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Urban Air Mobility Glossary

Our UAM Glossary is a collaborative effort from many industry experts.

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Urbanisation describes the process of community shift from rural to urban areas.  On a broader scale, urbanisation refers to the processes adopted by individuals as a result of the growth of towns and cities because of the shift.  It is often used to measure stages of development in cities.

Causes and Impacts of Urbanisation


Initially urbanisation was the result of mechanisation of agricultural activities, meaning a smaller workforce was required in rural areas. So people began migrating to cities in search of employment opportunities, provided by industrialisation and trade. 

Urbanisation then triggered a cycle between the rapid expansions of urban cities and increase in population density. This further impacted the access to societal amenities such as health care and educational facilities available to the new settlers.  The cities were expanding quicker than what the initial infrastructure allowed, resulting in a need for continuous improvements to maintain pace with the ongoing developments within the regions.  

Schools and hospitals had to be strategically developed and placed to increase accessibility, so that community members did not have to travel huge distances to meet basic needs, as opposed to rural regions. Therefore, over time urban sprawl caused villages to grow into towns with their own public transport systems, universities and successful businesses. 

The expansion also presented a need for adequate transport infrastructure to better connect the city within itself and its surrounding towns. This resulted in new road layouts and highways, which over time developed to incorporate modern transportation solutions to link ground and underground means together. 


For example, between 1991 and 2016, the population of London increased from 6.4 to 8.7 million. This led to recent improvements to the King’s Cross and St. Pancras railway stations, a new campus for an art and design college, numerous music venues, parks and fountains, as well as more housing.


Many cities developed by river and sea fronts, so they included harbours which had two purposes: increase of trade and foreign transport of goods, and connectivity of people. This aided the economic expansion and stability of the region, overtime improving the standards of living significantly. Hence, enabling industries such as fashion, textile and technology to thrive and advance.

Some of the challenges brought about by Urbanisation

The implications of urbanisation have led to economic, environmental and social issues in cities worldwide. In many inner-city areas, the rapidly increasing population density has led to overcrowding, congestion in housing and high competition for jobs. Alongside the steep rise in living expenses, these factors contribute to the high unemployment rates, poverty and poor living conditions. This further stimulates the divide and tension between communities within cities.

From an environmental perspective, a large population living unsustainably produces large amounts of waste and pollution. If not monitored, this could lead to extensive landfills and dirty streets. The required energy consumption in homes and offices cause significant air pollution due to the use of fossil fuels, whilst the ‘sleepless’ and busy city culture creates a lot of noise and light pollution. 

The increase in required transportation translates to more vehicles using roads, which contributes to the growth in vehicle congestion and fuel consumption. On average, 1.9 billion gallons of fuel is wasted every year due to road congestion in the United States, which costs American drivers around $713 annually. This leads to significant emissions of greenhouse gases, also contributing to air pollution.

What role does UAM play in Urbanisation

To provide urban communities with sufficient transport systems that are not harming the environment, sustainable and efficient future mobility solutions need to be developed. Urban Air Mobility (UAM) promises to offer a partial resolution to the transportation and pollution issues that urbanisation brings. 


It also has the potential to connect communities in a fast, safe and sustainable manner. Electric propulsion that will be used to power most of the UAM vehicles, combined with electric and hybrid electric solutions for ground transportation and future commercial aviation aircraft, will help deliver on the global net-zero goals and eliminate some of the negatives brought about by urbanisation. 

Source and suggested reading :

  1. Traffic Congestion Statistics - 

  2. Road Accident Statistics - WHO

  3. Statistics on urban cities - Our World in Data

  4. Urban Air Mobility With Drones -

  5. How London became the   of the world -National Geographic

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