March 19, 2008

Cities grow

And while I'm being temporarily lazy about blogging, giving you excerpts from other writers instead ...
    While urban poverty is more concentrated, more visible, and hence seemingly more desperate than the rural variety, migration into cities appears to reduce poverty in poor countries. ... [S]ince the beginning of the industrial age ... no country has grown rich before its people first shifted to cities. ...

    Poor countries often try to stop slum growth, evicting migrants and denying water and sanitation to new slum developments. [This harms] their citizens and economies. What's more, their efforts usually fail, worsening slum conditions without stopping slum growth.

    [G]overnments would do better if they accepted the inevitability of new city dwellers and tried to work with them: Plan ahead, provide the basics -- access to water, electricity and roads -- then get out of the way. Entrepreneurial hustle fills the slums; let the same drive that brings millions to the city improve it from the bottom up.

    Countries serious about slowing the growth of their cities without trapping their citizens in poverty might try a method more effective than demolishing shantytowns. Over half of city growth now comes from natural increase -- births less deaths -- not from migration. The best antidote to the ills of urban crowding, over the long term, might be a new emphasis on education, contraception and women's rights.
From "Bright Lights, Big Cities", The Atlantic, December 2007.

You might also want to read Not Kuruvamma, really.


Siva said...

I am Afraid About Death.


Anonymous said...

That's a nice post. There are 3 things mentioned in the last line - education, contraception and women's rights. In the long run, I think education and women's rights will ensure that people decide for themselves regarding contraception. Essentially provide the infrastructure and enable people to be educated so that they make informed choices of their own free will.

Anonymous said...

i'm hoping you could help publicize the effort to save rani bagh from 'development'.