Thursday, 28 June 2007

GROWING CITIES "FACE CATASTROPHE"

The speed and scale of global urbanisation is so great most countries will not be prepared for the impact it will have, the UN has warned.

Urban dwellers are due to outstrip rural population next year and a big rise in poverty, slums and pollution is feared, according to the latest UN population figures reported in today's Guardian by environment editor John Vidal. (graphic: The Guardian)

Vidal writes: "Humanity will make the historic transition from a rural to an urban species some time in the next year...The shift will be led by Africa and Asia, which are expected to add 1.6 billion people to their cities over the next 25 years.

"The speed and scale of inevitable global urbanisation is so great most countries will not be remotely prepared for the impact it will have, Thoraya Obaid, executive director of the UN Population Fund, says. 'In human history we have never seen urban growth like this. It is unprecedented.' "

View the Guardian's new urban world graphic

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