Giving Compass' Take:

• In this story from Urban Institute, author Matthew Eldridge discusses the benefits and consequences of rapid urban growth in developing countries. He highlights a few considerations that stakeholders must be mindful of in order to promote the positive effects and limit the negative ones, such as the differences between enhancing current urban centers and establishing new ones.

• Is there a correct way to approach urban growth? What factors could lead different countries to benefit from different strategies? What data would make it easier to answer these questions?

• To learn about why philanthropy is not investing in the urban slums of India, click here.

The United Nations projects that by 2050, urban areas will swell in size by 2.5 billion people, with 90 percent of that growth occurring in Asia and Africa.

Urbanization presents significant development benefits—boosting innovation, human capital accumulation, and access to opportunities—but it also strains existing physical infrastructure, social services, and public health systems.

To manage the challenges and maximize the benefits of rapid growth, national and municipal governments, civil society, and development partners (among others) must weigh interrelated financial, political, cultural, economic, and technical considerations. For many, the big question is whether cities should build anew in urban peripheries or retrofit and reinvest in urban cores.

Should cities fix what they already have or start fresh?

Of course, the solution isn’t necessarily binary—cities can do both—but the priorities chosen and the strategies pursued can have far-reaching consequences for access to opportunities, rate and composition of economic growth, strength of social development, and sustainability of land use.

In recent decades, countries like Egypt, India, and China have built or planned new cities outside the congested cores of fast-growing metropolitan areas to better accommodate and channel growth. These new cities often boast modern infrastructure and aspirational themes and are tangible representations of a city’s, government’s, or culture’s vision for the future, and they are inherently wrapped up in the dynamics of the local and national political economy.

Read the full article about urban development by Matthew Eldridge at Urban Institute