catching up- the city as a system or military urbanism

i know in the past few months(!), I was highly inactive writing and blogging, but i'm back now to share interesting things i stumble on occasionally, until i restore a wishful pace. 
So for today, i feature excerpts from an interesting article by David J. Kilcullen (former Senior Advisor to General David Petraeus in Iraq in 2007 and author of the bestselling books The Accidental Guerrilla and Counterinsurgency), featured on Global Trends 2030
In this article, David analyzes three megatrends in developing coastal cities: urbanization, littoralization and connectedness as well as their implications for future conflict.
image courtesy of the author
' the city-as-a-system approach can be applied as a methodology to identify how complex problems that may appear unrelated...interact with each other in the context of a given city or threat network. Taking this approach may allow planners to identify emergent patterns within the complex adaptive system of a relevant city, make sense of the system logic, and thus 
begin to design tailored interventions.'

This era’s unprecedented urbanization is concentrated in the least developed areas of Asia, Latin America and Africa.  The data shows that coastal cities are about to be swamped by a human tide that will force them to absorb—in less than 40 years—almost the entire increase in population absorbed by the whole planet, in all of recorded human history up to 1960. And virtually all this urbanization will happen in the world’s least developed areas, by definition the poorest equipped to handle it—a recipe for conflict, crises in health, education and governance, and food, energy and water scarcity.  Rapid urbanization creates economic, social and governance challenges while simultaneously straining city infrastructure, making the most vulnerable cities less able to meet these challenges. The implications for future conflict are profound, with more people fighting over scarcer resources in crowded, under-serviced and under-governed urban areas.
In this model, the coastal city is the center of a larger system, with rural factors in the city’s hinterland—including environmental degradation, poor rural infrastructure, and rural conflict—prompting rapid urbanization. This creates ad hoc peri-urban settlements where slums and shantytowns displace land formerly used to provide food and other services to the city, and cover the rainfall catchment area for the city’s water supply. The city’s growth puts its infrastructure under stress, so that both the old urban core and the new peri-urban areas experience weak governance, crime, urban poverty, unemployment and conflict. Shortages of food, fuel, electricity and water exacerbate these problems. In turn, the city’s connectedness allows its population to tap into licit and illicit activities offshore, and to connect with global networks, including diaspora populations, an interaction that affects both local and international conflict dynamics.

for the full article, click here

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