What is our fundamental challenge for global urban development in the 21st century?
Can we possibly succeed at enabling every community to peacefully grow and thrive?
Why can't we all just get along?
Looking back at the history of cities and towns, of metropolitan growth and urban development reveals important truths about their future. The fundamental tradition and promise of urban life is community, civility, and citizenship, the common values that all human beings share. These include: the balance of rights and responsibilities; a feeling of belonging to a larger whole; the everyday courtesy that makes life safe, peaceful, and pleasant; the economic and social advancement that makes life secure, sufficient, and fulfilling - best represented by the definition of "civilization" which comes from the same ancient root word as "city." The timeless human goals of enabling families and communities to thrive are fully expressed through urban development in the finest sense of the term, which involves preservation of what is already good, as well as creating new opportunities and possibilities. Urban life - despite its many problems and failings during the past few centuries, from poverty and disease to violence and overcrowding - has been and continues to be the destiny and promise of global civilization. In the 21st century, urbanism offers the world new hope for reaffirming eternal and universal bonds of humanity and nature.
Global Urban Development is dedicated to serving and enfranchising people in order to heal the many places where the universal bonds of humanity and nature are now undergoing severe challenges; to restoring accountability and balance to urban development and community; to promoting and enhancing prosperity and quality of life for all people; and to strengthening communal and civic bonds not just for our time, but for the ages. Our goal is to initiate and build a worldwide awakening of human spirit and fellowship, of economic prosperity, social civility, political citizenship, and environmental sustainability, as a legacy for future generations.
In the 21st century, for the first time in human history, a majority of the world's population is urbanized, living in cities, towns, and other urban places. During the coming decades, the most rapid global population growth will be in the urban areas of the developed and developing world, including a steadily rising number of "megacities" with more than ten million residents. The United Nations Millennium Declaration, signed by nearly 200 countries in the fall of 2000, officially recognized the vital urban challenges of the future. There is an urgent need to address these concerns, and to develop new entities that can apply intelligence and experience to generating effective solutions. Global Urban Development has joined a very select number of research and education centers around the world that are devoted to assessing urban policies and enhancing urban development.
Global Urban Development is a non-profit organization devoted to research, teaching, discussion, publication, and action on the major issues related to urban development around the world - governance, citizenship, demography, planning, design, construction, economics, finance, public policy, transportation, infrastructure, employment, technology, culture, community development, housing, environment, education, recreation, health, and safety.
Our primary emphasis is on organizing dialogues and designing projects that generate strategic policy interventions and program innovations which can be replicated on a very large scale to improve the quality of life in urban communities worldwide. In addition, Global Urban Development’s special focus is on building and strengthening a global network that brings experts on urban issues in developing countries together with experts on urban issues in developed countries to actively engage in a unified worldwide conversation devoted to producing effective action, and widely publicizing the results and benefits of strategic investments.
The mission of the Global Urban Development is to find new, innovative, and practical solutions for the world's urban problems, from conception to implementation. Our vision is a world where every community, town, and city is a dynamic and creative place of magic and vitality, and where every metropolitan region is a growing center of peace and prosperity - in short, an urban world where truly "the lion shall lie down with the lamb."
Global Urban Development structures its work around nine broad organizing principles: Analyzing Global Urban Development – Bringing the whole world together in a unified conversation about urban policy. Building Gender Equality – Breaking down discriminatory barriers against girls and women, and enhancing their leadership roles at all levels of global and local institutions and societies, is vital for making a more peaceful and humane world. Celebrating Our Urban Heritage - The physical and cultural legacy of urban regions is a valuable asset to be preserved, enhanced, and honored. This precious legacy connects the past to future generations, contributes to sustainable prosperity, and emphasizes quality of life as a key building block for economic wealth, environmental health, and social vitality. Envisioning Sustainable Futures - Through the media and the arts, we aim to identify new ways to create and present images of a future society of Sustainable Economic Development that is in relative harmony and balance with the cycles of nature based on conserving and reusing all natural and human resources, rather than overusing and wasting them. In other words, people, places, and organizations worldwide can "get richer by becoming greener", earning and saving more money by conserving and reusing resources much more efficiently. Everyone will be better off economically and environmentally, with greater prosperity, improved health, enhanced quality of life, and much more stable peace. Facing the Environmental Challenge - Urban regions are the world's dominant population centers and the main growth engines of the global economy. For effective governance and planning, every level of government and the private and civic sectors must collaborate across jurisdictional boundaries. This is particularly vital for transportation, infrastructure, land-use, and other elements of improving and maintaining a sustainable environment. Generating Sustainable Economic Development – The purpose of this global policy initiative is to promote a worldwide conversation and movement for generating and sustaining prosperity and quality of life for all, in urban regions and rural areas on every continent. Sustainable Economic Development is a new framework spearheaded by Global Urban Development, emphasizing cooperation and teamwork across urban regions to improve economic, social, and environmental health. Improving Global Health – Generating sustainable prosperity and quality of life for every person and community throughout the world require a major focus on improving public health. Only healthy people and communities can become prosperous and maintain a high quality of life. Inclusive Economic Development: Treating People and Communities as Assets - Inclusive communities are productive communities. Every person and neighborhood deserves the opportunity to participate actively in governmental decision-making, to contribute to economic development through individual and cooperative initiative, and to share in the fruits of prosperity and democracy. Metropolitan Economic Strategy: Advancing Innovation, Prosperity, and Quality of Life - GUD's special blend of technological innovation, global competitiveness, sustainability, and inclusiveness designed to generate prosperity and quality of life for central cities, metropolitan areas, urban regions, states/provinces, and nations worldwide.
Global Urban Development brings together leaders in urban affairs from around the world, including well-known and highly acclaimed scholars, professionals, business executives, public officials, civic and religious leaders, and community activists representing the complete spectrum of non-governmental organizations. They meet frequently in many different cities to discuss how best to address worldwide urban challenges from pollution, poverty, and property rights, to economic growth, social justice, human rights, and civic harmony. A key function of Global Urban Development is to be directly involved in action-oriented projects as advisors to businesses, governments, communities, and international agencies on global urban problem solving. Global Urban Development designs and proposes creative solutions that are market-oriented, sustainable, inclusive, productive, and democratic. These solutions draw on proven best practices, good urban policies, and effective legislation for smart growth, sustainable development, new urbanism, metropolitan economic strategy, and a wide range of additional strategic initiatives.
Global Urban Development is run by an international Board of Directors and Advisory Board consisting of more than 600 leaders and experts in nearly 60 countries around the world, and publishes the online GUD Magazine, along with many other publications. Global Urban Development maintains 15 offices worldwide: Barcelona, Beijing, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London, Porto Alegre, Prague, Rehoboth, San Francisco Bay Area, Singapore, Sydney, Toronto, and Washington, DC.