What are the challenges for cities?
We need to explore some basic differences between urbanisation in MEDCs and LEDCs. In the developing world the movement of people to cities began in the early twentieth century and was very rapid: many urban centres are growing at a rate of 25% every decade. Worldwide, cities are gaining a million people a week. The world is currently experiencing urban growth on a scale that has never been seen before.
Towns and cities are home to 48% of us now, whereas in 1970 the urban share of world population was less than one-third. In 1950 only eight world cities had a population in excess of five million, whereas by 2015 there will be 58. What challenges does this rapid growth bring for city planners in the world’s fastest developing urban areas many of them in Asia, such as Shanghai?
One source suggests that 100 million rural migrants arrived in Chinese cities during the last decade (The Daily Telegraph, 12 March 2005). Another estimate projects that a staggering 300 million country dwellers will migrate to Chinese cities over the next ten years, with three million currently settling in Shanghai every year (The Guardian, 06 December 2003).
In some places, managing the unchecked expansion of shanty towns and spontaneous settlements remains a key policy, leaving poor and vulnerable people in perpetual fear of the bulldozer. In other cases, such as South Korea, over-concentration of national growth in one or two megacities (the capital, Seoul is the world’s third largest megacity) has prompted governments to build a new capital city.
Slum cities in LEDCs
These are known by various names e.g. favelas, shanty towns, etc.
1. Shack Attack! Article about Rocinha, Brazil’s most well-known hillside slum http://www.geographyinthenews.rgs.org/news/article/default.aspx?id=282
2. Use the following flash animation to show stages of development of a shanty town (favela): http://www.sln.org.uk/geography/geoweb/blowmedown/shanty05.swf
3. Shanty towns in South Africa: http://www.geographyinthenews.rgs.org/news/article/default.aspx?id=287
4. This link is to an A-level “Geocases” Geography page but there are links to useful materials about LEDC slums. http://www.geocases2.co.uk/saopaulo2.htm
5. Sao Paolo http://www.geocases2.co.uk/saopaulo1.htm
7. Word document seen in class. Rio de Janeiro (Int 1, 2)_tcm4-414207
8. Geocases case study of Sao Paolo: http://www.geocases1.co.uk/saopaulo1.htm
9. How can continued urbanisation be prevented? Addressing problems of the rural poor in North East Brazil is one solution: http://www.ifad.org/operations/projects/regions/PL/factsheet/brazil_e.pdf IFAD is a United Nations agency which helps agricultural communities in LEDCs. A specific project in a severely drought-stricken region of Brazil is discussed here: http://operations.ifad.org/web/ifad/operations/country/project/tags/brazil/1486/project_overview