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The political economy of development
This academic site promotes excellence in teaching and researching economics and development, and the advancing of describing, understanding, explaining and theorizing for planning for development.
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On Planning for Development:
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Castellano - Français URBANISATION  Editor: Róbinson Rojas Sandford

Published on INDEPENDENT READER - 2009

Crisis and  Resitance in the Neoliberal City
A Conversation with David Harvey, Max Rameau, Shiri Pasternak, and Esther Wang

David Harvey: This foreclosure crisis, this financial crisis, has to be thought of as a crisis of the city, a crisis of urbanization – and if it’s a crisis of the city and of urbanization, then the solution has to be a reconfiguration of the city and a redirection of what urbanization is about.
The pattern of this crisis is not anything new; and one of the things that happens in the U.S., and on the left in general, is that we seem sometimes to suffer from amnesia as to what has happened in the past. I would like to recall that the last biggest crisis period of capitalism, from around 1973 to 1982, was a deep crisis of urbanization. It began with the collapse of global property markets in the spring of 1973, leading to the bankruptcy of several financi al institutions, followed of course by the Arab-Israeli war and the oil price hike (which everybody remembers more than they remember the property market crash).
This was followed by a crisis of municipal finance and the disciplining of almost all cities, not only in the U.S., but around the world, to a new regime of financial terror, what I’d also call “neoliberal politics.” Understanding what this regime was about is crucial because it was part of the solution to the crisis of the 1970s, solution which underpins the nature of the crisis we are currently in.
This is a terribly important point to make, because how we come out of this crisis is almost certainly going to define the nature of the next crisis down the road – unless we decide to say, “To hell with capitalist crises! To hell with capitalism!”

The Urban Theory Lab

"Based at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Urban Theory Lab (UTL) is a research team concerned to rethink the basic categories, methods and cartographies of urban theory in order to better understand and influence emergent forms of planetary urbanization.
In the early 1970s, Henri Lefebvre put forward the radical hypothesis of the complete urbanization of society.  This required, in his view, a radical shift from the analysis of urban form to the investigation of urbanization processes.  The Urban Theory Lab-GSD builds upon Lefebvre’s approach to investigate emergent sociospatial formations under early twenty-first century capitalism. 

Our research starts from the proposition that inherited frameworks of urban knowledge must be radically reinvented to illuminate emergent forms of twenty-first century urbanization. In contrast to the urban/suburban/rural distinction that has long underpinned the major traditions of urban research, data collection and cartographic practice, we argue that the urban today represents a worldwide condition in which all political-economic and socio-environmental relations are enmeshed, regardless of terrestrial location or morphological configuration. 
This emergent condition of planetary urbanization means, paradoxically, that even spaces that lie well beyond the traditional centers of agglomeration—from worldwide shipping lanes, transportation networks and communications infrastructures to resource extraction sites, alpine and coastal tourist enclaves, offshore financial centers, agro-industrial catchment zones, and erstwhile “natural” spaces such as the world’s oceans, deserts, jungles, mountain ranges, tundra and atmosphere—are becoming integral to a worldwide operational landscape for (capitalist) urbanization processes..."

Twitter:  UrbanTheoryLab
Facebook: urbantheorylab

Introducing The Urban Theory Lab
Neil Brenner - August 2013
Professor of Urban Theory and Director, Urban Theory Lab Harvard Graduate School of Design

"Contemporary urban research stands at a crossroads. As scholars struggle to decipher current forms of urbanization, they are forced to confront the limitations of inherited approaches to urban questions, to face the difficult challenge of inventing new theories, concepts and methods that are better equipped to illuminate emergent spatial conditions, their contradictions and their implications at diverse sites and scales around the world. The result of these efforts is an intellectual field in disarray."...

Yanguang Chen - 2005
Department of Geography, Peking University, Beijing 100871, PRC. Email:

Spatial Changes of Chinese Cities Under the Condition of Exo-Urbanization

Only a preliminary framework is sketched in this report. The first part is theoretical study, trying to model urban-rural interlaced area (desakota) in China using multifractals dimension spectra. The second part is empirical analysis, and the object is to reveal the dynamic process of development and evolution of urban-rural interlaced area under the condition of exo-urbanization. The first part has been finished based on digital simulation, but the second part, the main body of this project, is still in progress

Backgroung paper for World Bank (2009),"World Development Report 2009"

Kilroy, Austin - 2007
Intra-urban spatial inequalities: cities as ‘urban regions.

Chapters 1, 4 and 7 explore the idea of cities as sites of economic concentration and density. But a city is not a homogenous unit. This paper explores spatial inequalities within cities: how they are generated, what characteristics they have, and—similarly to inter-country, inter-territory and urban-rural inequalities—how these spatial inequalities become persistent and self-perpetuating, embodying serious economic and social problems. This conceptual frame views cities as agglomerations of ‘urban regions’—which exhibit significant spatial intra-urban inequalities, and where trends towards equality are constrained predominantly by labour immobility and land-use policies.

From Economic and Political Weekly
April 1, 2006
Vol. XLI, no. 13 (pp.1241-6)

Poverty and Capitalism
Barbara Harriss-White - 2006
University Professor of Development Studies; Director of the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies programme - Faculty of Oriental Studies - University of Oxford

The 21st century has witnessed an impoverishment of the concept of development.

From its start as a project of capitalist industrialisation and agrarian change, the political direction and social transformation that accompany this process – and the deliberate attempt to order and mitigate its necessary ill effects on human beings and their habitats – development has been reduced to an assault on poverty, apparently driven by international aid, trade and financial agencies and festooned in targets. At the same time, the concept of poverty has been enriched by being recognised as having many dimensions – monetary/income poverty, human development poverty, social exclusion and poor peoples’ own understandings developed through participatory interactions [Laderchi et al 2003].

While it may be possible to mitigate poverty through social transfers, it is not possible to eradicate the processes that create poverty under capitalism.

Eight such processes are discussed: the creation of the preconditions; petty commodity production and trade; technological change and unemployment; (petty) commodification; harmful commodities and waste; pauperising crises; climate-change-related pauperisation; and the unrequired, incapacitated and/or dependent human body under capitalism. Ways to regulate these processes and to protect against their impact are discussed.

Prepared for: Crisis States Research Centre
Development Studies Institute - London School of Economics
By Giulia Agostini Francesca Chianese William French Amita Sandhu - 2006

Understanding the Processes of Urban Violence: An Analytical Framework

As of this year half of the world’s population is estimated to be living in cities1, therefore, an understanding of conflict and violence within an urban space is increasingly important. This paper’s output is an analytical framework, which examines the processes that lead from conflict to violence.
Defining violence as the manifestation of distorted power relationships produced by the complex interaction between risk factors, the paper assumes that it is the interaction of these risk factors, which creates the processes that lead to violent outcomes. Risk factors are viewed as existing conditions that could potentially culminate in violence. Based upon a threefold taxonomy of violence, rooted in existing literature, three exemplary cities were chosen and analysed. These cities are Nairobi, Kinshasa, and Bogota, which respectively typify economic, political, and social violence. The cases demonstrate coinciding and context specific processes, with three significant points of overlap being identified:
􀂃 The Primary Nexus: Is envisioned as the point where there is a significant alignment of common processes, and the point at which the potential for violence is extremely high. These processes are: a crisis of governance, unequal access to economic opportunity, economic decline, and the naturalisation of fear and insecurity.
􀂃 Secondary Nexuses: Are the points of overlap between two of the case cities, where the potential for violence is significant, but not as likely as in the primary nexus.
􀂃 Context Specific Processes: Highlight the unique manner in which risks factors interact to produce violence in each of the cities.

From The Lancet Vol 379 June 2, 2012

Shaping cities for health: complexity and the planning of urban environments in the 21st century
Yvonne Rydin, Ana Bleahu, Michael Davies, Julio D. Dávila, Sharon Friel, Giovanni De Grandis, Nora Groce, Pedro C Hallal, Ian Hamilton, Philippa Howden-Chapman, Ka-Man Lai, C J Lim, Juliana Martins, David Osrin, Ian Ridley, Ian Scott, Myfanwy Taylor, Paul Wilkinson, James Wilson

The Healthy Cities movement has been in process for almost 30 years, and the features needed to transform a city into a healthy one are becoming increasingly understood. What is less well understood, however, is how to deliver the potential health benefits and how to ensure that they reach all citizens in urban areas across the world. This task is becoming increasingly important because most of the world’s population already live in cities, and, with high rates of urbanisation, many millions more will soon do so in the coming decades.

The Commission met during November, 2009, to June, 2011, to provide an analysis of how health outcomes can be improved through modification of the physical fabric of towns and cities and to discuss the role that urban planning can have in the delivering of health improvements. The Commission began from the premise that cities are complex systems, with urban health outcomes dependent on many interactions and feedback loops, so that prediction within the planning process is fraught with diffi culties and unintended consequences are common.

From: Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Volume 4. Edited by J.V Henderson and J.FE Thisse - © 2004 Elsevier B. V All rights reserved

Theories of Systems of Cities
H. M. Abdel-Rahman - University of New Orleans, USA, and
A. Anas - State University of New York at Buffalo, USA

Economic theories of systems of cities explain why production and consumption activities are concentrated in a number of urban areas of different sizes and industrial composition rather than uniformly distributed in space.
These theories have been successively influenced by four paradigms:
(i) conventional urban economics emphasizing the tension between economies due to the spatial concentration of activity and diseconomies arising from that concentration;
(ii) the theory of industrial organization as it relates to inter-industry linkages and to product differentiation;
(iii) the New Economic Geography which ignores land markets but emphasizes trade among cities, fixed agricultural hinterlands and the endogenous emergence of geography;
(iv) the theory of endogenous economic growth.
Among the issues examined are specialization versus diversification of cities in systems of cities, how city systems contribute to increasing returns in national and the global economies, the factors that determine skill distribution and income disparity between cities, the impacts of income disparity on welfare, whether population growth should cause economic activity to become more or less concentrated in urban areas, and how resources should be allocated efficiently in a system of cities. Related to the last issue, we consider models where cities are organized by local planners or developers as well as cities that self-organize by atomistic actions. A conclusion of the theoretical study of city systems is that markets fail in efficiently allocating resources across cities when certain intercity interactions are present and that a role for central planning may be necessary.

From the International House Coalition, Washington, 2010
The challenge of an urban world
An opportunity for U.S. Foreign Assistance

The urban age is upon us. For the first time in history, more people now live in cities than in the countryside. Virtually all world population growth for at least the next fifty years will be in cities, and the cities of the developing world will absorb most of this increase. This phenomenon should be viewed positively because there is general agreement that urbanization is fundamental to sustained national economic growth — indeed no country has achieved higher income status without greater urbanization. However, rapid urbanization is often an overwhelming management and financial challenge for developing country governments.
The increasingly concentrated poverty in urban slums is a consequence of urbanization. One billion people now live in slums in the developing world and that number is sure to increase. The promise and challenges of 21st century urbanization combine to offer an unprecedented opportunity to leverage U.S. foreign assistance in order to alleviate poverty and generate economic growth. To do so adequately, the U.S. will need a better foreign assistance structure with an increased urban development focus. Urban programs are a proven, effective, and efficient use of limited foreign assistance resources.


