the rise of modern cities - World Health Organization

the rise of modern cities - World Health Organization
CHAPTER 1
William Picard/SXC.hu
THE RISE OF
MODERN CITIES
This chapter reviews trends and projections
related to the rapid increase of people living in
cities around the world, as well as some of the
consequences of this phenomenon.
PART ONE. T HE DAWN OF AN URBAN WORL D
HIDDEN CITIE S: UNMASKING AND OVE RCOMING HE ALT H INEQUIT IES IN URBAN SE T T INGS
3
Demographics
of urbanization
and trends
GLOBAL TRENDS AND PROJECTIONS
For the first time in history, the majority of the
world’s population is living in urban areas, and
this proportion continues to grow. It was only a
few years ago that the world’s urban population
started to outnumber its rural population. One
hundred years ago, only 2 in 10 people in the
world were living in urban areas. By 2030, 6 out
of every 10 people will be city dwellers, rising to
7 out of every 10 people by 2050. According to
population growth projections, virtually all global
growth over the next 30 years will be in urban
areas. The number of urban residents is growing
by nearly 60 million every year.1
As humans change, so do their living and working
environments. In contrast to agrarian rural settings,
cities are characterized by their mass production,
service industries and marketplaces. Their scale,
density and diversity of social, cultural and ethnic
groups also set them apart from rural contexts.
It is not only the visible aspects of living and
working environments that change, but also their
intangible qualities, such as their intellectual
assets, creativity, vibrancy and shared identity.
Typical urbanites have more choice and opportunity than their ancestors ever had before.
URBANIZATION EXPLAINED
Urbanization refers to the overall increase in the
proportion of the population living in urban areas,
as well as the process by which large numbers of
people have become permanently concentrated
in relatively small areas, forming cities.2 While
specific definitions of “urban” differ from one
country to another, in all regions urbanization has
been characterized by demographic shifts from
rural areas to cities; growth of urban populations;
and overall shifts in the economy from farming
towards industry, technology and service.
4
Urbanization became more rapid as globalization
spread industry and technology to all corners of
the world. For example, whereas London took
roughly 130 years to grow from 1 to 8 million
people, Bangkok took 45 years, and Seoul took
only 25 years.3 Globally, urban growth was at its
peak during the 1950s, with a population
expansion of more than 3% per year.4
By the middle of the 21st century, the urban
population will almost double, increasing from
roughly 3.4 billion in 2009 to 6.4 billion in 2050.
In contrast, rural populations will decline around
the world during this same time frame.5
Despite these dramatic increases in the total number
of city dwellers, the overall pace of urbanization
is not accelerating. On a global scale, the urban
population is expected to grow roughly 1.5% per
year between 2025 and 2030.5
As the world becomes more urban, people will
continue to live in cities of all sizes, with a
pattern of city size distribution similar to that
which is evident now.6 Currently, around half
of all urban dwellers live in cities with between
100 000 and 500 000 people, whereas fewer than
10% of urban dwellers live in mega-cities (defined
by UN-HABITAT as a city with a population of more
than 10 million).1 In many places, however, cities
will merge together to create urban settlements
on a scale never seen before. These new configurations will take the form of mega-regions, urban
corridors and city-regions, creating a new urban
hierarchy and landscape.
Today, mega-regions are amassing larger
populations than mega-cities. Mega-regions are
natural economic units that result from the
growth, convergence and spatial spread of
geographically linked metropolitan areas and
other agglomerations.7 They are growing considerably faster than the overall population of the
countries in which they are located.8 The population of China’s Hong Kong-Shenzhen-Guangzhou
mega-region, for example, comprises approximately
CHAPT E R 1 . T HE RISE OF MODE RN CIT IE S
HIDDEN CIT IE S: UNMASKING AND OVE RCOMING HE ALTH INE QUIT IES IN URBAN SE T T INGS
120 million people, and it is estimated that
Japan’s Tokyo-Nagoya-Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe mega-region
will have a population of 60 million by 2015.1,9
In urban corridors, city centres of different sizes
are connecting along transport routes. In Africa,
the Greater Ibadan-Lagos-Accra urban corridor,
spanning roughly 600 kilometres across four
countries, is the engine of the regional economy
in West Africa.10 The corridor developing between
Mumbai and Delhi in India will stretch about
1500 kilometres from Jawaharlal Nehru Port in
Navi Mumbai to Dadri and Tughlakabad in Delhi.1,11
Urban corridors are changing the functionality of
large and small cities, and even towns, increasing
the growth of trade, real estate development and
land value along their ribbon-like development areas.
