The Fourth Great Urban Wave

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Renee Haughton Dr. James Seymour RSO 503 Aug. 26, 2015 The Fourth Great Urban Wave "Future historians will record the twentieth century as the century in which the whole world became one immense city" (Cox 1966:273). If we stick strictly to statistics, Cox’s assertion is not hard to support. This fourth great urban wave began in the 1950's. Before the children born in 1985 become adults, half of the world's population will be urban. And half of that half will be living in cities with over a million inhabitants. The new wave is distinctive in its location and its accelerated speed. The wave is breaking on the shores of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Africa's urban population jumped from 10.5 percent in 1950 to 26 percent in 1985, and by 2000 it rose to 42.5 percent---almost a 505 increase rate in only 15 years. It was expected that by the end of 1990's, more than 345 million Africans would be living in cities. (Rondinelli 1988:292) As a whole, Latin America is far more urbanized than Africa or Asia. "The greatest growth has been in the very largest cities. Latin America is a continent of primate cities, with half (49 percent) of its population in cities of over 100, 000 inhabitants" (Palen 1992:439). Asia's urban history is a long one. Until two hundred years ago it contained more city dwellers than the rest of the world combined. (2) North Africa and the Middle East has been a Muslim world for centuries, and that world has always been predominantly urban. Scholars still generally agreed that "for Muslims, cities often possess a special sanctity and are regarded as the sole places in which a full and truly Muslim life may be lived" (Lapidus 1969:v) Relatively free from Western conflicts between city and country, rural and urban, the spread of Islam in the centuries after its birth has followed an urban path. In the late fifteenth and early sixteenth
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