In academic and policy discourse, urbanisation and cities are currently receiving a great deal of attention, and rightly so. Both have been central to the enormous transformation the world has been going through during the past few centuries.
Many parts of the world have experienced and are experiencing an urban transformation. While these processes have taken distinct regional forms across Latin America, East and South Asia, and Africa, it is clear that, globally, the urban transformation has coincided with major societal and ecological changes. Some of these developments have been heralded as progress – notably millions of people being lifted out of poverty – while others, such as entrenching inequalities and accelerating climate change, are alarming.
In recent years the pro-urban voices have been louder, but accounts of the wonders of cities need to be balanced with a recognition of the violence, inequity and environmentally destructive forces that cities can embody and reproduce. Equally important is to explore how cities and urbanisation can be made to contribute more to human wellbeing and to international and local development goals. This report is particularly concerned with whether and under what conditions more inclusive urbanisation and cities can support these development goals.