An urban area, by definition, is an area that supports a concentrated population within a relatively small area. While different countries use different standards regarding the number of residents or the specific size of terrritory included, this pattern holds consistent to all urban areas. Therefore, it is possible to identify preconditions for urban growth by identifying characteristics that are present in areas undergoing urbanization, "the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change."
People move to urban areas because they anticipate access to benefits resulting from living in proximity to others. Such benefits may be categorized broadly as economic benefits - living closer to sources of employment or market for products, lower living costs and more available and affordable housing, cheaper access to transportation; or quality of life reasons - availability of cultural attractions, access to better education or health care or other considerations. Other factors also come into play, such as physical attractions in a location or proximity to family members.
Preconditions encouraging urban growth
are heightened during times of change from a pre-industrial society to an industrial one. It is at this time that many new commercial enterprises are made possible, thus creating new jobs in cities. It is also a result of industrialization that farms become more mechanized, putting many labourers out of work.