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Cover Poverty and Development

23. The Urban Challenge and Life in the City  

Jo Beall

This chapter describes the challenges posed by the concomitant growth of urban poverty and inequality, sometimes in the absence of economic growth, against a background that traces processes of urbanization, urban growth, and urban development in countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The exact relationship between experiences of poverty and city life remains unclear, and it may be important to redirect the questions being asked in relation to the city. Rather than focusing on 'life in the city', it might be more beneficial to ask what is necessary to ensure 'a city for life'. A key priority will be addressing the capacity of urban institutions and systems to meet the challenges of city management and urban governance in the context of social, economic, and demographic change. There is a need to recognize the physical, structural, and institutional role of 'the city' in shaping the experiences of and the responses to poverty.