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International Handbook of Urban Systems

International Handbook of Urban Systems

Studies of Urbanization and Migration in Advanced and Developing Countries

Edited by H. S. Geyer

This authoritative Handbook provides a comprehensive account of migration and economic development throughout the world, in both developed and developing countries. Some of the world’s most experienced researchers in this field look at how population redistribution patterns have impacted on urban development in a wide selection of advanced and developing countries in all the major regions of the world over the past half century.

Chapter 4: The urban future

H.S Geyer

Subjects: development studies, migration, social policy and sociology, migration, urban and regional studies, migration, urban studies


H. S. Geyer WHAT LIES AHEAD? THE RATE OF CHANGE When H.G. Wells published his book in 1902 on what shape urban life was expected to take in the twentieth century, based on mechanical and scientific progress at the time, it is safe to say that many of his readers would have been astonished by what he predicted for the future. But as it turned out, inventions were to follow that not even his creative mind could have imagined. Now, one hundred years later, we yet again stand at the beginning of a century where equally interesting and, safe to say, unforeseeable changes lie ahead. In fact, prospects for change are increasing by the day. If the view is correct that the world’s current pool of knowledge doubles every two years, then today’s knowledge will only form one per cent of the pool of knowledge by 2030! According to the human activities model’ there are several layers of human activities that have significantly impacted upon human settlement patterns over the centuries (see Figure 1.1). As the focus of civilizations shifted through the layers over time, specific discoveries and innovations revolutionized human life at specific time periods. Each subsequent revolution tended to open up new prospects for discoveries and innovations in uncharted territories, and at the same time they created space for new developments in areas that have already been revolutionized. In the process the rate of revolutionary change tended to increase exponentially as time went by. The human activities model...

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