The 21st Century: Asia Becomes Urban

By Rakesh Mohan and Shubhagato Dasgupta
Economic & Political Weekly, 15 January 2005

It is expected that in the coming years, most Asian countries will undergo a similar fast-paced urbanisation that Latin America experienced in the last half century. Despite the ills that have accompanied this process of urbanisation, the world, as this article argues, appears to have coped relatively well with the large-scale increase in urban population of recent years; it is equally possible for urbanising economies in Asia to replicate the experience of developed economies. For this to happen, it is essential that all aspects of city management, including the fostering of a professionalised workforce, are strengthened. This, in turn, would increase the creditworthiness of city governments and help attract the investment necessary for vital urban infrastructure projects. In an increasingly interconnected world, decentralised governance would ideally assist the practice of prudent macroeconomic and trade policies essential for ensuring a continuous access to international capital markets.