Headline August 15, 2016/ ''' * CITIES * -COME- CUDDLES ''''

''' * CITIES * -COME- CUDDLES ''''

EVERY SINGLE YEAR  -the world's urban population, swells by about 75 million people. Yes!    75 million people.

That extraordinary growth   -equivalent to adding  eight Londons     -is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Cities throw people together, encouraging the exchange of ideas.

The people who move there tend to grow richer, freer and more tolerant. What is rather less wonderful is the way in which many of the fastest growing cities are spreading.

The trouble is not, as is often claimed, that cities in poor and middle income countries, are spreading like oil slicks. Most of them need to expand. Western cities can often accommodate their growing population, by squeezing more people in.

But many poor cities are incredibly dense already, Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is nine times as tightly packed as Paris, if you include their suburbs. 

And no Western city has ever added in habitants as quickly as the poor and emerging world champions are doing,

African and Asian metropolises are bound to sprawl even if sensible pro-density reforms are passed, such as scrapping height restrictions on buildings.

The real problem is that these metropolises are spreading in the wrong way. Frequently, small housing developments or even individual houses are plonked down wherever a builder can strike a deal with the farmer and the owner.

In the huge jumbled districts that result, far too little space is set aside for roads. Manhattan is 36%  road   [Overall almost half that capitalist temple is public space}. In some unplanned African suburbs as little as 5% of the land is road. 

Even middle class districts often lack sewers and mains water. As for amenities like public parks forget it.

Suburbs can eventually be retrofitted with roads and sewers. But they will be horrifically complicated and expensive   -too much so for poor countries. It would be vastly cheaper and better to do sprawl properly from the start.

Student Sholomo Angel of New York University  has studied several African cities in detail : Accra, Addis Ababa, Arusha, Ibadan, Johannesburg, Lagos and Luanda.

He calculates that only  16%  of the land in new residential areas developed since 1990 has been set aside for roads  -about half as much as planners think ideal. And  44%  of those roads are less than four metres wide.

''First the people come, and then the development comes,'' explains one resident of Mikwambe, a teacher in a  Maddrassa. To an extent this is true.

As the suburbs of Dar es Salaam  fill up, their residents will gain, officials ears. But retrofitting chaotic districts with roads and sewers, will slow, hard and pricey; some houses must be knocked down and their owners compensated.

Dar es Saalam's new suburbanites are less secure, and less free, than they believe.

Almost  10,000  km away, in the Chinese province of Zhejiang, another city is spreading. Working the till at the petrol station not far from where she grew up, Chen Xiaomei, remembers how two decades ago, most of Xiaoshan was farmland inhabited by peasants-  who traveled to city of Hangzhou, about 20 km away.

Now Xiaoshan is a sprawling suburb which grew from 1.72 million people in 2005 to 2.35 million people last year. 

It looks nothing like Mikwambe, nor does it remotely resemble a European or  American suburb.

The Honour and Serving of the latest  ''Operational Research on Life and Living' continues. Thank Ya all for reading and sharing forward. And see you on the following one:

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society and !E-WOW!  -the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Shifting Sands ''' 

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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