Development urbanism is a theory in progress about the possible use of urban development as a means to combat poverty and protect the environment.

The theory may be relevant in so-called “developing” countries undergoing processes of rapid urban transition, but it may also inspire the sustainable transition of so-called “developed” countries.

The aim of urban development and transformation should be to create culturally vibrant and socially inclusive local communities, stimulate human development, provide livelihood opportunities and promote health and well being, while preserving natural resources, including biodiversity and wildlife, air, water and soil.

Problems may be solved at the root through collaborative and participatory approaches, and the implementation of concepts like co-evolution and self-organization, rather than by adding additional layers of complex management systems and sophisticated technologies.

Solutions may be inspired by ideas and experiences from elsewhere, but should be developed with local people and in accordance with local conditions. Solutions should not be “perfect” but allow for modifications and improvements. After all, urbanism is a dynamic field and development is about changing status quo.

The theory is being developed by architect-urbanist Henrik Valeur and is as yet largely based on personal experiences, case-studies and data from China and India.

Comments and critique, ideas and suggestions are most welcome!


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