Future Challenges of Cities in Asia: An introduction

Gregory Bracken, Paul Rabé, R. Parthasarathy, Neha Sami, Bing Zhang | 2020


In his book Planet of Slums, Mike Davis forecasts a bleak, almost apocalyptic urban future – one where there is widespread inequality and deprivation, where a majority of the urban population lives in squalor with inadequate access to basic services and with precarious employment. Although this future has not yet come to pass, there are large sections of urban populations that are increasingly vulnerable due to growing inequality, poverty, and environmental risk. However, urban regions also offer opportunities to tackle these challenges. Cities have been called “engines of economic growth,” with the ability to foster equitable development, raise the standard of living and provide economic opportunities to a wider population (Anand et al. 2014; Glaeser 2011; Sankhe et al. 2010). Cities are also extremely vulnerable to disasters and where the impacts of climate change will be felt most acutely, but they are also where some of the greatest opportunities to address these environmental challenges are emerging (Revi and Rosenzweig 2013; Revi 2009; Stone 2012).