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Global Urbanization

Edited by Eugenie L. Birch and Susan M. Wachter

Publication Year: 2011

For the first time in history, the majority of the world's population lives in urban areas. Much of this urbanization has been fueled by the rapidly growing cities of the developing world, exemplified most dramatically by booming megacities such as Lagos, Karachi, and Mumbai. In the coming years, as both the number and scale of cities continue to increase, the most important matters of social policy and economic development will necessarily be urban issues. Urbanization, across the world but especially in Asia and Africa, is perhaps the critical issue of the twenty-first century.

Global Urbanization surveys essential dimensions of this growth and begins to formulate a global urban agenda for the next half century. Drawing from many disciplines, the contributors tackle issues ranging from how cities can keep up with fast-growing housing needs to the possibilities for public-private partnerships in urban governance. Several essays address the role that cutting-edge technologies such as GIS software, remote sensing, and predictive growth models can play in tracking and forecasting urban growth. Reflecting the central importance of the Global South to twenty-first-century urbanism, the volume includes case studies and examples from China, India, Uganda, Kenya, and Brazil.

While the challenges posed by large-scale urbanization are immense, the future of human development requires that we find ways to promote socially inclusive growth, environmental sustainability, and resilient infrastructure. The timely and relevant scholarship assembled in Global Urbanization will be of great interest to scholars and policymakers in demography, geography, urban studies, and international development.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Series: The City in the Twenty-First Century


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pp. v-vi

Part I. Twenty-First-Century Population Prospect: Emerging Needs

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Chapter 1. World Urbanization: The Critical Issue of the Twenty-First Century

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pp. 3-23

In 2010, a majority of the world’s population lived in cities, an important milestone actually reached in 2008; by 2050, this proportion will approach 70 percent. These simple facts point in two directions: looking back, they confirm the intensity with which the world has urbanized over the past fifty years and, moving forward, they mark the world’s cities as...

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Chapter 2. Human Population Grows Up

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pp. 24-31

The decade ending in 2010 spanned three unique, important transitions in the history of humankind. Before 2000, young people always outnumbered old people. From 2000 forward, old people will outnumber young people. Until approximately 2007, rural people always outnumbered urban people. From approximately 2007 forward, urban...

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Chapter 3. Measuring and Coping with Urban Growth in Developing Countries

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pp. 32-47

It took the development community two decades, if not more, to come to terms with the unprecedented urban growth rates that occurred in the developing world between 1950 and 2005 (figure 3.1). The dramatic increase in the proportion of urban population—from 17 percent to 26 percent—that took place between 1950 and 1975 was the first sign that...

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Chapter 4. Urban Growth and Development at Six Scales: An Economist’s View

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pp. 48-66

The world’s population, roughly 6.7 billion people, spreads over about 13 billion hectares of land. (Of course, much of this land is arid or otherwise inhospitable to settlement, but more on that later.) Variously considered, people live in nations, regions, cities, and neighborhoods. The study of their urbanization is, more or less, the study of density as...

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Chapter 5. Urban Growth and Spatial Development: The China Case

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pp. 67-85

China has experienced rapid urban growth since the adoption of Economic Reform and Open Policy in 1978. Not only is more than one-third of the country’s population now living in cities, but the remaining population is becoming increasingly dependent on cities and towns for its economic survival and livelihood. At the National People’s Congress...

Part II. Urban Spatial Growth and Development

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Chapter 6. The Urban Transition in Developing Countries: Demography Meets Geography

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pp. 89-106

As urban populations continue to grow, poor countries and international aid agencies are likely to face mounting pressure to rethink their development strategies and set priorities with both rural and urban interests in mind. To engage effectively with the emerging trends, countries and agencies will need to base their decisions on demographic estimates...

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Chapter 7. Measuring and Modeling Global Urban Expansion

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pp. 107-125

From the perspective of global urbanization, the first decade of the twenty-first century will be seen not as the time when the problems associated with urbanization first became apparent (these have been widely understood since the nineteenth century and perhaps earlier), nor as the time when the basic outlines of policy solutions first attained wide-...

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Chapter 8. Urban Growth Models: State of the Art and Prospects

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pp. 126-150

Once known as urban activity models, urban growth models (UGMs) emerged in the mid-1960s out of advances in regional science, huge improvements in computing speed and storage capacity (or so they seemed at the time), a newfound surplus of detailed activity data, and federal mandates coupled with funding for metropolitan planning...

