Sometime in 2008, the
United Nations predicts, we'll reach the point at which over half
of the world's people live in urban areas. More than at any time
in history, the fate of humanity, our economy, and the planet
will be influenced by cities.
In the period from the Industrial Revolution
through the 20th century, populations in Europe, North America,
and then Japan passed the half-urban point. Most of the world's
future population growth is expected to come in the rapidly growing
cities of Africa and Asia, two regions that are set to become
predominantly urban, and in Latin America, already 77 percent
As urban numbers have grown, the ranks of the urban poor have
surged as well. Of the 3 billion urban dwellers today, roughly
1 billion live in "slums,"defined by UN-HABITAT as areas
where people cannot secure one or more of these necessities: clean
water, sanitation, sufficient living space, durable housing, or...