By 2030, 60 per cent of the global population will live in towns and cities. In Africa and Asia the urban population is set to double in the next two decades, while the urban share of global poverty is increasing. These demographic shifts mean new challenges for development in terms of providing access to basic services and the design and implementation of effective poverty reduction strategies, health systems and climate change adaptation programmes.

Urban development and slum

IDS Cities Cluster researchers (many of whom work with the IDS-convened STEPS Centre) are exploring the implications of increasing urbanisation and the expansion of peri-urban areas for both rural and urban sustainability. This research seeks to understand what the expansion of these urban centres and peri-urban areas means for the health and wellbeing of local communities and in particular the impact on their access to basic services, resources such as land and water and decent livelihoods.

We are also researching the implications of rapid urbanisation on wellbeing and resilience, assisting safe and inclusive urbanisation and how climate change adaptation programmes and poverty reduction initiatives need to respond to these demographic shifts.

Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda

The United Nations Habitat III Conference was convened to reinvigorate global commitment to sustainable urbanisation. Held in Quito, Ecuador, from 17–20 October 2016, the Conference's mission is the adoption of a New Urban Agenda - a document which will set global standards of achievement in sustainable urban development.

See how IDS and our partners are engaging with Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda.

A Mobile Training Platform for Urban Policing in India and Nepal

The aim of this project is to develop training videos for urban police that can be accessed via mobiles. This kind of platform allows the videos to be centrally updated, accessed (or ‘pushed’) on demand, and also allow for an innovative addition to police performance monitoring. More details

Capacity Building for Smart Data and Inclusive Cities (SDIC)

The “Capacity Building for Smart Data and Inclusive Cities” (SDIC) project aims strengthen technical and institutional capacities by working directly with municipal authorities participating in the Smart Cities Mission in four secondary cities in India: Bhopal and Jabalpur (in Madhya Pradesh) and Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi (in Kerala). More details

Cities, Violence and Order

Cities have long been recognised as not only the firm centres of government in the global north and south, but also as central to the processes of state consolidation, transformation and erosion (as seen in the work of Charles Tilly in the 1980s and 1990s). More details

Ebola: Lessons for development

IDS researchers argue that there is an urgent need to look beyond the immediate, on-the-ground concerns of disease control and containment to consider the bigger and broader questions about international development. More details

Futures Workshop on Cities, Violence and Order: The Challenges and Complex Taxonomy of Security Provision in Cities of Tomorrow

Cities have for long been recognised as not only the firm centres of government in the global north and south, but also central to the processes of state consolidation, transformation and erosion (as seen in the work of Charles Tilly in the 1980s and 1990s). More details

Improving access to livelihoods, jobs and basic services in violent contexts

Expanding access to work and services, such as public utilities and safe and reliable transportation, are important elements of any approach to strengthen security in poor urban neighbourhoods. More details

Interactions Eldis Website

Interactions is an IDS-hosted interactive online resource on Empowering Women and Girls, featuring real-time research and analysis. The website features up-to-the minute research findings and policy analysis on gender-based violence, urban health and unpaid care work from IDS and partners More details

Political economy of peri-urban expansion

This project examines the role of peri-urban spaces in urban expansion and how resilience can be fostered in these contexts. More details

The Urban Land Nexus and Inclusive Urbanization in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza and Khartoum

This action-oriented research project will use the urban land nexus and its politics to provide the entry point for analysing the cities of Khartoum, Dar es Salaam and Mwanza and as integrated city systems. The overarching objective is to identify, research, and stimulate policy debate on actionable changes that are politically feasible and scalable within existing urban systems, and will foster more inclusive and welfare-enhancing urban transitions. More details

UN Habitat III: Creating Safe and Inclusive Cities That Leave No One Behind

Addressing security and inclusion in cities as universal issues, at this side-event we will focus on how well-managed urbanisation can revitalise urban spaces that had either been lost to violence or suffered from a lack of access to basic services and neglect. More details

View all Research Theme's publications

Use this search to display this theme's publications and filter by journal, author, country and much more.

