chapter  2
17 Pages

Sustainable flows between Kolkata and its peri-urban interface: Challenges and opportunities

ByJenia Mukherjee

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That over half of humanity now lives in towns and cities is the most complex socio-economic phenomenon of the twenty-first century. In slightly over two decades, from 2010 to 2030, another 1.5 billion people will be added to the population of cities; by 2030 that fraction will be increased to 60 per cent.1 Although urbanization has occurred since ancient times in human history, the most important ways in which the urbanization processes today are different from urban transformations of the past include the scale, the rate, and the shifting geography of urbanization (Seto et al. 2013: 4). Urban growth in the coming decades will take place primarily in Asia (China and India in particular) and Africa (especially Nigeria). The developing world has already entered into the high-growth, rapidtransition phase of the urbanization process, marked by numerous problems and challenges including the swelling of slums and squatter settlements; lack of citywide infrastructures for services such as housing, health and sanitation; privatization and commercialization of infrastructures; city development plans based on the logic of foreign capital; the widening gap between the rich and the poor; and the changing nature of the rural-urban divide.