State of the Asian Cities 2010/2011

The report throws new light on current issues and challenges which national and local governments, the business sector and organised civil society are facing. On top of putting forward a number of recommendations, this report testifies to the wealth of good, innovative practice that countries of all sizes and development stages have accumulated across the region. It shows us that sustainable human settlements are within reach, and that cooperation between public authorities, the private and the voluntary sectors is the key to success. This report highlights a number of critical issues – demographic and economic trends, poverty and inequality, the environment, climate change and urban governance and management.


State of the African Cities 2010
Governance, Inequality and Urban Land Markets

Events in the early years of the 21st century have all but done away with the widespread belief in linear development, the start of worldwide accumulative growth, and broad access to a global consumer society. The free-market ideology has facilitated a number of serious world-wide mistakes in governance, environmental management, banking practices and food and energy pricing which in recent years have rocked the world to its foundations. The message of these systemic shocks is that we can no longer afford to continue with ‘business as usual’. There is need for a significantly higher level of global political determination to make deep changes, if humankind is to survive on this planet.
The world’s wealthiest governments have shown that rapid adaptation and reform are possible. Despite the predominance of a free-market ideology opposed to government interference, when faced with a deep financial crisis that imperilled the world’s global banking system the governments of the more advanced economies were capable of generating, almost overnight, the political will to put on the table the billions of dollars required to bail out the world’s largest financial institutions. These funds did not seem available when they were requested for the global eradication of poverty.


State of China's Cities 2010/2011
Better city, Better life

This title, State of China’s Cities, is a joint effort between UN-HABITAT, China Science Center of International Eurasian Academy of Sciences and China Association of Mayors. This report, covers five strategic steps to nurture and grow smarter cities. It aims to make easy access of international readers to the information about policies and practices that have engendered smart urbanization of China in the past 60 years. It also provides the experiences, lessons and challenges faced by China in sustaining its urban development in the context of rapid industrialization and urbanization within a globalizing world.

WIDER working papers 2011

Latin American Urban Development into the 21st Century: Towards a Renewed Perspective on the City
Dennis Rodgers, Jo Beall, and Ravi Kanbur - January 2011

This paper argues for a more systemic engagement with Latin American cities, contending it is necessary to reconsider their unity in order to nuance the ‘fractured cities’ perspective that has widely come to epitomise the contemporary urban moment in the region. It begins by offering an overview of regional urban development trends, before exploring how the underlying imaginary of the city has critically shifted over the past half century. Focusing in particular on the way that slums and shantytowns have been conceived, it traces how the predominant conception of the Latin American city moved from a notion of unity to a perception of fragmentation, highlighting how this had critically negative ramifications for urban development agendas, and concludes with a call for a renewed vision of Latin American urban life.

Cocaine Cities
Exploring the Relationship between Urban Processes and the Drug Trade in South America

Ignacio A. Navarro - March 2011

The relationship between the cocaine trade and urban land markets in South America has been overlooked by the mainstream economics and urban studies literature. This paper examines two avenues through which the cocaine trade can have a large impact on urban development in producer countries: (i) through an employment multiplier effect similar to that of other legal exports, and (ii) through money laundering using urban real estate. We test our hypotheses using the Bolivian case and find that urban growth patterns are closely related to fluctuations in cocaine production. Further, even though our estimates suggest that the cocaine trade affects urban growth through the two avenues presented in the paper, we find that formal urban employment generated by the cocaine trade has a modest effect on urban growth and most of the effect seems to be explained by money laundering using real estate and other paths.

From WIDER working papers 2011

Socio-Spatial Implications of Street Market Regulation Policy
The Case of Ferias Libres in Santiago de Chile

Lissette Aliaga Linares - March 2011

Unlike in most Latin American cities, street vendors organized in farmers’ markets popularly known as ferias libres in Santiago de Chile, gained legal recognition early in the twentieth century. Since then, comunas, or local municipalities, have provided vendors with individual licenses that stipulate the place and time of operations, and have defined a clear set of rules regarding customer service. However, this early legal recognition has not necessarily overcome the embedded conflict over the economic use of public space. As supermarkets become spatially positioned along the main streets within easy access of the city’s transportation system, feriantes, or licensed street vendors, are being relocated in less profitable areas. Moreover, coleros, or unlicensed vendors, are still flourishing despite efforts to restrict their numbers.

A New Way of Monitoring the Quality of Urban Life
Eduardo Lora and Andrew Powell - March 2011

A growing number of cities around the world have established systems of monitoring the quality of urban life. Many of those systems combine objective and subjective information and attempt to cover a wide variety of topics. This paper introduces a simple method that takes advantage of both types of information and provides criteria to identify and rank the issues of potential importance for urban dwellers. The method combines the so-called ‘hedonic price’ and ‘life satisfaction’ approaches to value public goods. Pilot case results for six Latin American cities are summarized and policy applications are discussed.

Significance of Public Space in the Fragmented City
Designing Strategies for Urban Opportunities in Informal Settlements of Buenos Aires City

Flavio Janches - March 2011

This article surveys the problem of urban marginalization by one of its more critical expressions in the contemporary city: the slums. The aim is to define an urban design strategy for the integration of those settlements as part of the city context, which enables to find solutions for the conflict improving these communities quality of life.

Irregular Urbanization as a Catalyst for Radical Social Mobilization
The Case of the Housing Movements of São Paulo

Lucy Earle March 2011

This study focuses on the city of São Paulo, Brazil and examines the ways in which irregular and illegal growth have influenced the collective action of social movements of the urban poor. The study describes how São Paulo grew as a socially segregated city during the twentieth century due to calculated neglect on the part of the municipal authorities. Highlighting the city’s sociospatial inequality, degradation of the central districts and widespread irregularity, it illustrates how these factors have both negatively affected the urban poor and provided a catalyst for social mobilization.

Separate but Equal Democratization?
Participation, Politics, and Urban Segregation in Latin America

Dennis Rodgers - March 2011

Many commentators have noted the existence of a historical correlation between cities and democratization. This image of the city as an inherently civic space is linked to the notion that the spatial concentration intrinsic to urban contexts promotes a democracy of proximity. Seen from this perspective, it is perhaps not surprising that the most urbanized region of the global south, Latin America, is also a heartland of vibrant and much applauded democratic innovation. Of particular note are the myriad local level ‘radical democracy’ initiatives that have proliferated throughout the region’s cities during the past two decades. At the same time, however, it is a significant paradox that Latin American urban centres are also amongst the most segregated in the world, something that is widely considered to have a significantly fragmenting effect on public space, and is therefore undermining of democracy.

From WIDER working papers 2011

Is Internal Migration Bad for Receiving Urban Centres?
Evidence from Brazil, 1995-2000
Céline Ferré - April 2011

During the twentieth century, internal migration and urbanization shaped Brazil’s economic and social landscape. Cities grew tremendously, while immigration participated in the rapid urbanization process and the redistribution of poverty between rural and urban areas. In 1950, about a third of Brazil’s population lived in cities; this figure grew to approximately 80 per cent by the end of the nineteenth century. The Brazilian population redistributed unevenly—some dynamic regions became population magnets, and some neighbourhoods within cities became gateway clusters in which the effects of immigration proved particularly salient. This study asks, has domestic migration to cities been part of a healthy process of economic transition and mobility for the country and its households? Or has it been a perverse trap?

U.K. House of Commons
International Development Committee
Urbanisation and Poverty
Volume I - 2009

Some of DFID’s work to address urban poverty is impressive and is making a noticeable contribution towards meeting the Millennium Development Goal 7 target on slum upgrading. However, the Department needs to sharpen and refine its approaches to urban poverty. The last five years have seen rapid urbanisation, almost all of it within developing countries, yet DFID—along with other donors—has downgraded its support to urban development over this period. This process should be reversed.

The Department overwhelmingly focuses its efforts to address urban poverty in Asian, rather than African, countries. This balance needs to be redressed. Africa is the world’s fastest urbanising region and it has the highest proportion of slum dwellers. Without a new and comprehensive approach to urban development in Africa, a number of cities could face a humanitarian crisis in as little as five years’ time, given the huge expansion of their urban populations. Addressing urban poverty offers the opportunity to tackle wider development issues such as: unemployment and crime; social exclusion; population growth; and climate change and the environment.

From UCL Development Planning Unit

Dynamics of Urban Change
A collection of resources

Cities are central to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), endorsed by the governments of the world at the United Nations on 8 September 2000.
This present compilation contributes to the MDGs by providing urban practioners with a wide range of experience, reflections and innovations.
The collection emphasises the dynamic nature of urban change and the value and potentials of sharing knowledge that contribute to processes of economic growth, social development, cultural diversity, environmental sustainability and the reduction of poverty.
Sikandar Hasan, Anna Soave, Khanh Tran-Thanh and Tina Simon - 2003, DPU

BUDDlab series

Since the beginning of time, the art and act of building has been at the core of human evolution and our relationship with the specific landscapes that surround us. And while the idea of building with traditionally local materials and resources still exists in parts of the world, in many western societies, the opportunity to initiate and engage in an actual building project is difficult in comparison to the amount of ideas that are hatched on a drawing board or computer.
Volume 1, October 2010: Wales Workshop: an exercise in local resource building practice

Urbanization and the Changing System of Cities in Socialist China: A Historical and Geographic Assessment
George C. S. Lin - 2000

Globalization and market reforms have significantly facilitated urbanization of the population of the People’s Republic of China. This study assesses the structural and spatial redistribution of urban population and Chinese cities since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949. Prior to the 1978 economic reforms, the system of cities created by the Maoist regime was dominated by large and extra-large cities because of the imperatives of optimal industrialization. For national defense considerations, most of the new cities were created in the central and western interior rather than the eastern coast. Market reforms and relaxation of state control over local development since the late 1970s have allowed a large number of small cities to flourish on the basis of bottom-up rural transformative development. The intrusion of global market forces has helped re-consolidate the dominance of the east coast in China’s urban development. Although small cities and towns have absorbed large number of rural migrants, large and extra-large cities have remained the most efficient and productive economic centers for capital investment and production. China’s urban development over the past five decades has been a direct outcome of state articulation and reconfiguration against different political and economic contexts. A superimposed dual-track system of urban settlements integrating the Maoist legacy of large city dominance at the top with the rapidly expanding component of small cities and towns at the bottom is quickly taking shape to characterize China’s urban development and urbanization.

From the The Global Development Research Center
The WWW Virtual Library
Urban Environmental Management

From UNU-WIDER working papers series 2010
David E. Bloom, David Canning, Günther Fink, Tarun Khanna, and Patrick Salyer
Urban Settlement: Data, Measures, and Trends

This paper examines data on urbanization. We review the most commonly used data sources, and highlight the difficulties inherent in defining and measuring the size of urban versus rural populations. We show that differences in the measurement of urban populations across countries and over time are significant, and discuss the methods used to obtain these measurements, as well as those for projecting urbanization. We also analyze recent trends and patterns in urbanization. Finally, we describe the principal channels of urbanization and examine their relative contributions to the global urbanization process.

