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Geography of Growth

Geography of Growth

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Since the 1990s, new economic geography has received a lot of attention as mainstream economists such as Krugman and others began to focus on where economic activity occurs and why. Coincidentally, international trade, location theory, and urban economics all appear to be asking the same question: where is economic activity located and why? The challenge is to explain the economic concentration or agglomeration of a large number of activities in certain geographical space. This volume breaks down the various types of cities and evaluates the key factors used to look at cities, such as innovation, green growth, spatial concentration, and smart cities in order to understand how cities work. Why is it that certain cities attract talent? How do some cities become business hubs? Why is it that few cities become increasingly competitive while others remain stagnant?As development specialists are increasingly focusing on how to make cities competitive, this book can serve as a guide for providing key insights, backed by cases on how cities can possibly become more competitive and productive.
Since the 1990s, new economic geography has received a lot of attention as mainstream economists such as Krugman and others began to focus on where economic activity occurs and why. Coincidentally, international trade, location theory, and urban economics all appear to be asking the same question: where is economic activity located and why? The challenge is to explain the economic concentration or agglomeration of a large number of activities in certain geographical space. This volume breaks down the various types of cities and evaluates the key factors used to look at cities, such as innovation, green growth, spatial concentration, and smart cities in order to understand how cities work. Why is it that certain cities attract talent? How do some cities become business hubs? Why is it that few cities become increasingly competitive while others remain stagnant?As development specialists are increasingly focusing on how to make cities competitive, this book can serve as a guide for providing key insights, backed by cases on how cities can possibly become more competitive and productive.

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Publish date: May 10, 2012
Added to Scribd: May 17, 2012
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12/19/2015

Classifying cities by population size is a comprehensive way of identifying
various types of cities. The UN compiles data on urban population and its
share of total national population for various countries. The countries
report the data to the UN, and as a result, there is no standard definition,
which makes cross-country comparisons problematic. The most recent
UN publication on urbanization suggests the following:

Half of the world’s 6.7 billion people will live in urban areas by 2010.

Not all of the world’s regions are equally urbanized.

Asia and Africa are the least urbanized regions but account for most of

the urban population.
Asia’s urban population, currently 1.6 billion, is expected to double over

the coming four decades, adding another 1.8 billion persons by 2050.
China is expected to become 70 percent urban (from 40 percent pres-

ently), accounting for 1 billion people by 2050.
India is expected to urbanize the least over the coming four decades.

Currently, 30 percent of its population live in urban areas, a rate that is
expected to reach 55 percent by 2050, or 900 million people.
Dhaka, Karachi, and Lahore are expected to grow the fastest and will

acquire megacity status—cities with more than 10 million inhabit-
ants—by 2050.
Africa’s urban population is likely to triple over the next 40 years,

increasing from 340 million to more than 900 million.
The fastest-growing cities in Africa are not yet megacities, but Kinshasa

and Lagos are expected to surpass 10 million inhabitants by 2050.
Urbanization in Latin America and the developed world will remain

largely the same over the coming four decades.
Natural increase accounts for the majority of urban growth, some

60 percent. An exception is China, where increases in urbanization
are primarily due to changes in the number of areas considered
urban and to migration.

Projections to 2050 depend on a continuing decline in the fertility rate
in the developing world. If fertility rates continue at their current levels
and urbanization continues at the predicted pace, the global urban popu-
lation will reach 8.1 billion by 2050 instead of the projected 6.3 billion.
Table 2.1 illustrates these points. The world’s urban population is
expected to reach 6.3 billion by 2050, with growth coming from the
urban areas in the less developed regions. While rural population in the

17

Table 2.1 Population and Average Annual Rate of Change, by Group and Selected Years, 1950–2050

Group

Population (billions)

Average annual rate of change (%)

1950

1975

2009

2025

2050

1950–75

1975–2009

2009–25

2025–50

Total population

World

2.53

4.06

6.83

8.01

9.15

1.89

1.53

1.00

0.53

More developed regions

0.81

1.05

1.23

1.28

1.28

1.02

0.48

0.22

−0.01

Less developed regions

1.72

3.01

5.60

6.73

7.87

2.25

1.82

1.16

0.63

Urban population

World

0.73

1.51

3.42

4.54

6.29

2.91

2.40

1.76

1.31

More developed regions

0.43

0.70

0.92

1.01

1.10

1.97

0.82

0.58

0.33

Less developed regions

0.30

0.81

2.50

3.52

5.19

3.96

3.30

2.15

1.55

Rural population

World

1.80

2.55

3.41

3.48

2.86

1.39

0.85

0.12

−0.77

More developed regions

0.39

0.35

0.31

0.26

0.18

−0.39

−0.35

−1.01

−1.62

Less developed regions

1.41

2.20

3.10

3.21

2.69

1.77

1.01

0.22

−0.71

Source: UN 2010.

18 Geography of Growth

more developed regions has been declining for some time, rural popula-
tion in the developing regions is expected to continue increasing until
2025, when it will begin to contract. Urban population growth at the
global level is slowing down. Between 1950 and 2009, urban population
grew at an annual average rate of 2.6 percent, increasing from 0.7 billion
to 3.4 billion (UN 2010). Contraction of the rural population and sus-
tained increase of the urban population will result in increasing propor-
tions of the global population living in urban areas.

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