08 November 2008

More Vital Cities ~ Urbanization and Development

The Economist article Cities and growth: Lump together and like it spotlights "the problems -- and benefits -- of urbanisation on a vast scale" and in particular points to the new World Development Report. The Report summarizes the biggest development challenges, three giga-challenges of slums, rural poverty, and economic disconnection... The lessons from this years report include:
  • "Places do well when they promote transformations along the dimensions of economic geography: higher densities as cities grow; shorter distances as workers and businesses migrate closer to density; and fewer divisions as nations lower their economic borders and enter world markets to take advantage of scale and trade in specialized products."
  • "Economic growth is seldom balanced. Efforts to spread it prematurely will jeopardize progress. Two centuries of economic development show that spatial disparities in income and production are inevitable. A generation of economic research confirms this: there is no good reason to expect economic growth to spread smoothly across space."
  • "The experience of successful developers shows that production becomes more concentrated spatially. The most successful nations also institute policies that make basic living standards more uniform across space. Economic production concentrates, while living standards converge."

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