Why cities? Cities are home to half the world’s seven billion people. Current urbanization trends indicate that an additional three billion people will be living in cities by 2050, increasing the urban share of the world’s population to two-thirds.
Cities and urbanisation far from being an intractable problem, present us with a unique 21stCentury opportunity to end poverty, reduce disaster risk and climate change impact and transform development in two generations or less.
I can draw upon examples from across the world to present a compelling case for sustainable urbanisation that keeps a dynamic balance between the urban and the rural; humans and nature; current and future generations; the poor, the vulnerable and the privileged; and cities, regions and countries.
Solutions exist in many cities and regions across the world. They need to be woven into a coherent fabric that links economic, social and environmental concerns via new social compact and its associated governance and institutional arrangements; human capabilities; infrastructure and technology; financing and changing social and environmental relations.
These solutions will be the focus of my presentation today as part of the TEDxPlaceDesNations event at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland. These solutions de-mystify the complexities of urban resilience as a vital element of strong disaster risk management under the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) and will remain so in the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction, to be adopted at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, in three months’ time.
Aromar Revi is a global expert on Risk, Sustainable Urban Development and climate change