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Urban anthropologist: "Recognize that people want to come to the big cities"

2007-11-18

More and more people live in mega cities. Rather than fixating on investing in the countryside, donor agencies need to recognize that people want to come to the big cities. And rather than demolishing squatter developments one should integrate these self-made communities into the surrounding neighborhoods, anthropologist Janice Perlman said in a lecture according to Multi Housing News.

The cities whose populations are expected to increase the most Mumbai, Lagos and Mexico City etc) are according to the anthropologist also the least equipped to handle the massive influx of people. The world’s slums will likely become even more massive in scale, and this, in turn, will hinder the ability of many cities to be truly sustainable. However, according to Perlman, there are steps that can be taken now to avoid an ecological disaster.

The anthropologist is the founder and executive director of the Mega-Cities Project, a transnational nonprofit network that strives to aid urban dwellers around the world. It concentrates its efforts to make cities more socially just, ecologically sustainable, politically participatory and economically productive.
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