Fair and Effective Responses to Urbanization and Climate Change: Tapping Synergies and Avoiding Exclusionary Policies

Published on 1 January 2013

Over the first half of this century, the urbanization level of Asia is expected to increase from about 37 to 64 per cent, while that of Africa is expected to grow from 36 per cent to 58 per cent (United Nations, 2012).

Together with Asia’s overall increase in population from 3.7 to 5.2 billion and Africa’s from 0.8 billion to 2.0 billion, their combined urban population will increase by almost 2.9 billion, and by 2050 half of the people in the world will be living in the cities and urban towns of Africa and Asia–up from about a quarter in 2000. Despite considerable uncertainty in projections, this urban transition is bound to be among the most striking demographic trends of our time.

Meanwhile, the effects of climate change are likely to increase. Despite even greater uncertainty as to its exact form and outcomes, climate change must be the most striking environmental trend of our time. The dominant view in scientific circles is that the negative impacts of climate change over the course of the century will be large but unevenly distributed both spatially and socially.

The contributors to climate change are likely to remain concentrated in wealthier parts of the world, though some of the largest increases in emissions are apt to be in urbanizing and industrializing Asia. The worst impacts, however, are expected to be in relatively poor countries, including many in Africa and Asia that are experiencing rapid urban growth.


Gordon McGranahan

Research Fellow

Publication details

published by
McGranahan, G., Balk, D., Martine, G. and Tacoli. C.


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