The world is undergoing the largest wave of urban growth in history. War and conflict, climate change and pursuit of the economic and educational opportunities city living has to offer are but a few of the many reasons why people across the globe are making the move to urban centres. The rapid urbanisation that has characterised the 21st century presents challenges in the spatial distribution of people and resources.
Vast migration to from rural to urban areas, coupled with population growth, presents particular complexities for developing countries, where growth in cities is largely uncontrolled. Unplanned growth and the absence of urban planning strategies contribute to urban sprawl, where residents are pushed out of central municipalities and reside in surrounding areas that are often lacking in basic services and infrastructure and characterised by extreme poverty and limited opportunities for social mobility.
While rapid urbanisation across the globe poses overwhelming challenges, it also presents an opportunity to challenge traditional thinking about cities as the ‘engine rooms’ of development and reimagine them as places where human rights are not only realised but also revered. Inclusive and holistic urban planning that engages citizens and local authorities and adopts a human rights framework
Based on human rights and environmental principles, this session tackled the key challenge areas in city development and living to draw out new thinking, approaches and partnerships for urban development. It focused on:
- Cities for the future – how to bridge the divide between developer, local authority and community.
- The human right to housing for all.
- Unshrinking the green – designing for biodiversity and enhanced natural environment.
- Development for decarbonisation.