Sustainable development, planning and poverty alleviation
Figure 1: Montes Claros, Brazil (Photo J-C Bolay, 2018)
Author(s): Jean-Claude Bolay, Eleonore Labattut
Abstract / Introduction (download full article at the bottom)
The Global South is currently experiencing strong urbanization, both in terms of urban population increases and urbanized land developed. In 2018, the world population reached nearly 7.6 billion, of which 4.2 billion lived in urban areas and 3.4 billion lived in rural ones. According to UN-Habitat, 3.2 billion urban inhabitants live in South countries. During the next decades, ninety percent of the urbanization process will take place in Asia and Africa.
In parallel, cultural references are changing lifestyles and the social and economic integration of the growing urban population, where one billion – or nearly a third of the total urban population – live in slums. Urban poverty is therefore an endemic problem that has not yet been solved, despite the many initiatives taken by the public and private sectors. To better grasp these problems, we will discuss two distinct issues that have guided our many years of work. These issues could be described as two of the
founding elements for urban planning designed to create sustainable, inclusive cities.
The first is urban poverty. Simply knowing that a third of urban dwellers in South countries are poor and daily live in material and economic precarity, very much calls into question the work we do as urban development professionals. We must start thinking of urban planning as a way of fighting poverty.
The second is the focus on small and medium-sized cities, hundreds if not thousands of which (depending on the country) play a decisive role, as half of the world’s urban population lives in cities which house 10,000 to 500,000 inhabitants and these cities serve as regional centers for a multitude of public services. Often unknown outside of their regions, these intermediate cities face enormous challenges, particularly in South countries which have the highest population growth rate.
Publication: ISOCARP Review 15, pp. 297-312
Editors: Malgorzata Hanzl, Jim Reilly, Mahak Agrawal
Coordinator: Lucian Perici
Graphic Designer: Ricardo Moura