Urbanization is a long and complicated process, which can be triggered by multiple factors. Some of the reasons for cities’ growth remain the same over time, although today, this process is mainly associated with industrialization and technological development. At the same time, the most widespread and constant causes of urbanization are connected with commercial activity and the availability of natural resources. In this essay, these factors are presented and discussed in detail.
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Commercialization is considered one of the most significant factors of urbanization. In ancient times and the Middle Ages, trade usually took place near rivers, ports, and crossroads. The most well-known examples of such cities are Venice and Genoa in Italy, which were the commercial centers accumulating goods from different parts of the world. Other ancient marketplaces that developed due to active commercialization include Athens and Sparta. Markets attracted merchants, who became permanent residents of the newly established settlements. Trade ensured the prosperity of the cities and their citizens, which, consequently, triggered their growth and development.
Another factor associated with urbanization before the 17th century was connected with sustainability and wealth. Therefore, the cities appeared and developed in the territories where rich natural resources could be found. For example, a fertile climate and favorable conditions for agriculture attracted farmers who established their settlements to sell their goods. Most of the cities of Persia, Egypt, Italy, and Greece developed in ancient times and were primarily agricultural. Other resources that could be used by settlers for economic benefit were timber, metal, and minerals. The specialization in the mining or processing of particular resources could lead to industrialization, which is another essential factor of urbanization. In conclusion, it is possible to notice that these factors of cities’ development are connected with economic opportunities and sources of wealth since prosperity is always the major condition for city growth.