Key message of the GMR 2013:
In the past two decades, developing countries have urbanized rapidly, with the number of people living in urban settlements rising from about 1.5 billion in 1990 to 3.6 billion (more than half of the world’s population) in 2011. The report finds that urban poverty rates are significantly lower than rural poverty rates and that urban populations have far better access to the basic public services, such as access to safe water and sanitation facilities, even though within urban areas asymmetries in access are large. If the forces of urbanization are not managed speedily and efficiently, slum growth can overwhelm city growth, exacerbate urban poverty, and derail MDG achievements. As the GMR points out, however, people are located along a continuous rural-urban spectrum, and large cities are not necessarily places where the urban poor are concentrated. Smaller towns matter greatly for urban poverty reduction and service delivery. GMR 2013 calls for an integrated strategy to better manage the planning – connecting – financing formula of urbanization.