Nov 282016
 
Slumscapes: How the world’s five biggest slums are shaping their futures | Reuters Slumscapes: How the world’s five biggest slums are shaping their futures Students attend the morning parade at a school in Kenya’s Kibera slums in capital Nairobi, September 21, 2015. Kenya’s president on Sunday urged teachers who have been on strike for about three weeks to return to work, saying their demand for a pay rise of up to 60 percent could not be met. REUTERS/Noor Khamis  By Paola Totaro     LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – As the United Nations prepares a 20-year plan to cope with the challenges of booming urbanization, residents of the world’s five biggest slums are battling to carve out a place in the cities of the future. Home to more than 900 million people worldwide – or nearly one in every seven people – the U.N. says slums are emerging spontaneously as a “dominant and distinct type of settlement” in the 21st century. Today one quarter of the world’s city dwellers live in slums – and they are there to stay. The U.N.’s 193 member states are set to adopt the first detailed road map to guide the growth of cities, towns and informal settlements, ensure they are sustainable, do not destroy the environment and protect the rights of the vulnerable. Held once every 20 years, the U.N.’s Habitat III conference comes at a time when, for the first time in history, more people live in cities than rural areas. In 2014, 54 percent of the global population lived in cities but by 2050, this is expected to rise to 66 percent. “We live in the urban century … when planned, built, and governed well, cities can be massive agents of positive change,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a recent statement. “They can be catalysts for inclusion and powerhouses of equitable economic growth. They can help us protect the environment and limit climate change. That is why we need a new vision for urbanization.” The U.N.’s policy document, titled the New Urban Agenda, says there has been “significant” improvement in the quality of life for millions of city residents over the past two decades, but the pressures of population growth and rural-to-city migration are increasing dramatically. Billy Cobbett, director of the Cities Alliance partnership for poverty reduction and promoting sustainable cities, said urban growth in many parts of the world, particularly (more…)