Urban Geography, Economics of Agglomeration

Economists have emphasized the importance of geography in growth and competitiveness, yet rarely has there been literature that identifies the cause of growth in some cities but not in others. Why was the city of Bangalore more attractive for industries than Karachi? What are the defining characteristics of successful cities? This book seeks to answer these questions through multiple consultations with leading experts and in-depth research on urban centers.

Economics of Agglomeration

How can public policy help manage risks from natural hazards in urban areas? The focus of this paper is on ex-ante preventive measures. 

Urban Geography

Although only a small percentage of global land cover, urban areas significantly alter climate, biogeochemistry, and hydrology at local, regional, and global scales. To understand the impact of urban areas on these processes, high quality, regularly updated information on the urban environment—including maps that monitor location and extent—is essential. 

Urban Geography, Urban Anthropology

This paper aims to make transparent one economist’s views on density. I start by clarifying different definitions and their relationship to one another – which helps to explain why people have such very different ways of thinking about density. 


This document has been extracted from Population Dynamics and Climate Change:

Dodman, D. 2009. “Urban Form, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Vulnerability.” Pp 64‐79 in: Population Dynamics and Climate Change, edited by J.M.Guzmán, G. Martine, G. McGranahan, D. Schensul and C. Tacoli. New York: UNFPA; London: IIED. The contents of the full book can be found here:

Urban Geography, Sustainability

Land development is an important component in sustainable development because it is where our food and raw materials come from and it is also the habitat for wildlife and fauna. 

Urban Geography

We created a new data set comprising the universe of all 3,649 named metropolitan agglomerations and cities that had populations in excess of 100,000 in the year 2000, their populations in that year, and their built-up area identified in the MOD500 map, currently the best satellite-based global map of urban land cover. 

Urban Geography


Cities the world over are highly fragmented. The fragmentation of the built-up area cities by the open spaces interpenetrating them is a key attribute of urban-sprawl, and sprawl as fragmentation, as distinct from sprawl as lower-density development, is now a universal feature of cities. Using satellite images and census data for 1990 and 2000 for a global sample of 120 cities, we find that cities typically contain or disturb vast quantities of open spaces, equal in area, on average, to their built-up areas. 

The objectives of the research as stipulated in the Terms of Reference (ToR) state that the current trend in Asian cities is to:

• Demolish low income informal settlements and place their residents in six to eight storey apartments. The reason given for this is that higher densities are achieved as a result of which cost of the housing unit is reduced. Also, land nearer to the city, which is costly, can be used for low income housing.

• New townships on the fringes for low income individual housing units are also being discouraged for the same reason.

Saiban is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Karachi that develops plot settlements. It sells unserviced plots to residents who can pay for the land over five years, allowing them build their homes at their own pace. They are expected to develop neighbourhood water and sewage infrastructures, while Saiban uses their repayments to develop the trunk infrastructure, and gets other NGOs to develop the schools, health clinics, parks and community centres that make up the social infrastructure.