Conceptualizing urban poverty

Author(s) : Ellen Wratten
Source : Environment and Urbanization, Volume : 7 Number : 1 Page : 11 — 33


This paper explores three issues. First it examines how, and by whom, poverty has been defined and measured, contrasting conventional economic and participatory anthropological approaches. Second, it questions the extent to which "urban poverty" differs conceptually from poverty in general, and considers the utility of an analysis of the urban-rural divide in understanding the underlying causes of poverty. Finally, it reviews the principal ways in which urban poverty has been understood in the South and the North, and what these imply for the different policy prescriptions for addressing urban poverty. It concludes by identifying the linkages between alternative definitions of poverty, different antipoverty policy approaches and the choice of measurement techniques.

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