The future of urbanization: growing, but growth slowing, rural NOT significantly declining
We all know the world is urbanizing, and today over 50% of the world lives in urban areas:
But this is just the top level view. The distribution of urban vs. rural populations is naturally very different for different regions:
And the pace of urbanization, which has been rapid in the past, has been slowing:
So while the number of urban dwellers is increasing, the number of rural dwellers is not significantly decreasing:
And more urban dwellers live in “small cities” (e.g. those under 500,000) and “barely megacities” (1 to 5 million), not the largest supercities:
Many of these small/medium sized urban areas are not urbanized cultures. They have rural-quality kinship-oriented cultures as rural dwellers aggregate into these smaller areas.
All of these trends together mean we cannot abandon either strategy to focus on one. While I have seen enough to know DMM and other like-minded strategies work in both urban and rural settings, the specific tactics employed are very different (rural areas, for example, focus on households; whereas urban areas focus on affinity groups).
We will need a mix of urban and rural strategies for many decades to come!
Graph/map source: UN Urbanization Prospects.