At still another level, city-regions are developing
as the result of large cities extending beyond
their administrative boundaries to engulf smaller
cities and towns, absorbing semi-urban and rural
surrounding areas, and in some cases merging with
other intermediate cities. Many city-regions have
grown enormously over the last 20 to 30 years.
The extended Bangkok Region in Thailand, for
example, is expected to expand another 200 kilometres from its current centre by 2020, growing far
beyond its current population of more than 17
million. In Brazil, Metropolitan São Paulo already
covers 8000 square kilometres, with a population
of 16.4 million.6 The extent of South Africa’s Cape
Town city-region, when including the distances
from which commuters travel to and from the city
every day, reaches up to 100 kilometres.12
Suburbanization, or urban sprawl, is also becoming
prevalent around the world. Its hallmark characteristics include a population that is widely dispersed
in low-density development; separated residential
and commercial areas; a network of roads marked
by long blocks and poor access; and a lack of
well-defined, thriving activity centres, such as
downtown areas. Other features usually associated
with sprawl include overdependence on motorized
transport coupled with a lack of transport alternatives, and pedestrian-unfriendly spaces. In most
cases, sprawl leads to increased public infrastructure costs. Sprawling metropolitan areas consume
much more energy than compact cities and require
a greater output of materials such as metal,
concrete and asphalt because homes, offices and
utilities are farther apart.13
URBAN GROWTH IS NOT UNIFORM
Urbanization trends vary across different parts of
the world. Some cities and regions are experiencing rapid growth, whereas other cities and
regions are in population decline. Currently, Africa
and Asia are the least urbanized regions, with 40%
and 42% of their populations, respectively, living
in urban areas. Yet by 2050, their urban populations will increase to 62% in Africa and 65% in
Asia.5 Meanwhile, in Europe more than half of all
cities are expected to experience population
declines over the next 20 years.
Almost all urban population growth in the next 30
years will occur in cities of developing countries.
Between 1995 and 2005, the urban population of
developing countries grew by an average of 1.2
million people per week, or around 165 000 people
every day.14 By the middle of the 21st century, it
is estimated that the urban population of these
countries will more than double, increasing from
2.5 billion in 2009 to almost 5.2 billion in 2050.5
Nonetheless, on average the rate of urban population growth is slowing in developing countries,
from an annual rate of roughly 4% from 1950 to
1975, to a projected 1.55% per year from 2025
to 2050.5
In contrast, the total urban population in the
developed world is expected to remain largely
unchanged over the next two decades, increasing
from 920 million people in 2009 to slightly more
than 1 billion by 2025.5 Immigration – both
legal and illegal – will account for more than two
thirds of urban growth in high-income countries.
Without immigration, the urban population in
these countries would probably decline or remain
the same in the coming decades.
Urban growth in developing countries is far from
uniform, and this dissimilarity will only increase in
the future. While high growth rates are expected in
CHAPTER 1 . THE RISE OF MODERN CITIE S
HIDDE N CITIES: UNMASKING AND OVERCOMING HEALT H INE QUIT IES IN URBAN SE T T INGS
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around half of urban areas in the next 20 years,
another 16% will experience slow growth rates,
and 11% will see their populations regress – and,
very likely, their economies as well.15
Cities such as Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Tijuana,
Mexico; Marrakesh, Morocco; and Lagos, Nigeria,
are expected to continue to grow at annual rates of
around 4%, effectively doubling their populations
within the next 17 years. Some cities in China,
such as Shenzhen and Xiamen, will experience
annual growth rates of more than 10%, doubling
their populations roughly every seven years.15
Meanwhile, other cities in developing countries
are expected to experience population declines.
