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 Cities Cluster researchers (many of whom work with the IDS-convened STEPS Centre) are exploring the implications of increasing urbanisation and the expansion of peri-urban areas for both rural and urban sustainability. This research seeks 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

Capacity Building for Smart Data and Inclusive Cities (SDIC)

The “Capacity Building for Smart Data and Inclusive Cities” (SDIC) project aims strengthen technical and institutional capacities by working directly with municipal authorities participating in the Smart Cities Mission in four secondary cities in India: Bhopal and Jabalpur (in Madhya Pradesh) and Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi (in Kerala). More details

Cities, Violence and Order

Cities have long been recognised as not only the firm centres of government in the global north and south, but also as 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

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

The Urban Land Nexus and Inclusive Urbanization in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza and Khartoum

This action-oriented research project will use the urban land nexus and its politics to provide the entry point for analysing the cities of Khartoum, Dar es Salaam and Mwanza and as integrated city systems. The overarching objective is to identify, research, and stimulate policy debate on actionable changes that are politically feasible and scalable within existing urban systems, and will foster more inclusive and welfare-enhancing urban transitions. 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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Inclusive Urban Development in South Africa: What Does It Mean and How Can It Be Measured?

IDS Working Paper 512 (2018)

Inclusive development is the seductive idea that a more dynamic and productive economy can go hand in hand with reduced inequality and exclusion. This requires crafting together different values and realities, through cooperation and negotiation between different economic and social interests. This is particularly difficult in South Africa because of the deep-seated social divisions and stagnant economy. More details

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Wellbeing and Protracted Urban Displacement: Refugees and Hosts in Jordan and Lebanon

The war in Syria, now in its eighth year, has led to the mass exodus of the Syrian people. Lebanon and Jordan have achieved a remarkable feat by hosting millions of refugees, with many having located to urban areas, where the great majority of local populations are already situated. More details

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Improving the Wellbeing of Syrian Refugees in Urban Jordan

IDS Policy Briefing 152 (2018)

While 20 per cent of Syrian refugees in Jordan reside in camps, the majority live elsewhere including in urban areas. Syrian refugees are experiencing high levels of insecurity, often due to challenges with legal status documentation. More details

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Urban Refugees in Lebanon: Housing, Residency, and Wellbeing

IDS Policy Briefing 151 (2018)

Lebanon hosts over a million Syrian refugees in addition to other displaced groups. These refugees have gravitated to urban centres, putting significant pressure on local infrastructure and services. More details

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Local Environmentalism in Peri-Urban Spaces in India: Emergent Ecological Democracy?

This paper explores the potential of a range of peri-urban environmentalisms to come together in support of sustainable urbanisation, based research in India. More details

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cities of rapidly urbanising countries

Market Systems Development in the Cities of Rapidly Urbanising Countries

The aim of this paper is to offer guidelines for those in the market systems community interested in working in urban settings, by exploring the key features that makes cities unique and the implications these features have for programmes using a market systems approach. More details

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Urban wellbeing, mental health and the Syrian refugee crisis

09 Oct 2017
By Dolf te Lintelo, Emma Soye

Urban October 2017: Revisiting the New Urban Agenda one year on

29 Sep 2017
By Dolf te Lintelo, Jaideep Gupte

Approaching Markets in Rapidly Growing Cities

20 Jul 2017
By Maria del Mar Maestre Morales, Gordon McGranahan, Eric Kasper

Globally, the fires of inequality rage on

20 Jun 2017
By Jaideep Gupte
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