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

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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
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  Urban Poverty and Development in the 21st Century Towards an Inclusive and Sustainable World    Jo Beall and Sean Fox Development Studies Institute, London School of Economics  A report by Oxfam GB   OXFAM RESEARCH REPORT     Disclaimer This Oxfam Research Report was written as a background paper for the Oxfam Poverty Report (forthcoming). It is published in order to share widely the results of Oxfam-commissioned research. The views expressed in the report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect Oxfam’s views. © Oxfam GB July 2006 Oxfam GB is a member of Oxfam International. Registered charity no. 202918. This paper was written by Professor Jo Beall, Professor in Development Studies and Head of the Development Studies Institute at the London School of Economics (LSE), and Sean Fox, a Tutorial Fellow in the Development Studies Institute at LSE. The authors acknowledge the research assistance of Tom Goodfellow. Oxfam GB acknowledges the assistance of Duncan Green and Lea Borkenhagen in the production of the paper. It is part of a series of papers written to inform public debate on development and humanitarian policy issues. The text may be used free of charge for the purposes of advocacy, campaigning, education, and research, provided that the source is acknowledged in full. The copyright holder requests that all such use be registered with them for impact assessment purposes. For copying in any other circumstances, for re-use in other publications, or for translation or adaptation, permission must be secured and a fee may be charged. E-mail publish@oxfam.org.uk. For further information on the issues raised in this paper please e-mail enquiries@oxfam.org.uk or go to www.oxfam.org. Urban Poverty and Development in the 21 st  Century Oxfam GB Research Report, January 2007 2  Contents Introduction 4 Cities today 5 Urban poverty and vulnerability 6 Responding to urban poverty 10 Urban poverty and global development 14 Building inclusive and sustainable cities 16  An agenda for research and action 20 Urban Poverty and Development in the 21 st  Century Oxfam GB Research Report, January 2007 3    Introduction What will the world look like in 10 or 20 years’ time? There are few certainties when predicting the future but there is at least one: in 10 years’ time more people will be living in cities than ever before in human history. In fact, 2007 represents a turning point in the balance of human settlements. As of 2007, more people will live in cities than in rural areas, and this trend towards an urbanised world is set to continue (see Figure 1). By 2017, the world’s urban population will top four billion people, and by 2030 city dwellers will constitute 61 per cent of the world’s total population. 1  Figure 1: Urban and rural population trends Source: UNPD World Urbanization Prospects: The 2003 Revison This shift towards an urban world is being driven primarily by urbanisation in the South. In fact, the UN Population Division estimates that nearly all of the world’s population growth in the next 25 years will be absorbed by cities in the South, and that by 2030, 80 per cent of the world’s urban population will live in developing countries. 2 There are also dramatic differences in urban growth rates across regions. Africa will continue to lead the world in urban growth, followed by Asia (see Figure 2). The key contributing factors to this growth are the transformation of rural areas into urban locations, natural population growth within cities, and rural–urban migration. 3  In contrast to the conventional interpretation that urbanisation is primarily a product of rural–urban migration, it is increasingly apparent that rural transformation (i.e. small towns growing into small cities) and natural population growth within cities are equally important forces driving urbanisation today. 4  So when we – as students, policy makers, or development practitioners – ask ourselves what kind   of world we want to live in 10 or 20 years from now, we must also ask ourselves what kind of cities  we want to live in. If we want to live in a more peaceful, more equitable, and more environmentally stable world, we must consider the ways in which urban centres and urban lifestyles contribute to achieving these objectives. In other words, if we want to live in a sustainable and inclusive world, one in which diversity is
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