OPINION: Stop urbanization


Bella Lantz, Opinion Writer

Boone is known for its beautiful scenery, hiking trails and small-town feel. However, more people continue to move here without knowing the damage it is causing. Urbanization, in the dictionary, is defined as “taking on the characteristics of the city.” Due to the high demand for housing and the continuous growth of the population, urbanization is becoming more normal than ever before. This is causing damage to the original appeal of Boone and causing many locals to have trouble going about their day-to-day lives. The impact of urbanization is not being talked about enough, especially since it impacts a town locals once were able to call small.

Boone is a fast-growing town, and data proves it. In 2023, Boone became the 52nd largest city in North Carolina out of 773 cities counted in 2021. Boone has been growing at an average rate of 1.01% per year. The 18,558 students attending App State double the population within Boone. The major flaw of Boone is that it is not ready for this amount of people. The need for more affordable housing is significant, but is the town of Boone prepared to lose so much of its beauty to allow for more people? Urbanization is becoming more popular every year. Half of the world already lives in urban cities, but National Geographic says in 2050, two-thirds of the population will live in urban cities. This results in overpopulated cities and destroys the nature surrounding them.

Urbanization can lead to poverty, air pollution, environmental loss and waste. In 2021, a little over 13% of the population in North Carolina lived in poverty. As of 2022, Boone is the number one city in North Carolina living in poverty, with over 50% of the population living below the poverty line. The average home in Boone makes a mean salary of $22,435 in 2022. With urbanization continuing to grow, it is only reasonable for the number of people living in poverty to increase. Poverty, however, is almost overshadowed by the ever-increasing amount of trash and waste that continues to be added into the environment. This includes the increasing amount of landfills that must accommodate  the increasing amount of trash.

 In North Carolina, there have been 123 landfills over the years. There are only four other states that achieve the goal of having over 100 landfills, with most being heavily populated states. This creates a large issue within North Carolina because it is the ninth most populated state in the U.S. If the population of North Carolina continues to grow, who knows how many more landfills will be added to accommodate the urbanization happening. The appeal of Boone can be gone in a matter of years because of the environment surrounding it disappearing.

The downsides to urbanization are often ignored, and it can be said that the good outweighs the bad. Urbanization can be a good idea because it creates more room for towns to grow, communities to flourish and the population to continue increasing, but this is not always the case. Boone is known as a small college town. By urbanizing the city, the town of Boone loses its tight-knit, small-town appeal that drew people in. The environment and the living conditions for the population might thrive elsewhere, but for a place such as Boone, it makes living in the town much more difficult. Urbanization could benefit many people moving to different cities and states, but people living in those places should not have to suffer because of it.