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The Transition to a Predominantly Urban World

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Human Settlements Discussion Paper SeriesTheme: Urban Change 4

The transition to a predominantly urban world and its underpinnings

David Satterthwaite

This is the 2007 version of an overview of urban change and a discussion of its main causes that IIEDs Human Settlements Group has been publishing since 1986. The first was Hardoy, Jorge E and David Satterthwaite (1986), Urban change in the Third World; are recent trends a useful pointer to the urban future?, Habitat International, Vol. 10, No. 3, pages 3352. An updated version of this was published in chapter 8 of these authors 1989 book, Squatter Citizen (Earthscan, London). Further updates were published in 1996, 2003 and 2005 and this paper replaces the working paper entitled The Scale of Urban Change Worldwide 19502000 and its Underpinnings, published in 2005. Part of the reason for this updated version is the new global dataset produced by the United Nations Population Division on urban populations and on the populations of the largest cities. Unless otherwise stated, the statistics for global, regional, national and city populations in this paper are drawn from United Nations (2006), World Urbanization Prospects: the 2005 Revision, United Nations Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, CD-ROM Edition Data in digital form (POP/DB/WUP/Rev.2005), United Nations, New York. The financial support that IIEDs Human Settlements Group receives from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DANIDA) supported the writing and publication of this working paper. Additional support was received from the World Institute for Development Economics Research.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR David Satterthwaite is a Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and also on the teaching staff of the London School of Economics and of the Development Planning Unit, University College London. He is editor of the international journal, Environment and Urbanization. He has written or edited various books on urban issues, including Squatter Citizen (with Jorge E Hardoy), The Earthscan Reader on Sustainable Cities, Environmental Problems in an Urbanizing World (with Jorge E Hardoy and Diana Mitlin) and Empowering Squatter Citizen, Local Government, Civil Society and Urban Poverty Reduction (with Diana Mitlin), all published by Earthscan, London. He is an Honorary Professor at the University of Hull and in 2004 was one of the recipients of the Volvo Environment Prize. He has also been active in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 1997, particularly in regard to the possibilities for and constraints on adaptation for cities in low- and middle-income nations. Address: IIED, 3 Endsleigh Street, London WC1H ODD, UK E-mail: [email protected]

AUTHORS NOTE This paper owes a great debt to Jorge E Hardoy. It developed from work we did together in the 1980s and early 1990s and its interest in setting recent urban trends in a historic perspective and in seeking more detailed understandings of the economic, political, social and demographic underpinnings of urban change within each nation come from him. It also owes a great debt to friends and colleagues in different nations and institutions in Africa, Asia and Latin America, from whom I have learnt of the diversity and complexity of urban change in different nations. This includes work with Arif Hasan and his analysis of urban change in Pakistan on which this paper draws is a good example of the kind of detailed national analysis that is needed in all nations. This paper is also written to expose various myths about urban change and to highlight the limitations and gaps in the statistics about urban change. It is also intended as a caution against international analyses of urban change that take no note of these limitations and that draw little or not at all from local analyses. One reviewer of an earlier draft of this paper commented that it had too much detail for instance on differences in urban definitions. But it is this kind of detail that provides the basis for questioning the validity of many international analyses of urban change. The lack of attention to developing a stronger understanding of the local underpinnings of urban change is likely to have contributed to many ineffective or inappropriate conclusions and recommendations for policies by governments and international agencies. But there is also a worry that this paper has sought too hard to find valid comparisons between nations or cities which will also be found wanting. In addition, perhaps this paper pays too little attention to the large and growing number of very detailed micro-studies for instance of migration patterns to specific cities or city districts or of living conditions in particular settlements. This paper was written to encourage more linkages between these and broader discussions of urban change, but without the author having the time to fully cover all available literature. Of course, the paper also owes a great debt to the United Nations Population Division, that produces the statistics on which we all draw and whose cautions about the inappropriate use of the data and careful analyses are so often ignored. And special thanks to Nina Behrman for her careful editing.

This paper can be downloaded at no charge from http://www.iied.org/pubs/; it can be accessed direct at www.iied.org/pubs/display.php?o=10550IIED ISBN: 1 84369 560 X

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CONTENTSSummary 1. Background an urbanizing world ..................................................................................................... 1 Introduction ............................................................................................................................................. 1 The regional distribution of the worlds urban population...................................................................... 4 2. The worlds largest and fastest-growing cities.................................................................................... 9 The worlds largest cities......................................................................................................................... 9 New and old large cities ........................................................................................................................ 11 The difficulties in comparing city populations and their growth rates.................................................. 12 The change in scale for large cities ....................................................................................................... 16 The worlds most rapidly growing large cities...................................................................................... 20 3. What drives urban change?................................................................................................................ 26 Introduction ........................................................................................................................................... 26 The economic drivers of urbanization ................................................................................................... 28 Public services....................................................................................................................................... 32 Associations between economic change and urbanization levels.......................................................... 33 Urban change shaped by local factors ................................................................................................... 35 Cities and the global economy .............................................................................................................. 37 Urban myths and data limitations.......................................................................................................... 41 Urbanization and political change ......................................................................................................... 47 Urban bias, over-urbanization and premature urbanization .................................................................. 51 4. The potential costs of rapid urban expansion ................................................................................... 56 5. City governments that buck these tendencies ................................................................................... 61 6. How urban is the future? .................................................................................................................... 65 7. Conclusions .......................................................................................................................................... 70 ANNEXE: City tables ............................................................................................................................. 73 Bibliography............................................................................................................................................. 81 Recent publications from IIEDs Human Settlements Group............................................................. 87

FIGURES, TABLES AND BOXES Figure 1: Growth in the worlds rural and urban population, 19502000 and projected up to 2015 ....... 2 Figure 2: United Nations projections for growth in the worlds population, 20052025 ........................... 4 Figure 3: Average size of the worlds largest 100 cities, 1800, 1850, 1900, 1950 and 2000.................... 11 Figure 4: Population growth for Latin Americas largest cities in 2000 over two centuries..................... 16 Figure 5: Population growth for North Americas largest cities in 2000 over two centuries.................... 17 Figure 6: Population growth for Asias largest cities in 2000 over two centuries .................................... 17 Figure

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