BLOG SURF: Asian cities

Asia has come a long way. While about a quarter of its population lived in urban areas in the late 1970s, now it is half.

In the run-up to the New Urban Agenda to be finally agreed next week at the international Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador, policy-makers have been discussing how to address the myriad of challenges that Asian cities face today, such as the wide-spread lack of infrastructure, rising inequality, and aggravating climate change risks.

With governments also looking at the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, including No. 11 on sustainable cities and communities, discussions also circle around indicators to monitor progress.

However, we will be painting a false picture if we use the percentage increase or decrease in the various urban-related indicators.

The reason for this is the big absolute population growth we are witnessing in cities – both from rural-urban migration and natural population increase.