Reading Development

Random readings on society, politics and change – Jorge Carrillo

Is urbanisation in the Global South fundamentally different? Comparative global urban analysis for the 21st century

A vigorous debate has emerged in recent years over how to understand cities of the Global South. A pivotal issue in this debate is whether urbanisation processes in the South are so fundamentally different from historical and current urbanisation in the Global North that many of the theories developed from studying the latter have limited utility in application to the former. In this article, we review evidence from a range of disciplines on recent and ongoing urban transitions and urbanisation dynamics in the Global South, attending to features that distinguish the urban South from the urban North. Our reading of the evidence indicates that parts of the Global South may be urbanising along historically and geographically specific trajectories; however, we argue that these differences are best understood through a unified set of global urban theories. Rather than flattening or silencing difference, theories that seek generalisation across time and space sharpen the identification and appreciation of key differences in urbanisation processes. Analysing how the fundamental dynamics of urbanisation recombine and interact with one another in different contexts offers insight into policy challenges that cut across cities, both within and between the Global South and North, as well as context-specific policy issues that arise through the interaction of global urbanisation forces and local specificities.

Behind paywall [Link to abstract]

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This entry was posted on Monday, 14 February 2022 by in Urban issues and tagged , , .
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