These include La Paz, Plurinational State of
Bolivia; Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Dengzhou, China;
Madurai, India; Bandung; Indonesia; San Luis
Potosi, Mexico; Rabat, Morocco; and Manila,
Philippines. In these cities, departing residents
will leave behind unoccupied houses, vacant
commercial sites, idle infrastructure and neighbourhoods in physical decay.16,17
City and regional planning will require new
methods and techniques that respond to urban
development, expansion and growth management,
but also to population decline or outmigration.
Smart planning for growth needs to be combined
with smart planning for contraction for more
sustainable and balanced urban and regional
development.
The benefits
of urbanization
For both rich and poor, in developed and developing
countries, cities offer unique opportunities for
residents to increase income, to mobilize for
political action, and to benefit from education as
well as health and social services. The density of
urban settings lends itself to more efficient and
environmentally sensitive housing, transport
systems and other physical infrastructure.
Urbanization is also linked to economic development. Most urbanized countries have higher
6
incomes, more stable economies and stronger
institutions, and are better equipped to withstand
the shocks and volatility of the global economy.
Conversely, most countries with a high per capita
income are among the most urbanized, whereas
most countries with a low per capita income are
among the least urbanized. In both developed and
developing countries, cities generate significant
portions of gross domestic product and national
wealth, and create development opportunities,
jobs and investment. In the coming years, cities
are likely to have even stronger roles as engines of
growth and key factors of national development –
particularly those cities that become parts of
urban agglomerations such as mega-regions and
urban corridors. In the future, regional and urban
development will be linked more strongly, in such
a way that successful cities will be located in
successful regions.
Urbanization is not only a positive force for
economic development, but also one that can
confer desirable social and health outcomes. Urban
populations are generally better off than their
rural counterparts: they tend to have greater
access to social and health services, literacy rates
are higher and life expectancy is longer.18
Numerous cities around the world have capitalized
on the opportunities presented by urbanization to
create healthier environments. Healthy Cities
networks are being established in all World Health
Organization (WHO) regions. Initiated by the WHO
Regional Office for Europe in 1986, the networks
now include thousands of cities, towns and regions
in dozens of countries around the world.19 Some
networks are country specific, whereas others are
regional. Typically, each network develops its own
approach based on local needs and concerns
(Box 1.1), but all have a common root in the
concept of the city as a key setting for health
promotion; a place where environments support
health; where municipal, regional, provincial and
national governments develop and implement
policies that are good for health; and where
citizens are engaged in the process of creating
healthier neighbourhoods and cities by increasing
control over their health and its determinants.
CHAPT E R 1 . T HE RISE OF MODE RN CIT IE S
HIDDEN CIT IE S: UNMASKING AND OVE RCOMING HE ALTH INE QUIT IES IN URBAN SE T T INGS
BOX 1.1
HEALTHY CITIES AROUND
THE WORLD (BY WHO REGION)
HEALTHY CITIES IN AFRICA. Introduced
in 1999, Healthy Cities is still relatively young in the African Region.
Although its activities have been
limited to isolated projects, results
are encouraging for the future
development of the programme.
Many Healthy Cities projects in
Africa aim to improve the living
conditions and health of the urban
poor. Projects typically address
pressing community issues such as
access to water and sanitation.
HEALTHY CITIES IN THE EASTERN
MEDITERRANEAN. In the Eastern
Mediterranean Region, Healthy Cities
projects are being implemented in
Bahrain, Islamic Republic of Iran,
Iraq, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia,
Somalia, Sudan and Tunisia, covering
a population of nearly 13 million
people. Many Healthy Cities projects
in the region have been focused on
improving city dwellers’ diets, which
would then help reduce diabetes,
hypertension and other diet-related
conditions such as heart disease
and cancer.
