The first urban areas emerged 8,000 years ago in southwest Asia. For the first time in history, humans banded together in permanent settlements and reaped the benefits of specialised labour. Most people, however, continued to live in rural areas.

A few centuries ago, advances in agriculture led to dramatic increases in food production. People moved to cities from the countryside because fewer farmers were needed and cities offered employment. Today, as cities swell with people and sprawl outward, serious questions are arising about the environmental effects urban areas have both inside and outside city limits.

Seeing a city
Landscape importance
In Central and Eastern Europe

© The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe