The Peoples' Institute for Re-thinking Education and Development

Our Cities, Our Homes, Our Lives

Cities all over the world are rising up to make a difference in food, energy, transportation, communication and urban space. We have been inspired in Udaipur as a Learning City by many others, and have collected their fine examples into a small booklet, Our Lives, Our Homes, Our Cities. Or, Read it in Hindi! Check them out and get inspired to start something new in your city today! 

Some Startling Statistics about Urbanization

Although statistics should be taken with a grain of salt, they can be helpful in getting a broad sense of the urban scene In that spirit, we have gathered a few statistics about cities to share with you.

Cities cover only 2% of the earth's surface, but consume 75% of the world's resources and produce 75% of the world's waste.

In 1950, 29% of the world's population lived in urban areas. In 1994, 45% of the world's population lived in urban areas. This year, the world's urban population of over three billion people, has for the first time in history exceeded the number of those living in rural areas. Going by this trend, by 2030 around two-thirds of the world's people will be living in cities.

City population growth in the developing world is an average of 5% each year. The UN believes that by 2015, 13 of the 15 largest mega-cities will be in the developing world: 10 in Asia, 2 in Latin America, 1 in Africa.

Slums and squatter settlements are home to about 30% of the urban population.

In 1990, the UN estimated that the world was producing between 300-400 million tones of hazardous wastes annually, about 98% of which was generated by OECD countries, much of it sourced in urban areas.

The number of urban centers in India increased from 2795 in 1951 to 3609 in 1991. In 1901 there was only one city with a population more than one million. In 1991, there were 23 such cities in India. Projections estimate that by 2011, 40% of the total population, about 500 million people, will live in cities.

Clearly, we need to spend more time reflecting on what it means to be an urban species... What can we do???

The booklet Our Cities, Our Homes, Our Lives shares some inspiring urban innovations from around the world.


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