HEALTHY CITIES IN EUROPE. The
European Healthy Cities Network
includes more than 1300 cities
across the region, all of which are
committed to health and sustainable
development. They are designated
to the WHO European Healthy Cities
Network on the basis of criteria
that are renewed every five years.
Each five-year phase focuses on a
number of core priority themes and
is launched with a political declaration and a set of strategic goals.
The overarching goal of Phase V
(2009–2013) is health and health
equity in all local policies.
HEALTHY CITIES IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA.
The WHO Healthy Cities Programme
was launched in the South-East Asia
Region in 1994. By 2003, 40 cities
from the region were participating
in the initiative. Healthy Cities has
now been expanded to Healthy
The challenges of rapid,
unplanned growth
Despite their opportunities and benefits, many
cities have generated inequalities, various forms of
exclusion and marginalization, and serious environmental problems.
Rapid population growth can strain municipal
capacity to regulate air and water quality, provide
Settings; action in all contexts is
guided by an appreciation for the
complex connections between human
settings and health.
HEALTHY CITIES IN THE WESTERN
PACIFIC. Healthy Cities was adopted
in the Western Pacific Region in
1992. Currently, some 170 cities in
the region are implementing Healthy
City projects. Of these, WHO has
supported the development of 18
projects in Cambodia, China, the
Lao People’s Democratic Republic,
Malaysia, Mongolia, the Republic of
Korea, the Philippines and Viet Nam.
The Alliance for Healthy Cities was
founded in 2003, and is a group
of cities and other organizations
committed to the Healthy Cities
approach. The network started
with 25 cities, and had grown to
120 cities and organizations from
10 countries by December 2008.
Kursad Keteci/SXC.hu
HEALTHY CITIES IN THE AMERICAS.
For more than 20 years, the Healthy
Municipality Initiative has been
promoted by WHO in Latin America.
The movement arose from the need
to effectively address the economic,
social and political determinants of
health. Regional networking activities and sharing of knowledge and
experiences between municipalities
and countries has been a key aspect
in the success of the movement.
sanitation, ensure food availability, protect food
safety and safeguard the quality of health care
provided by both the public and private sectors.
Unhealthy housing, problems with food and water
safety, congested traffic, air pollution and crime
are common consequences.
Often, growth occurs so quickly that municipal
planners do not know how many people are
residing in their cities, where they are living or
what kind of support they require. This lack of
CHAPTER 1 . THE RISE OF MODERN CITIE S
HIDDE N CITIES: UNMASKING AND OVERCOMING HEALT H INE QUIT IES IN URBAN SE T T INGS
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Kingdom and the United States.20 In many lowand middle-income countries, the urban poor are
most visible in large-scale slums.
Today, an estimated 828 million people live in
slum conditions, representing around one third of
the world’s urban population. The vast majority
of slums – more than 90% – are located in cities
of developing countries. It is often the fastestgrowing cities that have the highest concentrations of these informal settlements.14
BOX 1.2
SPOTLIGHT ON
NAIROBI’S SLUMS
According to Jhpiego, a nongovernmental organization working in the area, health is jeopardized in
Nairobi’s urban slums due to the following factors:
INADEQUATE HEALTH SERVICES AND POOR ACCESS
TO HEALTH SERVICES. Health-care services are
generally unavailable to urban slum dwellers.
Qualified private facilities are too expensive, unlicensed providers can be dangerous, and government
facilities are in general disrepair and are feared by
community members due to rumours about their
services. Additionally, Nairobi’s urban poor often
have a limited understanding of health issues and
do not know where to access health-care services.
Manoocher Deghati/IRIN
UNHEALTHY LIFESTYLES AND UNSTABLE SOCIAL
STRUCTURES. Reduced access to safe food and water,
poor sanitation, a breakdown of traditional family
structures, and high unemployment rates affect slum
dwellers’ health. The urban cash economy forces
slum dwellers to choose to spend scarce money
either on health care or on other basic needs.
