The number of people living in cities is expected to top 6 billion by 2050 – two-thirds of the projected global population of 9 billion. Yet approximately 1 billion people already live in slums, and rural migrants are moving directly into these areas of informal settlement every day, particularly in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated three billion people will need housing, basic infrastructure, and services by 2030.
Last week about 100 thought leaders and practitioners from around the world gathered for the Urban Thinkers Campus, hosted by UN-HABITAT, to establish a framework for making these global cities more inclusive, resilient, and vibrant. The three-day forum was part of the run-up to Habitat III, the United Nations Housing and Sustainable Urban Development summit, to be held in 2016.
A Lincoln Institute delegation led a conversation about using value capture to finance infrastructure and urban development generally, underscoring the importance of land policy in the provision of affordable, serviced land. We summarized our assessment of efforts to improve slum conditions to date, such as awarding title in Peru or making targeted upgrading improvements in the favelas of Brazil, outlined in the report Regularization of Informal Settlements in Latin America. But the emphasis was on policies to redirect informality in the first place, through inclusionary housing, a form of which has been used in Chile, Community Land Trusts, betterment levies, and Brazil’s zones of special social interest or ZEIS. We also shared the Atlas of Urban Expansion, a tool for tracking the growth of global cities that is set to be updated in 2015, to assist decision-makers in preparing for the massive influx of population in the years ahead.