Megacities - A Challenge for (German) Development Cooperation


  • Ulrich Nitschke (Autor/in)
  • Nina Ouan (Autor/in)
  • Gerrit Peters (Autor/in)


This article builds upon the lessons learnt on urbanisation in Germany and other countries before, during and since the UN Habitat Conferences and its follow-up processes. The ideas dealt with herein are important not only for urbanisation experts but for all involved in critically looking at strategic considerations for (German) development co-operation and the far-reaching impacts of growing urban challenges to South-North relations in general. Urban development has long been neglected by German development cooperation, strikingly despite considering today's high degree and dynamism of urbanisation. The pending Millennium Goals calls for a re-thinking of (German) development cooperation as urban, particularly mega-urban areas are far beyond their immediate territories responsible as engines and trendsetters for the development of larger areas, nations, if not supranational regions. Their ecological footprint as well as their socio-economic and political outreach goes often further than comparable medium nation states. Megacities, corresponding to the anchor country concept, understood as anchor cities in the context of (German) development cooperation, possess enormous potential for sustainable regional development, which yet has to be realized and addressed by (German) development politics. However, what kind of expertise can (German) development cooperation offer to successfully influence mega urban development? Which direction should such a development strategy take in order to ensure success?