By 2050, two thirds of the world's population will live in cities, and the greatest growth in urban populations will take place in the least developed countries. This presents many governments with considerable challenges related to urban governance and the provision of services and opportunities to a burgeoning urban population. In the current article, we use a new event dataset on city-level urban social disorder, drawing upon prominent theories in the conflict literature. The dataset spans the 1960–2009 period, covering 55 major cities in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa and includes data on nonviolent actions such as demonstrations and strikes and violent political actions like riots, terrorism, and armed conflict. We find that urban social disorder is associated in particular with low economic growth rates and hybrid democratic regimes, while level of development, economic inequality, large youth bulges, and economic globalization do not seem to affect levels of urban social disorder.
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