Everything You Heard About Urbanization Is Wrong

Discussions of global urbanization are almost exclusively based on data using national definitions. Until now, there was no way to assess whether using a harmonized definition of a cities and rural areas would lead to radically different results.

The EU together with the FAO, OECD and the World Bank has developed a global, people-based definition of cities and settlements. It shows which cities have grown over the past 40 years, and which ones have not. The analysis reveals a radically different situation then has been assumed so far: Africa and Asia are already as urban as North America or Europe. This has big implications for development and public investment strategies. Rather than preparing for a massive wave of urbanization, countries should focus on improving their existing cities to maximize agglomeration benefits and reduce their costs.

This presentation will illustrate the new approach and demonstrate three new tools that can be used in your daily work:

  • National factsheets on urbanization
  • Interactive high resolution maps
  • A brand new city database covering all cities in the world

About the Presenters

Lewis Dijkstra

Lewis Dijkstra is the Head of the Economic Analysis Sector of the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy in the European Commission. He is the editor the Cohesion Reports, which analyses economic, social and environmental issues in EU regions and cities. His latest work and publications cover topics such as regional quality of government, urban economic development, regional economic and demographic projections and the definition of cities. He works closely with the OECD, the World Bank, the European Environmental Agency, the Joint Research Centre and Eurostat. With these partners, he has launched projects on regional competitiveness, business demography, regional well-being, transport and demography among others. He holds a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from Rutgers University, New Jersey, a MSc in Urban and Regional Planning from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in Political Science from the University of Ghent, Belgium.

Join the Discussion

Vedat Bobby

- Apr 7, 2019
Everything You Heard About Urbanization Is Wrong


- Mar 30, 2019
Menarik sekali


- Mar 18, 2019
Topik Sangat Menarik

Dr. Illakkuvan

- Jan 9, 2019


- Oct 8, 2018


- Sep 29, 2018
Very interesting! quick question- do we have an estimation for how urbanized the world was in 1975? Thanks!


- Sep 27, 2018
Excellent planning tool!


- Sep 14, 2018
In my opinion, Urbanization depends upon you. If you want to protect your green, if you want to develop a smart cities, then first you have to think from the landscape management point of view. Though critics have always the answer but if we want to build our nation then we have to think only 3 things which would change the lives of people. First one is the development plans which the concerned engineers/ architects/ planners/ developers/ economist/ sociologist have to stay together and have to analyse their country perspects and have the exact data from their own source not from the developing agencies. Second one is your dedication to build. And the third one is your visionary leadership.


- Jun 12, 2018


- Apr 20, 2018
The contents are quite informative and interesting.
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