'Hon'ble Minister of Urban Development, Government of India has consented to be the Guest of Honour in the Inaugural Session on the International Conference on "Future of Cities: Opportunities & Challenges" and remove the attached letter.
In 2000 only 40 percent population in developing countries lived in cities, which is expected to increase to 56 percent by 2030. Urban population in developing countries will continue to grow at 2.4 percent per year till 2030. According to the United Nations by 2050, the number of people living in cities in India and China alone will grow by 696 million (India 404 million; China 292 million). Half of Asia's and Sub Saharan Africa's population will live in cities by 2030. Over 80 percent of Latin American and Caribbean population will also become urban by 2030.
These staggering population figures could be converted into great opportunities resulting in high economic growth, political stability, and social cohesion, if citizens are appropriately educated, fed, clothed, and cared for. Human race could harness demographic dividend by creating equal opportunities for housing, employment, health care, and education for all. Politics of inclusion remains the centerpiece of such policy and planning efforts. However, large cities in large numbers are equally likely to violently shake up the economies and societies of developing countries for the worse leading to global risks like the climate change, hunger, homelessness, and public unrest, if city dwellers are ignored to singularly propel already swelling stocks of capital in few hands. Harmonious, peaceful, economically buoyant, and socially cohesive cities could be produced if built environments are created through fair decision making processes, reasonably equal distribution of resources such as land and housing, and sustainable production and consumption processes and patterns.
In fact the twenty first century is the century of the city. The city will dominate most aspects of our lives. Most innovation and wealth creation will happen in cities. City dwellers and diverse activities being carried out in cities will profoundly affect city environments. It appears that all sorts of opportunities, conflicts and challenges will be manifested in the cities. Future of humankind is located in the cities. Modern city civilization will develop or perish in cities depending on how citizens, planners, policy makers, development managers, entrepreneurs, governments, and the third sector join up and work collectively.
The organizers of this Conference would like to concentrate on the great opportunities without ignoring critical risks facing the city planners and other decision makers. In this line of thinking, the future of cities is viewed as strategically crucial part of urban planning and development. More orderly development of cities for few and slums or slum like conditions of residence and work for the majority of the city dwellers is perilous and iniquitous. We seek contributions that pave the way for improving quality of life of people in the developing countries. We are hopeful that current inequalities and inequities in cities are surmountable, and with this hope in mind, the Institute of Town Planners, India (ITPI) seeks to create an enabling environment for deliberations and discussions about the development of better future cities in the developing world. As we go along we are aware of the fact that a vast majority of human race will live in the cities of developing countries in the near future. The objectives of the Conference are:
Extended over two days, this international conference led by the Institute of Town Planners, India along with its knowledge partners will be organized from 27 July to 28 July 2017. Day one will have Plenary Session - I, and two technical sessions in the form of Track - I and Track - II. Day two will have Plenary Session - II, and two technical sessions in the form of Track - III and Track - IV. Fourteen papers will be presented on each day. In each Plenary Session one paper will be presented by a prominent international practitioner and one by a distinguished academicians. Two papers will be presented by Indian academicians and one paper by an Indian practitioner of repute on each sub-theme of a track. Each author will present at least one success story.
Selected paper writers have been requested to prepare papers, which will be reviewed by specially nominated international jury of experts. Delegates from all continents are expected to attend this global Conference.
The Steering Committee for International Conference of the ITPI will oversee the organization of this Conference.