The future of urbanization

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.

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