For the first time in human history, more than half the world’s population lives in cities. We are witnessing the emergence of a “Glocal Archipelago Economy” joining the largest metropolises in the world. They are connected economically, politically, and culturally by a dense web of media, information, communication, and transportation networks. This is where the world’s élites live and where the greatest part of global wealth and opportunities are concentrated. They have become the key nodes of power of the Twenty-First Century world and are attracting increasing numbers of people: not only citizens of the same country but immigrants and refugees from across the world. In order to be sustainable, these cities need to invest a significant amount of resources in urban planning, new infrastructure, green energy, high-quality education, healthcare and social security systems. Yet most of them are ill-equipped to deal with such influxes of population and to provide the infrastructure and opportunities their citizens require.
Cities constitute for us the most important level of governance, with the greatest impact on our daily lives. They must be given the resources to address the challenges they face much more effectively than they can do today. This means: direct participation rights for all; reducing environmental footprints; increasing economic competitiveness; promoting cultural diversity; and creating a common civic identity in which all individuals and communities take pride and share in.
Empowering creative cities where all citizens are included in decision-making processes and have equal rights and responsibilities is the great challenge of our human and natural environment.