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Hard data for urban scenarios: UN Human Development Report '09

As professionals of the built environment we are often confronted with questions and sometimes decisions regarding the future of our cities. Migration and uncontrolled flux of peoples across the globe—due to climate change, pollution, wars or poverty—are some of these ‘apocalyptic’ scenarios presented to us. These scenarios, usually used as topics for students’ projects (particularly in architecture), are frequently offered devoid of any form of tangible hard data.

Whether we have any input in determining the future of our cities or not is another question. However, a good grasp of what is really going on the ground can only assist our response.

The recently published UN "Human Development Report 2009" offers some insights on what is really going on in terms of migration and it claims that:

Migration not infrequently gets a bad press. Negative stereotypes portraying migrants as ‘stealing our jobs’ or ‘scrounging off the taxpayer’ abound in sections of the media and public opinion, especially in times of recession. For others, the word ‘migrant’ may evoke images of people at their most vulnerable. This year’s Human Development Report, Overcoming Barriers: Human Mobility and Development, challenges such stereotypes. It seeks to broaden and rebalance perceptions of migration to reflect a more complex and highly variable reality
The report suggests that the policy response to migration can be wanting. Many governments institute increasingly repressive entry regimes, turn a blind eye to health and safety violations by employers, or fail to take a lead in educating the public on the benefits of immigration.

Find the UN Human Development Report 2009: here

post: Beatriz C. Maturana


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