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CSP Research Report 04 cover

Housing, Marginalisation and Mobility in Pakistan: Residential Security as Social Protection

CSP Research Report 04 (2011)

Although security of residence is central to the social policy agenda in most developed countries, it has not been a prominent concern is most developing countries in recent years. In countries such as Pakistan, urban planning is skewed in favour of housing for the rich and the middle classes. More details

CSP Research Report 05 cover

Tenure Security and Urban Social Protection in India

CSP Research Report 05 (2011)

CSP Research Report 05 - This paper is contextualised against India's forthcoming national urban housing programme, the Rajiv Awaas Yojana (RAY), the key component of which is to extend property rights to slum dwellers. More details

CSP Research Report 08 cover

Social Protection for Rural-Urban Migrants in Vietnam: Current situation, Challenges and Opportunities

CSP Research Report 08 (2011)

This report discusses how the lack of adequate policies and institutional programmes of social protection for migrants in general, and the residence-based nature of the current social policy framework in particular, create multiple vulnerabilities and social exclusion among rural-urban migrants in Vietnam. More details

This is the cover to IDS Bulletin 41.4 ' Barriers to the Extension of Social Protection: Evidence from Asia'.

Barriers to the Extension of Social Protection: Evidence from Asia

IDS Bulletin 41.4 (2010)

Social protection is once again high on the international policy agenda as the multiple crises of the past three years have devastated the livelihoods of millions already living in or close to poverty, and increased vulnerability and uncertainty for millions more. More details

IDS Research Summary

Citizenship Narratives in the Absence of Good Governance: Voices of the Working Poor in Bangladesh

Research Summary of IDS Working Paper 331 (2009)

This paper explores citizenship and collective action in Bangladesh. It examines the meanings and expressions of citizenship among working poor people, and the extent to which participation in different forms of associational life, such as trade unions and development NGOs, promotes the 'capacity to aspire' to an alternative vision of society. More details

IDS Working Paper

Citizenship Narratives in the Absence of Good Governance: Voices of the Working Poor in Bangladesh

IDS Working Paper 331 (2009)

The complex nature of the challenge posed by state-society relations to the realisation of citizenship rights in the poorer countries of the world reflects the incapacity or unwillingness on the part of the state to guarantee basic security of life and livelihoods to its citizens and its proneness to capture by powerful elites that perpetuate this state of affairs. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Wellbeing, Development and Social Change in Thailand

Thammasat Journal of Economics 26.2 (2008)

Thailand has experienced economic and social transformation over a relatively short period of time and its experiences may offer salutary lessons for many other developing countries. However, the characteristics of Thailand's transformation to modernity encourage us to consider new frameworks for analysing and understanding development and social change. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Linking Urban Vulnerability, Infra-Power and 'Communal' Violence: Extralegal Security and Policing in Nagpada, Mumbai

Paper read at 9th Annual Global Development Network Conference on Security for Development: Confronting Threats to Survival and Safety January 29th-31st, at Brisbane, Australia. More details

IDS Discussion paper

Making Less Last Longer: Informal Safety Nets in Malawi

IDS Discussion Paper 373 (1999)

Poor households in sub-Saharan Africa are of necessity adjusting to a bewildering array of radical changes in the policy environment within which they struggle to construct viable livelihoods. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Urban Poverty: A New Research Agenda

IDS Bulletin 28.2 (1997)

The developing world is urbanising fast, and urban poverty is on the increase. By 2025, it is estimated that 57% of the population in less developed countries will be living in urban areas. More details

IDS Working Paper

Necessary, Sufficient or Irrelevant? Women, Wages and Intra-Household Power Relations in Urban Bangladesh

IDS Working Paper 25 (1995)

This paper examines whether women's access to income earning opportunities has implications for their position in intra-household relationships. More details

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