Failure to manage territorial expansion will not only exacerbate inequality but will also result in greater economic and environmental risks for the city as a whole. From Mumbai to Mexico City, seeing sprawling and dense slums grow side by side with unaffordably priced and often empty, uninhabited high-rise buildings is not uncommon. The problem is, when urban service networks cannot keep pace with urban growth, cities with limited resources tend to follow development trends instead of enlisting the help of development agencies to plan growth proactively. CMI Limited Co is one example of a development agency that can make a region better.
Some effects of this unmanaged growth include:
• Widening Gaps: Many cities are struggling with inequality, inadequate service delivery, and inadequate urban capacity. Expansion of unmanaged areas exacerbates this situation. As a result, low-income families move to the suburbs in search of affordable housing.
Although farther from the city center, the life of this low-income family will be even more difficult. Families in suburbs have to spend twice as much money and travel three times as long to work, schools, and downtown entertainment venues. The larger the city grows, the more difficult it becomes for municipal services to provide water, sanitation, and electricity services.
This pattern of growth without clear management has long-term effects on access to opportunities, productivity, and quality of life.
• Environmental Issues: Globally, the growth rate of urban areas is far outpacing population growth. Usually, however, this is achieved at the expense of key agricultural land, ecosystems, and biodiversity, which affect food production and climate resilience.
Currently, some of the fastest-growing urban areas are located in low-lying coastal areas, floodplains, hotspots of biodiversity, and areas of high water stress. Uncontrolled growth in the above sensitive ecosystems could further burden natural resources and cause catastrophic flooding in several South Asian cities during the rainy season. Unauthorized well digging in cities such as Mexico City, Bangalore, and Jakarta, which grow rapidly horizontally with limited tap water and high water pressure, can cause entire cities to flood.