Dean Forbes



This seminar focuses on particular environmental strategies and policies. 

•    Megaurban corridors and world cities

•    Human settlements, housing for the poor and slum upgrading

•    Singapore case study.  Particularly traffic management


EMRs and Megacities

An EMR is a complex entity which includes both cities, with their typically urban land-uses, and a compact, densely settled rural hinterland, which is closely enmeshed with the urban economy.  It typically includes the regions within the transport corridors which link the major urban areas of Asia.

World Cities and Megaurban Corridors

What is a 'world city'?  There exists a global network of cities, the characteristics of which (economic, social and spatial) are defined by the mode of their integration into the world economy.  In the process of economic globalisation, world cities are the sources of control of the world economy.

World cities (Beaverstock, Smith and Taylor 1999):

•    Alpha World Cities: London, Paris, New York, Tokyo – Chicago, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Milan, Singapore

•    Beta world cities:  San Francisco, Sydney, Toronto, Zurich – Brussels, Madrid, Mexico City, Sao Paulo – Moscow, Seoul

•    Gamma world cities:  Amsterdam, Boston, Caracas, Dallas, Dusseldorf, Geneva, Houston, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Melbourne, Osaka, Prague, Santiago, Taipei, Washington DC – Bangkok, Beijing, Montreal, Rome, Stockholm, Warsaw – Atlanta, Barcelona, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Budapest, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Miami, Minneapolis, Munich, Shanghai.

Megaurban corridors.  City corridors of interconnections.

The Environmental Implications

EMRs are often marginal to the major urban governments, and therefore control may be diluted, meaning that environmental problems can be worse than in the core urban areas.

Promote services, which have less impact on the environment.  Encourage competition to improve the environment.


Slum and Squatter Settlements and Upgrading

The 1950s post World War II influx of people from the rural areas into cities in poor countries throughout the world exacerbated a trend that had existed throughout the colonial period, in which indigenous populations, particularly the poorer, who were the majority, concentrated in cities in poorly serviced areas.

  1.    Negative views about slums, shanty towns and squatter settlements.

  2.    New approaches in the 1970s.

  3.    Slum and squatter settlement upgrading .

  4.    Sites and services programs.

Urban Poverty in Bangladesh: Improving Slum Life

The film Urban Poverty in Bangladesh: Improving Slum Life was produced by the Asian Development Bank in 1996.  Initially the focus is on migration to Dhaka, the main city of Bangladesh.  Then attention shifts to Dinajpure, a city in the northwest of Bangladesh.  Immigrants also crowd into the city from the surrounding rural areas.  Conditions in the slums are also bad, with serious risks as the result of floods. 

UNICEF, the ADB and the Bangladesh government have established a Community Slum Improvement Project. 

•    The focus is an integrated approach, incorporating drainage, wells and water supply, latrines, footpaths, primary healthcare and family planning, education, skills training and credit facilities.

  1.    Land tenure is a critical factor.

  2.    Income generation is crucial to this approach, which centres on helping people to help themselves

Strengthening Urban Slum Upgrading and Urban Governance in Cities in Southeast Asia

Aim of the research project is to improve the effectiveness of slum or squatter settlement upgrading strategies because of their significance to the welfare of the urban poor, and because of the need to address key problems in the urban environment.

•    It is estimated that about 850 million people live in squatter settlements; about half of these are in Asia.

•    About 30% of the urban population in developing countries live below the poverty line.

Case studies of three cities form the basis of the study: Hanoi, Bandung and Manila.


A Brief History of the City

  1.    Colonial origins in early 19th Century.

  2.    Population of 4.5 million in 2007.

Contemporary Environmental Problems

  1.    Rapid economic growth since the 1970s.

  2.    Problems caused by the location of the city

Environmental Planning Responses

  1.    Eradicating Pollution

  2.    Clean and Green City

Traffic management

  1.    In 1975 Singapore was the first country to introduce a road pricing policy.  This became known as an Area Licensing Scheme

  2.    In 1990 a Vehicle Quota System (VQS) was introduced to regulate the number of new vehicles.  A prospective purchaser of a new vehicle must first buy a ‘certificate of entitlement’.

Singapore Green Plan 2012

Why has Singapore been successful?


Lindfield, Michael and Royston Brockman 2008 Managing Asian Cities, Asian Development Bank, Manila. Chapter Three “The Broad Environmental Footprint of Asian Cities” pp 43-69.

Ooi, Giok Ling 2005 Sustainability and Cities. Concept and Assessment, World Scientific, New Jersey pp 150-161.

Perry, M., L. Kong and B. Yeoh 1997 Singapore: A Developmental State, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, pp 191-226.