World Bank research shows that in 2003, 48 percent of the world’s population (3 billion people) lived in urban areas—a 33 percent increase from the 1990 level. By 2020, 4.1 billion people (55 percent of the world’s population) will live in urban areas. Almost 94 percent of the increase will occur in developing countries. By 2015, there will be 22 megacities (cities or agglomeration with a population of more than 8 million) and 475 cities with populations exceeding 1 million. The forces of urbanization promise to reshape the developing world, presenting both opportunities and challenges across the socioeconomic spectrum.
At the same time, globalization is becoming the driving force behind economic growth and development. Cities will have to compete for foot-loose investment flows to generate jobs for their growing urban labor force; and they will have to provide security and access to services and urban infrastructure for their growing urban populations. This will present enormous challenges for local governments, requiring substantial improvement in local capacity and performance. The extent to which individual cities can respond to these challenges depends on a mix of factors—some that are outside any city’s immediate control, some within its control—such as individual city policies and local governance.
Cities in a Globalizing World sheds new light on the dynamics and associations among globalization, urbanization, and local governance. It demonstrates how close these associations are and how crucial they will increasingly become for sustainable development. It also makes clear that better policy design in the field of urbanization will depend on improved analysis of causality, which in turn will require the collection of much better quality data. This book will be of great interest to students and practitioners of urban management and those concerned with globalization and the developing world.