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Ford Foundation stresses positives of urbanization

Agriculture development advocates have urged developing country officials and developed country donors to shift money to assistance to small farmers partly to discourage urban population growth, but a panel discussion in advance of United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as Rio+20) today showed that there is competition for the viewpoint that urbanization is bad.
Luis UbiƱas

Luis Ubiñas
“Urbanization can improve lives and build a healthier planet,” said Ford Foundation President Luis Ubiñas, in opening the panel event entitled “The Sustainable and Just City: Rio+20 and Beyond” in Rio de Janeiro.

“It is also possible to turn a city’s creative and entrepreneurial energy into a force for reducing poverty, increasing economic growth and reaching the twin goals of Rio+20, environmental sustainability and shared prosperity,” Ubiñas said.

Ubiñas outlined three key principles as critical to ensuring success in taking advantage of cities as a vehicle for just and sustainable development:
  • Density: It boosts creativity, entrepreneurial energy and jobs, while at the same time helping to mitigate climate change by ensuring that residents are close to where they live and work.
  • Diversity: When embraced by a city, it can spur faster and smarter growth.
  • Sound land use planning and formalization: This means ensuring that cities are designed for efficient land use and energy use and able to maximize economic opportunities for all residents. Similarly, they must give residents ownership of land and standing at the municipal and provincial levels, which unleashes creative energy and growth as well as a more profound commitment by urban residents to the sustainability of their communities.