Cities in Developing Countries

6 Disintegrating Cities

Urbanization is no longer city-based but region-based. The extensive expansion of cities is exhausting the agglomerative forces which triggered the formation and supported the expansion of cities. This means the classical definitions of cities as well as common spatial and functional models are getting diluted and lose interpretative power. (18)

On the one hand sprawl is a result of lax planning control or inadequate means of enforcement of planning objectives. On the other hand sprawl undermines planning control and makes central planning next to impossible in the end. (19)

7 Final Remarks

Major urban regions have three components, namely the central city, the metropolitan area, and the extended metropolitan area which comprises areas of agricultural uses. Typically, such mega-urban regions are constituted of traditional centers, old suburbs, sprawling settlements, completely new towns and edge cities as well as rural villages. This constituents of what may be called a metropolitan patchwork will be sketched in a subsequent essay.


(18) This is, among others, pointed out by Gonzales, R. R. and Medina J. S.: Theories, Models and Urban Realities. From New York to Kathmandu. Dela 221, 2004.

(19) By the way, given the fact that many cities are no longer conventional cities the question arises whether the World City concept makes sense. It appears to be more appropriate to define metropolitan areas of global relevance.