Skyline von Schanghai

20.9.2007

Die Menschen haben ein Recht auf Stadt

Anna Tibaijuka, Direktorin von UN-Habitat

Textversion deutsch

Englische Textversion des Video-Interviews

So, we are calling this the urban millennium. This is a millennium where now, you know, Homo sapiens is in the cities and so it is homo urbanus, as we say. He is living in the cities. And when people move to cities you cannot stop them from coming, they have a right to come. We advocate their right to the city because people come expecting to improve their lives. Even if the first generation might not improve its life, some of them come hoping that their children will have a better future; that is why people move.

So, we have about 1.2 billion slum-dwellers, which is about one third of the urban population of the world. In Africa, for example, 72 percent of the urban population is living in slums. Slums are settlements where there is no water, there is no sanitation, there is overcrowding, there is no permanent structure and there is always the risk being evicted by the city-authorities because normally you are squatting on land which is not yours.

The United Nations, my agency, the UN-HABITAT: We are categorically against, you know, evicting people from their dwellings, from their neighbourhoods. We advocate improving the slum settlements, upgrading the slum settlements. But also of course we promote, we are advocating a balanced territorial development. We have to invest in the countryside, in small towns, in medium-sized cities, so that not everybody ends up in these huge metropolises which are poorly planned. And this cannot happen unless you have very good policies of regional planning; either growth centres in the countryside so that everybody. Like for example you see in Europe.

Europe has a very good urban infrastructure, although Europe is urbanized, but you don´t have a megacity in Europe: not even London is a megacity, not even Paris is a megacity, Berlin is not a megacity - by international standards. Here you have only 3.5 million people, while you have cities like Sao Paolo of 17 million people. 30 percent of the people in Sao Paolo are living in Slums. You have Lagos in Nigeria, it has now 13 million people, by the year 2015 Lagos will have 23 million people. It will be the third largest city of the world. So how can you secure global peace and prosperity when you have such populations and young people, because, mind you, the populations of the developing countries, particularly of Africa, are young people? So, the slums are emerging as the big challenge of our times because you cannot ignore all these voices; they might be unheard.

Which is true also is that poor people are less organised, so it should be foreseen that unless governments provide for their poor people, unless they empower them, you know, they are just inviting trouble, social trouble. There will be social trouble, both within nations and between nations. So definitely the future of any country of the world is in the city. Now, the challenge of course is: how do we make cities a good place, a productive place for all of us?


Redaktion: Sonja Ernst
Kamera: Jörg Pfeiffer
Schnitt: Jörg Pfeiffer


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