3 years ago

Heterogeneity and scale of sustainable development in cities [Sustainability Science]

Heterogeneity and scale of sustainable development in cities [Sustainability Science]
Christa Brelsford, Joe Hand, Jose Lobo, Luis M. A. Bettencourt

Rapid worldwide urbanization is at once the main cause and, potentially, the main solution to global sustainable development challenges. The growth of cities is typically associated with increases in socioeconomic productivity, but it also creates strong inequalities. Despite a growing body of evidence characterizing these heterogeneities in developed urban areas, not much is known systematically about their most extreme forms in developing cities and their consequences for sustainability. Here, we characterize the general patterns of income and access to services in a large number of developing cities, with an emphasis on an extensive, high-resolution analysis of the urban areas of Brazil and South Africa. We use detailed census data to construct sustainable development indices in hundreds of thousands of neighborhoods and show that their statistics are scale-dependent and point to the critical role of large cities in creating higher average incomes and greater access to services within their national context. We then quantify the general statistical trajectory toward universal basic service provision at different scales to show that it is characterized by varying levels of inequality, with initial increases in access being typically accompanied by growing disparities over characteristic spatial scales. These results demonstrate how extensions of these methods to other goals and data can be used over time and space to produce a simple but general quantitative assessment of progress toward internationally agreed sustainable development goals.

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.