International Handbook of Urban Policy, Volume 3
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International Handbook of Urban Policy, Volume 3

Issues in the Developing World

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.
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Chapter 3: Urban Form Revisited: An Account of Views on the Issues

A.S. Steyn and H.S. Geyer


A.S. Steyn and H.S. Geyer Introduction The debate surrounding the density of urban form and sustainability in town planning has a long history. In the nineteenth century Robert Owen, Titus Salt, George Cadbury, William Lever and Ebenezer Howard, and early in the twentieth century, Frank Lloyd Wright, Lewis Mumford and Frederick Osborn regarded urban decentralization, environment and people-friendly urban design as a solution to the kinds of urban over-crowdedness, congestion and disease that became synonymous with the industrial towns of that era. Conversely, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris (better known as Le Corbusier), Ian Nairn, Jane Jacobs, Richard Sennett, Ivor De Wofle, George Dantzig and Thomas Saaty argued for urban densification and social diversity. Since the 1990s people such as Peter Gordon and Harry Richardson have emphasized the importance of market driven urban solutions and greater liveability while Paul Cheshire warns of market imperfections and Peter Newman and Jeffrey Kenworthy propagate urban densification and the spatial integration of business and residential areas (see Breheny, 1996 for a trace-back in history). Although interest in the issue remained strong throughout the 1990s (Jenks et al., 1996: 11), claims of proof of anthropogenic global warming (IPCC, 2007) and subsequent counterclaims (Robinson et al., 2007; Monkton, 2009) ignited renewed interest in the potential impact that city form may have on climate change in recent years. Picking up the thread of discussions on the topic during the mid-1990s, centrists claimed that the advantages of compact cities include gains in energy efficiency through the increased use of public...

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