Handbook of Emerging 21st-Century Cities
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Handbook of Emerging 21st-Century Cities

Edited by Kris Bezdecny and Kevin Archer

The majority of the world's population now live in cities, nearly a quarter of which boast populations of one million or more. The rise of globalisation has granted cities unprecedented significance, both politically and economically, leading to benefits and problems at national and international levels. The Handbook of Emerging 21st-Century Cities explores the changes that are occurring in cities, and the impacts that they are having, at the local, national and global scale.
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Chapter 14: Inclusive growth and the urban question: Some lessons from Asia

Ravi Ghadge


There are two key stories of contemporary globalization – first, the rise of emerging economies and the arrival of inclusive growth as a dominant policy discourse in Asia (Harris, 2005; Kaplinsky and Messner, 2006; Nayyar, 2006; Nederveen-Pieterse, 2008; Prestowitz, 2005; Rodrik and Subramanian, 2004); and second, the emergence of the urban as a critical development problematic that seeks to balance high growth and reduction of poverty and inequality. Although, there is a substantial literature in global and development studies that addresses the dynamics of growth and inequality, there is less focus on the institutional contexts that produce these inclusive growth discourses and their diverse articulation of inclusiveness. Additionally, there is less written about how the ‘urban question’ mediates growth and inequality within an inclusive growth framework. This chapter tries to fill those conceptual gaps. The chapter addresses three main questions: In what particular development contexts did inclusive growth emerge as a hegemonic discourse in development policy? How inclusive growth discourses are employed in the particular Asian context? How is the urban implicated in such formulations? Based on a comparative analysis of aggregate data and planning discourses in Asia, the chapter arrives at three broad conclusions. First, at the global level, inclusive growth emerged as a hegemonic policy rhetoric within a broader context of reconfiguration of development thinking, coalescing to what is now called a ‘post/new Washington Consensus,’ based on a redefined ‘redistribution with growth’ approach. Second, in the Asian context, I find three distinct approaches toward inclusive growth based on a differential understanding of redistribution. Finally, there is an emerging policy consensus that urbanization is a key determinant for achieving inclusive growth.

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