More urbanization

Knowledge brokering11 Jan 2010

Last weekend’s (Dutch) newspaper NRC Handelsblad had an interesting opinion piece from Hubert Smeets, which said that it is urbanization that fuels terrorism. I am not sure whether he is right, but I do think that the fact that half of the world’s population now lives in cities does indeed create a lot of change and turmoil (see my earlier post Urbi et orbi, and this one on cities), an ever-faster modernization and corresponding alienation. The consequences of this should be the focus of study and analysis.

In the same vein, shouldn’t we start to think of refugee and Internally Displaced People’s camps across the world as cities? See, for example, this recent blog by Jan Pronk, an interview I had with Alex de Waal (in Dutch) in Vice Versa (2009, issue 2, pages 30-33) and this report. They all point in the same direction: don’t look at crises as temporary, but see them as part of long-term, complex processes.