ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From Master Plans to City Development Strategies

Up to the 20th century, city self-government and self-financing was historically the norm. Then both a major slump and two world wars impelled in Europe the centralisation of government powers in national states. It was this degree of centralisation, which was inherited by the former colonial dependencies, the newly independent countries, in the 1950s and 1960s. Those countries faced unprecedented levels of urbanisation and unmanageable concentrations of population. This led governments and aid agencies to emphasise rural development (to discourage outmigration to the cities), population redistribution and industrial decentralisation. However, a different tradition stressed the economic importance of raising productivity in cities through the concentration of population and resources. This study analyses the great journey from historical master plans to city development strategies.

I owe a great debt of gratitude to Tim Campbell and Peter Townroe for the careful reading of earlier drafts and copious suggestions to improve the text. Errors remaining are exclusively my own.

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