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Urban Sprawl and Public Health Article Summary

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Updated: Jul 17th, 2020

“Urban Sprawl and Public Health”, a journal article authored by Howard Frumkin in 2001 gives a detailed account of the physical and mental effects of urban expansion. The concept ‘urban sprawl’ refers to rapid development of urban areas against slow development of social amenities (Frumkin, 2001, p.3).

The author expounds that some of the distinct features that characterize urban sprawl include; increased economic opportunities, poor regional planning, and overreliance on automotive travel, which has a negative effect on physical health (Frumkin, 2001, p.1).

Subsequently, abrupt extension of metropolitan areas leads to the emergence of social homogeneity that is undeniably detrimental to the health of city residents. Frumkin (2001, p.1) highlights that the effects of urban sprawl have been debated for long.

However, little attention has been focused on health implications arising from this phenomenon. It is essential to note that, urban lounge affect people’s life both positively and negatively. Against this background, this essay provides a summative analysis of the impacts of urban sprawl on mental and physical health of urban residents.

In-depth analysis of literature has shown urban sprawl have adverse physical effects among urban dwellers. From the article, it is evident that people are highly motivated to shift from rural to metropolitan areas, yet some essential natural resources are not available in city centres.

For instance, in urban areas there are no trees and other aesthetic facilities such as open ground recreational amenities (Frumkin, 2001, p.3). Moreover, the author emphasizes that physical activities in the densely populated urban centres has become a notable challenge.

Lack of recreation activities, which are known to alleviate stress, affects both the physical and mental health of urban dwellers negatively.

Secondly, research conducted by psychologists indicates that people enjoy automotive commuting, yet it exposes them to mental stress, especially in the eventuality of heavy traffic jam. Moreover, excessive noise originating from traffic and industrial activities deprive urban dwellers a tranquil and calm atmosphere (Frumkin, 2001, p.3).

Consequently, due to lack of soothing and restorative atmosphere most people suffer from headaches and other stress-related complications. It is reasonable to illuminate that a shift from suburbs to urban results to social isolation, loneliness and breakup of family ties, and this further leads to mental stress among city dwellers.

Besides, Frumkin explicates that urban dwellers are susceptible to illnesses that are associated with large crowds.

Poor urban zoning and influx of large crowds leads to scarcity of basic amenities. It is definite that when mental health of an individual is threatened, then the physical and emotional state of the body is affected too (Frumkin 2001, p.3).

Studies have revealed that excessive commuting results to backaches and self-reported stress. Additionally, cardiovascular ailments have become a common phenomenon due to lack of exercise and stress.

Since urban sprawl is characterized by heavy traffic, cases of accidents are rampant especially in situations where traffic safety is neglected (Frumkin, 2001, p.3). Another point of concern is that pollution results to respiratory ailments.

Poor urban planning results to scarcity of basic facilities such as water utilized by the public and this can result to an outbreak of waterborne diseases.

There is a need to hypothesize that social separation especially among married people due to urban employment results to immorality which has adverse effects to one’s health (Frumkin, 2001, p.3).

Consequently, sexual immorality in the urban centres increases the risk of sexually transmitted ailments, thus increasing mortality rate.

Reference

Frumkin, H 2001, ‘Urban Sprawl and Public health’, Public Health Reports, vol, 117, no.1, pp.1-3.

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