International Handbook of Urban Policy, Volume 3

International Handbook of Urban Policy, Volume 3

Issues in the Developing World

Elgar original reference

Edited by H. S. Geyer

This important Handbook reveals that most urban growth takes place in the less developed world and much of it represents over-urbanization – that is, urbanization in which most migrants cannot effectively compete for employment, cannot find adequate shelter and do not have the means to feed themselves properly. Yet, compared to rural poverty, urban poverty is widely regarded as the lesser of the two evils.

Chapter 1: Introduction: Urban Growth Patterns – Trends and Policy Issues

M. Pacione

Subjects: development studies, development studies, politics and public policy, public policy, urban and regional studies, urban studies


M. Pacione Introduction Cities have a long history, but the growth of very large cities and the transition towards a global urban society date from the advent of industrial urbanism in the early nineteenth century. For much of this period the dominant direction of population movement in Western Europe and North America was from rural to urban areas, reflecting the emergence of urban-industrial society. Since the Second World War, a reversal of this long-standing pattern has become apparent, with people on both sides of the Atlantic, and in Australia, reoccupying peri-urban areas. Despite evidence of a reurbanization trend in some metropolitan regions, counterurbanization remains a major characteristic of contemporary Western societies. In contrast to the centrifugal pattern of urban population change in advanced societies, the centripetal processes of urbanization and urban growth continue to dominate urban population dynamics in the developing world. Continuation of these trends will mean that by 2025, 65 per cent of the world’s population will be urban dwellers. In ‘the North’, continued deconcentration of population at the national level and decentralization at the local urban level are producing a ‘rurban’ settlement pattern in which urban lifestyles influence most of the country. In ‘the South’, levels of urban development vary between countries. While a minority of states, such as Ethiopia, Uganda, Afghanistan and Cambodia, have yet to experience rapid urbanization, the future social and settlement structure of most developing countries will be dominated by a growing number of primate cities, many of which will be megacities. Urbanization...