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Chapter 9. Monitoring Urban Growth and Its Environmental Impacts Using Remote Sensing: Examples from China and India

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pp. 151-166

The size of the world’s growing urban population gives urgency to the need for accurate estimates of the location, size, and growth of existing urban areas as well as forecasts of likely regions, magnitudes, and configurations of future urban growth. However, to date, there exists no global database that accurately describes and maps which portions of...

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Chapter 10. Tracking Regional Growth and Development: The Nairobi Case

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pp. 167-173

Fast-growing Nairobi, Kenya, the most populous city in East Africa, offers an important example of how a municipality that lacks modern maps and databases turns to spatial technologies, especially remotesensing and geographic information system (GIS) technologies, to track urban growth and development and inform public and private infra-...

Part III. Urban Governance and Finance

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Chapter 11. Strategic Directions for Local Public Finance in Developing Countries

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pp. 177-190

Fiscal decentralization and local government finance in developing countries have received considerable scholarly attention in recent years, particularly with respect to urban areas. A well-developed literature focuses on policy and institutional-design concerns driven by public finance/fiscal federalism and new public management principles (Bahl...

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Chapter 12. Public-Private Partnerships and Urban Governance: Coordinates and Policy Issues

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pp. 191-211

Policymakers, practitioners, and academics around the world make compelling arguments for bridging public and private sectors through alliance, collaboration, and partnership. Based on the logic of pragmatism, they cast these arrangements as innovative and resourceful ways of dealing with the intensifying demands of urbanization. Infrastructure policy...

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Chapter 13. City Building in China: Implications for Urban Form Efficiency

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pp. 212-233

Current Chinese city-building processes can be viewed from a land efficiency perspective and through the prism of the key actors, particularly (1) local governments (municipal, urban district, county), (2) the national government, which has become increasingly interventionist in response to energy efficiency, agricultural land protection, and housing-...

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Chapter 14. Financing Housing and Urban Services

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pp. 234-251

Bertrand Renaud (1987) said that cities are built the way they are financed. The financing of housing and of urban infrastructure and services is crucial to the functioning of cities. Housing finance and urban finance share several characteristics. First, both are instruments that can be used to increase the overall standard of living. The ultimate goal of...

Part IV. Cases in Urban Development

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Chapter 15. Managing Urban Infrastructure and Services in India

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pp. 255-275

India, with an urban population of about 341 million (2007 estimate), is challenged with how to provide adequate levels of infrastructure and services in its many rapidly growing cities. Although only 29.2 percent of the total population is urban, in absolute terms that population is huge, almost equal to the combined urban population of the United...

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Chapter 16. Sustainable Urban Development: Managing City Development in Uganda

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pp. 276-293

Although traditional urban centers existed in Uganda before colonization, developing around the seats of reigning kings and their governments, urbanization with a western touch only surfaced in the nineteenth century as administrative centers and agricultural markets were established. This history is important in understanding the evolu-...

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Chapter 17. Thinking About Urban Services Needs in Fast-Growing Cities: Housing in S

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pp. 294-309

The prevalent forms of housing among low-income groups in Brazil vary according to the city and period considered. In each place and time, a specific form of housing has been prevalent in the urban landscape. Three basic types of housing stand out: slums (corti

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Chapter 18. The Education of Urban Dwellers: The Kenyan Experience

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pp. 310-322

In any discussion on development in sub-Saharan Africa one must, at the outset, be wary of too much generalization, which can turn simplistic. Africa is a very large continent, and the sub-Saharan region is characterized by an enormous diversity of nation states, peoples, and customs. There are, however, numerous challenges in common, challenges that...


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pp. 323-330


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pp. 331-361

List of Contributors

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pp. 363-366


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pp. 367-376

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pp. 377

In July 2007, in Italy, the Rockefeller Foundation hosted the month-long Global Urban Summit at its Bellagio Center. The foundation invited the Penn Institute for Urban Research (IUR) to develop a week-long session, ‘‘Toward a Twenty-First-Century Urban Agenda,’’ to explore emerging research issues related to twenty-first-century urbanization.

E-ISBN-13: 9780812204476
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812242843

Page Count: 384
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: The City in the Twenty-First Century