Pautas para un desarrollo urbanístico correcto

WASHINGTON, DC – El mundo en desarrollo está viviendo un proceso de urbanización acelerada: se espera que la cantidad de habitantes de ciudades llegue a los cuatro mil millones en 2030, el doble del nivel de 2000. Sin embargo, la planificación urbana desorganizada y poco coordinada está llena de riesgos, amenazando con arruinar las esperanzas de los emigrantes de una mejor vida con condiciones poco sanitarias, desempleo y una alta exposición a catástrofes naturales.

En muchos aspectos, la urbanización es un proceso racional. Después de todo, las ciudades son centros generadores de prosperidad donde se concentra más del 80% de la actividad económica mundial. Y su densidad facilita la entrega de servicios públicos como educación, atención de salud y servicios básicos. De hecho, suministrar redes de agua potable en áreas urbanas cuesta entre US$ 0,70 y 0,80 por metro cúbico, en comparación con US$ 2 en áreas con poca densidad poblacional.

Sin embargo, la alta concentración de bienes y personas (especialmente en áreas costeras) es un problema económico, ya que en ellas se encuentran en riesgo de catástrofes naturales bienes por un valor de cerca de US$ 3 mil millones. En las próximas dos décadas esta vulnerabilidad no hará más que aumentar, a medida que las ciudades tripliquen su superficie construida hasta llegar a los 60.000 kilómetros cuadrados, a menudo sin contar con infraestructura o políticas básicas para prevenir la construcción y el asentamiento en lugares vulnerables y con tendencia a sufrir catástrofes.

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