more from Stewart Brand
WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: City Planet: "...'Nations have borders. Cities have centers.'
Urbanization is the chief reason why global population growth is flattening, and will likely peak at around nine billion people. Cities are 'population sinks;' the birthrate of new urban dwellers drops to replacement level (an average of 2.1 children per woman) and lower. Globally, urban fertility rate is around 1.85 children per woman. The reasons for this are manifold: in the country, a large family is an asset, while in the city, a large family is a liability; cities generally have less room for big families; women in cities have more opportunities for education, economic empowerment, and cultural independence -- all of which directly correlate with lower birth rates.
Stewart argues that the 'squatter cities' which form in rapidly-urbanizing areas are among the most vital parts of the 21st century city. He asserts that these global slums and shantytowns are, for most residents, temporary, that pockets of urban poverty are transitions from even worse rural poverty to a better existence in the city. Squatter cities are usually self-constructed and self-organized, better reflecting the needs of the residents than government-built housing; they're also engines of community, where support is provided by extended family, neighbors and religious institutions. [...]"