"Current urban planning systems are no longer adequate and require urgent reform to counter the problems caused by rising populations, climate change and increasing levels of urbanisation" - that is the stark warning presented in the latest report by the United Nations agency for human settlements, UN Habitat – Planning Sustainable Cities: Global Report on Human Settlement – launched today at a press conference at the European Parliament marking the occasion of World Habitat Day.
The 336-page report even goes as far as to say that urban planning systems now more often contribute to urban problems rather than help to improve the living standards of those who live in the city.
Accompanying the agency's deputy executive director Inga Klevby at the launch, Jan Olbrycht (PL, EPP) described the new report as "symbolically and politically important” and the foundation of this Parliament’s work over the next five years.
With an estimated 200,000 new citizens moving to cities everyday, migration is a substantial factor behind today's increasing level of urbanisation.
Less than five per cent of the world's population a century ago lived in the city, but this figure in 2008 stood at over 50 per cent. It is expected to reach 70 per cent in 2050!