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Urban Future

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message 1: by Héctor (last edited Feb 28, 2008 05:36PM) (new)

Héctor In 2008, the world reaches an invisible but momentous milestone: For the first time in history, more than half its human population, 3.3 billion people, will be living in urban areas. By 2030, this is expected to swell to almost 5 billion. Many of the new urbanites will be poor. Their future, the future of cities in developing countries, the future of humanity itself, all depend very much on decisions made now in preparation for this growth. While the world’s urban population grew very rapidly (from 220 million to 2.8 billion) over the 20th century, the next few decades will see an unprecedented scale of urban growth in the developing world. This will be particularly notable in Africa and Asia where the urban population will double between 2000 and 2030: That is, the accumulated urban growth of these two regions during the whole span of history will be duplicated in a single generation. By 2030, the towns and cities of the developing world will make up 81 per cent of urban humanity. Urbanization—the increase in the urban share of total population—is inevitable, but it can also be positive. The current concentration of poverty, slum growth and social disruption in cities does paint a threatening picture: Yet no country in the industrial age has ever achieved significant economic growth without urbanization. Cities concentrate poverty, but they also represent the best hope of escaping it. Cities also embody the environmental damage done by modern civilization; yet experts and policymakers increasingly recognize the potential value of cities to long-term sustainability. If cities create environmental problems, they also contain the solutions. The potential benefits of urbanization far outweigh the disadvantages: The challenge is in learning how to exploit its possibilities. In 1994, the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development called on governments to “respond to the need of all citizens, including urban squatters, for personal safety, basic infrastructure and services, to eliminate health and social problems . . . .” More recently, the United Nations Millennium Declaration drew attention to the growing significance of urban poverty, specifying, in Target 11, the modest ambition of achieving by 2020 “a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers”. UN-Habitat’s Third World Urban Forum, as well as its State of the World’s Cities 2006/7, successfully focused world interest on the deteriorating social and environmental conditions of urban localities. The process of globalization has also drawn attention to the productive potential of cities and to the human cost. Yet the enormous scale and impact of future urbanization have not penetrated the public’s mind. So far, attention has centred mostly on immediate concerns, problems such as how to accommodate the poor and improve living conditions; how to generate employment; how to reduce cities’ ecological footprint; how to improve governance; and how to administer increasingly complex urban systems. These are all obviously important questions, but they shrink in comparison with the problems raised by the impending future growth of the urban population. Up to now, policymakers and civil society organizations have reacted to challenges as they arise. This is no longer enough. A pre-emptive approach is needed if urbanization in developing countries is to help solve social and environmental problems, rather than make them catastrophically worse. The present Report thus attempts to look beyond current problems, real, urgent and poignant though they are. Yet, it is also a call to action. The Report tries to grasp the implications of the imminent doubling of the developing world’s urban population and discusses what needs to be done to prepare for this massive increase. It looks more closely at the demographic processes underlying urban growth in developing areas and their policy implications. It specifically examines the consequences of the urban transition for poverty reduction and sustainability.

See Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth by UNFPA

message 2: by Héctor (last edited Feb 29, 2008 04:56PM) (new)

Héctor Mega-cities: Population

Tokio (Japan)= 34.450.000
New York (USA)= 20.420.000
Seúl (Korea)= 20.090.000
Mumbai (India)= 19.380.000
Delhi (India)= 18.560.000
México (México)= 18.410.000
San Pablo (Brasil)= 18.130.000
Osaka (Japan)= 17.280.000
El Cairo (Egypt)= 16.000.000
Los Angeles (USA)= 15.350.000
Calcuta (India)= 14.580.000
Shangai (China)= 14.530.000
Moscú (Russia)= 14.100.000
Buenos Aires (Argentina)= 13.460.000
París (France)= 10.570.000

Source: Revista Ciencia Hoy, nº108. Febrero 2008. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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