New population boom
"Historically, cities have been places of opportunity, employment and improved living standards," says Shivaji Pandey, Director of FAO's Plant Production and Protection Division. "But in many developing countries, rapid urban growth is being driven not by economic opportunity but by high birth rates and a mass influx of rural people seeking to escape hunger, poverty and insecurity."
By 2020, the proportion of the urban population living in poverty could reach 45 per cent, or 1.4bn people. By then, 85 per cent of poor people in Latin America, and almost half of those in Africa and Asia, will be concentrated in towns and cities.
That prospect has been described as the new population bomb and a nightmare for governance: sprawling, degraded and impoverished cities with large, vulnerable populations that are socially excluded, young and unemployed.