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228 pages, Hardcover
First published October 1, 2006
From Karl Marx to Max Weber, classical social theory believed that the great cities of the future would follow in the industrialising footsteps of Manchester, Berlin, and Chicago - and indeed Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Pusan, and today, Ciudad Juarez, Bangalore, and Guangzhou have roughly approximated this canonical trajectory. Most cities of the South, however, more closely Victorian Dublin, which, as historian Emmet Larkin stressed, was unique amongst ‘all the slumdoms produced in the western world in the nineteenth century… [because] its slums were not a product of the industrial revolution. Dublin, in fact, suffered more from the problems of de-industrialisation than industrialisation between 1800 and 1850.’
Likewise, Kinshasa, Luanda, Khartoum, Sar-es-Salaam, Guayaquil, and Lima continue to grow prodigiously despite ruined import substitution industries, shrunken public sectors, and downwardly mobile middle classes. The global forces ‘pushing’ people from the countryside - mechanisation of agriculture in Java and India, food imports in Mexico, Haiti, and Kenya, civil war and drought throughout Africa, and everywhere the consolidation of small holdings into large ones and the competition of industrial scale agribusiness - seem to sustain urbanisation even when the ‘pull’ of the city is drastically weakened by debt and economic depression. As a result, rapid urban growth in the context of structural adjustment, currency devaluation, and state retrenchment has been an inevitable recipe for the mass production of slums.