After Big Droughts Come Big Cities : Does Drought Drive Urbanization? / Vladimir Chlouba, Megha Mukim, Esha Zaveri.

Chlouba, Vladimir [Browse]
Washington, District of Colombia : World Bank, 2023.
1 online resource (47 pages).


Policy research working papers. [More in this series]
Summary note
Existing research points to a possible link between slow-onset symptoms of climate change and migration. It is also known that rates of urbanization are fastest in some of the world's poorest countries, which are incidentally also at greater risk of climate-induced migration. These separate findings suggest that slow-onset climate phenomena such as droughts have likely become a key driver of urbanization across much of the developing world. While intuitive, this link has not been convincingly established by extant research. This study examines the climate-urbanization nexus by constructing a novel measure of urban growth that uses remotely sensed information from the World Settlement Footprint dataset. Relying on panel data that cover the entire globe between 1985 and 2014, the paper shows that drought leads to faster urban growth. The results indicate that a hypothetical drought lasting 12 months is associated with a 27 percent increase in the average annual increment of built-up area. The paper leverages novel data from several Sahelian cities to illustrate that much of this growth takes the form of non-infill development that extends outward from previously built-up localities.
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After Big Droughts Come Big Cities
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  • 10.1596/1813-9450-10408
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