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Published on: 17/07/2012

Providing water and sanitation services (WSS) to the urban poor in developing countries is a daunting task. Urbanization continues unabated, and more people now live in urban areas than in rural ones. Extending services in large urban areas to keep up with demand is challenging enough: growth in small towns and intermediate-size cities that require new infrastructure increases the complexity for delivering, and financing, services for all.

This is the introduction of the chapter “Investing in Urban Water and Sanitation Systems” which IRC authors Catarina Fonseca, Rachel Cardone and Sophie Trémolet contributed to in a new book titled “The Urban Transformation - Health, Shelter and Climate Change”, published by Routledge on 9 July 2012.


The book describes the ongoing urban transformation towards a world in which, by 2050, more than two-thirds of the world population will live in urban areas. For the first time in history, half of the world's population is living in urban areas, and a large proportion of the urban growth will be taking place in the cities of the developing world. This transition to an urban world could be a negative transformation; but, if well-planned, it could also offer an unprecedented opportunity to improve the lives of some of the world's poorest people. The publication brings together some of the world's foremost experts in urban development with the aim of approaching these issues as an opportunity for real positive change. The ten chapters of the book focus on three strategically critical aspects of this transformation: public health, shelter, water and sanitation, and climate change adaptation.

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17 July 2012. 

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