Migration is at the heart of the human and economic development of cities

Cities are increasingly commanding attention as places of human habitation, economic activity and cultural and intellectual expression. They are also the destinations of most of the world’s migrants, refugees and other travellers. It is primarily the destination aspect that interested the participants of the conference and therefore constitutes the focus of this report, but the other aspects are inevitable companions in this story. The rise of the city – since 2007, the home of over half of the world’s population and, by 2040, expected to be the home of two thirds of us – is a phenomenon that holds great promise as well as formidable challenges. As powerful concentrations of human capital brought into cooperation and thereby creating innovation and production, cities represent the single most powerful engine for economic, social and intellectual development yet witnessed in human history. Although just over 50 per cent of all people live in urban centres, over 80 per cent of global GDP is produced in cities. Since migration underlies this urbanization, which occurs primarily because of the movement of people from rural areas to cities, it is at the heart of human and economic development. The fundamental connection between migration and development is, therefore, most manifest in the city.

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