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This working paper describes water access challenges in cities of the global south that have been hitherto largely invisible in global indicators. In analyzing 15 cities, we found that piped utility water is the most affordable option, yet, on average, almost half of all households lack access, and most of those that do have access receive intermittent service. This paper highlights four key action areas for cities to improve water access: extending the formal piped water network, addressing context-specific causes of intermittent water service, pursuing diverse strategies to make water affordable, and supporting informal settlement upgrading.

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This working paper describes the decline in access to jobs, services and people that many cities are facing due to the confluence of two trends: rapid urbanization and motorization. In analyzing two cities in the global south – Mexico City and Johannesburg – we found that up to half of urbanites experience restricted access, leading to high travel burdens and/or exclusion from opportunities. This paper highlights three key action areas for cities to improve access: rethinking the role of streets and who they serve, shifting to integrated transport systems, and tempering the demand for private vehicle use.

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This thematic paper in the World Resources Report, “Towards a More Equal City,” produced in collaboration with Yale University, analyzes data on urban expansion by measuring both the outward growth and upward growth in 499 global cities. It examines the challenge of rapid outward expansion for cities in the global South and highlights strategies cities can take to manage urban growth in a way that ensures more equal and productive cities.

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This case study in the World Resources Report, Towards a More Equal City, examines transformative urban change in Johannesburg, South Africa, through transit-oriented development (TOD). The Corridors of Freedom program aims to help reduce spatial inequality in the city by extending bus rapid transit to many new areas and spur new or improved infrastructure for non-motorized transport, social facilities and public infrastructure.

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This case study in the World Resources Report, Towards a More Equal City, examines transformative urban change in Kampala, Uganda, by following its sanitation reforms. The research follows the political process that created favorable conditions for the implementation of innovative solutions to sanitation service provision. The unfolding change remains vulnerable to shifting fiscal priorities and local political instabilities, however, with continued support from all stakeholders, it seems likely that the urban change in Kampala will be sustained.

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This case study in the World Resources Report, Towards a More Equal City, examines transformative urban change in Ahmedabad India, by analyzing the land pooling and readjustment mechanism called Town Planning Scheme (TPS). This paper reviews the evidence on whether the TPS mechanism has enabled transformative change with equitable outcomes in Ahmedabad City—and if so, how.

publication

The fourth working paper of WRI’s flagship World Resources Report (WRR), "Towards a More Equal City”, examines different approaches that cities have taken towards the informal self-employed workers and their livelihood activities. After presenting recent data on the size, composition, and contribution of the informal economy, the paper highlights a series of actionable areas for urban change agents to make cities more inclusive and productive.

news item

Rapidly growing cities are finding it increasingly difficult to provide their residents with core services, like housing, water, energy and transportation — a challenge that is exacerbated as the share of poor people living in urban areas grows. New research from the World Resources Institute finds that in most cities in the Global South, more than 70 percent of residents lack reliable access to basic services like livable, well-located housing; clean water; sustainable energy; and accessible and affordable transportation. The World Resources Report: Towards a More Equal City examines whether prioritizing access to core urban services will create cities that are prosperous and sustainable for all people.

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The World Resources Report (WRR) examines if prioritizing access to core urban services, we can create cities that are prosperous and sustainable for all people. This first installment of the WRR developed a new categorization of cities into emerging, struggling, thriving, and stabilizing cities. It focuses on solutions for struggling and emerging cities—over half the cities included in the analysis—because they have the greatest opportunity to alter their development trajectory.

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