Small cities require revised development agendas

NAI-researcher Cristina Udelsmann Rodrigues addresses urban inequalities at EADI Development Research Conference in Norway.

“It took years and years for policy-makers and aid workers to become aware of the importance of urban planning and sustainability in their development agendas. And now, over the last couple of years, when urban issues have finally become much more topical, I notice that almost all concern is directed to the megacities. Very little or no attention is paid to smaller cities”, says NAI-researcher Cristina Udelsmann Rodrigues, who presented a paper on urban inequalities at the EADI Development Research Conference in Bergen, Norway.

“For example, towns like Soyo in Northern Angola, a town that has boosted thanks to the recent boom in oil extraction, are more sensible to counter-urbanisation trends than the constantly growing capital city of Luanda. Temporary migrations and returns to the countryside create special infrastructural challenges for these small cities”, says Rodrigues, who in her own research studies the changing urban to rural movements in Angola and Mozambique.

“I was happy to see so many practitioners, scholars and experts with different approaches to the same problems take part together in the discussions at my panel. My main advice to them is to build knowledge about the differences and similarities in development conditions of cities of different sizes. And of course for policy-makers and urban planners to put this new knowledge and awareness into strategic and practical use”, she concludes. 


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