INSECURITY AND NEGLECT. Slum dwellers live in
overcrowded, poorly constructed housing, often
with insecure land possession. High crime coupled
with disrespect by local authorities result in disenfranchised populations that distrust formalized
services of any kind, including health services.
basic information creates situations in which public
resources fail to reach those who are most in need.
Rapid, unplanned urbanization also contributes
to urban poverty, which is becoming a severe,
pervasive and largely unacknowledged feature
of urban life. Poverty can be found in all parts of
the world, including cities in Sweden, the United
8
Slum dwellers often experience difficult social and
economic conditions that manifest different forms
of deprivation – material, physical, social and
political (see Box 1.2 for a description of slums in
Nairobi, Kenya).21 They live in overcrowded, poorly
constructed housing, often with insecure land
possession. Reduced access to safe food and water,
poor sanitation, a breakdown of traditional family
structures, high crime and high unemployment
rates affect slum dwellers’ health. Slums are home
to a wide array of infectious diseases (including
tuberculosis, hepatitis, dengue fever, pneumonia,
cholera and malaria), which spread easily in highly
concentrated populations. Despite the tremendous
need, health-care services are generally difficult to
access in these areas.
Slums are no longer just marginalized neighbourhoods housing a relatively small proportion of the
urban population. In many cities, they are the
dominant type of human settlement (Figure 1.1),
carving their way into the fabric of modern-day
cities, and making their mark as a distinct category
of human settlement that now characterizes so
many cities in the developing world.
Cities, especially those in wealthier areas, have
been significant contributors to climate change.
Collectively, cities account for 75% of global energy
consumption and a similar proportion of all waste.
According to latest estimates, urban areas contribute
directly to more than 60% of greenhouse gas
emissions.22 It is no coincidence, therefore, that
climate change has emerged at the forefront of
international debate at precisely the same time
that the planet has become predominantly urban.
Ironically, cities will also be among the areas most
affected by climate change. If sea levels rise by
just 1 metre, many major coastal cities will be
under threat, including Buenos Aires, Argentina;
CHAPT E R 1 . T HE RISE OF MODE RN CIT IE S
HIDDEN CIT IE S: UNMASKING AND OVE RCOMING HE ALTH INE QUIT IES IN URBAN SE T T INGS
FIGURE 1.1
WHERE DO CITY DWELLERS
LIVE IN SLUMS?
Latin America
and the Caribbean
Oceania
Western Asia
Eastern Asia
South-Eastern Asia
Southern Asia
Sub-Saharan Africa
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
Percentage of urban population living in slums (2010)
WHO/Anna Kari
Source: State of the world’s cities 2010/2011 – cities for all: bridging the urban divide. United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT)/
Earthscan, 2010 (http://www.unhabitat.org/pmss/listItemDetails.aspx?publicationID=2917).
BOX 1.3
SPOTLIGHT ON CITIES
VULNERABLE TO SEA LEVEL RISE
Cities at risk from sea level rise include:
COTONOU, BENIN. Benin’s largest urban
centre, with around 700 000 residents,
is in danger from sea level rise and
storm surges. Most of Cotonou’s
population live in slums, making
them especially vulnerable to these
changes. Beaches, roads and buildings
have already been destroyed.24
ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT. Along Egypt’s
Mediterranean coast, a sea level rise
of 50 centimetres would force more
than 2 million people to abandon
their homes. World-famous historical, cultural and archaeological sites
would also be lost.25
DHAKA, BANGLADESH. Dhaka, the
capital of Bangladesh, is home to
more than 13 million people. Like
other parts of the country, Dhaka is
highly vulnerable to flooding because
of its situation among river basins.
