Why is understanding cities important? The world is increasingly urban, with 55% of the world’s population living in cities. DFID does a lot of programming in cities, promoting economic growth, better governance and social inclusion. However no two cities are alike, and the hugely varied socio-economic pressures and opportunities cities place on the poor. This means that urban poverty differs greatly from rural poverty, and poverty reduction relies on a complex understanding of the highly interdependent multiple dimensions of urban poverty – which is turn requires varied programmatic solutions.

The paper sets out critical analysis needed on:
1. Urban spatial structure and its impact on socio-economic dynamics
2. Socio-economic trends and their variation across city typologies
3. Risk and resilience issues in city and how critical management of long term risks is to long term programming success
4. An overview of multi-dimensional poverty, and what this means for programs

For each area the paper sets out:
Why is this important?
What you need to know?
What data you can use?
How this effects programming