An analysis of the relevance of the British urbanization process, and the new towns performance characteristics, to the urbanization problem of developing countries
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Over the past 25 years, the problem of the increase of population in urban areas throughout the developing countries has been acknowledged by the international development agencies as reaching crisis dimensions; "it could put whole societies into a terminal crisis of social and economic disintegration ".This thesis endeavours to identify whether the British process of urbanization, which led to the Government accepting responsibility for planned land use and urban planning for the whole country, along with a direct participation in the planning, financing, construction, and manage- ment of new towns, (to provide both a "better alternative to thousands of families living in depressed urban circumstances ", and a better distribu- tion of industrial undertakings to sites which permit higher levels of efficiency), is relevant to the problem now prevailing in developing countries. Britain has been through the same urbanization problem as that in which many of the developing countries find themselves today.Part I, Chapter 1, examines the way in which the word 'urbanization' is being commonly used today, and finds it evasive in exactitude. The words 'city', 'urban', and 'urbanization' "have long escaped scholarly scrutiny; their very definitions are still under debate ". The absence of a universal agreement on the exact meaning and usage of the word 'urbanization' inhibits the use of quantitative techniques in the formulation of appropriate solutions.Chapter 2 examines what is termed 'the rapid urbanization problem of the developing countries'. The U.N. demographers estimate that the urban population in those countries in 1960 amounted to some 310 million, (15% of total), and by 2000 A.D., i.e., 26 years from now, the number is expected to increase to 1436 million, or 31% of total. Other international research institutes have estimated that the urban population in developing countries is more likely to be 4000 million, or 66% of the total population, by 2000 A.D. The enigma of providing the qualitative and quantitative needs for a rapidly increasing urban population, bearing in mind the present state of poverty which prevails in many of these countries, is examined, along with a system by which a Government can use the controllable forces of the urbanization process to generate a process of positive (and cumulative) cyclical interaction of cause and effect, which will provide the resources needed to satisfy the housing and urban needs of an increasing urban population.Chapter 3 gives the results of an investigation into, and some quan- titative indication of, the realities of the urbanization problem in a developing country during decade '60'; Greater Manila in the Philippines is used as a case study.Part II, Chapters 4 -7, reviews the urbanization process of the U.K. from earliest time, through pre -industrial to industrial urban Britain, leading to the New Towns Act. In particular, Chapter 6 analyses, and correlates, the economic growth rate with industrial urban growth over the 19th century, and part of the 20th century, i.e., until 1970.Part III, Chapter 8, identifies the performance characteristics of the British New Towns, which show that, on average, after 25 years, the population will have increased by 44,000; capital investment of £42 million will have been made from Treasury loans; £33 million will have been paid to the Government as accrued interest, and approximately 3% of the capital advances will have been repaid. Some 11,500 industrial jobs, (64 of total employed) will have been created, i.e., total employment generated will be for 18,000, which in turn, adds many multiplier benefits to the local economy. Using national indicators for value of product per worker per annum, far from "placing an additional burden on the economy as a whole ", the average new town of 44,000 persons would have contributed some £3004-million in value of production to the national income over the 25 years, approximately £100 million of which would have been returned to Government income in the form of taxes. The real value of the fixed assets at the end of the same period would be very much more than the £42 million invested by the new town corporation.The information system available at present for monitoring the financial performance of the British new towns is regarded as inadequate, and Chapter 9 discusses the context within which, by using the 'systems engineering' approach, a more adequate information system might be devised.Part IV, Chapter 10, examines three examples of new towns, or new communities, which have been used by developing countries to meet the rapid urbanization problem; (a) the new town of Tema in Ghana, modelled after the British example; (b) a proposal for planned new communities within the city -region concept of Greater Manila, illustrating some of the difficulties involved in a real -world situation; (c) a new community for the poor in Rio de Janeiro, which was subsequently modified to the British example.Chapter 11 correlates and analyses the evidence presented in the preceding sections, and draws conclusions as to the extent to which the British urbanization process and the new towns, (as instruments for improving the quality of urban life and the national economy), are relevant to the urbanization problem in developing countries.