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Citation Information

Type Book Section - The Urban and the Peripheral: New Challenges for Education in the Pacific
Title International handbook of urban education
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
Publisher Springer
URL http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4020-5199-9_14
The historical development of towns and cities and what constitutes the urban in Pacific countries is different from the way this is defined and understood in the developed nations of the West. Historical evidence (e.g., Jones, 1966; Mumford, 1961) suggests that cities in medieval Europe evolved around the commercial, cultural, artistic and sacred aspects of people’s lives. The movement and settlement of people into towns and cities revolved around trade and commerce, high culture and the church. The values, beliefs and creative expression of the people were evident in the cities of Europe where high culture exhibited in the work of artisans, in museums and other institutions such as church cathedrals dominated the urban spaces. While there was a rapid increase in urbanization due to the industrial revolution in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Europe and North America, this has slowed down since the 1950s. Because urbanization of countries in Europe took place relatively slowly compared to the developing nations, western governments have had time to plan and provide for the needs of increasing populations in the cities.

This chapter is an exploratory one. It begins with a geographical and historical description of the Pacific region. It then attempts to reconceptualize the urban in the Pacific context. Each country’s population and land area is pertinent, there being highly significant variations in both. The chapter also outlines the reasons peripheral/ rural dwellers move into the urban centers since the rural-urban drift has been severe. It then touches on the outward diaspora of Pacific peoples to rim country cities, and examines the serious cultural, social and economic challenges to education that “townization” or urbanization brings to Pacific nations.

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