chapter  3
36 Pages

Urbanism and economic development

Understanding the process of economic development remains a central theme in the field of development studies and is a core concern for policy makers and development professionals. Improvements in material well-being enhance freedom by giving people greater choice over what they do, where they go and what they consume. More wealthy societies also have greater resources at their disposal to finance public goods such as education and healthcare, or to effectively manage shocks such as natural disasters. Although there are many scholars and professionals who feel that the international development agenda often places too much emphasis on economic growth, few would argue with Thomas’ assertion that ‘there are no examples of large-scale improvements in living standards without industrialisation and the huge dislocations it brings’ (Thomas 2000a: 21).