27 April 2011|
Urbanisation is not new to the Mekong Region. The region’s long history of urban development dates back at least as far as Cambodia’s Angkor civilization in Cambodia and Burma’s Pagan civilization. Many of the modern day cities have historical roots; Hanoi, for example, in 2010, celebrates its one thousandth year anniversary. The characters of the region’s modern-day cities and towns are as diverse as the countries within which they are located. Yet, they all share one thing in common. They are growing. In the Mekong Region, more people still live in rural areas than in urban areas, although this is anticipated to change by around 2050. Urbanization in most Mekong countries is characterized by the primacy of major cities over secondary cities. If well managed, cities as centers of economic growth and production, innovation, education and employment, can offer opportunity for economic and social development and cultural enrichment. Furthermore, high densities of population are easier (in principle) to benefit from economies of scale in providing services, such as piped water, roads, electricity, and public transport. Yet, for many people, the excitement and luxury of city life is just a mirage, and life is difficult and insecure, and new forms of poverty are emerging. Indeed the locus of global poverty is increasingly moving to the city, raising new challenges.
Growing cities are complex and the increasingly sophisticated forms of management that are required are a formidable challenge. Poorly planned urbanization can result in congestion, overcrowding, sickness, unemployment, violation of individual rights and an absence of basic services, such as education, health care, water, electricity, and waste disposal. Cities are also vortex for resource consumption and waste production. The life of the urban areas is intimately linked to their surrounding hinterland, which for some large Mekong Region cities now stretches regionally and globally. The growth of cities, which continues largely unabated in the Mekong Region, without careful consideration of their environmental impacts is certain to undermine sustainable development, and impact both present and future generations.
Source: Middleton C, Krawanchid D, Johnshon S (2010), The implications of urbanization for attaining sustainable development, Sumernet Think Piece (Draft)
Specific Research Topic:
some questions raised concern of Mekong country researchers in the research partner discussion in December 2010. The research area are:
1. Issues of urbanization and ecosystem of the city
- Human and natural system
2. How is urbanization affecting regional sustainability?
- Issues of consumption: energy drawing, forest goods consumptions
- Pollution creation
- Food drawing
- Consuming labor