11.947 | Spring 2009 | Graduate

Urbanization and Development

Discussion Questions

I: Understanding urbanization and development in past and present
1 Introduction: stock-taking and outlook Introduction and open discussion of Gugler (2004)
2 Urbanization and development in historical analysis: links and ruptures

a) Which factors that drove urbanization in recent history are equally relevant to contemporary urban growth? Which ones are different?

b) Can contemporary developing countries ’learn’ from past experiences?

3 Exploring ideologies: competing views of urbanization and development

a) Are Cockburn’s (1977), Harvey’s (2003) and Castells’ (2003) analyses and arguments relevant to cities in developing countries?

b) What would Slater reply to Sassen (2000)?

II: Regional perspectives on urbanization and development
4 Urbanization and development in Central and South America

a) Why do some cities seem to ‘get it right’ while others appear to fail?

b) What are the causes and effects of spatial segregation within cities?

5 Urbanization and development in Asia-Pacific

a) To what extent is urban growth in the region a by-product of national economic development?

b) What are the limits of equitable development amid fast urban growth?

6 Urbanization and development in the Middle East and North Africa

a) How does urban planning in the region intersect with ethnic and religious identities? What do international planners need to be aware of?

b) How does urban growth in contested cities relate to economic production?

7 Urbanization and development in Sub-Saharan Africa

a) Are cities in Sub-Saharan Africa ‘different’ from ‘other’ cities?

b) What are the role(s) and leverage of the national state in African urbanity?

III: Urbanization and development: selected policy challenges
8 Urban informality: the shifting locus of poverty

a) Which features of slums are most problematic from a city management point of view? Are these features the same when assuming a political perspective?

b) What are three promising measures to improve the livelihoods of informal city dwellers?

9 The power of place: environmental sustainability and urban health

a) How should city governments prioritize in order to address health-related and environmental bottlenecks?

b) How do urban and national politics intersect around environmental issues? What are possible areas of conflict?

10 Violence in cities: the limits of community and the reign of terror

a) Does urbanization fuel large-scale violence in developing countries?

b) How should urban governments respond to city-specific forms of violence?

11 Governing developing cities: structure and agency in local governance

a) How relevant are Isin’s (2000) and Harvey’s (1989) arguments to the city development nexus in developing countries?

b) How do urban regimes in developing countries look like? Are they different from regimes in US cities?

IV: Critical analyses of urbanization and development
12 The ‘glocal’ politics of urban development: harmony and havoc

a) Should more financial resources such as international loans and grants be made available for urban development in developing countries? If yes, for what?

b) How realistic is ’local ownership’ of policy formulation and execution?

13 City futures: global predictions and local resurgence Open discussion

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2009