More and more of the world’s people live in urban areas, which share the same problems: unemployment, corroding infrastructure, deteriorating environment, a collapsing social compact, and weakening institutions. To ask why this is happening and what can be done, twenty-two leading social scientists and experienced public officials have pooled their experience and their research in preparation for the June 1996 United Nations conference on human settlement in Istanbul. Their collaborative effort is published in Preparing for the Urban Future: Global Pressures and Local Forces.

The contributors find commonalities in the globalized economy in which all cities compete and in the mixes of squalor and splendor found in urban environments east and west, north and south. But common, too, in these accounts, are local, rather than national, solutions to urban challenges, which local community groups often view in purely local terms.

Michael A. Cohen is senior adviser to the vice president, environmentally sustainable development, at the World Bank, where he has long been involved in urban policy and projects. Blair A. Ruble is director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, Joseph S. Tulchin is director of the Latin American Program, and Allison Garland is program associate of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.


Jorge Wilhelm

1. Introduction: Globalism and Local Realities—Five Paths to the Urban Future 
Blair A. Ruble, Joseph S. Tulchin, and Allison M. Garland 

Part I: Urban Convergence and a New Paradigm
2. The Hypothesis of Urban Convergence: Are Cities in the North and South Becoming More Alike in an Age of Globalization?
Michael A. Cohen
3. Cities in a Global Era: A New Paradigm for the Next Millennium
H. V. Savitch
4. What Has and Has Not Changed since Habitat I: A View from the South
Martha Schteingart

Part II. From Local to Global
5. Marginality and Dynamism: Prospects for the Sub-Saharan African City
Mohamed Halfani
6. Culture, Identity, and Urbanism in a Changing World: A Historical Perspective on Colonialism, Nationalism, and Globalization
Nezar AlSayyad
7. Economic Competition and Resource Mobilization
Weiping Wu

Part III: Economic and Social Dilemmas
8. Urbanization and Populations Dynamics: City as Villain, Savior, or Bystander?
Michael J. White
9. The Social Dimensions of Technological Change: Reshaping Cities and Urban Life
Julie A. Roqué
10. The Changing Agenda for Urban Health
Edmundo Werna, Ilona Blue, and Trudy Harpham

Part IV: Political Choices
11. Urban Governance: Changing Realities
K. C. Sivaramakrishnan
12. Cities: New Roles and Forms of Governing
Jordi Borja
13. The Politics of Urban Sustainability
María Elena Ducci

Part V: The Urban Landscape
14. Global Trends and City Policies: Friends or Foes of Urban Development?
Galia Burgel and Guy Burgel
15. The American City: Urban Aberration or Glimpse of the Future?
Robert Bruegmann
Part VI: Ways of Learning for the Urban Future
16. Urban Research in the 1990s
Lisa R. Peattie
17. The Studies of Cities: Popular Perceptions, Academic Disciplines, and Emerging Agendas
Richard Stren


“A collection of essays by scholars and policy makers from around the globe that offers some of the best insights available into the urban challenge.”—Lingua Franca