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New data explores link between ‘peace’ and ‘urbanization’

Reykjavik is capital of the country a new report calls the most peaceful on Earth: Iceland. (Marco Bellucci/flickr/cc)

Urbanization can foster “peacefulness.” But it also can undermine it.

That’s one of the conclusions of the 9th edition of the 2015 Global Peace Index, published by the Institute for Economics & Peace.

The study finds that higher rates of urban development tend to result in more tranquil societies. That’s due to “development benefits” such as boosts in employment and educational opportunities.

But there’s a sizable caveat. Urbanization deteriorates peace in countries with weak governments, ethnic and social tensions and inequality, the Index says.

The report highlights a worrisome trend: Most of the growth in urbanization over future decades will be in nations with abysmal peacefulness records. Zimbabwe, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Haiti and Bolivia are examples of turbulent nations on a collision course with accelerated urbanization, the Index warns.

The Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank with offices in New York, Sydney and Mexico City. The report ranks nations according to level of peacefulness, with Iceland taking top honors. 

Institute for Economics & Peace

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