Infrastructure Development Studies » Urban Development

In recent years, cities are garnering greater attention in the global development system, particularly through the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the New Urban Agenda and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. All aspects of human development as espoused in these documents, such as poverty eradication, sustained economic growth as well as combating climate change, will have to be realized in cities. Cities are aware of their new roles in addressing earth’s challenges. They tend to watch each other, learn from each other and solve their problems through replicating smart examples. However, current urbanization pathways of many OIC cities do not promise prosperity gains for all.

The 57 OIC member states’ population in urban areas grew by half billion people in last two decades. Moreover, it is foreseen that by 2050 the OIC cities will have to accommodate 1.7 billion new urban dwellers. The urbanization process of OIC region is not happening in the same nature or at the same pace in all the member countries. Nevertheless, overall expected increase in the OIC population will be closely associated with increases in the urban population, and stabilization or even a reduction in the number of inhabitants in rural areas. For that reason, accelerated efforts to address rapid urbanization would be necessary.

Some of the OIC cities are already growing so fast that authorities are struggling to cope. If not managed properly, these cities will face numerous challenges in meeting the needs of their growing urban populations, including for safe housing, infrastructure, employment, as well as for basic services. In 2014, near 232 million people was living in slum conditions in 35 OIC member states for which data is available, exposed to multiple risks and excluded from the conventional urban advantages. The purpose of SESRIC’s work on urbanization is to provide a framework of broad understanding of urbanization process in OIC member states, to promote the concept of sustainable urbanization and deepen the OIC urban cooperation, through collective efforts and concrete actions in the long-term.