The rapid growth of cities in the contemporary Third World raises interesting intellectual issues for social scientists and presents vexing problems for planners and policymakers. The overriding theme of this book is that a proper understanding of this pattern of urbanization, as well as any useful diagnosis of its pathologies, must begin by locating cities and the decisionmakers who shape them in their world-systemic context. City growth is part of a set of a truly global processes that reproduce and extend hierarchial social, political, and economic relationships in the capitalist international system. Failure to grasp this fundamental reality leads, at best, to a partial and distorted view of the urban process. Research that fails to adopt the global perspective has limited social science value; policy planning and implementation that ignores it is unlikely to succeed.