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[ur-buh-nahyz] /ˈɜr bəˌnaɪz/
verb (used with object), urbanized, urbanizing.
to make or cause to become urban, as a locality.
Origin of urbanize
1635-45; urban + -ize
Related forms
urbanization, noun
nonurbanized, adjective
overurbanize, verb, overurbanized, overurbanizing.
unurbanized, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for urbanize
  • One challenge in many rural areas is the inability to maintain transit service and funding as areas rapidly urbanize.
  • As areas urbanize this type of design may result in major drainage and flooding problems downstream.
  • High water levels may make it more difficult to urbanize some interior areas but would benefit aquatic environments.
  • As areas urbanize, this type of design may result in increased flooding problems downstream.
  • However as agricultural regions urbanize sugarcane industries are coming under increasing public scrutiny.
  • Future growth that is anticipated to urbanize the area may continue to pose challenges.
  • As land areas urbanize, stream ecosystems can be substantially altered.
British Dictionary definitions for urbanize


verb (transitive)
(usually passive)
  1. to make (esp a predominantly rural area or country) more industrialized and urban
  2. to cause the migration of an increasing proportion of (rural dwellers) into cities
Derived Forms
urbanization, urbanisation, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for urbanize

1640s, "to make more civil;" 1884 "to make into a city," from urban + -ize; in the latter sense from French urbaniser (1873). Related: Urbanized; urbanizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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