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With contributions from prominent urban planning scholars and experts in Latin America, The Mega-city in Latin America (edited by Alan Gilbert of University College London) represents the latest in a series of books and research outputs from the United Nations University Programme on Megacities and Urban Development.

Since Latin America was the first region to witness the rapid rise of megacities, the urban development issues addressed in The Megacity in Latin America offer many important lessons to other regions in the world, particularly Pacific Asia. In addition to chapters on individual cities including Buenos Aires, Lima, Mexico City, and Rio de Janeiro, this book also explores important sectoral issues such as public administration, transportation, and housing in urban areas.

With the goal of examining the social, economic, and environmental aspects of large metropolitan centres, the UNU launched this research programme by organizing an international conference on Mega-city Growth and the Future in cooperation with the UN Population Division and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in 1990. The UNU later initiated an ambitious study of evolving urban systems at the regional level, including Pacific Asia, Africa, and of course, Latin America. Mega-city Growth and the Future, the first volume in the series, and

Emerging World Cities in Pacific Asia have already been released, with the volume on Africa in the final editing stage.

As rector of the United Nations University, I am proud that the UNU has been involved in the research and dissemination of mega-city and urban development issues since the early 1990s and has made a valuable contribution to both related academic fields and to the preparatory work of the UN Habitat II Conference.

This work will continue well into the next century through the UNU Institute of Advanced Studies, a new research and training centre that started its activities in 1995 and is located next to the UNU headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.

Heitor Gurgulino de Souza
UN Under-Secretary General and Rector
United Nations University

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