A Conversation with The Ford
The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For over 75 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement.
Director of Metropolitan Opportunity
How can we build cities that are sustainable, inclusive and truly just?
Cities have long been places of promise and possibility, vibrancy and creativity. But today our metropolitan areas represent more than that: They are our best chance to make economic and social opportunity a reality for the greatest number of people.
The fact is more than half the world’s people now call cities home. All of the world’s population growth over the next four decades—some 2.3 billion people—will take place in urban areas.
We know that the natural density of urban areas boosts entrepreneurial energy and efficiency, productivity and jobs. And we know that urbanization is strongly correlated with improvements in a host of human development metrics, such as reducing extreme poverty and infant mortality and increasing education levels and economic mobility for women (which also results in dramatic declines in population growth).
Quite simply, rapid urbanization gives us unique capabilities for spurring social change.
In Nairobi and Chennai, social change makers have used new GPS tools to map the slums and improve access to and delivery of services; in São Paulo and Cali, communities are building their own high-quality affordable housing near city centers and transport systems; and in Jakarta, Buenos Aires and Detroit, government leaders are working with the private sector and civil society groups to expand or build new public transportation that will provide better access for more communities.
These are just a few examples. As the Ford Foundation partners with TED to explore and advance a socially just city, we want to hear from those of you who champion a more inclusive vision of your cities and to hear more about the metropolitan areas that have embraced fairness and a commitment to shared prosperity so that together we can bring greater attention to transformative—and replicable—urban innovations.