Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Urban Economies
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Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Urban Economies

Edited by Peter Karl Kresl and Jaime Sobrino

In this timely Handbook, seventeen renowned contributors from Asia, the Americas and Europe provide chapters that deal with some of the most intriguing and important aspects of research methodologies on cities and urban economies.
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Chapter 6: Questions and challenges in studies on Latin-American cities

José Marcos Pinto da Cunha


According to data from the United Nations Report entitled “State of World Population 2007: Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth”, since 2008 the majority of the world population has been urban and by 2030 more than 60 percent of the population will be in this category. The pace of urbanization has been high in Latin America since the 1950s. Eight out of every ten persons in Latin America today live in urban areas and, specifically in Brazil, almost 84 percent of the population is urban. We must recognize the lack of precision in official statistics about the real levels of urban population around the globe, due to the difficulties in defining what is urban and what is rural in the broad variety in socio-spatial contexts in the different countries, not to mention the differences within countries. Nevertheless it is clear that, at least in socio-demographic terms, rural has long ceased to be the basic reference. In fact, we are part of a world that is becoming more and more urban. This reality represents certain positive aspects, since “urbanites” can more easily take advantage of the benefits of technical/scientific progress and of opportunities related to employment, education, culture, infrastructure, and so on.

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