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For your final assessment you need to write a 1500-2000 word essay on the following: ‘Sustainability is a paradigm for thinking about the future in which environmental, societal and economic considerations are balanced in the pursuit of an improved quality of life’ (UNESCO 2015).

1.Choose a scenario from the list below and scope it to a specific location, community, organisation or aspect.

2.Explain the key sustainability concerns from an environmental, social and economic point of view.

3.Discuss responses to these concerns that could help to achieve sustainability.


1. Food production
2. The health and livelihoods of groups of people seeking asylum
3. Lifestyle choices in urban or community settings
4. Resource usage in a professional workplace (e.g. hospital, school, law firm, etc.)
5. Tourism

Causes and Effects of Urbanization in Canberra

Industrialization, commercialization, good social benefits and services in big cities, employment opportunities in the urban centers, and modernization among others are some of the causes of urbanization in Canberra in Australia. In the last fifty years, Canberra city in Australia has been experiencing a great growth in terms of population increase resulting to the growth of a number of houses and industries aimed at catering for this increase and growth of population (Gwynne, 2017). Lifestyle choices in these big cities like embracing tall raised buildings to cater for growing population, the mode of dressing, means of transport and the like has brought several concerns that need to be addressed for sustainability purpose. This essay will discuss some of the issues brought about by these lifestyle choices of urbanization in Canberra, Australia and sustainability measures in order to solve these concerns affecting the three pillars such as the environmental, social and economic pillar.  Further, the essay will define sustainability according to the contest of urbanization and also provide sustainability issues on the above-mentioned pillars. Lastly, the essay will discuss the highlighted concerns that are of the great need to achieve sustainability like diversification of resources and industries which leads to rural development thus reduction of rural-urban migration which further reduces the cases of negative lifestyle choices.   

According to Margret Robertson (2014), sustainability in the urbanization lifestyle choices involves coming up with plans, measure, and strategies which will ensure that environmental, social and economic concerns caused by lifestyle choices in urban setting are reduced and mitigated for the benefit of future urban dwellers. According to her, sustainability aims at achieving quality life for the people and their generation. Also, sustainability ensures that there is continuity of the operation of the city activities and that people living in urban centers are free from environmental, social and economic problems such as disease outbreak, housing problem among other challenges. (p.151) If the three pillars are to be assessed, the environmental pillar would be the most affected pillar as a result of choices of lifestyle in urban setting. This because of a high level of pollution which has resulted in many negative effects like deadly diseases like cancer, cholera and the like.

The high level of industrialization, commercialization, unemployment in the rural areas and also positive perception that in the urban centers there are good social services and recreational facilities compared to the rural region has led to major increase in the population of the people in the City of Canberra. As a result of these increase in population, it has led to overcrowding and struggle for the locally available resources in the city. Research done by the World Health Organization (WHO) explains that increase in the number of people in the urban cities translates to an increase in demand of goods and services available in these big cities like Canberra. Such services include housing, transport, water, electricity, management of the waste and the like. This has made the people in Canberra to have lifestyle choices that helps them to solve the concern of overcrowding affecting them like tall building to reduce housing problem among others which have led to more sustainability concerns.   

Defining Sustainability in the Context of Urbanization

One of the major challenge and concern facing the environmental pillar in Canberra is that the number of people enter the city is increasing according to the study done by the Canberra City Planning department and that unless strict measures are put in place the number may not decrease in the near future thus posing even a bigger challenge in years to come. The reason as to why there is so much exodus from the rural and small cities of Australia to Canberra is that less effort has been done in order to develop these areas which may decrease the migration and movement of people from these parts of Australia to Canberra (Shinde & Mojes, 2017, p.21). This because what they are coming to seek in the big city of Canberra is been provided at other parts of Australia. In Canberra, there have been serious environmental issues brought about by lifestyle choices. These concerns include; pollution as people lack proper places to dispose of their waste whereby this has led to the outbreak of diseases like cholera, cancer, and the like. Also, a lot of building has been raised in order to meet the demand for housing which has resulted in deforestation and floods. As the city grows, a lot of industries has been established leading to air, water, and even soil pollution as they emit harmful waste products to the environment (Bradshaw, 2015, p. 229).

