Date: 02 Aug 2011

Urbanization, Poverty Reduction, and Ecosystem Integrity

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Abstract

Cities and the urbanization process are often portrayed as environmental villains (Odum 1991; Srinivas 2000; White 1983; Brown and Jacobson 1987; Marshall 2005; Wackernagel and Rees 1996). For example, analysts focused on the “green agenda” of biodiversity conservation often suggest that urbanization is a major driver of environmental harm (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005; York et al. 2003). Cities have been depicted as dystopias of poverty, chaos, and confusion (Linden 1996). By some estimates, almost one billion urban dwellers are living in poverty in today’s cities (Satterthwaite 2007), and the numbers are predicted to continue growing (Davis 2007; UNFPA 2007). Hence, when it comes to both environmental harm and poverty, the reputation of cities and the urbanization process itself are considered as suspect at best.