Book Chapter

The Great Migration: Urban Aspirations

Published 1 January 2015 / By Michael Keith

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For most of human history, people lived on the edge of survival. In the past two centuries, we have miraculously moved towards far greater prosperity through transformations, above all, in cities. Urbanization holds the potential of transforming the developing world. While the transition from farm to city is filled with economic, social, and political promises, urbanization also poses enormous challenges—the breakdown of public services, congestion, pollution, and crime. With the right policies cities can lead transformative change—providing jobs, creating prosperity, and lifting millions out of poverty.

What policies can help harness this unprecedented urbanization and address the vast inequalities of access and opportunity that cities present today? What makes cities more competitive? This book answers these and other important questions.

The volume emphasizes the need to rethink cities and to imagine a better urban future by providing the reader with diverse perspectives on urbanization such as the changing economic landscape, city competitiveness, entrepreneurship, inclusion, informality, sustainability, and provision of essential services. The book would help chart a path towards competitive and people-centered cities.


Keith, M. (2015) 'The Great Migration: Urban Aspirations', in Glaeser, E. and Joshi-Ghani, A. (eds.), The Urban Imperative: Towards Competitive Cities, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 234-260