State of the world’s cities 2012/2013

12 Nov 2012

This report by the UN looks into the prosperity and the changing urban landscape of major cities all around the globe. 

As the world moves into the urban age, the dynamism and intense vitality of cities become even more prominent. A fresh future is taking shape, with urban areas around the world becoming not just the dominant form of habitat for humankind, but also the engine-rooms of human development as a whole. This ongoing evolution can be seen as yet another assertion, albeit on a larger scale, of the time-honoured role of cities as centres of prosperity. In the 21st as in much earlier centuries, people congregate in cities to realize aspirations and dreams, fulfil needs and turn ideas into realities. Prosperity in this broader, organic sense transcends narrow economic success to encompass a socially broadbased, balanced and resilient type of development that combines tangible and more intangible aspects. Taken in this multi-dimensional sense, urban prosperity tightens the links between individuals and society with their everyday environment, i.e., the city itself. Amidst multiple challenges facing cities today, a focus on poverty reduction and/or responses to the economic crisis is gradually shifting to a broader and more general understanding of the need to harness the transformative dynamics and potentials which, to varying degrees, characterize any city anywhere in the world.

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