Cities are both relevant as geopolitical actors (i.e. authorities) and as spaces where actors operate (e.g. companies and NGOs). It is often claimed that urbanization has the potential to improve the lives of the people who move from rural to urban areas. However, this trend has another consequence as well. The new United Nations report “World Urbanization Prospects” notes that
“despite the comparative advantage of cities, urban areas are more unequal than rural areas and hundreds of millions of the world’s urban poor live in sub-standard conditions.”
This is just one example of the many insights into the political and economic aspects of cities that the “World Urbanization Prospects” report offers. This particular observation highlights that many changes that seem only positive at first, have their negative side-effects. In any geopolitical analysis, it is good to be aware of the complexity of the central theme, the examined area and the actors involved. Context matters!
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