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Modern cities and governance

Mar 20, 2009

State of the World’s Cities 2008/2009-Harmonious cities, a report by the United Nations Habitat emphasises the importance of harmonious urbanisation in the developing world. It points out the need for inclusive and equitable urban development and the support of global community in strengthening the governance in cities.

State of the World’s Cities 2008/2009-Harmonious cities

Publisher: UN HABITAT, 2008

This report takes a fresh look at existing urban data and delivers a compelling and comprehensive analysis of urbanisation trends and growth of cities in the last two decades.

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The findings reveal that urban growth are highest in the developing world , which absorbs an average of 5 million new urban residents every month and is responsible for 95 percent of the world’s urban development. By 2050, the urban population of the developing world is estimated to reach 5.3 billion; Asia alone will host about 63 percent of world’s urban population.

Redefining harmony

In ancient Chinese philosophy, harmony implied moderation and balance in all things. Today the concept of harmony encapsulates many modern concepts like environmental sustainability, equity, gender parity, inclusiveness and good governance.

As cities grow in size and population, harmony among the spatial, social and environmental aspects of a city and between their inhabitants becomes of paramount importance.

This harmony hinges on two key pillars: equity and sustainability. If some groups have access to resources and opportunities while others remain impoverished and marginalised, creating harmony within cities becomes a herculean task.

The report focuses on three key areas that would help to address national concerns:

  • Spatial or regional harmony
  • Social harmony
  • Environmental harmony

Planning for harmonious cities

The report recommends an innovative approach to urban planning with priorities given to regional disparities, urban inequalities, and metropolitan expansion. This report presents some of the elements required to implement innovative planning solutions for sustainable and harmonious urban development:

  • Commitment to pro-poor, inclusive urban development
  • Governing in a city of cities
  • Coordination and collaboration between national, provincial and local authorities with a common vision and demonstrate sufficient political will.
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