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Across the globe, urban populations have increased rapidly, often outstripping available housing.

A century ago, two of every ten people lived in urban areas; now, for the first time in human history, more than half of us do. India alone has 35 urban areas with more than a million people, and at least a dozen cities worldwide are home to more than 10 million.

Cities can be places of both great opportunity and great inequality. Close to 1 billion dwell in urban slums, and everywhere children are disproportionately at risk.

Habitat responds to the needs of our urbanising world, helping to create strong, sustainable cities with decent and affordable housing for everyone.

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity welcomes the U.N. Member States’ adoption of the New Urban Agenda and supports its emphasis on three areas: adequate and affordable housing, secure land tenure and community-led development.

Habitat for Humanity is working to reduce poverty and foster more sustainable cities. In the coming years, Habitat commits to:

– A new urban approach. By 2030, nearly two-thirds of the world will be living in urban areas and the number of people living in slums continues to grow. To address this, Habitat for Humanity is introducing a new urban approach to promote sustainable cities. This approach is based on the premise that there are eight principles that are universal and essential for good urban and housing development, which can be implemented through various contextually adapted practices.

– Solid Ground advocacy campaign. Housing accounts for more than 70 percent of land use in most cities, yet 1 billion people in cities around the world lack secure land rights. Recognising this need, Habitat has launched its Solid Ground global advocacy campaign to raise awareness and improve policies and systems to help 10 million people secure access to land for shelter. The Solid Ground campaign is focused on four key areas: secure tenure, slum upgrading, disaster resilience and gender equality.

– Inclusive housing markets. Government funding and private philanthropy alone cannot meet the shelter needs of the world’s population – local markets are critical. Through market development products and services, Habitat will accelerate and facilitate better functioning inclusive housing markets to enable over 8 million people to access improved shelter solutions by 2020.

– Increased access to housing for 40 million people. By 2020, Habitat will implement a wide array of community development strategies, advocacy initiatives and market development approaches, increasing housing access and affordability to housing for nearly 40 million people.

In a world that is rapidly urbanising, these ambitious plans provide a roadmap for the next two decades.

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