The planet is urbanising at a rapid pace. There is no agreed definition of what constitutes a city, however the world’s new geography includes dozens of super cities (population of 40 million+), hyper-cities (population of at least 20 million), conurbations and more. While a number of the world’s largest cities still reside in North America and Western Europe, most future population growth will occur in sprawling cities and slums of Africa and Asia. There are tremendous opportunities and threats, with major implications for the humanitarian and development sector.
Fragile cities are not confined to fragile states or conflict-affected countries. All cities exhibit some degree of institutional fragility; however the extent of their fragility varies considerably. In some cities, such as Aleppo, Bangui, and Caracas, urban institutions are stretched to breaking point. Cities like Abuja, Indore and Nairobi are also at risk – albeit to a different degree. Even comparatively well-developed and planned cities such as Accra, Johannesburg, and Islamabad are not immune.
Muggah, R (2016). Urban governance in fragile cities. GSDRC Professional Development Reading Pack no. 46. Birmingham, UK: University of Birmingham. 4pp