Habitat’s World Cities Report 2022


    In News

    • The United Nations-Habitat’s World Cities Report 2022 Report stated that India’s urban population is estimated to stand at 675 million in 2035, the second highest behind China’s one billion.

    Key Findings

    • Uneven Urbanisation:
      • It  was only temporarily delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
      • Cities are here to stay, and the future of humanity is undoubtedly urban, though it says that levels of urbanisation are uneven, with growth slowing in many high-income countries.
    • India: 
      • India’s urban population is projected to be 675,456,000 in 2035, growing from 483,099,000 in 2020 to 542,743,000 in 2025 and 607,342,000 in 2030.
      • By 2035, the percentage of population in India at mid-year residing in urban areas will be 43.2 percent.
    • Global:
      • The global urban population is back on track to grow by another 2.2 billion people by 2050.
      • China’s urban population in 2035 is projected at 1.05 billion while the urban population in Asia will be 2.99 billion in 2035 and that in South Asia 987,592,000.
    • Asia:
      • The very big economies like China and India have a large share of the world’s population and their development trajectories have greatly influenced global inequality.
      • In Asia, in the last two decades, China and India experienced rapid economic growth and urbanisation, which led to a massive reduction in the number of people living in poverty.
      • With existing urban populations continuing to grow naturally through rising birth rates, particularly in lower income countries, the urban population is forecast to grow from 56 percent of the global total in 2021 to 68 percent by 2050.
    • Impact of COVID on urbanisation:
      • The large-scale flight from major cities in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic to the perceived safety of the countryside or smaller towns was a short-term response that will not alter the course of global urbanisation.
      • Despite greater incidence of the virus in urban areas and the economic difficulties created by the pandemic, cities are once again serving as beacons of opportunity to people in search of employment, education and training or taking refuge from conflict
    • Women empowerment: 
      • Future of effective multilevel governance must be attentive to the equitable representation of women.
      • The most progressive forms of empowerment of women often come from civil society, such as the self-help organisation Kudumbashree, which has over 4 million female members and played an instrumental role in removing absolute poverty from the state of Kerala, India.
    • Poverty and Inequality: 
      • They remain one of the most intractable and highly complex problems confronting cities.
    • Impact of Climate change:
      • Cities, especially those in warm climates or low-lying coastal areas, face existential threats due to the risks and impacts of climate change and extreme weather events.
      • Like, increased heat waves in Delhi, India, and the pervasive flooding in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Durban, South Africa.
    • Pollutants and COVID:
      • Many governments worldwide imposed lockdowns and mobility restrictions, the result of which were major improvements in air and water quality.
      • Many cities around the world, especially those in developing countries such as China and India, reported unprecedented reductions in the level of airborne pollutants such as PM2.5, PM10, CO2, NO2 and SO2. 
    • Effect of COVID on Transportation:
      • In countries like India, car dependency increased since the emergence of COVID-19, and people formerly interested in active and public transportation shifted towards private cars.
      • In the absence of safe, affordable and reliable public transportation systems, the future of urban mobility could continue to be dominated by private motorised vehicles.
      • If this scenario emerges, it will have major implications for climate change mitigation and could exacerbate already challenging issues such as air pollution, congestion, and road safety.
    • Urban Extension and Smart Cities:
      • Urban extension has surpassed urban population growth globally and, due to that expansion, many cities have grown beyond the boundaries of their central municipality.
      • Informal settlements on the edge of urban jurisdictions are vulnerable to eviction due to unclear regulatory frameworks, as was demonstrated by a recent large-scale eviction in India.
      • Smart city has become a globally popular catchphrase and major policy paradigm for technology-driven urban innovation and development.
      • Many municipal administrations choose to adopt a smart city agenda, to provide strategic and programmatic direction for urban development. 
        • They are often encouraged by national governments that use competitions to entice cities to invest in smart city programmes, as illustrated by India’s 100 Smart Cities Mission and the Republic of Korea’s Smart Challenge.