From UNU-WIDER working papers series 2010
Caroline Moser and Andrew Felton
The Gendered Nature of Asset Accumulation in Urban Contexts: Longitudinal Results from Guayaquil, Ecuador

This paper examines the gendered nature of asset accumulation between 1978 and 2004 in Indio Guayas, a low-income community on the periphery of the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador. In so doing, it emphasizes both the importance of combining quantitative and qualitative intra-household data, as well as taking a longitudinal perspective rather than at a single point in time. This paper seeks to examine the relationship not only between gender and urban income poverty but also, more importantly, between gender and urban asset accumulation, illustrating how the combination of quantitative econometric measurement of assets and qualitative in-depth anthropological findings on the complex underlying gender relations both contribute to a far more comprehensive analysis of asset accumulation processes in urban contexts than can be gained from any single methodological approach.

From UNU-WIDER working papers series 2010
Nasser Yassin
Violent Urbanization and Homogenization of Space and Place: Reconstructing the Story of Sectarian Violence in Beirut

This paper aims at understanding the dynamics of sectarian violence in the city of Beirut, by looking at the early phase of violence in the Lebanese civil war (1975–90), and the process of dividing Beirut into various sectarian enclaves controlled by the warring militias. The paper aims to show the way in which political actors used sectarian violence as a mechanism of social, political, and territorial control. As a point of departure, the paper views the city not only as a backdrop for conflict and violence, but also as an actual target. The objectives of the paper are threefold. First, it shows how sectarian violence was not random but was, rather, a product of a lengthy process that involved calculation and some levels of planning. It includes defining one’s neighbour as an enemy and as a threat. Second, it shows the measures and practices that were employed by militias to consolidate the full control of territory that entailed the transformation of space and place into homogenous entities. Third, it looks at the centrality of the concepts of homogenization of space (and place) and territoriality in the course of waging sectarian violence.

From UNU-WIDER working papers series 2010
Deborah Fahy Bryceson
Dar es Salaam as a 'Harbour of Peace' in East Africa: Tracing the Role of Creolized Urban Ethnicity in Nation-State Formation

Dar es Salaam is exceptional in East Africa for having a record of relatively little ethnic tension, and remaining tranquil and true to its name, the ‘harbour of peace’. This paper explores the interface between ethnic and national identities in Tanzania’s capital city, focusing on its ethnic foundations and their malleability with regard to nationalism, asking how nationalist identities were negotiated vis-à-vis existing local ethnic identities. How willing were ethnic groups that were indigenous to the locality to ‘share’ the city, its land, and amenities with newcomer compatriots, given that the city was almost as new as the nation-state? How did their modus operandi affect nation-building?

From UNU-WIDER working papers series 2010
Dennis Rodgers
Urban Violence Is not (Necessarily) a Way of Life: Towards a Political Economy of Conflict in Cities

As the world moves towards its so-called urban ‘tipping point’, urbanization in the global South has increasingly come to be portrayed as the portent of a dystopian future characterized by ever-mounting levels of anarchy and brutality. The association between cities, violence, and disorder is not new, however. In a classic article on ‘Urbanism as a way of life’, Louis Wirth (1938: 23) famously links cities to ‘personal disorganization, mental breakdown, suicide, delinquency, crime, corruption, and disorder’. He does so on the grounds that the urban context constituted a space that naturally generated particular forms of social organization and collective action as a result of three key attributes: population size, density, and heterogeneity. Large numbers lead to a segmentation of human relations, the pre-eminence of secondary over primary social contact, and a utilitarianization of interpersonal relationships. Density produces increased competition, accelerates specialization, and engenders glaring contrasts that accentuate social friction. Heterogeneity induces more ramified and differentiated forms of social stratification, heightened individual mobility, and increased social fluidity.
While large numbers, density, and heterogeneity can plausibly be considered universal features of cities, it is much less obvious that they necessarily lead to urban violence. This is a standpoint that is further reinforced by the fact that not all cities around the world – whether rapidly urbanizing or not – are violent, and taking off from Wirth’s characterization of the city, this paper therefore seeks to understand how and why under certain circumstances compact settlements of large numbers of heterogeneous individuals give rise to violence, while in others they don’t, focusing in particular on wider structural factors as seen through the specific lens of urban gang violence.

From UNU-WIDER working papers series 2010
Adriana Rabinovich and Andrea Catenazzi
Building Sustainable Historic Centres: A Comparative Approach for Innovative Urban Projects

Since the 1980s, the promotion of heritage values has gradually become a relevant issue for urban planning. Together with the emergence of new peripheries, inner-city areas and particularly old historic centres, affected by deterioration due to the recession of the last decades, have been the object of study and actions. Consequently, the need to turn the historic centres into areas of development for the market, through legislative measures and investments in infrastructure and services, and the re-evaluation of the heritage value of existing buildings, oscillated between policies which, linked to the mechanisms of economic and cultural globalization, promoted tourism as a source of revenue while striving to find alternatives to gentrification. The renewed priority given to the development of inner-city areas, centred round the rehabilitation of their historic values and central nature, has generated innovative operating modes in the urban environment that seek to reconcile the challenges of modernity, particularly in regard to social inequalities with those of the past, and to rethink the central role of historic centres, their relations with the city and their development in terms of sustainability.
The goal of our contribution is to gain a better understanding of the major challenges of the rehabilitation of historic centres within the framework of ‘innovative’ approaches to urban planning, aiming at promoting sustainable living conditions. The analysis is based on an ongoing comparative and transdisciplinary research project, in which the decision-making processes of concrete interventions for the rehabilitation of inner-areas with heritage value are being analyzed in different cities of the world: Buenos Aires, La Havana and Bangkok. The main questions that arose in our analysis concern the contexts allowing for innovation, focusing on those institutional arrangements, which, as modes of governance, were introduced in the interventions, studied.

From UNU-WIDER working papers series 2010
Somik V. Lall, Hyoung Gun Wang, and Uwe Deichmann
Infrastructure and City Competitiveness in India

Do local improvements in infrastructure provision improve city competitiveness? What public finance mechanisms stimulate local infrastructure supply? And how do local efforts compare with national decisions of placing inter-regional trunk infrastructure? In this paper, we examine how the combination of local and national infrastructure supply improve city competitiveness, measured as the city’s share of national private investment. For the empirical analysis, we collect city-level data for India, and link private investment decisions to infrastructure provision. We find that a city’s proximity to international ports and highways connecting large domestic markets has the largest effect on its attractiveness for private investment. In comparison, the supply of local infrastructure services – such as municipal roads, street lighting, water supply, and drainage – enhance competitiveness, but their impacts are much smaller. Thus, while local efforts are important for competitiveness, they are less likely to be successful in cities distant from the country’s main trunk infrastructure. In terms of financing local infrastructure, we find that a city’s ability to raise its own source revenues by means of local taxes and user fees increases infrastructure supply, whereas as inter governmental transfers do not have statistically significant effects.

From UNU-WIDER working papers series 2010
Martin Medina
Solid Wastes, Poverty and the Environment in Developing Country Cities: Challenges and Opportunities

Many cities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America face serious problems managing their wastes. Two of the major problems are the insufficient collection and inappropriate final disposal of wastes. Despite spending increasing resources, many cities – particularly in Africa and Asia – collect less than half of the waste generated. Most wastes are disposed of in open dumps, deposited on vacant land, or burned by residents in their backyards. Insufficient collection and inadequate disposal generate significant pollution problems and risks to human health and the environment. Over one billion people living in lowincome communities and slums lack appropriate waste management services. Given the rapid population growth and urbanization in many cities, the management of wastes tends to further deteriorate.
This paper examines the challenges and opportunities that exist in improving the management of waste in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It is argued that, despite a worsening trend, there are opportunities for reducing pollution, alleviating poverty, improving the urban environment, and lowering greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries by implementing low-cost, low-tech, labour-intensive methods that promote community participation and involve informal refuse collectors and waste-pickers. Evidence from several cities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America is discussed.

From UNU-WIDER working papers series 2010
Wim Naudé
Suburbanization and Residential Desegregation in South Africa's Cities

Population density gradients for South Africa’s cities are quite small in absolute value, indicating a relatively flat population distribution across the cities. In contrast employment is less flatly distributed than the population. The relationship between employment densities and distance across South African cities has remained constant between 1996 and 2001 whilst there has been on average a slight increase in population density further away from the city centres. As per capita income of the population rises, density in the central city areas decreases. Employment growth has no significant impact on suburbanization indicating that population settlement does not necessarily follow jobs. Finally, it is found that there have been decreases in segregation in South Africa’s metropolitan cities since 1996 especially in the former white group areas, which could suggest that the formerly spatially excluded black population is slowly moving into former white areas, which are also closer to where economic activities are located.

From UNU-WIDER working papers series 2010
Ignacio A. Navarro and Geoffrey K. Turnbull
The Legacy Effect of Squatter Settlements on Urban Redevelopment

The paper presents a theoretical model that seeks to answer the question of why former squatter settlements tend to upgrade/redevelop at a slower pace than otherwise similar settlements originating in the formal sector. We argue that squatter settlers’ initial strategy to access urban land creates a ‘legacy effect’ that curtails settlement upgrading possibilities even after the settlements are granted property titles. We test our model using the case of Cochabamba, Bolivia and obtain results consistent with our theoretical model prediction. Our results suggest that the commonly used ‘benign neglect while keeping the threat of eviction’ policy has profound impacts on how land is developed in the informal sector and this poses costly consequences for local governments after legalization.

From UNU-WIDER working papers series 2010
Henry G. Overman and Anthony J. Venables
Evolving City Systems

The urban population of the developing world is projected to increase by some two billion in the next 30 years. Urbanization rates are strongly correlated with per capita income, productivity tends to be high in cities, and urban job creation is an important driver of economic growth. But urbanization is also one aspect of the widening spatial disparities that often accompany economic development, and many countries have urban structures dominated by their prime city. While cities are highly productive, they create heavy demands for investments in infrastructure and accommodation, in the absence of which slums and informal settlements develop. Urbanization gives rise to numerous policy challenges, both to make cities work better and to ensure that the overall city structure (the number and size distribution of cities) is as efficient as possible. There is no presumption that an unregulated free market pattern of urban development is socially efficient (even when conditional upon appropriate levels of public investment).
Urban activity creates many externalities, both positive and negative, so economic theory tells us that an unregulated outcome will not achieve efficiency. We observe the grim conditions of developing mega-cities, and we know that, in some developing countries, the primate city takes a far larger share of population than was the case in much of the developed world at similar stages of development (Bairoch 1988). The performance of the urban sector also bears on overall economic growth. Much job creation – in modern sector activities and in the informal sector – takes place in cities. What determines the attractiveness of a location as a host for investment, and how can city environments be developed to maximize job creation? Do ‘bad’ city structures impede overall growth?

