Beyond Growth and Density: Recentring the Demographic Drivers of Urban Health and Risk in the Global South

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Debates within urban studies concerning the relationship between urbanisation and infectious disease focus on issues of urban population growth, density, migration and connectivity. However, an effective long-term risk and wellbeing agenda, without which the threat of future pandemics cannot be mitigated, must also take account of demographic forces and changes as critical drivers of transmission and mortality risk within and beyond cities. A better understanding of the dynamics of fertility, mortality and changing age structures – key determinants of urban decline/growth in addition to migration – provides the foundation upon which healthier cities and a healthy global urban system can be developed. The study of how basic demographic attributes and trends are distributed in space and how they interact with risks, including those of infectious disease, must be incorporated as a priority into a post-COVID-19 urban public health agenda. This perspective concurs with recent debates in urban studies emphasising the demographic drivers of urban change. Moreover, it raises critical questions about the microbial and environmental emphasis of much research on the interface of urban health and governance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalUrban Studies
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported, in whole or in part, by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation [INV-008737] through the IUSSP Family Planning, Fertility and Urban Development programme. Under the grant conditions of the Foundation, a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Generic License has already been assigned to the Author Accepted Manuscript version that might arise from this submission. Further support was provided by the PEAK Urban programme, funded by UKRI’s Global Challenges Research Fund, Grant Ref: ES/P011055/1.

Publisher Copyright:
© Urban Studies Journal Limited 2021.


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