Urbanization is the increasing proportion of human population geographically concentrated in and around cities, an important distinction from the growth of cities, which may occur without changing the urban-rural demographic ratio. For most of human history—perhaps over a million years—people lived in small hunting, gathering, and farming communities, close to nature and familiar people. Urban historians theorize that permanent human settlement in small towns and villages emerged as an adaptive strategy for managing the challenges and opportunities of the natural environment, enabling more efficient, abundant food production, exchange, and social organization. Cities grew as human communities grew more adept at scaling the production and exchange of resources through self-organizing systems. The pace of urbanization accelerated during the industrial era and by the 19th century fictional ...

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