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.
Eugenie L. Birch is Lawrence C. Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research and Education, Department of City and Regional Planning, PennDesign. Susan M. Wachter is Richard B. Worley Professor of Financial Management and Professor of Real Estate and Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Professor of City and Regional Planning at PennDesign. Together, Birch and Wachter direct the Penn Institute for Urban Research and are the coeditors of Rebuilding Urban Places After Disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina and Growing Greener Cities: Urban Sustainability in the Twenty-First Century, both available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.