From UNU-WIDER working papers series 2010
Janice E. Perlman
Parsing the Urban Poverty Puzzle: A Multi-generational Panel Study in Rio de Janeiro’s Favelas, 1968–2008

This paper describes the methodology of a longitudinal multi-generational study in the favelas (shantytowns) of Rio de Janeiro from 1968 to 2008. Major political transformations took place in Brazil during this interval: from dictatorship to ‘opening’ to democracy; major economic transformations from ‘miracle’ boom to hyperinflation and crisis, and to relative stability; and major policy changes from the removal of favelas to their upgrading and integration. However, despite the cumulative effects of these contextual changes, poverty programmes and community efforts, the favela population has continued to grow faster than the rest of the city and the number and size of the favelas has consistently increased over these decades.

From UNU-WIDER working papers series 2010
David Satterthwaite
Urban Myths and the Mis-use of Data that Underpin them

This paper describes the gaps and limitations in the data available on urban populations for many low- and middle-income nations and how this limits the accuracy of international comparisons – for instance of levels of urbanization and of the size of city populations. It also discusses how the lack of attention to data limitations has led to many myths and misconceptions in regard to growth rates for city populations and for nations’ levels of urbanization. It ends with some comments on how data limitations distort urban policies.

From UNU-WIDER working papers series 2010
Hirotsugu Uchida and Andrew Nelson
Agglomeration Index: Towards a New Measure of Urban Concentration

A common challenge in analyzing urbanization is the data. The United Nations (UN) compiles information on urbanization (urban population and its share of total national population) that is reported by various countries but there is no standardized definition of ‘urban’, resulting in inconsistencies. This situation is particularly troublesome if one wishes to conduct a cross-country analysis or determine the aggregate urbanization status of the regions (such as Asia or Latin America) and the world. This paper proposes an alternative to the UN measure of urban concentration that we call an agglomeration index. It is based on three factors:
• Population density
• The population of a ‘large’ city centre
• Travel time to that large city centre.
The main objective in constructing this new measure is to provide a globally consistent definition of settlement concentration in order to conduct cross-country comparative and aggregated analyses. As an accessible measure of economic density, the agglomeration index lends itself to the study of concepts such as agglomeration rents in urban areas, the ‘thickness’ of a market, and the travel distance to such a market with many workers and consumers. With anticipated advances in remote sensing technology and geo-coded data analysis tools, the agglomeration index can be further refined to address some of the caveats currently associated with it.

From UNU-WIDER working papers series 2010
Ben C. Arimah
The Face of Urban Poverty: Explaining the Prevalence of Slums in Developing Countries

One of the most visible and enduring manifestations of urban poverty in developing countries is the formation and proliferation of slums. While attention has focused on the rapid pace of urbanization as the sole or major factor explaining the proliferation of slums and squatter settlements in developing countries, there are other factors whose impacts are not known with much degree of certainty. It is also not clear how the effects of these factors vary across regions of the developing world. This paper accounts for differences in the prevalence of slums among developing countries using data drawn from the recent global assessment of slums undertaken by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme.
The empirical analysis identifies substantial inter-country variations in the incidence of slums both within and across the regions of Africa, Asia as well as, Latin America and the Caribbean. Further analysis indicates that higher GDP per capita, greater financial depth and increased investment in infrastructure will reduce the incidence of slums. Conversely, the external debt burden, inequality in the distribution of income, rapid urban growth and the exclusionary nature of the regulatory framework governing the provision planned residential land contribute positively to the prevalence of slums and squatter settlements.

From the International Institute for Environment and Development - December 2009 - IIED, CLACC

Climate change and the urban poor. Risk and resilience in 15 of the world's most vulnerable cities

Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Bangladesh, Benin, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Sudan, Nepal, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi
Urban, Climate Change

"This report outlines lessons learnt regarding the principal effects of climate change on 15 cities
in low-income countries, and what makes them vulnerable to these effects. Coastal cities are susceptible to a rise in sea level and are made vulnerable by the low-lying land they are often built on, while dryland cities suffer from scarce water resources due to extended periods of climate change-induced drought. In these and other inland cities, the level of poverty, the rapid pace of urbanization and a lack of education about climate change increase vulnerability and aggravate the effects of climate change. Innovative urban policies and practices have shown that adaptation to some of these effects is possible and can be built into development plans. These include community-based initiatives led by organizations formed by the urban poor, and local governments working in partnership with their low-income populations".

World Development Report 2009
Spatial Disparities and Development Policy
Reshaping  Economic Geography
Published November 6, 2008

Read also Reshaping Economic Geography in East Asia
a companion volume to the World Development Report 2009, which brings together noted scholars to address the spatial distribution of economic growth in Asia.

Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Research Network
Centred in theGeography Department at Loughborough University, this research network focuses upon the external relations of world cities. Although the world/global city literature is premised upon the existence of world-wide transactions, most of the research effort has gone into studying the internal structures of individual cities and comparative analyses of the same. Relations between cities have been neglected by world cities researchers; the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Research Network has been formed to aid in rectifying this situation (see Multiple GaWCs - a brief introduction to the multi-facetted nature of GaWC - and Formative Missions for GaWC).

From UN-HABITAT - 2009
Planning Sustainable Cities: policy directions
Global Report on Human Settlements 2009
Abridged Edition

United Nations Human Settlements Programme
London • Sterling,VA

Even though urban planning has changed relatively little in most countries since its emergence about one hundred years ago, a number of countries have adopted some innovative approaches in recent decades. These include: strategic spatial planning; use of spatial planning to integrate public sector functions and to inject a territorial dimension; new land regularization and management approaches; participatory processes and partnerships at the neighbourhood level; new forms of master planning that are bottom-up and oriented towards social justice; and planning aimed at producing new spatial forms such as compact cities and new urbanism.
However, in many developing countries, older forms of master planning have persisted. Here, the most obvious problem with this approach is that it has failed to accommodate the way of life of the majority of inhabitants in rapidly growing and largely poor and informal cities, and has often directly contributed to social and spatial marginalization. Urban planning systems in many parts of the world are still not equipped to deal with this and other urban challenges of the twenty-first century and, as such, need to be reformed.

From UN-HABITAT CITIES WITHOUT SLUMS: Sub-Regional Programme for Eastern and Southern Africa
Situation Analysis of Informal Settlements in Kampala
- 2007

Kampala is both the administrative and commercial capital city of Uganda situated on about 24 low hills that are surrounded by wetland valleys, characterized by an imprint of scattered unplanned settlements. This urban form is attributed to the dualism, which arose between the local Kibuga and Kampala Township or Municipality. The former was largely unplanned and unsanitary while the latter was fully planned and highly controlled. The emergency of slums in Kampala City has been gradual and sustained over a long period of time. It is attributed to the failure of Kampala Structure Plans to cater for the growth and development of African neighbours. Other factors that have contributed to this growth include: the rapid urban population growth, which has overwhelmed city authorities; land tenure systems which are complicated and multiple, together with poverty and low incomes amongst the urban population.






From The World Bank - 18 Sept. 2006
An East Asian Renaissance: Ideas for Economic Growth
Advance Conference Edition
East Asia – a region that has transformed itself since the financial crisis of the 90s by creating more competitive and innovative economies – must now turn to the urgent domestic challenges of inequality, social cohesion, corruption and environmental degradation arising from its success.

From the Asian Development Bank - 2006
Urbanization and Sustainability in Asia - 2006
Case Studies of Good Practice
Edited by Brian Roberts and Trevor Kanaley

From "State of the World Population 2004", UNFPA
The Cairo Consensus at Ten: Population, Reproductive Health and The Global Effort to End Poverty

Migration and Urbanisation
During the past ten years, migration has increased, both within and between countries, and the phenomenon has grown in political importance.
Recognizing that orderly migration can have positive consequences on both sending and receiving countries, the ICPD Programme of Action (Chapters IX and X) called for a comprehensive approach to managing migration. It emphasized both the rights and well-being of migrants and the need for international support to assist affected countries and promote more interstate cooperation around the issue.
S. Sassen (2001)
The global city: strategic site/new frontier
"THE master images in the currently dominant account about economic globalization emphasize hypermobility, global communications, the neutralization of place and distance. There is a tendency in that account to take the existence of a global economic system as a given, a function of the power of transnational corporations and global communications. But the capabilities for global operation, coordination and control contained in the new information technologies and in the power of transnational corporations need to be produced."..."The emphasis shifts to the practices that constitute what we call economic globalization and global control: the work of producing and reproducing the organization and management of a global production system and a global marketplace for finance, both under conditions of economic concentration."
Fu-Chen Lo and Yue-man (1996)
Emerging world cities in Pacific Asia
During the 1980s and 1990s, the global economy has experienced a series of economic structural adjustments triggered by the relative decline of the once-powerful industrial centres of the United States, the European Union, and more recently Japan and by the rise of rapid industrialization in several developing countries. This has changed the configuration of mega-cities and defined new conditions for their transformation towards the twenty-first century. In a global economy that couples spatial dispersal with economic integration, new roles are being created for world or global cities, as command posts of the world economy, as financial centres, as production sites, and as consumer markets. World cities are not mere outcomes of a global economic machine, but rather the loci of key structures of the world economy itself (Sassen, Saskia (1991), The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.).
UN-Habitat and the Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme
Strategic Document 2008

Kenya’s slums are growing at an unprecedented rate as more and more people move to Kenya’s cities and towns in search of employment and other opportunities urban areas offer. The government and local authorities are faced with the serious challenge of guiding the physical growth of urban areas and providing adequate services for the growing urban population. Kenya’s urban population is at present 40 percent of the total population. More than 70 percent of these urbanites live in slums, with limited access to water and sanitation, housing, and secure tenure. They have poor environmental conditions and experience high crime rates. If the gap continues to grow between the supply and demand of urban services such as housing, the negative consequences of urbanisation can become irreversible.

Journal of Human Development, Vol. 8, No. 1, March 2007
Amartya Sen, the World Bank, and the Redress of Urban Poverty: A Brazilian Case Study
Alexandre Apsan Frediani
While there is some suggestion of a re-orientation in the World Bank’s income-cantered conceptualization of poverty to one based on Amartya Sen’s concept of ‘development as freedom’, it is hard to uncover definitive evidence of such a re-orientation from a study of the Bank’s urban programmes in Brazil. This paper attempts an application of Sen’s capability approach to the problem of improving the urban quality of life, and contrasts it with the World Bank’s approach, with specific reference to a typical squatter upgrading project in Novos Alagados in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil.

