- Tokyo, Japan
- Mexico City, Mexico
- Mumbai, India
- New York, United States
- Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Delhi, India
- Calcutta, India
- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Dhaka, Bangladesh
Cities are the big players in many of the discussions we’ve had in this space: migration tends to flow into the cities, whether originated in foreign countries or rural areas; they are the cultural hubs that represent the most relevant activity of each nation; because of their large populations they are typically the target for large global corporations looking to deploy their products and services; and they are the source to some of the largest problems such as pollution, disease, violence, etc.
The City Mayors website posted the article Progress in the world’s cities will decide the future of Planet Earth citing a report from the Worldwatch Institute about the need to focus on urban infrastructure ugprades in order to accept and serve the more than 60 million people who are added to their population every year.
If global development priorities are not reassessed to account for massive urban poverty, well over half of the 1.1 billion people projected to join the world‚Äôs population between now and 2030 may live in under-serviced slums, says a report published in January 2007. Additionally, while cities cover only 0.4 per cent of the Earth‚Äôs surface, they generate the bulk of the world‚Äôs carbon emissions, making cities key to alleviating the climate crisis, notes the report.
I believe cities are the key to effect change at a global scale with focused effort. While it would seem that trying to change the world is a task impossible to accomplish, changing cities is often done in short periods of time and can be influenced by the persistent activity of a few committed citizens. Getting your voice heard by one of your local representatives is likely something that most readers of this blog are capable of doing. Or to quote the article above:
‚ÄúA city is a collective dream. To build this dream is vital,‚Äù observes Jaime Lerner, the former governor of Paran√°, Brazil, and the former mayor of Curitiba, in his foreword to the report. ‚ÄúIt is in our cities where we can make the most progress toward a more peaceful and balanced planet, so we can look at an urban world with optimism instead of fear.‚Äù
I know from my blog statistics that over the last couple of months these pages have been visited by people in over 3000 cities around the world. I know that most of the top 100 cities are well represented among our readership. So it is not a crazy idea to expect that over time the conversation that is evolving here will lead to meaningful change around the world.