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Urban Poor

Urban Poor Bibliozone

“Achieving sustainable urban development is likely to prove impossible if the urban divide is allowed not only to persist, but to continue growing, opening up an enormous gap, even in some cities a gulf, an open wound, which can produce social instability or at least generate high social and economic costs not only for the urban poor, but for society at large.”

Dr. Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka



In November, Foresight For Development turns the spotlight on foresight and the urban poor.

Featured in Bibliozone this month is a collection of publications related to African & Global urban poverty. The selection of documents is partial and based on accessible material. Therefore, we would like to invite everyone to supplement our library with additional materials.


From our FFD library:

Here are the publications available in our library:


Rockefeller Foundation Publications

The world population is growing explosively. For the first time in history, more people now live in urban communities than in rural areas. Cities cannot cope with this massive migration. In nearly all the urban areas that will experience the most dramatic growth, there is not enough housing or food or transportation—let alone jobs, schools or health care—to handle the influx. In addition, the floods, droughts and other perilous conditions that result from climate change multiply the dangers in these overcrowded areas.

The Rockefeller Foundation is exploring the best models for addressing the health and survival threats of unplanned urban areas.


Searchlight Convening: The Future of the Urban Poor

Organized by Intellecap with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the 2011 Annual Searchlight Convening involved representatives from the eleven horizon scanning and trend monitoring institutions who comprise the Rockefeller Searchlight function. These organizations serve as an “ear on the ground” and provide a regionally focused view of the world, with a particular emphasis on economic, societal and political trends, challenges and innovations that might – positively or negatively - impact the lives of the poor. An innovative and unique approach in the development sector, they support the Foundation’s ongoing exploration for novel ideas and intervention opportunities as well as early signal detection - “clues” to where and how the world is evolving.


Searchlight Report: Building a Searchlight Function

The Rockefeller Foundation believes that a critical component to establishing a successful trend scanning enterprise involves bringing the practitioners together to learn from each other, share knowledge and best practices, and foster a sense of community. This was the spirit guiding the workshop held in Bellagio, Italy and organized by the Society for International Development, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, in April 2010. The workshop consisted of multiple representatives from each Searchlight organization, along with the participation of an additional set of experts and scholars who provided invaluable insights and intriguing outlooks on both the process of horizon scanning and the content and ideas that can result from such efforts.



Foresight for Smart Globalization: Accelerating & Enhancing Pro-Poor Development Opportunities

Pro-poor foresight is forward-looking analysis that focuses on poor and marginalized people by expanding their social and economic opportunities and by enhancing the social, economic, and ecological resilience of human society. Yet foresight, as generally applied within government, industry, and the non-governmental sector, rarely includes an explicit focus on poverty.

The application of pro-poor foresight for envisioning the future of human development is crucial for ensuring long-term prosperity and sustainability. This realization was the guiding and motivating force behind a workshop organized by the Institute for Alternative Futures (IAF), with support from the Rockefeller Foundation. The workshop, “Foresight for Smart Globalization: Accelerating & Enhancing Pro-Poor Development Opportunities,” was held from March 16-20, 2009 at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Italy.


The Future of Cities, Information, and Inclusion

This ten-year forecast map charts the important intersections between urbanization and digitalization that will shape this global urban experiment, and the key tensions that will arise.

The explosive growth of cities is an economic opportunity with the potential to lift billions out of poverty. Yet the speed of change and lack of pro-poor foresight has led to a swarm of urban problems—poor housing conditions, inadequate education and health care, and racial and ethnic inequalities. The coming decade holds an opportunity to harness information to improve government services, alleviate poverty and inequality, and empower the poor.

The Institute for the Future created this 2020 Forecast: A Planet of Civic Laboratories Map to highlight future innovations that will harness urban data to reduce poverty and promote inclusion. These forecasts will inform and inspire your thinking about how technological and social trends may converge to create new opportunities; they will also highlight the tensions that may arise.


Century of the City: No Time to Lose
One in every ten people lived in urban areas a century ago. Now, for the first time ever, most people live in cities. By 2050, the United Nations projects, almost three-quarters of the world's population will call urban areas home. The majority of this growth is centered in struggling, developing countries of the Global South, but cities in developed (or Global North) countries face increasingly complex challenges as well.

Around the world, unplanned urban expansion is multiplying slums, overburdening housing, transportation and infrastructure systems, stifling economic growth, and leaving millions vulnerable to new environmental and health threats.

To help manage and plan for this accelerating urbanization, the Rockefeller Foundation convened an exceptional group of urbanists leading policy makers and government officials, finance experts, urban researchers, members of civil society organizations, and other innovators--for a Global Urban Summit at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center. This book shares their diverse perspectives, creative approaches, and urgent agenda for harnessing the vast opportunities of urbanization for a better world.


The Future of Science and Technology and Pro-poor applications
The purpose of this paper is to highlight the overall lack of focus of existing foresight analysis concerning the future of science and technology on the issue of poverty. The paper looks to re-orient thetechnology foresight community to adopting an explicit pro-poor perspective when considering future developments in science and technology (S&T).


September 2011 Southern Africa Searchlight
Poverty, Development and Donor Issues


African Urban Poverty

Global Urban Poverty


Also look at...

UNFPA State of World Population 2007: Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth



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