Martin Ravallion, Shaohua Chen and Prem Sangraula - 2007
The Urbanization of Global Poverty
We provide new evidence on the extent to which absolute poverty has urbanized in the developing world, and what role population urbanization has played in overall poverty reduction. We find that one-quarter of the world’s consumption poor live in urban areas and that the proportion has been rising over time. Urbanization helped reduce absolute poverty in the aggregate but did little for urban poverty reduction; over 1993-2002, the count of the “$1 a day” poor fell by 150 million in rural areas but rose by 50 million in urban areas. The poor have been urbanizing even more rapidly than the population as a whole. Looking forward, the recent pace of urbanization and current forecasts for urban population growth imply that a majority of the poor will still live in rural areas for many decades to come. There are marked regional differences: Latin America has the most urbanized poverty problem, East Asia has the least; there has been a “ruralization” of poverty in Eastern Europe and Central Asia; in marked contrast to other regions, Africa’s urbanization process has not been associated with falling overall poverty.
State of the World's Cities 2006/7
It is generally assumed that urban populations are healthier, more literate and more prosperous than rural populations. However, UN-HABITAT’s State of the World’s Cities Report 2006/7 has broken new ground by showing that the urban poor suffer from an urban penalty: Slum dwellers in developing countries are as badly off if not worse off than their rural relatives.
State of the World’s Cities 2008/2009 - Harmonious Cities
Half of humanity now lives in cities, and within two decades, nearly 60 per cent of the world’s people will be urban dwellers. Urban growth is most rapid in the developing world, where cities gain an average of 5 million residents every month. As cities grow in size and population, harmony among the spatial, social and environmental aspects of a city and between their inhabitants becomes of paramount importance. This harmony hinges on two key pillars: equity and sustainability.

Background document
The Third Session of the World Urban Forum
June 2006
Our future: sustainable cities - turning ideas into action
(1) The Shape of Cities: Urban Planning and Management. The Power of Good Planning and Effective Management
(2) Energy: Local Action, Global Impact Introduction: Energy Consumption in Cities Considering the Energy Mix for Powering Cities – Bringing Renewables In Sustainable Transport and Planning for Climate Protection: Alternative Vehicles, Alternative Fuels, and Alternative City Design
(1) Municipal Finance: Innovation and Collaboration for Urban Services. Introduction. Tools to Address the Financing Gap for Water and Sanitation Services. Facilitating Local and Community-based. Economic Development.
(2) Urban Safety and Security: Taking Responsibility. Introduction. Urban Safety, Crime and Conflict: Caring for the Most Vulnerable. Risk and Vulnerability Reduction: Integrating Disaster Mitigation into the Development of Sustainable Cities
(1) Achieving the Millennium Development Goals: Slum Upgrading and Affordable Housing Introduction. Goal 7 Target 11 “Cities Without Slums”
(2) Public Engagement: The Inclusive Approach
From Journal of World Systems Research, Vol 12 N. 1 2006
James C. Fraser
Globalization, Development and Ordinary Cities: A Review Essay Book Reviews
What are the underlying spatial assumptions about the world that renders some cities exemplars of modernity and innovation, while others are cast as being behind, and worse yet, forgotten places? This  is a key question that has emerged in geography and sociology, and is addressed in Jennifer Robinson’s book Ordinary Cities: Between Modernity and Development. The purpose of this essay is two-fold in that it provides a review of Robinson’s book and it also uses her text as a vehicle to interrogate the geo-politics of urban theory development. In particular, scholars have voiced concern over the manner in which “world cities” and then “global cities” have the power/knowledge eff ect of reifying the idea that there is one “world system” that can be measured objectively.

RP2004/08 W.A. Naudé and W.F. Krugell:
An Inquiry into Cities and Their Role in Subnational Economic Growth in South Africa
(PDF 220KB)

RP2004/05 Marcel Fafchamps and Christine Moser:
Crime, Isolation, and Law Enforcement (PDF 223KB)

A. Portes
Urbanization in Comparative Perspective

The Carrefour supermarket in the Tijuca quarter of Rio de Janeiro is located right at the foot of the Favela Borel, one of the most violent slums of the city. Recently, the military police invaded Borel, killing four young men who, in the event, proved to be innocent. In visiting Carrefour, one would expect a significant display of security given the threat posed by its violent neighbor, both to property and life. Nothing of the sort. The supermarket is as tranquil as one could find in any wealthy suburb. Shoppers arrive and leave their cars with full confidence that they would still be there when they return.
For this tranquility, Carrefour has the drug traffickers in the hill to thank. The powerful and well-organized band that controls Borel has decreed that shoplifting or robbery in its vicinity and, especially in its well-stocked neighbor, is strictly forbidden...

Bryan Roberts, University of Texas at Austin, USA - 2003
"Comparative Systems: An Overview"
This overview focuses on urbanization and the development of urban systems in less developed countries from the 1950s to the present. In 1950, some 18 percent of the population of less developed regions was urban, rising to 40 percent by 2000 (UNDP, 2002: Table A.2). These percentages conceal considerable variation between countries and regions. Forty-two percent of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean was urban in 1950, compared with 15 percent in Africa, 17 percent in South-Central Asia and 15 percent in South-Eastern Asia (ibid).1 The differences in the extent of urbanization are associated with differences in the timing of urbanization and in the nature of urban systems. The highest rates of urbanization between 1950 and 2000 in Latin America occurred in the 1950s, when many of the urban systems of Latin American countries had high primacy – the concentration of a country’s urban population in its largest city. Countries in other regions experienced their fastest rates of urbanization later, in the 1960s and 1970s, and in comparison to Latin America primacy was a less marked feature of many of their urban systems in 1950.

Graeme Hugo, GISCA, Australia
"Urbanization in Asia: An Overview"
Of the many profound changes which have swept Asia during the last half-century none have been so profound and far reaching as the doubling of the proportion of population living in urban areas. In 1950, 231 million Asians lived in urban areas and by 2000 they had increased five times to 1.22 billion while their proportions of the total population increased from 17.1 to 34.9 percent (United Nations 2001a). Moreover, in the next two decades Asia will pass the threshold of having more than half their population living in urban areas (United Nations 2002).
While there are huge variations between countries in the level of urbanisation and later of urban growth this is indicative of substantial economic, social and demographic change in the region. The paper firstly outlines the major patterns and trends in urbanisation and urban growth in the region. It then examines, in so far as is possible with the information available, the role of population movement in Asian urbanisation. It then discusses a number of key issues relating to migration and urbanisation in the region and finally a number of policy issues relating to urbanisation in Asia are examined.

The World Bank Group:
Urban Development

The Urban Poor in Latin America
(2005) Along with the urbanization of Latin America's population has come an urbanization of its poor - today about half of the region's poor live in cities.
Analyzing Urban Poverty: A Summary of Methods and Approaches
(2004) This paper summarizes the main issues in conducting urban poverty analysis, with a focus on presenting a sample of case studies from urban areas that were implemented by a number of different agencies using a range of analytical approaches for studying urban poverty.
Urban Policy and Economic Development: an agenda for the 1990s
(1991) This paper analyzes the fiscal, financial and real sector linkages between urban economic activities and macroeconomic performance. It builds on this analysis to propose a policy framework and strategy that will redefine the urban challenge in developing countries. First, the developing countries, the international community, and the World Bank should move toward a broader view of urban issues, a view that moves beyond housing and residential infrastructure, and that emphasizes the productivity of the urban economy and the need to alleviate the constraints on productivity. Second, with urban poverty increasing, the productivity of the urban poor should be enhanced by increasing the demand for labor and improving access to basic infrastructure and social services. Third, more attention should be devoted to reversing the deterioration of the urban environment. Fourth, the serious gap in understanding urban issues must be closed. With the decline in urban research during the 1980s, few countries have a sound analytical basis for urban policy.
System of cities. Global Urban and Local Government Strategy -July 2010

Read the report Systems of Cities: Harnessing urbanization for growth and poverty alleviation. The New World Bank Urban and Local Government Strategy

The World Bank is putting forth its new Urban and Local Government Strategy at a critical time. For the first time in history more than half the world’s people live in cities. Over 90 percent of urban growth is occurring in the developing world, adding an estimated 70 million new residents to urban areas each year. During the next two decades, the urban population of the world’s two poorest regions—South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa—is expected to double.
The new strategy also inaugurates the Decade of the City, a decade that will be remembered for recognizing cities at the core of growth and human development. Never before has there been so much interest in cities: city associations, citywide programs, city university and private sector partnerships. In developing countries, cities often provide the first opportunity for elected officials to meet their constituents, governments to collect taxes, taxpayers to demand efficient services, investors to start new businesses. This is where collective voices are heard and accountability matters.
Successful cities change their ways, improve their finances, attract private investors, and take care of the poor. The new Urban and Local Government Strategy will help governments at all levels make cities more equitable, efficient, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. The strategy draws on two principles. First, that density, agglomeration, and proximity are fundamental to human advancement, economic productivity, and social equity. Second, that cities need to be well managed and sustainable.
The strategy unfolds along five business lines:
1.- city management, governance, and finance
2.- urban poverty
3.- cities and economic growth
4.- city planning, land, and housing
5.- urban environment, climate change, and disaster management
These set out the objectives and benchmarks for the Bank to monitor its financing and policy advice. Most of our clients still face an immense lack of resources, and it will take some time until all the poor will be fully integrated in the city tissue. For this reason, the new strategy calls for a broader-based, scaled-up approach to urban poverty, focusing more than ever on policies and actions that can create livable cities.
The World Bank’s new Urban & Local Government Strategy aims to be a key element in helping civic leaders and national authorities think through, and implement, policies and programs for the benefit of their people, their cities, and their countries. We hope you will take a moment to look through this strategy and learn how we hope to make a difference.

Cities in Transition
World Bank Urban and Local Government Strategy - 2000
The need for a new urban strategy for the Bank - Pursuing a vision of sustainable cities - A renewed Bank strategy for urban and local government assistance - Requirements for implementing the new strategy - Urban lines of business (illustrative examples) - Urban indicators
Executive Summary:
English(PDF 700k)
French(PDF 1.3k) Spanish(PDF 1.3k)

Full Report (PDF files)

(1999) Winds of change affecting urban areas and local governments underscore the importance of urban development to national goals
G. Tolly & V. S. Thomas (1987)
Economics of Urbanization and Urban Policies in Developing countries
"Urban problems in developing countries have become more acute in recent decades as people have flocked to cities, and the largest cities have been affected the most. In coming years, as population growth continues throughout the developing world, urban problems promise to become increasingly severe. The volume seeks to promote better understanding and evaluation of policies designed to cope with these issues. It draws together studies of the causes of observed urbanization patterns and builds on them to provide a better foundation for policy analysis."
R. Rojas
Notes on urbanization in developing societies other macrostructural changes, urban growth in less developing societies is closely associated with capitalist penetration and expansion, ...dependent urbanization, as opposed to city growth in industrialized areas, must be understood as the expression of the colonial/neo colonial social dynamic of human settlements; ...because dependent capitalism is characterised by high levels of urban unemployment, 'marginality' and material inequalities, urban poverty will be a feature of urban growth in less developed societies

D. Webster & L. Muller, 2000:
Urban competitiveness assessment in developing countries regions

As has been well documented, urban regions are becoming more exposed to global forces, as the nation state becomes more open to capital and trade flows (Kaothien and Webster, 2000). This represents both a threat in that market and investment conditions change very rapidly subjecting urban regions to potential negative economic impacts, and an opportunity in that cities now have more scope to develop their own competitiveness strategies and access world markets, global labor and capital. Of course, urban regions control only some of the factors which determine their competitiveness. National policy frameworks and socio-economic conditions are also very important, e.g., national taxation, human resource development, tariff, macro economic, industrial incentives, policies, etc. In addition, national political stability very much influences the competitiveness of cities.
Development Gateway:

