Urbanisation

By 2030, 60 per cent of the global population will live in towns and cities. In Africa and Asia the urban population is set to double in the next two decades, while the urban share of global poverty is increasing. These demographic shifts mean new challenges for development in terms of providing access to basic services and the design and implementation of effective poverty reduction strategies, health systems and climate change adaptation programmes.

Urban development and slum

IDS researchers (many of whom work with the IDS-led STEPS Centre) have been looking at the implications of increasing urbanisation and the expansion of peri-urban areas for both rural and urban sustainability. This research has sought to understand what the expansion of these urban centres and peri-urban areas means for the health and wellbeing of local communities and in particular the impact on their access to basic services, resources such as land and water and decent livelihoods.

We are also researching the implications of rapid urbanisation on wellbeing and resilience, assisting safe and inclusive urbanisation and how climate change adaptation programmes and poverty reduction initiatives need to respond to these demographic shifts.

Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda

The United Nations Habitat III Conference was convened to reinvigorate global commitment to sustainable urbanisation. Held in Quito, Ecuador, from 17–20 October 2016, the Conference's mission is the adoption of a New Urban Agenda - a document which will set global standards of achievement in sustainable urban development.

See how IDS and our partners are engaging with Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda.

A Mobile Training Platform for Urban Policing in India and Nepal

The aim of this project is to develop training videos for urban police that can be accessed via mobiles. This kind of platform allows the videos to be centrally updated, accessed (or ‘pushed’) on demand, and also allow for an innovative addition to police performance monitoring. More details

Cities, Violence and Order

Cities have for long been recognised as not only the firm centres of government in the global north and south, but also central to the processes of state consolidation, transformation and erosion (as seen in the work of Charles Tilly in the 1980s and 1990s). More details

Ebola: Lessons for development

IDS researchers argue that there is an urgent need to look beyond the immediate, on-the-ground concerns of disease control and containment to consider the bigger and broader questions about international development. More details

Futures Workshop on Cities, Violence and Order: The Challenges and Complex Taxonomy of Security Provision in Cities of Tomorrow

Cities have for long been recognised as not only the firm centres of government in the global north and south, but also central to the processes of state consolidation, transformation and erosion (as seen in the work of Charles Tilly in the 1980s and 1990s). More details

Improving access to livelihoods, jobs and basic services in violent contexts

Expanding access to work and services, such as public utilities and safe and reliable transportation, are important elements of any approach to strengthen security in poor urban neighbourhoods. More details

Informal Work and Wellbeing in Urban South Asia: Who Succeeds, Who Fails and Under What Conditions?

This study proposes an exploration of the determinants of wellbeing for informal workers living in informal settlements across a diverse set of urbanising localities in Bangladesh and India. We will present empirical evidence on what patterns and gradations of wellbeing success and failure are emerging for women and men engaged in informal work and living in informal settlements. More details

Interactions Eldis Website

Interactions is an IDS-hosted interactive online resource on Empowering Women and Girls, featuring real-time research and analysis. The website features up-to-the minute research findings and policy analysis on gender-based violence, urban health and unpaid care work from IDS and partners More details

Political economy of peri-urban expansion

This project examines the role of peri-urban spaces in urban expansion and how resilience can be fostered in these contexts. More details

UN Habitat III: Creating Safe and Inclusive Cities That Leave No One Behind

Addressing security and inclusion in cities as universal issues, at this side-event we will focus on how well-managed urbanisation can revitalise urban spaces that had either been lost to violence or suffered from a lack of access to basic services and neglect. More details

View all Research Theme's publications

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NewDirections_brief

Reframing Gender Justice in an Unequal, Volatile World: IDS’ Directions for Future Research on Gender and Sexuality in Development

At a time of major changes in global politics and trends, and major shifts in international development following the establishment of the global Sustainable Development Goals in Agenda 2030, the Gender and Sexuality cluster at the Institute of Development Studies engaged in collaborative discussions and consultations over nine months with partner organisations, networks, external experts and policymakers. More details

NewDirections_report

Reframing Gender Justice in an Unequal, Volatile World: IDS’ Directions for Future Research on Gender and Sexuality in Development

We here aim to outline priority directions for future research on gender and sexuality in development, which are needed to advance our understanding of gender and sexuality in an increasingly unequal, polarised and volatile world. More details

ER220_FrontCover

Inclusive Urbanisation and Cities in the Twenty-First Century

IDS Evidence Report 220 (2017)

In academic and policy discourse, urbanisation and cities are currently receiving a great deal of attention, and rightly so. Both have been central to the enormous transformation the world has been going through during the past few centuries. More details

PB128_FrontCover

Creating Safe and Inclusive Cities That Leave No One Behind

IDS Policy Briefing 128 (2016)

Half of humanity now lives in urban areas, and a growing number of cities are leading the way in generating global GDP. However, cities have increasingly become key loci of violence over the last 50 years, which particularly affects the most marginalised. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Universalising Water and Sanitation Coverage in Urban Areas: From Global Targets to Local Realities in Dar es Salaam, and Back

