Two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2030, according to a new report from the United Nations. These fast-growing cities need to plan now to develop improved housing and social services that will promote green living and close the growing gap between rich and poor, the report said. This “New Urban Agenda” will be discussed in October at the Habitat III U.N. Conference. Bruce Stiftel, professor and chair of the School of City and Regional Planning at Georgia Tech, was a principal consultant for one of the report’s chapters and said there are lessons that city leaders can pull from the report now.
This new report proposes how urbanization, urban planning, and policy need to change in the years ahead. Its message is clear -- the current model of urbanization is unsustainable, and cities all over the world are unprepared for the challenges ahead.
City leaders across the United States need to pay close to attention to this report. It is not a document just for the rest of the world. The messages are relevant to everyone.
Many of the best ideas for solving urban problems are being developed abroad. To succeed in coping with the pressures of urban growth, we must pay attention to innovations in other countries.
Investments in infrastructure are not optional. World-class roads, transit, schools, and utilities are key to economic competitiveness as well as quality of life. Many of our competitors get this; we have to as well.
Our urban growth and environmental challenges frequently have global dimensions. To respond to pollution, sea level rise, and security in an age of terrorism and to increase jobs and trade, we have to work together with others around the world.
When done correctly, urbanization will build economic value, protect the environment, and foster an improved quality of life for us all.
Find the World Cities Report 2016 - Urbanization and Development: Emerging Futures here.
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