Urbanization in much of the developing world is outpacing job growth as well as the capacity of city governments to provide basic services and facilities to new urban residents. This has created new patterns of social and spatial exclusion, most notably the spread of slums and uncontrolled growth of urban fringe areas, and poses fundamental problems of governance (UN Habitat, 2003).
A number of faculty members at Brown are engaged in exploring problems associated with the explosive growth and increased inequality of developing world megacities. Initiative coordinator John Logan is a leading urban sociologist whose work has explored patterns of urban inequality and their sources in market and political processes. He has particular expertise in methods of studying spatial inequality. Over the past two decades, he has conducted a number of large collaborative studies in China, including one with IPLE (a program partner) on social and spatial inequality using microdata from the 2000 Census and a new survey conducted in Beijing. This is part of a larger project involving parallel studies by research teams in Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Nanjing. Other IGERT faculty members are studying other facets of urban inequality in the developing world, including racial and ethnic segregation, housing, urban sprawl, and urban governance (Baiocchi, Heller, Henderson, White). Research in this area draws on spatial analysis, census microdata, ethnography, and survey work. Patrick Heller is currently collaborating with South African researchers in an NSF-funded project that examines the changing spatial and racial inequalities of cities in post-apartheid South Africa. Heller is also developing a new project to examine urban governance and inequality in India. Gianpaolo Baiocchi (Sociology) is currently conducting research on race and inequality in Brazilian cities. Andrew Foster (Economics) has combined survey, remote sensing, and ground monitoring to examine the disparate impact across social classes of air quality regulations in New Delhi, and Henderson is drawing on spatial and econometric tools to assess the impact of poverty-alleviation programs in Brazil.