The United Nations has increasingly come to recognize that cities possess the potential to play a major role in promoting sustainable development. Evidence of this is most visible in the agreement within the UN Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals to establish a stand-alone goal on cities.
Part of this realization builds on increased recognition of the fact that the world’s economic activity and growth are heavily concentrated in cities. While this wealth has been disproportionately concentrated in the developed world’s largest cities, this reality is about to shift radically, with nearly 40 percent of global growth expected to come from cities in emerging markets.
According to economists, the answer is that cities will drive development in fragile contexts as well. A variety of international consulting firms unanimously support the idea that cities in these regions will dominate economic growth.
Cities have historically been where the most employment opportunities are located. They are often the engines of creativity and wealth generation and have served as important hubs for technology and transportation. Cities are where government and commerce are centered and have been associated with higher levels of literacy, better health, enhanced political participation, and greater access to social services.
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