Urbanization in the Pacific: Trends, Characteristics and Challenges 2012 - 2012 ODN Biennial Conference
Hosted by: The University of the South Pacific, Fiji
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“Pacific cities and towns are rapidly becoming “hot spots” of social and environmental risk while at the same contributing most to gross domestic product and providing the best opportunities for Pacific people to gain employment and access to improved services.” (UNESCAP 2011)
The contradictions of urban growth in the Pacific are evident in terms of economic processes, social impacts, environmental effects, and political practices. The increasing need for urban management looms as one of the most significant development issues for Pacific island countries in the twenty-first century. By 2025, over half the population of most Pacific island countries will be living in urban areas. While this can produce social and economic benefits because urban areas can drive national economic growth through the provision of labour and the generation of capital as the focal points for investment, production and consumption, there are downsides as well. High urban population growth rates have created pressures which local (municipal, city and town) management and administrative structures are ill-prepared to handle. The cities and towns of the Pacific need to address the economic, social and environmental challenges facing urban immigrants before widespread dissatisfaction results in shifts away from formal government and towards informal means of ensuring safe and secure urban living.
Urban issues also contribute to wider development concerns in the Pacific. Successful mineral development, sustainable tourism, environmentally sound fisheries and secure agricultural development all rely, in one way or another, on well functioning urban areas. Added to this are the complex impacts of climate change, new aid regimes and geopolitical strategizing. With a growing focus on urban issues in the Pacific, this conference invites participants to carefully consider these issues as complex and diverse. We encourage papers that provide robust scholarly analysis that may focus on demographic, economic, social, environmental and political analysis of urban issues in the Pacific. In keeping with an ODN understanding of development in the Pacific, the conference paper will also appeal to an inter-disciplinary audience.
The Oceania Development Network (ODN) is a regional network of the Global Development Network (GDN) and its purpose is to provide a platform for researchers in the region to interact with each other, share knowledge and skills to foster team research, and build and update regional databases. The network will identify contemporary issues that underpin the development agenda of the Island states and carry out research and organise conferences geared at developing and refining policies.
The ODN biennial conference will provide Pacific researchers with a platform for networking, increasing their visibility and showcasing their research. ODN will place completed research papers funded and supported through ODN on ODN’s website and update the list on a regular basis; the regional window will also be used to disseminate completed and working research papers. Information on newly completed research studies will be distributed through the ODN email list.
The theme for the 2012 ODN Biennial conference is: “Urbanisation in the Pacific: Characteristics, Trends and Challenges”. The conference will be held in Fiji, in September and it is hoped that a number of new and emerging researchers, after the GDN conference in June 2012, will be in a better position to share their research findings
The ODN invites development researchers, academics, policy analysts and policy makers, facilitators for governments, and staff of international financial institutions, donors, and non-state-actors to submit abstracts (not more than 300 words) of papers to be presented in the following broad thematic sessions (but not limited to):