Oxfam Small Guides to Big Issues

Posted: 2 November 2007

Author: Jeremy Seabrook. Pluto Books, London, 2007. £9.99

  • It is estimated that 2 billion people will live in slums by 2033
  • Around 12 million illegal migrants live in the USA
  • Factory workers in Bangladesh work over 60 hours a week for US$5
  • Over 60% of the urban poor lack basic provisions of water, sewerage systems and electricity.

Cities book jacket
Cities book jacket
As these statistics show, every year tens of millions of people abandon rural areas of the South for life in the city. With education, health care and even safe water in short supply, cities risk becoming sites of violent conflict for future generations. And yet world governments are doing little to address these demographic shifts.

In this book in the Oxfam Small Guides to Big Issues Series, Jeremy Seabrook offers a vivid portrait of the lives of people who migrate from rural villages to towns and cities, the changes they face, and the impact these changes have on their psyche and well-being. Contrasting the attitudes of today's governments with those of the past, the book provides a sharp critique of global policies, and an ideal introduction to the impact of urbanisation on modern life.

Also available in the Oxfam Small Guides to Big Issues Series: Climate Change and Women's Rights.