Inclusive Cities and their Role in Development

By 2050, the world population will nearly double what it is right now. That is why inclusive and sustainable cities are so important. Inclusive cities came out of UN Habitat and the idea behind them is that cities need to be more inclusive in their design and infrastructure. This includes more accessible public transportation, and buildings with ramps and elevators that make getting into and around buildings easier for persons with disabilities. In addition to access for persons with physical disabilities, inclusive cities would include speaker systems and screens that announce when public transportation is arriving. That technology is also transferable to other sectors, such as having online systems or digital systems in all public sectors like libraries or hospitals.

Inclusive development and inclusive cities go hand in hand. Part of making the world more inclusive for persons with disabilities is making their environment more accessible. The CRPD requires State Parties to make the lives of persons with disabilities better, and one way would be to increase the accessibility of the environment around them. The CRPD has initiatives that focus on monitoring and evaluating disability-inclusive development. The CRPD is concerned with proper data collecting on persons with disabilities as well as inclusive housing initiatives. Under the CRPD .”..States parties have a general obligation “ to undertake or promote research and development of universally designed goods, services, equipment and facilities, as defined in article 2 of the Convention, which should require the minimum possible adaption and the least cost to meet the specific needs of a person with disabilities.” So the connection between the CRPD and inclusive cities is quite clear. State parties are obligated to make sure that research and money is devoted to advancing the lives of persons with disabilities.

Habitat III and the NUA (the outcome document which came out of the H3 conference) are also devoted to inclusive and smart cities. Through the GAP (General Assembly of Partners), a group of 17 constituency groups, of which one is Persons with Disabilities, Habitat III has a direct impact on persons with disabilities. The NUA is implemented at the state and local level at the discretion of the State parties themselves. Local governments play an important role in implementing the NUA and by working at the local level it is easier to introduce new policies that have direct impact on persons with disabilities. The NUA and inclusive cities all have an impact on persons with disabilities and through the GAP, those policies are being further implemented.