The Development Bulletin - Urban development in the Pacific

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Research paper

Pacific Island countries are experiencing dramatic social, political and demographic change as urban populations increase and the flow of people moving from rural villages to the towns has become a flood. This issue of Development Bulletin considers the impact of rapid, extensive and unmanaged urbanisation on the development prospects of Pacific Island states. The papers consider some of the major factors that impact on urban residents, many of whom live in close knit, ethnically-based informal settlements. Informal settlements can provide a social safety net and entry point into urban life, but they are often crowded, and usually on low-lying or steeply sloped marginal land with no, or very limited, tenure. For many living in the cities there are few employment prospects and urban services are patchy. The papers in this volume explore the realities of living in Pacific towns—the political and policy rhetoric in relationship to what is happening in practice; pathways to urban inclusion and exclusions; and what residents say about ‘living on the fringe’ in the informal settlements.

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