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Pacific Urbanisation and the Rise of Informal Settlements: Trends and Implications from Port Moresby

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The urbanisation of Pacific towns and cities continues to increase, with one in four Pacific islanders an urban resident. Understanding the Pacific urbanisation process, including the concept of the ‘rural village in the city’, is critical to formulating urban growth responses. Two key consequences of Pacific urbanisation are growing urban poverty and the increasing number of informal settlements, both of which are inextricably linked. With formal land and housing supply systems marginalised, informal or squatter settlements now cater for the majority of population growth occurring in Pacific towns and cities. Noting Papua New Guinea (PNG) has approximately 1 million persons living in towns and cities, the incidence and characteristics of informal settlements are examined in Port Moresby, the Pacific Region's largest city. In the context of the Port Moresby experience, discussion focuses on why informal settlements are not a priority for development assistance, including identification of the constraints and opportunities required to resolve the major policy shift to address growing informal settlements and their management. The article draws strongly on a review of the literature, as well as fieldwork undertaken while working full time in Port Moresby in 2009 and 2010.
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Keywords: Pacific urbanisation; Port Moresby; Settlements; urban poverty

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Urban and Regional Planning Program, Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning,University of Sydney, NSW, Australia

Publication date: 2012-06-01

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