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[PDF 144 pages, February 2012]
On the occasion of the launch of The State of the World’s Children 2012: Children in an Urban World (PDF 144 pages, Feb 2012). UNICEF’s communication specialist Tobias Dierks asked Parag Khanna, one of the world’s leading geo-strategists, what impact urbanization has on our lives, why he thinks that cities are the “locus of global problem-solving” and how children’s rights can best be protected in an urban world.
By 2050, two thirds of the world’s people are expected to live in towns and cities.
Q: How will this change our cities? Is this a rather scary perspective or something we should be looking forward to?
A: We already live in a majority urban world, and we can feel the consequences – and appreciate the opportunities – well before we get to 2050. There are very few megacities in the world that don’t have enormous income stratification. Perhaps only Tokyo really qualifies. Across Latin America, Africa and Asia, the cities of over 15 or 20 million residents feature enormous income inequality. These cities are also in the countries that have large populations of youths and children, so that the problem of urban inequality is also a problem of lack of opportunity for young people.
You call for a worldwide city performance index.
Q: What does this mean and how can such an index help the cities’ poorest? What child-specific data would you propose incorporating into the index?...