S. Benjamin:
Land, Productive Slums, and Urban Poverty, 1979, MIT
One fundamental issue is how we view the relationship between poor groups and economic development, and thus their claim to productive assets especially serviced land. Approaches to rural poverty, even from contrasting ideologies, generally recognise that access to land and its quality are critical for poor groups for survival and move to a more stable situation. In urban situations, land and its locational aspects has been recognised as an important issue. However, policy makers conventionally view this from the perspective of `social' needs, usually translated into housing1. The assumption is that economic growth will `trickle down' benefits to poor groups. In the mean while, poor groups will survive via the Informal Sector, or on the basis of social spending by the State. In a broad way, this assumption justifies access by rich groups to land in productive locations often serviced by State subsidised infrastructure2. The latter are seen to be the creators of economic growth and wealth, which will ultimately benefit the rest of society.
P. Dasgupta:
Poverty Reduction and Non-market Institutions, 1999, University of Cambridge
Economists in general and development economists in particular have for long been engaged in a debate over the relative strengths and weaknesses of markets and government. One of the most exciting developments in economics during the past twenty years or so has, however, been our increased understanding of non-market institutions (sometimes called "informal" institutions). Progress has been sufficiently great in this research that non-market institutions can be discussed today with a degree of rigour and precision which approaches what economists are used to in their discussions on the performance of markets. The Notes that follow offer a non-technical account of some aspects of what we now know and understand. I am preparing a more complete account in my forthcoming book, Economic Progress and the Idea of Social Capital.
Population and Development/United Nations
World Resources 1996-97
(A joint publication by The World Resource Institute, The United Nations Environment Programme, The United Nations Development Programme, and the World Bank) (Data edited by Dr. Róbinson Rojas)

Part I: The Urban Environment
Chapter 1: Cities and the Environment

           Urban Growth Patterns
           What Fuels Urban Growth?
           Urban Poverty
           Urban Environmental Problems
           Economic Costs of Urban Environmental Degradation
           Confronting the Urban Environmental Challenge

•Abidjan: A Portrait of the African Urban Experience
•The Challenge of Environmental Deterioration in Jakarta
•What is an Urban Area?
•Sharing Responsibility for Inner-City Problems
•Detroit Battles Long-Term Effects of Suburban Flight
•Pollution and Health in the Transition Economies
Designing Sustainable Solutions for Cities

Chapter 2: Urban Environment and Human Health

           Health Profiles of Urban Dwellers
           The Urban Physical Environment and Health
           The Urban Social Environment and Health
           Multisectoral Strategies for Improving the Health of
               Urban Dwellers

•Can We Improve Neighborhood Quality in Neglected U.S. Cities?
•ASHA Works to Improve Health in Delhi
•The Black Death Revisited: India's 1994 Plague Epidemic
•Household Environmental Problems, Wealth, and City Size
•Community Perceptions of Urban Health Risks

Chapter 3: Urban Impacts on Natural Resources

           Land Conversion
           Extraction and Depletion of Natural Resources
           Urban Wastes
           Integrated Approaches to Protect the Resource Base

•Water: The Challenge for Mexico City
•Los Angeles Copes with Air Pollution

Chapter 4: Urban Transportation

           Urban Transportation Trends
           Impacts of Urban Transportation Trends
           Moving Forward: Key Strategies and Tools
           Improving the Transportation Supply

•The Indian Transportation Paradigm
•Setting Limits Pays Off in Portland, Oregon
•Nonmotorized Transportation: What's To Become of Bicycles
                              and Pedestrians

Chapter 5: Urban Priorities for Action

           Priorities for Action: Water and Sanitation
           Promoting Water Conservation
           Priorities for Action: Solid Waste Management
           Priorities for Action: Air Pollution
           Priorities for Action: Land Use

Ranking Bangkok's Urban Environmental Problems
Forging a Combined Approach to Urban Pollution Control
Costs and Benefits of Water and Air Pollution Controls in Santiago
•Integrated Transportation and Land Use Planning Channel
Curitiba's Growth

Chapter 6: City and Community: Toward Environmental Sustainability

           Strengthening Local Governments in Developing Countries
           A Community-level Approach to Environmental Management
           Setting Priorities
           Cities and Sustainable Development

Cities Take Action: Local Environmental Initiatives
The Orangi Pilot Project, Karachi, Pakistan
Housing Program for Cali's Poor Encourages Self-Help
Citizen Participation Leads to Better Plan for the Bronx, New York
Nigeria's Community Banks: A Capital Idea
International Urban Environment Programs
Public Disclosure Authorized by the World Bank - 48154
Foundations for Urban Development in Africa - 2006
The Legacy of Akin Mabogunje

Cities Alliance. Cities Without Slums - UN-HABITAT.

South American Cities: securing an urban future - 2007

Urban Age is a worldwide investigation into the future of cities. Organised by the Cities Programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Alfred Herrhausen Society, the International Forum of Deutsche Bank. The URBAN AGE CITY DATA section has been derived from various official statistical sources, including the United Nations Statistics Division, Instituto Basileiro de Geografia e Estatistica (Brazil), Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadistica (Colombia), Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Censos (Argentina), Instituto Nacional de Estadistica e Informatica (Peru), Observatorio Urbano (Lima) and Ministerio de Desarrollo Urbano (Buenos Aires) as well as individual Ministries, Departments and Secretariats for each city, state and country. Complete data sources available at

From the World Bank database
World Bank Discussion Paper No. 415
Facets of Globalization. International and local dimensions of development
S. Yusuf, S. Evenett and J. Wei, editors
October 2001
The chapters in this volume underscore the transformative role of globalization and urbanization, and show the interplay between these forces. 
Trade reform and liberalized foreign investment regimes have contributed to the spatial reallocation of economic activity toward cities, especially those cities that can attract and nurture human capital and strong connections to other markets.
Global factors have, therefore, reinforced agglomeration economies in shifting economic clout toward cities, and in so doing they may be exacerbating regional disparities in incomes.

Cities Alliance Annual Reports
From The Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 9, Issue 3 (June 1991), 483-499
Increasing returns and economic geography
By Paul Krugman

P. Krugman, 1994:
Urban concentration: the role of increasing returns and transport costs

Comment, A. M. Isserman
Comment, J. V. Henderson
Floor discussion
From "Proceedings of the World Bank Annual Conference on Development Economics", 1994

World Urban Forum 2008 Seeks More Livable, Sustainable Cities

-- One in three city residents in developing countries lives in slums
-- World Urban Forum looks at how to manage rapid urbanization
-- New World Bank strategy to incorporate both environmental and energy efficiency considerations into urban design

October 30, 2008— How can “heartbreaking” slums become cleaner, kinder, greener places even as more and more people move to cities?
That’s a key question for policy-makers, development practitioners and non-governmental organizations seeking sustainable solutions to urban dilemmas at the World Urban Forum in Nanjing, China, November 3 to 6.
While cities have become engines of growth for developing countries and a magnet for people seeking better economic opportunities, one in every three city residents in developing countries now lives in a slum. The highest-incidence of slum-dwellers (62 percent) is in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new UN-Habitat report, “State of the World’s Cities 2008/9: Harmonious Cities.”

A Billion People in Slums
“A billion people in the world live in slums today, and that in itself is a startling fact,” says Abha Joshi-Ghani, Manager of the World Bank’s Urban group. “The quality of life and livability of these areas is really heartbreaking.”
Most  people in slums don’t have drinking water, sanitation, health, or education services, she says.
“While the poverty rate is generally  higher in rural areas, the actual number of poor is higher in urban areas” says Joshi-Ghani.
“Slums are a function of successful labor markets and failed land markets.”
The problem could worsen if, as projected, three-quarters of the world’s population is living in cities by 2013. About 90 percent of urban growth is expected to take place in developing countries.

Poverty Increasingly Urban Phenomenon
Megacity Manila grew by 1.62 million people in seven years as people migrated from rural areas.
“Poverty is increasingly an urban phenomenon,” says Chii Akporji, Communications Officer  of  the  Cities Alliance, a coalition of cities and development partners including the UN and World Bank whose secretariat is housed at the World Bank.

From Finance & Development
A quarterly magazine of the IMF
September 2007 - Volume 44 Number 3

March of the Cities
The Urban Revolution

David E. Bloom and Tarun Khanna
The year 2008 marks a watershed in the complex and ongoing urban revolution. For the first time, more than 50 percent of the world's people will live in urban areas. Rapid urbanization may prove a blessing, provided the world takes notice and plans accordingly.
(pdf file: 732 kb)

Urban Poverty
Martin Ravallion
The poor are gravitating to towns and cities, but maybe not quickly enough. A faster pace of urbanization could induce more rapid poverty reduction. Development policymakers should facilitate this process, not hinder it.
(pdf file: 299 kb)

Big, or Too Big?
Ehtisham Ahmad
Megacities create special issues of governance, funding, and provision of services. Both national governments and megacities can secure potential benefits by exploring the devolution of clearly defined responsibilities and revenue-raising capacity that provide incentives for good governance.
(pdf file: 279 kb)

Point of View
What Is the Biggest Challenge in Managing Large Cities
Matthew Maury, Kishore Mahbubani, and Ramesh Ramanathan and Swati Ramanathan
Three points of view on different ways to manage the expansion of cities well .
(pdf file: 137 kb)

From The World Bank - 18 Sept. 2006
An East Asian Renaissance: Ideas for Economic Growth
Advance Conference Edition
East Asia – a region that has transformed itself since the financial crisis of the 90s by creating more competitive and innovative economies – must now turn to the urgent domestic challenges of inequality, social cohesion, corruption and environmental degradation arising from its success.

Guiding Cities: The Urban Management Programme

Babar Mumtaz and Emiel Wegelin. (136 pages, May 2001)
The way that cities are managed and administered has a direct bearing on their ability to support economic development and mitigate poverty. Therefore all those concerned with either economic or with social development should also be concerned with urban development and management and how their actions impact on cities and vice versa. The primary objective of this book is to provide a guide for those concerned with economic or social development, as well as those concerned more directly with urban development and management, to the main issues and the range of options available to deal with them. The presentation of issues and options is accompanied by examples of practice generated by the Urban Management Programme in cities in countries around the world.
The first section presents an overview of urbanisation and urban management, setting out the processes by which cities grow and develop and the role they play in human and economic development. Some of the main trends and directions of policy advice and intervention are introduced. This is followed by three sections looking at Urban Governance, Urban Poverty Reduction and Urban Environmental Management. Within each section are particular areas, ranging from leadership, accountability and democracy through privatisation, partnership and participation to vulnerability and social exclusion and integration, to urban heritage protection. Within these, problems are summarised, followed by an indication of some of the issues raised in addressing them. Guidelines for Action are presented as a series of steps that could be undertaken in order to confront the issues and resolve the problems. These Guidelines draw upon the experience of the Urban Management Programme, and case studies of (successful) interventions are presented. There is a brief list of resources and documentation that can provide further information and assistance.

