Vol 6 No 1 (2015)

The Political Economy of Sustainable Urbanization

Martin Boucher
Athabasca University
Published June 14, 2015


This paper endeavours to offer a preliminary overview and a survey of the key issues related to the political economy of sustainable urbanization. In order to accomplish this, an assessment of three key forms of urbanization will be addressed: the slums of the developing world, the middle class suburb, and the metropolitan megacity. As environmental degradation is increasing towards unsustainable levels, both political and economic forces in the global realm are paralyzed in producing effective ameliorative change. Conventional political power that has historically been yielded by the nation-states of the world is beginning to make way for a more decentralized power dynamic. Cities are becoming increasingly relevant in the global sphere and may become elements of positive change in the future. In addition, cities are ever expanding as a result of a mass exodus of rural dwellers to urban centres. A political economy of sustainable urbanization, then, entails the understanding that although the scope of concerns related to climate change are global, the solutions and forces for change may in fact be more localized, particularly at the urban level.