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Urban Poverty and Development in the 21st Century

Oxfam International | January 2007

By Jo Beall and Sean Fox
Development Studies Institute, London School of Economics
© 2007 Oxfam GB


In ten years' time, more people will be living in cities than ever before in human history. 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 urbanization 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 urbanization (such as the potential for progressive changes in social, political, and economic relations) to create a more inclusive and sustainable global society.

External Link: Urban Poverty and Development in the 21st Century

Read More: Cities, Development, Environment, Migration, Poverty, Global

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