ABSTRACT

Today more than half the world's population lives in urban centres (UNFPA, 2007). In the 1950s this was still 30 per cent and in 1975 just over 37 per cent (UN-HABITAT, 2009). Now, 52 per cent of the world's urban population resides in cities and towns of less than 500,000 (UN-HABITAT, 2009:11). Urbanization includes the growth of upmarket suburban areas alongside an increase of overcrowded tenement zones, ethnic enclaves, informal settlements and slums. Urban sprawl, socio-spatial challenges, lack of sustainable energy sources, insufficient serviced land, inadequate basic services infrastructure and unplanned peri-urban development are some of the consequences of this rapid growth. For countries of the south, how to manage urbanization continues to be an ongoing challenge.