Communications and Advocacy activities promote Cities Alliance’s key messages on urban development in order to encourage policies and behaviour that contribute to the vision of sustainable cities without slums. Our key messages are:

Urbanisation is a positive force that has the potential to change societies and economies for the better.

Now is the time to plan for urbanisation. Urbanisation is inevitable. Policy makers, Mayors and planners—especially in Africa and Asia—should project and plan for urbanisation in order to take advantage of its opportunities. The decisions they make now will impact cities for the next 20-30 years.

Cities are effective engines of growth and innovation that allow people to access a variety of job opportunities and personal development at large scale. Many of these opportunities are in the informal sector.”

Local governments play a key role in urban development, yet often lack the political, institutional and financial resources and powers to fulfill their mandate.

Plan long-term and citywide. It is important to look beyond the next election cycle and develop systemic frameworks that can survive changing city administrations. These plans should focus on the whole city, and the whole population.

Secondary cities are crucial. Most growth in the developing world is happening in small- and medium-sized cities, which face huge infrastructural and governance challenges. The bulk of this growth is informal and unplanned.

Know your city. Public authorities have to know a city before they can plan for it. Know the facts, the population, where they come from, where they live, what they live in, what they earn. And then start with the current reality; if 60 percent of a city is informal, that is the reality.

Slum dwellers are the middle class in waiting. To bring about change, slum dwellers need to be considered an asset rather than a problem. They should be treated as citizens, with access to essential services as well as economic and social opportunities.