Measuring progress in the quality of life of the urban poor

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Measuring progress in the quality of life of the urban poor: are indicators and data fit for purpose?

Informal settlement credit Flickr user dandandanRyan WP.jpg

Rapid urbanisation could lead to the expansion of informal settlements if not well managed. The number of ‘slum dwellers’ continues to increase in many developing countries: almost 1 billion people currently live in slums, and this number is expected to grow by nearly 500 million between now and 2020. While urbanisation can bring opportunities for the poor, urban dwellers also face risks, not least poor housing and insecure tenure, as well as unequal access to basic services.

Discussions over the future of development beyond the Millenium Development Goals have highlighted the need to ensure that improvements in human development and sustainability reach the most marginalised groups in society, ‘leaving no one behind’ – that includes the millions of people living in slums. But to determine whether progress is really reaching these marginal groups, we need appropriate indicators and data.

Are current measures of poverty and quality of life suitable for urban contexts? Is the data currently available fit for purpose? In this Development Progress blog series, experts put forward their key recommendations to improve the way we define and measure progress in the quality of life of the urban poor.

How should we measure quality of life in urban centres?

In this How should we measure quality of life in urban centres? of our urban poverty series, we look at what data and indicators are needed to measure the urban quality of life, particularly for those living in informal settlements. The author argues that the measurement debate is some way off including what it needs to on urban issues.

Shelter and the Millennium Development Goals

Should we keep shelter on the agenda in future development goals? Shelter and the Millennium Development Goals argues that there are compelling reasons to shift from a direct focus on shelter to other, more specific goals based around infrastructure and services.

Better measures for urban quality of life: the view from below

It’s easy to be aware of the global discourse on urban quality of life, but what about the views of those living in urban contexts? Better measures for urban quality of life: the view from below on measuring urban poverty argues that it is essential to hear those views and act on them, bringing the voices of the poor into the measurement process.

Measuring urban quality of life – can we do better?

The World Bank’s Judy Baker Measuring urban quality of life – can we do better? on urban poverty if we tackle several key problems and take on board four guiding principles as approach the post-2015 era: standardisation, investing in systematic data collection, ensuring open access and promoting information-based planning.

Further blogs

Further blogs in the series will be added as they are posted.

External links

Blog series page on developmentprogress.org