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People & Ecosystems

The Habitat III conference next week will see more than 45,000 leaders, decision-makers and experts sign into force the New Urban Agenda for sustainable cities. But the Agenda and the Habitat process don't stand alone -- going forward, they will be part of intensified efforts to achieve sustainable, equal development and combat climate change.

A good home gives families a base to build the foundations of society, but in urbanizing areas, good housing can be difficult to find. People like Jussara and her family in Porte Alegre, Brazil, face a trio of critical challenges to locating affordable housing that apply in many growing cities worldwide.

When delegates gather in Quito for Habitat III to adopt the New Urban Agenda for sustainable cities, they should keep in mind people like Adelaida, a banker and mother in Accra, Ghana, where unreliable, expensive electricity is a challenge. As a forthcoming paper of the World Resources Report shows, ensuring access to affordable energy and the economic opportunity it brings will be essential for a sustainable, prosperous urban future.

Florida's Treasure Coast has turned toxic this summer, as a foul-smelling algae bloom resembling guacamole has made some of the Sunshine State's beaches untouchable. One cause is the controlled release of water from an over-full Lake Okeechobee into local rivers that flow east to the Atlantic and west to the Gulf of Mexico.


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