Social pillar of sustainability also faces several social concerns as a result of the issue of lifestyle choices in Canberra. It has led to the loss of culture in most of the people who migrate to this town. Different people from different part of Australia meet in Canberra making it hard for every individual to practice his or her own culture. This makes them embrace a common culture and lifestyle that is embraced and accepted by each member within that locality. As result, the original culture of those individuals is eventually lost since they no longer practice it. However, studies have found out that there are still individuals who have kept and preserved their culture but people have nicknamed as old-fashioned and illiterate making it for them to survive in that kind of criticism making to them to abandon their culture gradually (Pickett & Zhou, 2015, p.9).

Also, overcrowding, lack of essential social services, poverty, and unemployment among others result to people in urban region choose lifestyle that has advance effect to the social wellbeing of the people such as abuse of drugs, theft, cases of rape within the city, robbery, kidnapping of children and even people, murder and like. All these bring about the state of unrest and lack of peace within the big cities like Canberra (Thornton & Fricke, 2015, p. 771). In addition, people in Canberra come from different races and even ethnic groups and therefore, this has led to cases of racism, tribalism and also nepotism which has affected service delivery in Canberra resulting to conflicts and differences between groups. Moreover, urbanization which has resulted in an increase in population and overcrowding has led to poor living and housing condition by the urban dwellers. In Canberra, people have chosen a lifestyle of constructing of inexpensive houses due to their poverty state (Gubler, 2016, p. S8). This has led to the emergence of slums which according to the World Health Organization has been the root cause most of the social problems within the city of Canberra.  

Sustainability Issues on Environmental, Social, and Economic Pillars

Economic pillar of sustainability is another affected pillar by the lifestyle choices in Canberra city. Many unemployed people are leaving their rural areas to Canberra with an assumption that they will get employment in the established industries, offices and in other job opportunities places and this has led to a large number of people seeking job opportunities in Canberra. On the other hand, the jobs available are few and limited compared to the number of people seeking for those available jobs (Kalnay & Cai, 2015, p. 528). This has posed the big challenge of competition leaving the less competitive like uneducated and non-skilled unemployed. According to Australian Revenue collection department, the highest number of revenue for the city of Canberra comes from taxes and therefore, been unemployed means that no taxes are paid to the government. On the other hand, the government has to tax the employed and also other sectors in order to acquire finances to provide essential services that the city dwellers need like health, security, good transport, and housing among others (Little, 2018). 

Also, overpopulation in Canberra has led to an increase in the number of vehicles as people choose a lifestyle of have their private vehicles thus causing traffic congestion. This has caused a lot of economic effect because of interruption to work and also delay some essential services. Still, in the economic pillar of sustainability, the government is investing a lot of resources to ensure that it curbs the environmental, social and economic concerns affecting the city of Canberra due to lifestyle choices like poor dumping cite, use of tall raised building and the like (Prebisch, 2016, p.66). According to the Australian government, more than $1.7 billion is allocated to the city of Canberra to help in solving issues affecting the city. Like the provision of good security, health, construction of good roads to solve the problem of transportation and traffic congestion among others (Mills, 2016).

Finally, the government and other organizations such as public and private organizations are facing a great challenge in the providing job opportunities and employment to the Canberra dwellers. This is because according to WHO (2015), provision of employment to people living in the urban centers gives them the capacity and responsibility to ensure that they access good housing, good medical care, proper diet, good education among others. All these is because they have a purchasing power. As result, it helps in solving the challenges facing the social, environmental and economic pillar of sustainability. Most of the people living in Canberra are unemployed and they, therefore, rely upon depending on others, crime, among others (van Noorloos, & Steel, 2016, p. 55). This even makes the economic pillar of sustainability experience a lot of challenges. If the government and other development partners would embrace policies and strategies that will result to the development of the other cities and rural areas of Australia, the challenge of urbanization which is caused by mass rural-urban migration due to underdeveloped rural areas would be reduced and solved. But before this is arrived by the political leaders, the current challenges facing urbanization in Canberra city need to be addressed and solved (Li & Lin, 2015, p. 1117).

