Accelerating Urban Inclusion for a Just Recovery

Monday, 5 September, 2022

Accelerating Urban Inclusion for a Just Recovery

Published by World Economic Forum in August 2022


Cities cannot achieve a just recovery without understanding and addressing the barriers to urban inclusion faced by citizens.

The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to and at times worsened stark inequalities in cities around the world. Cities’ resilience to both acute crises such as COVID-19 and long-term challenges including climate change depends in great part on their ability to encourage urban inclusion, for example, in terms of access to housing, mobility, public services and economic opportunity.

Different groups – including women, lowincome residents, ethnic and religious minorities, disabled people, migrants, refugees and others – face distinct barriers to urban inclusion. Cities must understand and respond to the unique vulnerabilities – including intersecting vulnerabilities – faced by all urban dwellers.

Cities everywhere, including in low-income and conflict-affected countries, have developed innovative approaches to achieving greater inclusion, spurred on in part by the pandemic. Such initiatives may take varied forms and may emerge from government bodies, the private sector or civic organizations, but all successful initiatives actively involve the communities they serve. Thinking through the various dimensions of urban inclusion can help cities devise approaches relevant to their context, such as:

  • Spatial inclusion involves land use planning and urban and transport design that enhance safety and accessibility for all urban residents, regardless of where they live.
  • Digital inclusion involves reliable access to the internet, affordable devices and digital skills training, and has become vital for accessing services, education and employment, especially during crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Social and institutional inclusion involves removing barriers to participation by vulnerable groups in the economic, educational, political and cultural life of their cities, and ensuring that representatives of these groups occupy positions of leadership and influence.
  • Economic inclusion involves providing access to jobs, training and banking through targeted programmes and services.

To ensure urban inclusion, cities must have sound, sustainable municipal finance systems in place. This requires making intergovernmental fiscal transfers more transparent and predictable, and strengthening local revenue collection, including through land value capture, taxation and service fees, as locally appropriate.

Leadership across the public and private sectors is essential to urban inclusion. Leaders must be willing to listen to and learn from local residents, and “crowd in” resources from all available sources.

This report, co-written by experts from international organizations, private corporations, government bodies and academic institutions, makes the urgent case for greater urban inclusion, and aims to provide guidance and inspiration for cities on how to achieve it.

Access the full report here:

or download the attached PDF of the report.