Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title

Urban Devlopment in East Asia and the Growth of Inchon

Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



One of the greatest shift in human societies has been the change from dispersed settlement patterns toward a complex urban pattern. Prior to the industrialization there were only a few urban places scattered throughout the world and none could compare with numerous cities of today with respect to size and complexity. In recent decades the growth of cities in Asia has been particularly remarkable as there has been an increase in the number of medium sized cities and the growth of a number of mega cities. This urbanization of the worlds population has corresponded with other fundamental changes in human society although the relationship between urbanization and other social changes differ for time periods and regions of the world. Among the other changes were the transition from an agricultural toward a diverse economic structure and tremendous increases in population size along with declines in birth and death rates. Many researchers view these changes as being interlocked in a complex set of reciprocal causal relationship. This paper reviews explanations of urbanization with a focus on the emergence of mega cities and their relationship to smaller cities and to national levels of economic development. Special attention is given to literature on primate cities and to whether such cities hinder economic development for Asian societies.