Potential Solutions to Urbanization Challenges

The solution for this challenge of urbanization in Canberra would be to encourage people living in rural area of Australia to make use locally available resources to create employment for themselves instead of moving to the urban centers to look for employment which is not guaranteed. According to American Urbanization Economic Report (2016), a lot of job opportunities are made available after many young people have left for these urban centers and also a likelihood of more job opportunities in these rural areas as people need services. On the other hand, accommodation is these rural areas is cheap compared to Canberra city thus making it economical. Socially, encouraging rural development and employment helps people to keep their culture and increase people interaction thus increasing social ties and relationship. Also, working in this rural areas bring about the sense of belonging and inclusivity in the society (Marcotullio, 2017). 

Moreover, there are several measures and policies adopted by the Australian government in order to solve the challenge brought by urbanization in big cities. Firstly, the government has proposed decentralization and delocalization of industries and other development investment to the rural and remote areas so as to develop them and create employment opportunities for the people living in those areas. Secondly, the government needs to devolve education to the local areas as to train and equip the locals with the relevant skills and knowledge and also giving people grants which will use it to start businesses in those remote areas (Yusuf et al, 2015, p. 2749).


In conclusion, therefore, urbanization has brought negative effect and challenges to the city of Canberra. The increase rural-urban migration has negatively affected the three pillars and this effect can be clearly seen in Canberra city of Australia. The advance effects affecting Canberra today would not be there if the relevant measures of discouraging mass rural-urban migration which is the main cause of urbanization were adopted. For example, delocalization and decentralization of industries which creates jobs in rural and remote areas thus reducing mass rural-urban migration. The challenge of urbanization in Canberra will still remain if appropriate measures to reduce movement of people to big cities would not be taken. Developing the rural regions may be one of the best possible sustainable solutions to the challenges facing urbanization in Canberra.      


Bradshaw, Y. W. (2015). Urbanization and underdevelopment: A global study of modernization, urban bias, and economic dependency. American Sociological Review, 224-239.

Gubler, D. J. (2016). Dengue, urbanization and globalization: the unholy trinity of the 21st century. Tropical medicine and health, 39(4SUPPLEMENT), S3-S11.

Gugler, J., & Flanagan, W. (2018). Urbanization and social change in West Africa (Vol. 2). CUP Archive.

Gwynne, R. N. (2017). Industrialization and urbanization in Latin America. Routledge.

Kalnay, E., & Cai, M. (2015). Impact of urbanization and land-use change on climate. Nature, 423(6939), 528.

Li, K., & Lin, B. (2015). Impacts of urbanization and industrialization on energy consumption/CO2 emissions: does the level of development matter?. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 52, 1107-1122.

Little, K. (2018). Urbanization as a Social Process: An essay on movement and change in contemporary Africa. Routledge.

Marcotullio, P. J. (2017). Towards sustainable cities: East Asian, North American and European perspectives on managing urban regions. Routledge.

Pickett, S. T., & Zhou, W. (2015). Global urbanization as a shifting context for applying ecological science toward the sustainable city. Ecosystem Health and Sustainability, 1(1), 1-15.

Prebisch, R. (2016). The American Urbanization Economic Report. ECLAC Thinking, Selected Texts (1948-1998). Santiago: ECLAC, 2016. p. 45-84.

Robertson, M. (2014). Sustainability principles and practice. Routledge USA. 11(1), 138-155.

Shinde, P., & Mojes, E. E. (2017). Lifestyle intervention in shift towards non communicable diseases due to urbanization through ayurveda. Ayurline: IJ-RIM, 1(03), 19-25.

Thornton, A., & Fricke, T. E. (2015). Social change and the family: Comparative perspectives from the West, China, and South Asia. In Sociological forum (Vol. 2, No. 4, pp. 746-779). Kluwer Academic Publishers.

van Noorloos, F., & Steel, G. (2016). Lifestyle migration and socio-spatial segregation in the urban (izing) landscapes of Cuenca (Ecuador) and Guanacaste (Costa Rica). Habitat International, 54, 50-57.

World Health Organization. (2015). Our planet, our health: Report of the WHO Commission on Health and Environment.

Yusuf, S., Reddy, S., Ôunpuu, S., & Anand, S. (2015). Global burden of cardiovascular diseases: part I: general considerations, the epidemiologic transition, risk factors, and impact of urbanization. Circulation, 104(22), 2746-2753.

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