The aim of this paper is to perceive the sustainability of urban development around the world looking into the effect on urbanisation of unsustainable factors such as the spatial distribution of rents from natural resources and the spatial allocation of public investment. First, a principal component analysis on World Bank data is undertaken to understand the specific contexts where cities emerge. Second, a regression analysis is done to relate the level and rate of urbanisation not only with the GDPpc, as suggested by the literature, but also with the variables that differentiate the specific contexts of urbanisation. It is concluded that, beyond the importance of the GDPpc, the level of urbanisation can be explained by less sustainable factors such as the spatial allocation of property rights of natural resources and the spatial distribution of public investment. It is also shown that remittances from migrants and population aging have a crucial impact on the rate of urbanisation.
Keywords: urban policy, urbanisation, property rights