Reflecting on Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, this paper demonstrates how global monitoring often fails to reflect and support local efforts to improve water and sanitation in low-income settlements. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Creating Safe and Inclusive Cities That Leave No One Behind: Seven Key Pathways to Actualising the Principles of the New Urban Agenda

This paper serves as a background note for the Habitat III side-event ‘Creating Safe and Inclusive Cities That Leave No One Behind’. It brings together research and practice to understand how well-managed urbanisation can revitalise urban spaces that had either been lost to violence or suffered from a lack of access to basic services and neglect. More details

ER194_FrontCover

Impact of Community-led Total Sanitation on Women’s Health in Urban Slums: A Case Study from Kalyani Municipality

IDS Evidence Report 194 (2016)

This Evidence Report seeks to understand the health and other impacts of slum women’s access to sanitation through the Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach. More details

ER192_FrontCover

The Role of Cities and Urbanisation in Achieving Development Goals

IDS Evidence Report 192 (2016)

The world is in the midst of a long and uneven urban transition, with the great majority of urbanisation and urban population growth now occurring in parts of Asia and Africa. Urbanisation has profound effects on local rural and urban economies, life chances and environments, though much depends on how it is handled. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Dialectics of Urban Form and Violence

IDS Bulletin 47.2 (2016)

Violence is increasingly a defining characteristic of urban living in both conflict and non-conflict settings. This has important consequences for the relatively under-researched links between urban violence, the processes of state building, and wider development goals. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Urban Informal Economy, Local Inclusion and Achieving a Global Green Transformation

Habitat International 53 (2016)

The green economy is widely promoted as a 21st century solution to sustainable development. The role of cities in pursuing this agenda is increasingly recognised. Yet, the informal economy, which so many urban dwellers and workers in low- and middle-income countries depend upon, is seldom considered. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Inclusive Urbanization: Can the 2030 Agenda be Delivered Without It?

Environment & Urbanisation 28.1 (2016)

Drawing on examples of emerging economies, the paper points to the dangers of pursuing a growth-first strategy for urbanization, as exclusion can become entrenched and difficult to reverse, even with increased prosperity. It then examines how more inclusive urbanization can be achieved and how this relates to the Sustainable Development Goals (part of the 2030 Agenda). More details

PB112_FrontCover

Rethinking Approaches to Peace-Building and Political Settlements in an Increasingly Urbanised World

IDS Policy Briefing 112 (2016)

Violence in cities significantly compromises development and can have detrimental consequences for peace-building and political settlements in both conflict and non-conflict settings. More details

ER175_FrontCover

Cities, Violence and Order: the Challenges and Complex Taxonomy of Security Provision in Cities of Tomorrow

IDS Evidence Report 175 (2016)

How will security in cities be understood in the future? For whom will it be provided? What are the ways by which urban security provision will be governed? And, what impact will violence and order in cities have on the processes of state-building in fragile contexts in the future? These questions are uppermost in the minds of policymakers and academics. More details

ER110_FrontCover

Improving Access to Health for Women and Girls in Low-income Urban Settlements

IDS Policy Briefing 110 (2016)

The world is becoming increasingly urbanised. Over one third of urban dwellers now reside in low-income urban settlements, where living conditions are often inadequate and there exist multiple barriers to access to health services for women and girls. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Public and Private Control and Contestation of Public Space amid Violent Conflict in Karachi

Human Settlements Working Paper (2015)

Few cities in South Asia have been affected by violence more than Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and economic centre. This working paper examines the impacts of the city’s declining security situation on the control and contestation of public space. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Informal Work and Wellbeing in Urban South Asia: Who Succeeds, Who Fails and Under What Conditions?

This study sets out to explore the associational relationships between a variety of institutional conditions and the wellbeing outcomes for informal workers living in informal settlements in Bangladesh and India. More details

Strengthening_Evidence_Based_Policy_2015

Strengthening Evidence-Based Policy: Outputs April 2014 – March 2015

Accountable Grant Outputs Brochure (2015)

In much writing about development, policy and practice are portrayed as if they are joined at the hip. Policy shapes practice, while learning from practice informs policy processes. In this portrayal, practice is usually understood to refer to development practice, or how development programmes and projects are implemented. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Realizing the Right to Sanitation in Deprived Urban Communities: Meeting the Challenges of Collective Action, Coproduction, Affordability, and Housing Tenure

World Development 68 (2015)

There are serious institutional challenges associated with low-cost sanitation in deprived urban communities. These include a collective action challenge, a coproduction challenge, a challenge of affordability versus acceptability, and a challenge related to housing tenure. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Urbanisation, Rural–Urban Migration and Urban Poverty

Human Settlements Working Paper (2015)

Rural-urban migration continues to attract much interest, but also growing concern. Migrants are often blamed for increasing urban poverty, but not all migrants are poor. In many cities, however, migrants form a large proportion of the urban poor with whom they share income and non-income disadvantages, including difficulties in finding adequate housing and in accessing services. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Failing the Urban Poor: Applying a Wellbeing Approach to Understand Urban Poverty

Looking across ten key areas of wellbeing, the study explores informal worker perspectives on what it means to live well in the city. It investigates issues that are not commonly addressed in urban poverty policy debates, such as social relations, empowerment and dignity. More details

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