More than half of the world’s population lives now in cities, and projections show that this number is drastically growing. But this development has very different expressions across regions depending on several factors such as the proliferation of economic activities in cities. Citizens oftentimes move to bigger agglomeration in the run for a better quality of life and for employment. Cities have the capacity to attract industrial activities, investments and other economic opportunities, leaving peripheral and rural areas behind and creating even more inequality of opportunities. But even more worrying are the intra-urban inequalities which can be even starker than the rural-urban divide: slums, where people lack even basic amenities, exist in close proximity to luxury developments.
One of the major challenges facing policymakers in today’s developing countries is managing the rural-urban transition in a way that preserves growth and promotes equity. This means taking account of transport infrastructure, access to markets, urban development and capacity building. In this context, can territorial development policies reduce poverty and social exclusion caused by galloping urbanisation?