Britain in international context Britain was the first country to undergo the process of urbanisation based on the industrialisation of the modern age. This process was completed in the early part of the twentieth century with about four-fifths of the population living in cities and towns. At the end of the twentieth century this proportion was similar, with urban uses occupying about 11 per cent of the land surface (of England and Wales). However, the economic and social context of urbanisation has vastly changed during this period.