Every single day, 200,000 people around the world move to cities – that’s as many as the entire population of the German city of Kassel. They need jobs, places to live, and transport networks. For this reason, an incredible amount of infrastructure needs to be built in urban areas around the world. At the same time, cities are already the main drivers of climate change, emitting over 70% of all global greenhouse gases. This makes it even more important that construction activities are done in environmentally friendly ways, using different methods and materials.
On the occasion of World Cities Day on 31 October, “Development in Brief” discusses why sustainable construction is an important aspect of climate protection and what materials are particularly suitable.
The adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by UN member states 70 years ago was a historical moment. It stipulated that every person on this planet – regardless of origin, sex, religion or social status – had the same rights and freedoms, thereby laying the foundation of the international human rights protection system. The human rights laid down in the declaration apply to all political fields including development policy and are a common reference point for development cooperation partners. We are using the anniversary of the declaration as an opportunity to discuss the relationship between human rights and infrastructure expansion as a key development policy concern. What are chances and potential risks, and how should we handle them?
Economic development relies on mobility. Without the movement of goods and people, progress becomes impossible. And yet the majority of developing countries and emerging economies still lack quick, safe and affordable ways to keep moving. Swift expansion of environmentally-friendly transport networks that can cater to the masses is thus more important than ever before, particularly in major cities.
There's no denying the health risks caused by air pollution. As road traffic levels increase along with the use of harmful fuels in buildings, pollution has reached an alarming scale, particularly in large cities in developing countries.
The latest edition of Development Policy in Brief outlines the main sources of air pollution in cities and discusses the measures that can help to improve air quality.
Cities need transport because mobility creates opportunities for advancement, both on an individual level and for society as a whole. It is the prerequisite for development and progress, for economic growth and trade – and is thus an important instrument in the fight against poverty. Efficient, environmentally friendly and affordable means of transport also increase individuals' well-being. People who can travel safely and without significant environmental impacts lead more self-sufficient and healthy lives.