Cities, India’s Urban Transformation, and Global Networks

Project Expert

Alyssa Ayres
Alyssa Ayres

Adjunct Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia

About the Project

The United Nations estimates that India will experience the largest rural-to-urban population shift of the twenty-first century as more than 400 million Indians are projected to relocate to cities. This urban transition, with its many implications for how the world’s largest democracy interacts with the world, forms the subject of my new book project, Bright Lights, Biggest Cities: The Urban Challenge to India’s Future, as well as related blog posts and articles. The urbanization story is of increasing importance not only for India, but for understanding changing patterns of global interaction. In fact, more than half of humanity now lives in cities, with the number expected to reach two-thirds by 2050. One result has been cities creating their own place at the negotiating table on global issues ranging from climate change to homeland security to migration. My work maps these developments and provides recommendations for U.S. foreign policymakers seeking to understand new global city networks.



Over the past 25 years, two defining trends in foreign policy have gained momentum. The first, and most obvious, has been the gradual shift from the post-Cold War moment to an increasingly multipolar…

State and Local Governments (U.S.)

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is in India right now, leading a trade mission of around a dozen people, according to early media reports. His traveling party includes business executives as well…

State and Local Governments (U.S.)

It might have been former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s November 2011 trade delegation to India that first caught my attention. Former Washington Governor Chris Gregoire led another in 2012.   …


Emerging Voices features regular contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is from Jessica Seddon, foun…