    About the Report

    • World Cities Report 2022: Envisaging the Future of Cities 
    • This Report comes at a time when world events create ever more dynamic environments for urban actors.
    • The Report seeks to:
      • Provide greater clarity and insights into the future of cities based on existing trends, challenges and opportunities,
      • Disruptive conditions, including the valuable lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, 
      • Suggest ways that cities can be better prepared to address a wide range of shocks and transition to sustainable urban futures.

    Suggestions in the Report 

    • Robust Structures: 
      • Building economic, social and environmental resilience, including appropriate governance and institutional structures, must be at the heart of the future of cities.
    • Sustainable Planning:
      • Planning for age-friendly cities and towns that afford good quality of life for all inhabitants across all generations is critical for sustainable futures.
      • Effective urban and territorial planning is critical to mitigate the negative social, economic and environmental problems associated with future urban growth.
    • New Social Contract and New Urban Agenda: 
      • Any vision for an optimistic future of cities must embody a new social contract with universal basic income, health coverage and housing.
      • Localising the New Urban Agenda and SDG 11 is the most promising pathway to the optimistic scenario of urban futures.
      • Cities should prioritise economic diversification as a critical pillar for building resilient urban economies and productive urban futures in line with the New Urban Agenda.
    • Prioritise Health:
      • When health is recognized and acted upon as a priority across all urban interventions, there are vital possibilities to achieve multiple benefits for well-being and foster inclusive, resilient, and sustainable urban futures.
    • Tackling Poverty and Inequality:
      • Within the Decade of Action window (2020–2030), cities and subnational governments should adopt a multidimensional approach to addressing poverty and inequality for building inclusive and equitable urban futures.
      • Investing in extending infrastructure and services to deprived neighbourhoods is a critical policy lever to address poverty and inequality.
    • Social inclusion and climate action:
      • In environmental decision-making, diverse voices and perspectives must be heard to minimize uncertainties in the pathways to securing greener urban futures.
      • Policymakers at all levels must therefore recognize and support the role of urban areas in the net zero transition.
      • Nature-based solutions must be part of inclusive planning processes for sustainable urban futures.
    • Effective Urban Governance:
      • In an age of global threats and disruptions, such as pandemics, natural disasters and armed conflicts, urban governance needs to be flexible and adaptable.
      • The deployment of innovation and technology should be tailored to suit the diversity of the urban context.

    UN Habitat

    • Vision:
      • A better quality of life for all in an urbanising world.
      • Build inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and communities. 
      • It promotes urbanization as a positive transformative force for people and communities, reducing inequality, discrimination and poverty.
    • Mission: 
      • The mission embodies the four main roles of the organisation, which can be summarised as: think, do, share and partner.
        • Think: UN-Habitat’s normative work, including groundbreaking research and capacity-building, sets standards, proposes norms and principles, shares good practice, monitors global progress and supports formulation of policies related to sustainable cities and human settlements.
        • Do: UN-Habitat’s operational work takes various forms of technical assistance, drawing on its unique expertise in sustainable urbanisation and crisis response. UN-Habitat implements projects to provide value-added and tailored support to countries.
        • Share: Through advocacy, communication and outreach, UN-Habitat mobilises public, political and financial support and collaborative action to inspire qualitative change in national development plans, policy frameworks, development practice and investment choices for sustainable urban development at the local, national and global level.
        • Partner: UN-Habitat collaborates with governments, intergovernmental, UN agencies, civil society organisations, foundations, academic institutions and the private sector to achieve enduring results in addressing the challenges of urbanisation.
    • UN-Habitat works in over 90 countries to promote transformative change in cities and human settlements through knowledge, policy advice, technical assistance and collaborative action.
    • Its new strategic plan 2020-2023 adopts a more strategic and integrated approach to solving the challenges and opportunities of twenty-first century cities and other human settlements.

    Source: TH