Urban Health and Poverty Research: Local Knowledge, Local SolutionsMuch of human progress in due to specialization, which in turn was realized when people started living in cities. Even Aristotle thought that city living was a necessary condition fo "Eudaimonia" or a good life. Recent years have seen rapid urbanization world-wide. Today around 82% of North Americans, 40-48% of Asians and around 55% of Pakistanis live in cities.
Cities allow people to come together, to work with, share, build on and trade with each other. This allows specialisation and wealth creation that have driven the prosperity of the past 200 years.
But with all this good come some problems. Urban poor live in some of the densest human settlements ever in human history. There are parts of Dhaka in Bangladesh that have over 1 million people per square kilometre. The same "agglomeration" or clustering of people, that drives innovation and prosperity also bring very large of poor peple to live in crowded settlements - at least initially when they move to cities - where there are too many poor people together living in squalid conditions and with few opportunities.
What we are doingRADS is collaborating with Akhter Hameed Khan Resource Centre (AHKRC) to develop and urban laboratory where ideas in social development may be tested. AHKRC implements many of the ideas; and RADS does the measurement and reports these in public domain. Interesting links are:
Dhok Hassu Urban Poverty Site and Laboratory
Working paper for the rationale for work on rural to urban migration (in collaboration with RSPN and the European Union)
Policy Brief on the Urban site
Research Trial Site