but must also be available for those who have unstableincome. Through this way, inequality can be slowly overcome and beable to meet the necessities of children. Establishing partnershipwith the government will serve as bridge for the concerns of theurban poor. They can also take part in planning what is best for thechildren and their families and for the entire city.
Bypushing these urgent actions as proposed by UNICEF, it will graduallyresult to fairer, equal and more nurtured lifestyles for the peopleespecially to their children. Working together for the betterment ofthe lifestyle of the children is the best choice for their future.Living in a bigger city or a village has its differences depending onthe families’ preferences. With the continuous emergence of change,there will come a time that the urban and rural areas will be unitedtogether having one goal – that is to secure the future of theirchildren.
Onestep in ensuring a child’s bright future upon their growing upstage is by giving them their necessities towards a proper lifestyle.These necessities include safety, protection, housing, health,education, sanitation, cultural inclusion and technology. Studies byMatthews et al. (2000), Cheney (2004) and the United NationsChildren’s Fund (UNICEF) have shown that children are shaped by thesetting they have been exposed to. Living in an urban or ruralsetting has its perks and downfalls brought about by the changes inthe society. Yet the increasing population in urban setting andpossibly the dominance of urbanization as time pass by has hinderedthe equality and rights that a child deserves to have a healthylifestyle and avoid poverty. The choice to where a child should growbetter must depend on the family’s capacity and, mainly, theirdecision. Be it in a bigger city or a village, a child’s lifeshould be prioritized since they always hold the key to the future.
Cheney,K.E. (2004). “Villagelife is better than town life: Identity, migration, and developmentin the lives of Ugandan child citizens”.African Studies Review Vol 47, 3, 1-23
Matthews,H., Taylor, M., Sherwood, K., Tucker, F., & Limb, M. (2000).“Growing-upin the countryside: children and the rural idyll”.Journal of Rural Studies 16, 141-153
UnitedNations. (2011). Population Distribution, Urbanization, InternalMigration and Development: An International Perspective. Retrievedfromhttp://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/PopDistribUrbanization/PopulationDistributionUrbanization.pdf
UnitedNations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). (2012). The State of the World’sChildren 2012. Retrieved fromhttp://www.unicef.org/sowc2012/pdfs/SOWC%202012-Main%20Report_EN_13Mar2012.pdf
UnitedNations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). (2012). Cities and Children: TheChallenge of Urbanization for Tanzania. Retrieved fromhttp://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/files/Cities_and_Children_-_FINAL.pdf