Publication: Connecting Cities with Macroeconomic Concerns : The Missing Link

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Freire, Mila
Polèse, Mario
Echeverria, Pamela
Urban growth is, in all parts of the world, inevitable and welcomed. Despite concerns that local governments will not be able to address those issues associated with increased urban population, the number of people living in urban centers will sur-pass those of the rural population by 2030. Since productivity levels are consistently higher in urban areas than in rural settings, this would seem a reason to rejoice since it suggests more people with higher salaries, better standards of living, and less poverty. But will this be the reality, or will the nightmare of hopeless poverty overshadow the positive feelings of economic wealth and progress? This disjunction between the wonders of the city and the horrors facing the homeless poor is at the core of any professional work on economic development and urban management issues. On one hand, everyone agrees that cities are wonderful instruments of change, culture, motivation and progress. Cities are also at the core of democratic progress. Local government elections offer a laboratory in which citizens can exercise their rights to political action. The importance of cities throughout human civilization is well demonstrated by the protection they enjoyed during humanity's most violent periods, and this often at the expense of the rural sector. On the other hand, cities are often unable to adequately answer to the needs of newcomers. Deficits in housing, water and sanitation have an immediate impact on environmental degradation, health indicators, child mortality, and the self-esteem of city inhabitants. City managers and mayors must deal with this disjunction, and make decisions without adequate resources. They face challenges that range from shrewdly handling municipal finances, to providing extended services in an effort to reach the poor.
Freire, Mila; Polèse, Mario; Echeverria, Pamela. 2003. Connecting Cities with Macroeconomic Concerns : The Missing Link. © Washington, DC: World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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