Making Cities Inclusive
SDI believes that managing urban growth and creating inclusive cities go hand in hand. The key is for the urban poor to be at the center of strategies for urban development. In our increasingly urban world, no government that can hope to stop or ignore the challenges posed by migration to cities. 1 billion people now live in slums. The extent of informal settlement and associated poverty is just the beginning of the extent to which large numbers of poor urban residents are excluded from the political and economic development of cities. Therefore, forward-looking cities prepare for the influx of population, and work with their citizens to harness the social, technological, and economic benefits of urbanization.
Achieving scale in urban development policy and practice begins at the individual settlement level. When local authorities engage with informal settlement communities, residents become active partners in upgrading their built environment. When communities and authorities learn together and produce developmental outcomes together, they are able to reach many more communities than the top-down initiatives that some countries attempt. Further, when communities own the process of upgrading, they are able to ensure that it is sustainable and continues to grow over time.
Urban growth presents monumental challenges for policy makers and ordinary people alike. By working with the people urban interventions affect, these problems become more manageable, and the solutions more inclusive.