Urbanization, Poverty Reduction, and Ecosystem Integrity

  • Peter MarcotullioEmail author
  • Sandra Baptista
  • Alex de Sherbinin


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.


Ecosystem Service Urban Heat Island Urban Growth Urban Resident Poverty Reduction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio, Gordon McGranahan, George Martine, and Robert McDonald for both discussion of the issues and constructive comments on a previous draft. Cristina also provided inspiration and encouragement. Gordon allowed access to an early draft of an article that addressed some of these issues. Mistakes and misinterpretations of the literature remain the responsibility of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Marcotullio
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sandra Baptista
    • 2
  • Alex de Sherbinin
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Geography, Hunter CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN)The Earth Institute at Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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