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Cities can absorb migrants if they plan ahead

(Alex Pix/

Migration is a reality that’s reshaping cities. Michael Collyer writes for The Conversation that careful planning by municipal officials can alleviate many problems associated with population growth. By contrast, when cities fail to act strategically, there are unintended consequences. For example, forced relocation of informal settlements to accommodate developers can push migrants beyond the reach of city services, leading to more squalor.

Lack of housing, education, sanitation and employment are not inevitable, the article says. “Migrants from rural areas are disproportionately poor, and inadequate planning is often a result of a weak political will to support them,” writes Collyer, a geography professor at the University of Sussex in England.

Today, cities grow in three ways, he observes. They expand through migration, both rural-to-urban and nation-to-nation. They also get bigger through natural population increase and by absorbing neighboring land, such as farms and villages. 

The Conversation

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