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The mega-city in Latin America

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The mega-city in Latin America


Latin America, Amérique latine, mégapole, démographie, transport, croissance urbaine, gouvernance, logement, foncier, Buenos Aires, Lima, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Santa Fé de Bogotá, Bogotá, Gilbert Alan


Abstract from the publisher :
By the year 2000, Latin America will contain five metropolitan areas with more than 8 million people. Their combined population will be over 70 million, and approximately one Latin American in seven will live in those five cities. Two of them, Mexico City and Sao Paulo, will arguably be the world's two largest cities.

The sheer number of people living in Latin America's mega-cities is not the only reason for looking at them carefully. Unfortunately, they also demonstrate many of the worst systems of the region's underdevelopment: vast areas of shanty towns, huge numbers of poor people, high concentrations of air and water pollution, and serious levels of traffic congestion. This book is about the prospects for their future.

Several clear conclusions emerge from the book. First, the largest cities of Latin America differ greatly in terms of their future prospects. It is far easier to be optimistic in Buenos Aires than in Lima. Second, whether urban problems improve or deteriorate has rather little to do with size of city and a great deal to do with trends in the wider economy and society. Increasingly, those trends are determined not just by local decisions but by decisions made outside the region. Third, Latin America's mega-cities are not going to grow to unmanageable proportions because their growth rates have generally slowed. Fourth, management is a critical issue for the future but it is difficult to know whether the quality of management will improve or deteriorate through time.

The book contains chapters on each of Latin America's six largest cities (Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Lima, and Santa fe de Bogota). The book also has four thematic chapters. The first discusses the demography of urban growth in the region and the other three focus on what are particularly sensitive issues in very large cities: public administration, transportation, and land, housing, and infrastructure.
Contents :
1. The Latin American mega-city: An introduction
2 Demographic trends in Latin America's metropolises, 1950-1990
3. Contemporary issues in the government and administration of Latin American mega-cities
4. Land, housing, and infrastructure in Latin America's major cities
5. A hundred million journeys a day: The management of transport in Latin America's mega-cities
6. Buenos Aires: A case of deepening social polarization
7. Lima: mega-city and mega-problem
8. Mexico City: No longer a leviathan?
9. Rio de Janeiro: Urban expansion and structural change
10. São Paulo: A growth process full of contradictions
11. Santa Fé de Bogotá: A Latin American special case?   Alan Gilbert is a Professor in the Department of Geography at University College London.  




United Nations University Press