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Learning from urbanization in the BRICS

The economic motors of development are shifting from the urbanized North towards the cities of the urbanizing South, and most famously those of the ‘BRICS’: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The BRICS provide some inspiring examples of how to seize the opportunities that urbanization can provide. However, all have gone through difficult periods when they tried to resist the predictable movement of people into their cities, or steered people or enterprises to inappropriate urban locations. Several of the BRICS bear heavy burdens from past failures to accommodate urban population growth equitably and efficiently. To avoid such burdens, cities and nations need to plan proactively for urban growth, making use of both markets and planning tools, and engaging with all sectors of society, including the economically and politically weakest.

Publication information

  • IIED code: G03455
  • Published: Dec 2012 - IIED, UNFPA
  • Theme: Urban
  • Language: English

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It is critically important to draw the right lessons from the BRICS, and both the successes and failures of their urbanisation strategies have much to teach the rest of the urbanising world. IIED has been working to draw out some of these lessons.

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Learning about urbanisation from the BRICS