Other issues worrying people in cities include house prices and rent, water, sanitation, electricity, poor housing as well as property rights.
The Take a Minute online survey on UN-HABITAT’s home page is proving popular with users who log in to share problems and concerns from their various corners of the globe.
Responses were received from all continents. The majority of respondents, 84 per cent, were under 45 years old and 88 per cent have university education. All were keen to give UN-HABITAT their ideas on how we can all work for ‘For a better urban future’, the agency’s vision.
From Angola through Canada, Republic of Korea to Brazil, Russian Federation and Iran, most of the respondents gave positive suggestions for addressing the issues which they feel could make life better for the residents.
A respondent from Montreal says: Inexpensive, clean public transportation system must be extended to cover all areas of the city. The idea is to give people all the good reasons not to use their cars to get to work. This will reduce oil consumption, pollution, city expansion on rural land, and the impact on environment."
From Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, yet another says that city authorities there should focus policy and action on empowerment of residents through knowledge and resource mobilization to deal with the issues of poor housing, sanitation and unemployment.
A resident of Strasbourg in France, where high rents are a concern because the city hosts the European Parliament, advises local governments to focus on youth to address insecurity problems. The resident appreciates measures being taken to reduce pollution: cycle paths, tramway, and public transport running on gas, but urges more work on renewable energies and sustainable public transport.
And from Beirut: one analysis links insecurity to the unstable political situation and says the problem can only be improved by democratization and the rule of law. The respondent says education and political will is necessary to reduce pollution, and urges urgent transport reforms to such as traffic management schemes, removal of unsafe vehicles from use, driver education and traffic policing.
Meanwhile from Rio de Janeiro, a resident highlights security, environmental and social issues as priorities and urges politicians to spend more money on the well-being of the population.
Respondents also want UN-HABITAT to play a role in addressing urban problems. A respondent from Berlin says the agency should publish best practices, and inform and campaign for sustainable solutions in urban public transportation. Another from Zimbabwe asks the agency to provide technical expertise in the provision of housing and employment creation.
From Kuala Lumpur, a respondent, who positions UN-HABITAT as the global information repository on sustainable human settlements, recommends establishment of UN-HABITAT focal points in member countries to raise severe urban issues, find suitable solutions based on other countries’ best practices, and contribute to resolutions at UN meetings.
In a similar vein, a respondent from Ahmedabad in India says UN-HABITAT can get involved at the institutional and grassroots levels to assist local governments to formulate regulatory frameworks. From Tehran, a respondent says the agency can give technical assistance and help with the practical guidelines. From the United States, UN-HABITAT is called on to "help local governments in all nations see the bigger, long-term picture so we can all benefit from sustainable and cohesive planning efforts".