City Life is the second series of Life documenting the effects of globalization on individuals and communities around the world. This twenty-two part series of 27-minute programs examines globalization’s effects on cities and their inhabitants.
In the summer of 2001, world leaders met in New York City to discuss the progress made since the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements five years earlier in Istanbul. The agreement reached in Turkey set out the specific goals of providing adequate shelter for all and achieving sustainable development of communities. The consensus in New York was that there has been a huge gap between policy formulation and implementation.
Globalization coupled with a lack of action by world leaders is causing an ever-widening gap in wealth, separating the rich from the impoverished. Poverty is increasing in cities dramatically. People from rural areas all over the world are moving to cities at an alarming rate because rural economies can no longer sustain them. The lure of opportunity and employment draw them to the cities, further exacerbating a global problem.
According to Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of Habitat (the UN Center for Human Settlements) globalization is making the 21st century the century of cities. “The challenge now,” she says, “is how to make cities better for a majority of the people.”