Poor urban planning

Many countries that got rich in the postwar era (from Italy to Thailand to Chile) developed extremely rapidly. In many cases economic development ran ahead of good governance. In those places, you get poor urban planning: pavements that suddenly end, ejecting pedestrians into the street to mingle with traffic; buildings that are not exactly connected to roads, so you need to go through a vacant lot to get there; roundabouts that have more lanes than the roads that lead into them — or indeed more lanes on one side than the other.

Basically, either there was no urban planning when the city was built, or, more often, there was a plan and somebody bribed somebody and so they were allowed to build their building over the sidewalk right up to the street.

In countries affected by poor urban planning, you must keep your wits about you – traffic comes from unexpected directions, pedestrians randomly appear in the street, and roads can end without warning.

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Poor urban planning means that traffic comes from all directions, and it’s often unclear which bit is the road. Photo by the author.