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 12: Creativity, Wellbeing and Urban Sustainability: Areas in Which the North and the South Can Learn from Each Other

H.S. Geyer

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


H.S. Geyer Introduction Wellbeing is what we strive for. It is not the only important thing but it ranks high for most of us most of the time. If a person’s needs are met, especially higher order, psychologically meaningful needs, then one can reasonably assume that that person will be content. Being able to express oneself creatively brings about self-fulfilment. Maslow (1943) believed that over time the needs of people evolved from the fulfilment of basic needs to higher order needs such as love, being loved and self-actualization. The simple act of people searching for self-fulfilment holds spatial consequences. The most visible demonstration of the search for fulfilment is reflected in the movement of people, some on a daily basis, others longer term (Lee, 1966). And because the act of fulfilment of needs has a spatial implication it usually also means that the act impacts other people. Ethically speaking, the general principle that applies is that, searching for inner fulfilment is perfectly all right as long as it does not stop others around us – as well as those who come after us – from doing the same. The latter condition, that is, looking at the longer term consequences of the fulfilment of one’s needs, has led to the added requirement: that of being ‘sustainable’. In a world of shrinking resources and mushrooming wants and needs, sustainability has gained importance in the process of resource allocation. In our quest to understand urban communities better, the search for happiness or the fulfilment of...

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