ZEF Public Lecture: Research opportunities in territorial development and city-region systems

December 8, 2022 | 13:30 h - 14:30 h

We'd like to invite you to ZEF's Public Lecture!

Topic: Research opportunities in territorial development and city-region systems

Speaker: Andrea Cattaneo, Senior Economist with FAO

The presentation is in-person only and will take place at the Center for Development Research / ZEF (conference room on the groundfloor), Genscherallee 3, 53113 Bonn. 

If you are a non-ZEF visitor please register with presse.zef@uni-bonn.de for joining this lecture.

Abstract:  This talk focuses on how to move beyond the rural-urban dichotomy when thinking about development. Our research, recently published in PNAS and World Development, lays out a framework and the data infrastructure for a more nuanced spatial representation of socio-economic constraints and opportunities. We build on central place theory to capture the urban hierarchy in access to services and employment opportunities provided by urban centers of different sizes. The idea of urban–rural catchment areas (URCAs) is introduced, based on travel time, to express the interconnection between urban centers and their surrounding rural areas. This is implemented adopting a global gridded approach comparable across all countries. I will briefly present our published findings before moving to early results from a new study that strives to identify and describe city-region systems around the world. This new study, looks at 30,000 urban centres, taking into account their interconnections with rural areas and nearby cities. We find societies are organized in a stratified (polycentric) manner over their territories, with 3.1 billion people relying on two or more urban centres within 1 hour travel time for access to different activities, increasing to 4.7 billion people within 3-hour travel time. Results also indicate intermediate cities engage a proportionately greater population than larger cities. The talk will close by indicating how this spatial dataset can be a powerful tool for regional planning, economic development, and natural resource management.

About the presenter: Dr. Cattaneo is a Senior Economist at FAO, leading the team that produces The State of Food and Agriculture, which is FAO’s flagship publication. He has over 25 years of experience in examining economic issues relating to development, food security, deforestation, and climate change.  In recent years his focus has been on migration, resilience of food systems, and the role of rural-urban linkages in rural transformation. He previously held positions at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the Woods Hole Research Center.