“Nearly one billion people alive today – one in every six human beings – are slum dwellers, and that number is likely to double in the next thirty years, according to UN-HABITAT’s new publication – The Challenge of Slums: Global Report on Human Settlements 2003. Unprecedented urban growth in the face of increasing poverty and social inequality, and a predicted increase in the number of people living in slums (to about 2 billion by 2030), mean that the United Nations Millennium Development goal to improve the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020 should be considered the absolute bare
minimum that the international community should aim for, according to the report to be released in October 2003. The locus of poverty is moving from the countryside to cities, in a process now recognized as the “urbanization of poverty.” The absolute number of poor and undernourished in urban areas is increasing, as are the numbers of urban poor who suffer from malnutrition, say the report’s authors. This movement towards “full urbanisation”, which has already been completed in Europe and in North and most of South America, means that most new population growth will be absorbed by the cities of the developing world, which will double in size by 2030. Three quarters of this growth will be in cities with populations of 1 to 5 million people, and in smaller cities of under 500 000 people. The report finds that, alarmingly, there is currently little or no planning to accommodate these people or provide them with services.”
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