Releasing the transformative power of urbanisation
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The relationship between urbanisation and development points to a crucial issue of our time. The urban population of low- and middle-income countries is expected to double from two to four billion between 2000 and 2030. Burgeoning urban populations in Africa and Asia contribute to congestion, squalid living conditions, the spread of communicable diseases and stressed ecosystems. If urban labour markets cannot absorb the expanding workforce, writes Ivan Turok, escalating poverty and hardship may spark social unrest and violence. More than three quarters of governments around the world are apprehensive about urbanisation and as such, have a range of explicit or implicit policies in place to discourage people from moving to cities. The United Nations, meanwhile, is increasingly concerned about anti-urban sentiments among governments and their reactive, fire-fighting approach to informal settlements.