From the data files of the World Bank
File 11910
The economics of urbanization and urban policies in developing countries - 1987
George S. Tolley and Vinod Thomas, editors

An Overview of Urban Growth: Problems, Policies, and Evaluati
----Patterns of Urbanization
----Urbanization and Economic Development
----Sources of Future Urbanization
----Economic Causes of Urban Problems
----Urbanization Policy in Market and Mixed Economies
----Urbanization Policy in a Centralized Economy
----Concentration and Decentralization Policies
----Addressing Urban Problems

The urban challenge in Africa: Growth and management of its large cities
Edited by Carole Rakodi
United Nations University Press
© The United Nations University, 1997

Part I Globalization and Africa: The challenge of urban growth
2 Global forces, urban change, and urban management in Africa
3 Urbanization, globalization, and economic crisis in Africa
Part II The "mega-cities" of Africa
4 The challenge of urban growth in Cairo
5 Johannesburg: A city and metropolitan area in transformation
6 The challenges of growth and development in metropolitan Lagos
7 Kinshasa: A reprieved mega-city?
8 Abidjan: From the public making of a modern city to urban management of a metropolis
9 Nairobi: National capital and regional hub
Part III The dynamics of city development
10 Globalization or informalization? African urban economies in the 1990s
11 Residential property markets in African cities
12 The state and civil society: Politics, government, and social organization in African cities
13 Urban lives: Adopting new strategies and adapting rural links
Part IV Rising to the challenge
14 Towards appropriate urban development policy in emerging mega-cities in Africa
15 Urban management: The recent experience

The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations University.
Environment and Urbanization
Globalization and cities
Volume 14 Number 1 April 2002
Publisher: International Institute for Environment and Development
The articles may be reproduced free of charge provided the author is acknowledged - Archive

Editors' Introduction: Globalization and cities
Locating cities on global circuits
By Saskia Sassen
This paper discusses the cities that have the resources which enable firms and markets to be global. It considers the new intensity and complexity of globally-connected systems of production, finance and management which may disperse production, yet need (relatively few) networks of cities to provide their organizational and management architecture. This produces new geographies and hierarchies of centrality - particular cities and regions that have key roles in globalization. Many such cities become far more closely linked to the global economy than to their regional or national economies - and this can have harsh consequences locally, pushing out firms and people that are not within the internationalized sector. The paper discusses why certain cities retain such importance, when production is so dispersed and when telecommunications and rapid transport systems have limited the advantages of spatial concentration. It also considers the dependence of global cities on each other; a crisis in one key centre often brings problems rather than opportunities for others.

Cities in a globalizing world: from engines of growth to agents of change
- By Willem van Vliet
This paper describes the key role that city authorities and their civil societies should play in mediating the relationship between economic globalization and human development so that cities act not only as engines of growth but also as agents for greater social justice and environmental sustainability. In a globalizing and urbanizing world, urban governments have a much more important role in guaranteeing that citizen needs are met and citizen rights are respected. This is not a conventional public-sector-led, professionally determined role but one more rooted in participatory democracy and partnerships with citizens, both to redress the limits of market mechanisms and to ensure urban livability.

Globalization and social exclusion in cities: framing the debate with lessons from Africa and Asia
- By Jo Beall
This paper considers the contradictory roles demanded of city governments as they seek to keep their cities competitive in an increasingly globalized world economy while also having increasing responsibilities for addressing social problems, and making local economic development less exclusionary. After reviewing debates on globalization, social exclusion and their interconnections, the paper discusses the impact of globalization on the sweepers in Faisalabad (Pakistan) and on livelihoods in Johannesburg. In Johannesburg, the new socially excluded are those who are superfluous to the requirements of the global economy and Johannesburg's position within it. Exclusionary processes associated with globalization (including changes in the international division of labour) graft themselves onto local dynamics of social exclusion. The scope for government action at national and city level is also reduced by the downsizing of governments, and liberalization, privatization and deregulation.

From global intercity competition to cooperation for livable cities and economic resilience in Pacific Asia
- By Mike Douglass
The Pacific Asian urban transition is part of a process of globalization that is pitting city against city during intensifying games of competition for internationally footloose investment. The major dilemma posed by this form of globalization is how to make cities more livable and environmentally sound as vagabond capital demands higher levels of subsidies and giveaways, and lower impositions of environmental costs on business. Intercity cooperation within and among nations is proposed, to overcome the "grow now, clean up the environment later" syndrome, by using livability as a means of securing global investment and gaining greater local economic resilience.

The changing nature of the informal sector in Karachi as a result of global restructuring and liberalization
- By Arif Hasan
This paper describes how much of Karachi's population has relied on informal settlements for housing, informal infrastructure for water and sanitation, informal services for health care and education and informal enterprises for employment. These have filled the gap between what large sections of the population needed and what neither government nor formal private enterprises provided. The paper then discusses the changes that global restructuring and liberalization have brought, which include inflation (as the rupee devalued) and the decline of light engineering industry (unable to compete with cheap imports), and carpets and textiles production (in part because of greatly increased electricity charges). It suggests that, while the communications revolution helps fuel aspirations, the informal organizations and the middlemen that manage them will no longer bridge the gap between needs and aspirations for most of the population. Since there is no sign of new private investment, the result is also growing unemployment and widening inequalities. As yet, there is no research on the long-term effects of liberalization on this city with some 10 million inhabitants.

Loot: in search of the East India Company, the world's first transnational corporation
- By Nick Robins
This article charts the growth of the world's first transnational corporation, the East India Company, and the resonance this has for today's globalization agenda. Starting as a speculative company to import spices, the East India grew to rule one-fifth of the world's population. The paper also discusses the implications, for India and Britain, of its profit-driven development achieved through trade, taxes and conquest. It also describes how the Company's wealth allowed it to manipulate and even bring down governments.

The Bhopal gas tragedy 1984 to ? The evasion of corporate responsibility
- By Barbara Dinham; Satinath Sarangi
This paper describes the inadequacies in the response of the Union Carbide Corporation to the accidental release of the highly toxic gas, methyl isocyanate, from its plant in Bhopal, India in 1984. Over 20,000 people are estimated to have died from exposure to this gas since 1984, with some 120,000 chronically ill survivors. Union Carbide fought to avoid compensation or to keep it very low. The long, much delayed process of distributing compensation focused on minimizing payouts to victims. The corporation tried to blame the accident on a disgruntled employee, whereas key parts of the safety equipment designed to stop the escape of the gas were not functioning or were turned off. The corporation has always sought to underplay the health effects and has refused to release its research on the health impacts of the gas (which could have helped develop more effective treatment). In addition, the medical services in Bhopal have failed to develop a health care service that offers sustained relief and treatment to the communities most affected. This paper also describes the work of the Sambhavna Trust, a charitable body set up to work with the survivors, and its programme to develop simple, more effective, ethical and participatory ways of carrying out research, monitoring and treatment. Its programmes combine traditional and western systems for health care and it ensures that individuals and communities are actively involved in all aspects of public health.

Export processing zones and the quest for sustainable development: a Southern African perspective
- By Herbert Jauch

Local responses to globalization and peripheralization in Luanda, Angola - By Paul Jenkins; Paul Robson; Allan Cain
Democratic governance - fairytale or real perspective? Lessons from Central America
- By Françoise Barten; René Perez Montiel; Eduardo Espinoza; Carlos Morales

Buenos Aires: fragmentation and privatization of the metropolitan city
- By Pedro Pírez

This paper describes how Buenos Aires has been affected by changes in political structures and economic orientations that are linked to globalization, including the removal of trade barriers, privatization and “reduced” government. In the absence of any democratic decision making at the metropolitan level, key decisions are left to market forces, especially to the powerful economic actors, including developers and private companies now controlling privatized “public” services. The only true “planning” occurs within large private developments, including the gated communities in which half a million people now live. Agrowing spatial fragmentation accompanies growing levels of inequality. The metropolitan area fails to provide an arena for its citizens, which means that any general public interest is lost as the built environment is reshaped and constructed in response to private demands.

Beyond evictions in a global city: people-managed resettlement in Mumbai
- By Sheela Patel; Celine d'Cruz; Sundar Burra

Sustaining markets or sustaining poverty reduction? - By Diana Mitlin

This paper suggests that too much attention may be given to financial sustainability within projects whose objective is to reduce urban poverty. External agencies might usefully recognize the long history and remarkable persistence that charitable giving and state redistributive processes have shown whilst markets sometimes fail. Experience suggests that poverty reduction – higher and more stable incomes, stronger asset bases, secure adequate-quality homes with basic infrastructure and services and protection from the law – may best be achieved by increasing the capacity of urban poor groups, individually and collectively, to draw on the market, the state and charitable finance (including grants or soft loans from international and domestic sources) to reduce their poverty. It is support for this capacity of urban poor groups that needs to be sustained. Market mechanisms can play important roles – as shown by the key role of savings and credit schemes organized and managed by the urban poor themselves. But these are a means, not ends in themselves. And market mechanisms may be most easily and readily used by those who are not the poorest.

Local funds, and their potential to allow donor agencies to support community development and poverty reduction in urban areas: Workshop report
- David Satterthwaite

Durban's Local Agenda 21 programme: tackling sustainable development in a post-apartheid city
- Debra Roberts; Nicci Diederichs

Maternal mobility across the rural-urban divide: empirical data from coastal Kenya
- C S Molyneux; V Mung'ala-Odera; T Harpham; R W Snow

The role of NGOs for low-income groups in Korean society
- Seong-Kyu Ha

The right to water versus cost recovery: participation, urban water supply and the poor in sub-Saharan Africa
- Sylvy Jaglin

The mismatch between politics, aid and environmental health with particular reference to cholera in Madagascar
- Katharine Coit

