Urban Poverty and Development in the 21st Century: Towards an inclusive and sustainable world

Publication date

24 Jan 2007

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In ten years' time, more people will be living in cities than ever before in human history. If we want to live in a sustainable and inclusive world, we must commit to promoting the development of sustainable and inclusive cities. Of the three billion urban residents of the world today, one billion live in slums, vulnerable to disease, violence and social, political and economic exclusion. Although there are good examples of responses to urban poverty, cities continue to grow, and to grow poorer. The authors of this paper examine the trends in urbanisation and urban poverty and call for improved research and a more coherent programmatic approach to addressing urban poverty and vulnerability. They suggest that urban public space needs to be regenerated in order to encourage local participation in development, and to reduce the ecological impact of urban lifestyles. Urban development strategies need to be incorporated into the global development agenda on issues such as trade, environment, and migration. The paper argues that civil society, national governments, the private sector and the international development community should harness the positive features of urbanisation (such as the potential for progressive changes in social, political, and economic relations) to create a more inclusive and sustainable global society