Conference: Asia and Africa in Transition

NEW DATES: 28-30 June 2021

Panel: Urbanization in rural regions of Africa and Asia

Conveners: Torben Birch-Thomsen and Jytte Agergaard, Dept. of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen

The world is urbanizing and much future urbanization is projected to take place in Africa and Asia determined by economic, demographic and environmental transformations at local, national and global scales. Sustainable urbanization and urban growth have thus become issues high on the international research and policy agendas (e.g. SDG 11). Much attention has been given to the growth of larger cities and the challenges of megacity growth while urbanization and urban agglomerations in rural regions outside the realms of larger cities and city regions have attracted less attention. The overall aim of this panel is to document and explore how urbanization in rural regions (‘rural urbanization’) of Africa and Asia progress, and to examine how small towns and intermediate urban centres can support sustainable development: keeping in mind that urbanizing spaces along the rural-urban continuum often occur in transitional governance systems (from rural to urban). Paper presentations could focus on one or more of the following topics:

  1. Multi-local livelihood strategies and the role of urban migrants/sojourners that return and/or remit to their home and stimulate urbanization of rural regions;

  2. Rural transformations, where dynamics in agricultural economies are nurtured by the provision services in local towns, that further stimulates non-farm investments and occupations in urban centres;

  3. Small towns as places of attraction for aspiring urbanites and/or for households and individuals seeking access to services and security;

  4. Small towns as locations for climate change adaptation of rural households affected by environmental unpredictability and hazards.

These topics are not exclusive though and contributions can be either empirically or conceptually founded. Overall, we invite contributions that will enable and facilitate a dialogue across Africa and Asia.