Book Reviews & Book Notes
Bulletin Board
Summaries of Articles
Architects for Peace
Forum for architects and related professions seeking urban development based on social justice, solidarity, respect and peace.
Environmental Education
Creating an environment to educate about the environment
Urban Environmental Management
Glossaries, definitions and indicators
Global Built Environment Review
A journal for architecture, planning, development and the environment GBER is being launched as a refereed quarterly electronic journal with a yearly printed edition. It aims to have a wide international readership comprising of architects, planners, developmentalists, environmentalists and students from both the western and the developing world. Although the main focus of GBER is the 'Built Environment' it also intends to include debates from the perspectives of the related macro socio economic, political and developmental issues. Its editorial policy particularly welcomes the views expressed through the socio culltural determinants of the present day 'multi cultural' society which influences the contemporary 'Global Built Environment'. The journal is genuinely interested in debates on the built environment of both the developing and the developed world. The idea is to foster an effective north south solidarity and provide a forum to encourage a better understanding and communication on a wide variety of built environment issues including the emerging 'globalisation and its impact on both Eastern and Western multicultural built environment'.
Shanghai Urban Environment Project
Haiphong, Vietnam, Urban Development Project
Demand for imports in Venezuela : a structural time series approach Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Potential GDP growth in Venezuela : a structural time series approach Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Venezuela - Caracas Metropolitan Health Services Project Vol. 1 (2001)
Venezuela - Interim country assistance strategy Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Air pollution and mortality : results from Santiago, Chile Vol. 1 (English)(1995)
A presumptive pigovian tax : complementing regulation to mimic an emissions fee Vol. 1 (English)(1994)
Reducing regulatory barriers to private - sector participation in Latin America ' s water and sanitation services Vol. 1 (English)(1994)
Estimating the health effects of air pollutants : a method with an application to Jakarta Vol. 1 (English)(1994)
Racing to the bottom : foreign investment and air pollution in developing countries Vol. 1 (2001)
The challenge of urban government policies : policies and practices Vol. 1 (2001)
Environmental protection and optimal taxation Vol. 1 (2000)
Historic cities and sacred sites : cultural roots for urban futures Vol. 1 (2000)
Cultural heritage : an urban age special issue Vol. 1 (English)(1998)
Historic cities and sacred sites : cultural roots for urban futures Vol. 1 (English)(2000)
Reducing regulatory barriers to private - sector participation in Latin America ' s water and sanitation services Vol. 1 (English)(1994)
Estimating the health effects of air pollutants : a method with an application to Jakarta Vol. 1 (English)(1994)
Urban age (6,1) Vol. 1 (English)(1998)
Innovations and risk taking : the engine of reform in local government in Latin America and the Caribbean Vol. 1 (English)(1997)
Taxing bads by taxing goods : pollution control with presumptive charges Vol. 1 (English)(1996)
Brazil ' s efficient payment system : a legacy of high inflation Vol. 1 (English)(1996)
Colombia - Bogota Urban Services Project Vol. 1 (2003)
Colombia - Bogota Urban Services Project Vol. 1 (2002)
Colombia - Amoya River Environmental Services Project Vol. 1 (English)(2003)
Colombia - Jepirachi Carbon Off-Set Project Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Colombia - Jepirachi Carbon Off-Set Project Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Colombia - Enabling Activity to Assist the Implementation of the Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Colombia - Earthquake Recovery Project Vol. 1 (English)(2003)
Colombia - Country assistance strategy Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Colombia - Cundinamarca Education Quality Improvement Project Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Colombia - Jepirachi Carbon Offset Project Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Colombia - Second Magdalena Medio Regional Development Project (LIL) Vol. 1 (English)(2001)
Colombia - Human Capital Protection (Cash Transfers) Project Vol. 1 (English)(2001)
COLOMBIA-COLOMBIA - Amoya River Environmental Services Vol. 1 / Colombia - Amoya River Environmental Services Project (English) (2003)
Colombia - Programmatic Fiscal and Institutional Adjustment Loan (FIAL) Project Vol. 1 (English) (2003)
COLOMBIA-Cundinamarca Education Quality Improvement Vol. 1 / Colombia - Cundinamarca Education Quality Improvement Project (English) (2003)
Financing urban services in Latin America : spatial distribution issues Vol. 1 (English)(1989)
Urban age 6(4) Vol. 1 (English) (1999)
Urban age 6(3) Vol. 1 (English)(1999)
Urban age (6,1) Vol. 1 (English)(1998)
The urban age - politics and the city Vol. 1 (English)(1994)
The urban age - urban violence issue Vol. 1 (English)(1993)
The urban age - city investment strategies Vol. 1 (English)(1997)
Cultural heritage : an urban age special issue Vol. 1 (English)(1998)
Vehicular air pollution : experiences from seven Latin American urban centers Vol. 1 (English) (1997)
The World Bank economic review 11(3) Vol. 1 (English)(1997)
Belize - Second Power Development Project Vol. 1 (English)(1994)
Urbanization in México:
Mexico - Transport Air Quality Management for Mexico City, Highway Rehabilitation and Safety, and Infrastructure Privatization Technical Assistance Projects Vol. 1 of 1 (2003)
Mexico - Second Air Quality Management and Sustainable Transport Project Vol. 1 (2003)
Wages and productivity in Mexican manufacturing Vol. 1 (2003)
Mexico - Second Air Quality Project Vol. 1 (2003)
Mexico - Climate Friendly Measures in Transport Project Vol. 1 (2002)
Mexico - Urban Microbusiness Project Vol. 1 (2002)
Mexico - Climate Friendly Measures in Transport Project Vol. 1 (2002)
Improving air quality in metropolitan Mexico City : an economic valuation Vol. 1 (2002)
Technology and firm performance in Mexico Vol. 1 (2002)
Emission control : privatizing vehicle inspection and reducing fraud in Mexico City Vol. 1 (2001)
Thirst for reform ? private sector participation in providing Mexico City ' s water supply Vol. 1 (2001)
Mexico - Export dynamics and productivity : analysis of Mexican manufacturing in the 1990s Vol. 1 (2000)
Mexico - Federal District Urban Upgrading Project Vol. 1 (2000)
Mexico - Climate Friendly Measures in Transport Project Vol. 1 (1999)
Mexico - Northern Border Community Infrastructure Project (Ciudad Juarez) Vol. 1 (English)
Mexico - Northern Border Community Infrastructure Project (Tijuana Urban Transport Project) Vol. 1 (English)
Rationing can backfire : the day without a car in Mexico City Vol. 1 (English)(1995)
Mexico - Second Solid Waste Management Project Vol. 1 (English)(1994)
Mexico - High Efficiency Lighting Pilot Project Vol. 1 (English)(1994)
Mexico - Northern Border Environment Project : environmental assessment executive summary Vol. 1 (English)(1994)
Bank lending for reconstruction : the Mexico City earthquake Vol. 1 of 1 (English)(1993)
A presumptive pigovian tax on gasoline : analysis of an air pollution control program for Mexico City Vol. 1 (English)(1993)
Los Angeles, Mexico City, Cubatao, and Ankara - Efficient environmental regulation : case studies of urban air pollution Vol. 1 (English)(1992)
Mexico - Urban development : a contribution to a national urban strategy Vol. 1 (English) (2002)
Mexico - Urban development : a contribution to a national urban strategy Vol. 2 (English)(2002)
Mexico - Urban development : a contribution to a national urban strategy Vol. 2 (English)(2002)
Mexico - Second Solid Waste Management Project Vol. 1 (English)(1994)
Mexico - High Efficiency Lighting Pilot Project Vol. 1 (English)(1994)
Mexico - Northern Border Environment Project : environmental assessment executive summary Vol. 1 (English)(1994)
Bank lending for reconstruction : the Mexico City earthquake Vol. 1 of 1 (English)(1993)
A presumptive pigovian tax on gasoline : analysis of an air pollution control program for Mexico City Vol. 1 (English)(1993)
Mexico - Decentralized Infrastructure Development Programmatic Loan Project Vol. 1 (English) (2003)
Mexico - E-Business for Small Business Development Project Vol. 1 of 1 (English)(2003)
Mexico - Rural Finance Development Structural Adjustment Loan Project Vol. 1 (English)(2003)
Mexico - Chiapas Programmatic Economic Development Loan (PEDL) Project Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Mexico - Basic Education Development Project Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Mexico - Savings and Credit Strengthening and Rural Microfinance Capacity Building Project Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Mexico - Tax Administration Institutional Development Project Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Mexico - Savings and Credit Sector Strengthening and Rural Microfinance Capacity Building Project Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Mexico - Tax Administration Institutional Development Project Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Mexico - Country assistance strategy Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Mexico - Technical Assistance for Public Sector Social Security Reform Project (ISSSTE) Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Mexico - Technical Assistance for Public Sector Social Security Reform Project Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Mexico - Municipal Development in Rural Areas Project Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
High-efficiency lighting in Mexico Vol. 1 of 1 (English)(2002)
High-efficiency lighting in Mexico Vol. 1 of 1 / Illuminacion de alta eficiencia en Mexico (Spanish)(2002)
Mexico - Second Basic Education Development Project Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Mexico - Consolidation of the Protected Areas System Project (GEF) Vol. 1 (English)(2002)
Mexico - Consolidation of the Protected Areas System Project : environmental impact assessment Vol. 1 (English)(2001)
Mexico - Energy environment review Vol. 1 (English)(2001)
Mexico - Second Bank Restructuring Facility Loan Project (BRFL II) Vol. 1 (English)(2001)
Mexico - Second Basic Education Development Project (APL) Vol. 1 (English)(2001)
Mexico - Off-Grid Rural Electrification Project (GEF) Vol. 1 (English)(2001)
Mexico - Regional Private Sector Development Project (LIL) Vol. 1 (English)(2001)
Mexico - Estado de Mexico Technical Assistance Project Vol. 1 (English)(2000)
Mexico - Methane Gas Capture and Landfill Demonstration Project (GEF) Vol. 1 (English)(2000)
Mexico - Second Highway Rehabilitation Project Vol. 1 (English)(2000)
Mexico - Federal Highway Maintenance Project Vol. 1 (English)(2000)
Mexico - Mesoamerican Biological Corridor Project Vol. 1 (English)(2000)
Mexico - Disaster Management Project Vol. 1 (English)(2000)
Mexico - Estado de Mexico Structural Adjustment Loan Project (EDOMEX) Vol. 1 (English)(2000)
The distribution of Mexico ' s public spending on education Vol. 1 (English)(2000)
Mexico - Indigenous and Community Biodiversity Conservation Project (COINBIO) Vol. 1 (English)(2000)
Mexico - Off-Grid Rural Electrification Project (LIL) Vol. 1 (English)(2000)
Mexico - Third Basic Health Care Project Vol. 1 (English)(2000)
Mexico - Gender Equity Project (ProGenero) Vol. 1 (English)(2000)
Mexico - Hybrid Solar Thermal Power Plant Project Vol. 1 (English)(1999)
Mexico - Second Rural Development in Marginal Areas Project (APL II) Vol. 1 (English)(1999)
Mexico - Bank Restructuring Facility Loan Project (BRFL) Vol. 1 (English)(1999)
Mexico - Decentralization Adjustment Loan Project (DAL) Vol. 1 (English)(1999)
Mexico - Second Rural Development in Marginal Areas Project (APL II) Vol. 1 (English)(1999)
Mexico - Renewable Energy for Agriculture Project Vol. 1 (English)(1999)
Mexico - Financial Sector Infrastructure Loan Project Vol. 1 (English)(1999)
Managing disaster risk in Mexico : market incentives for mitigation investment Vol. 1 (English)(1999)
Childcare and early education services in low-income communities in Mexico City : patterns of use, availability, and choice Vol. 1 (English)(1999)
Mexico - FOVI Restructuring Project Vol. 1 (English)(1998)
Mexico - Agricultural Productivity Project Vol. 1 (English)(1998)
Mexico - State Roads Project Vol. 1 (English)(1998)
Mexico - Higher Education Financing Project Vol. 1 (English)(1997)

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Puro Chile la memoria del pueblo
Proyecto para el Primer Siglo Popular

Sector Informal:
C. Ball: La economía informal
Habilidades y competencias para el sector informal en América Latina: Una revisión de la literatura sobre programas y metodologías de formación, María Antonia Gallart, 2002 (ILO)
Programa IFP/SKILLS (Economía informal ) Capacitación laboral para el sector informal en Colombia - Jaime Ramírez Guerrero, Ginebra, OIT, 2003
Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo

Desarrollo Urbano:

Puro Chile la mémoire du peuple
Projet pour le Premier Siècle Populaire

L'economie informelle en Afrique