Global urbanisation has prompted a focus on megacities that overlooks the needs and vulnerabilities of smaller settlements.
Most of the policy discussion concerning global urbanisation has focused on megacities. And certainly, these huge and historically unprecedented agglomerations create a whole host of new requirements and vulnerabilities that have to be addressed creatively and equitably. But if we are too focused on this single issue, we may lose sight of another emerging problem likely to explode in the coming years.
Increases in urban population reflect three separate forces: the natural rise in population within urban areas; the migration of rural dwellers to urban areas; and, as settlements expand and become more densely populated, the reclassification of rural settlements as urban. All three forces have been at work to varying degrees. But where the third factor is significant, it creates a particular problem, because the administrative machinery for urban areas seldom exists for such settlements.