A new report by UN-Habitat links the world's future prosperity to the ability of cities to reduce risk and build resilience to adverse forces of nature.
Titled State of the World's Cities 2012/2013 - the Prosperity of Cities, the report identifies soaring unemployment, food shortages and rising prices, strains on financial institutions, insecurity and political instability as challenges to the conventional notion of cities as the home of prosperity.
The wasteful expansion of cities in "endless peripheries" leads to additional risks associated with the provision of water, physical infrastructure, transport and energy, and affects industrial production, local economies, assets and livelihoods, according to the report. (...)
Margareta Wahlström, who heads the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, supports UN-Habitat's approach, which takes equity and good governance into account when assessing a city's prosperity - these elements also help bolster disaster resilience.
"The findings from our own studies on cities show that low socio-economic development need not necessarily limit all resilience-building activities, especially when the central government and multilateral agencies work together to ensure the right people come together to take action," said Wahlström, referring to UNISDR's newest report, "Making Cities Resilient 2012 -- My city is getting ready! A global snapshot of how local governments reduce disaster risk," which was launched in tandem with the UN-Habitat report.