To overcome problems created by massive rural-urban migration, industrialisation, increased trade, a phenomenal rise in the number of vehicles, and their related environmental and socioeconomic repercussions, Third World cities and governments have invested huge amounts in planning and in development projects. Some cities have done well while others have become increasingly degraded and difficult to live in. An analysis of the successes and failures of these cities in dealing with growth, points to four planning principles that, if followed, can help make cities less conflict prone, economically sustainable and livable for the vast majority of their population. These four planning principles are discussed below.
One, planning has to respect the ecology of the region in which the city is located. Not doing so results in vulnerability to cope with natural disasters, depletion of subsoil aquifers, desertification of natural green areas, flooding, pollution of water bodies, the death of fauna, flora and areas of recreation, and an increase in environmental related diseases and stress.
Two, land use has to be determined on the basis of social and environmental considerations and not on land value alone. Not doing this is one of the major reasons for social conflict and fragmentation, as it results in traffic congestion (which the best traffic engineering projects have failed to overcome); pushing the poorer sections of the population out of the city and, thus, creating disparity, economic loss and social conflict; an increase in commuting time and, hence, in transport costs and mental stress; the death of multiclass recreational and entertainment space; and a loss of self-respect among the more-marginalized population.
Three, development must cater to the needs of the majority. This "vast" majority consists of lower income and lower middle income groups. They are people who live in informal settlements, far away from their places of work; they are pedestrians, commuters, hawkers and run small informal businesses. In many cities, development has catered to transport and traffic problems but has failed to cater to the economic and social well-being of this majority. Such cities may have beautiful planned elite areas but they also have high crime rates and social conflict due to which the rich ghettoise themselves, thus increasing disparity and exclusion. Suc