Its most urbanized areas are only 6
to 8 metres above sea level. With a
long history of catastrophic floods, it
is projected that the city will experience flooding more frequently due to
the melting of glaciers and snow in
the Himalayas, and increasing and
more concentrated rainfall associated with climate change. Waterlogging and drainage congestion will
add to the gravity of the situation,
affecting infrastructure, the economy
and public health. National and local
authorities have undertaken
measures to manage floods and
address drainage congestion, while
improving environmental quality and
reducing greenhouse gas emissions.26
CHAPTER 1 . THE RISE OF MODERN CITIE S
HIDDE N CITIES: UNMASKING AND OVERCOMING HEALT H INE QUIT IES IN URBAN SE T T INGS
VENICE, ITALY. Now less than
1 metre above the level of the
Adriatic Sea, Venice is threatened
by land subsidence and sea level rise
due to climate change. Both factors
have contributed to a total relative
sea level rise of about 25 centimetres
in the 20th century (13 centimetres
due to subsidence and 12 centimetres
due to sea level rise). Severe damage
to its urban heritage has occurred
as a result. Mobile barriers installed
to curtail flooding are considered
by experts to be inadequate to
safeguard the city in the wake of
further, forthcoming climate-induced
sea level rise.27
9
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Shanghai, China; Cairo,
Egypt; Osaka-Kobe and Tokyo, Japan; Lagos,
Nigeria; and Los Angeles and New York City,
United States.23 Box 1.3 contains information
about other cities vulnerable to sea level rise.
The urban poor – and chief among them, the
nearly 900 million slum dwellers – will probably be
the most affected by climate change. They live in
vulnerable locations – along beaches prone to
flooding or on slopes prone to landslides. The
buildings in which they live are often of poor
quality and would not withstand major weather
events such as hurricanes.
At the same time, cities have the potential to
play significant roles in reducing greenhouse gas
emissions and mitigating climate change. Urban
centres can be more energy efficient than rural
areas if their population density is capitalized
upon to create energy-efficient housing, transport
systems and other physical infrastructure. Additional information on climate change and its
relationship to urban health is contained in
Annex C to this report.
Cities of the future
What lies ahead for our urban world, and for the
cities that comprise it?
Looking to past trends is a useful way of imaging
the future, but unforeseen events are inevitable
and will certainly shape the future of cities in
ways that cannot be predicted fully. Cities will
differ from one another based on several factors.
Their access to information, technology and the
global marketplace will shape them, as will the
ways in which they are governed. Migration will
continue to influence the size and nature of their
populations. Climate change impacts and new
disease pandemics could trigger mass migration at
an unprecedented scale, altering demographics
within countries and cities, changing borders or
generating conflicts.
Cities without adequate planning or proper governance will find it increasingly difficult to provide
affordable land, decent housing, adequate transportation and public services. As a consequence,
their political legitimacy will, sooner or later,
begin to erode. Nongovernmental organizations or
the private sector may attempt to fulfil roles
previously held by local authorities, and fragmentation will ensue. In this scenario, slum dwellers
and the urban poor will continue to be overlooked,
and disparities within cities will continue to grow.
At the same time, cities present substantial opportunities for the future. The most prosperous cities
will be those that design sustained, comprehensive
visions, and create new institutions, or strengthen
existing ones, to implement this vision. This will
bring them to look for new methods of close cooperation with regional and central governments and
other actors such as the private sector, all the
while ensuring an equitable distribution of opportunities and sustainable development.28
CHAPTER SUMMARY
This chapter has outlined trends and projections related to urbanization. It has revealed that virtually
all global population growth over the next 30 years will be in urban areas; by 2050, 7 out of 10 people
will be living in cities. n Urbanization is not inherently positive or negative. Historically, it has
produced both desirable and adverse outcomes: while urbanization has been a positive force for
countries’ economic development, large inequalities have emerged between city dwellers, and urban
slums have become a feature of many cities. Urbanization has also contributed significantly to global
greenhouse gas emissions, although this need not be the case if cities commit themselves to sustainable development. n As the next chapter shows, the underlying drivers of urban health can be traced
back to common determinants.
10
CHAPT E R 1 . T HE RISE OF MODE RN CIT IE S
HIDDEN CIT IE S: UNMASKING AND OVE RCOMING HE ALTH INE QUIT IES IN URBAN SE T T INGS
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