Edited by Peter Karl Kresl
Chapter 4: Urbanization process and policies for sustainable urbanization in China
Rapid urbanization is taking place in the developing countries – the Third World. According to United Nations (Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, 2012), 73.55 per cent of the world’s urban population, 2.67 out of 3.63 billion, was in less developed countries in 2011. In the same year, among the 23 largest mega-cities (each with a population over 10 million) in the world, 17 were located in the less developed countries. Although there are myriad differences between cities in the Third World, Drakakis-Smith (2000, p. 7) argued that they share common consequences of urbanization due to similar legacies of colonialism, linkage to the global economy and rapid population change. Most Third World cities are dominated by primitive accumulation. ‘In such cities working and living conditions were very poor. They were, in effect, centers of money-making for the rich with a poor quality of life for the majority of the workers’ (Short, 1996, p. 78). Urban governments have adopted either control or tolerance policies to deal with the informal economy and informal housing. Governments throughout Latin America have been forced to accept that the vast increase in the urban labour force could not be accommodated through large-scale rental housing (Gilbert, 1990). The expansion of quasi-legal self-help housing construction has been tolerated in these countries. Macharia (1997) argued that the informal economy and sub-standard housing are the best that low-income residents can manage, given their incomes in Nairobi.
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