Human Cities Coalition overlay illustration

The Human Cities Coalition is a public-private partnership made up of organisations from business, government, NGOs and academia dedicated to making cities more inclusive and sustainable.

Rapid urbanisation calls for new approach to end slums

3.5 billion new urban dwellers by 2050

Cities are getting bigger and bigger and grow into megacities (>10 million people). After Tokyo (37.8M), Jakarta (30.1M) is the world’s largest city; it is almost twice the size of the densely populated Netherlands. Delhi (25 million) and Manila (24 million) are number three and four. The majority of these megacities (24 worldwide) are located in rapidly developing countries. Cities are expected to absorb almost all future population growth, accommodating 3.5 billion new urban dwellers by 2050. While megacities are an important driver of economic growth, they also face increasing problems such as poor sanitation, slum housing and inadequate basic services. This will make megacities unliveable for many of its inhabitants.

Urbanisation is vital to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people during the coming decades, but cities’ rapid transformation has to be managed well otherwise the poorest communities will suffer even more.

Cities are expected to absorb almost all future population growth, accommodating 3.5 billion new urban dwellers by 2050.

More on global urbanisation

Rapid urbanisation calls for a new approach. We initiated the Human Cities Coalition because only united - companies, communities, governments and civil society together - we can address the complex problems of the growing megacities.

Ton Büchner, CEO Akzo Nobel. Founding partner.

The Human Cities Coalition

The rapid urbanisation calls for new, collaborative approach. The Human Cities Coalition was founded in 2016 to contribute to the United Nation’s New Urban Agenda, which will shape the future development of cities to make them inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (the 11th Sustainable Development Goal). We want to channel the energy of the metropolis into a force for economic and social development that benefits everyone. At its core the Human Cities Coalition believes that we are stronger when everyone collaborates we can succeed to make the world’s megacities liveable and prosperous places for all.

Our mission is to improve access to basic services to people living in the slums, including access to sanitation, clean drinking water, power and proper waste collection. We strive to develop inclusive and replicable business propositions that help address these issues. We can only achieve this by also involving the communities themselves, whose voice is often not heard or cast aside as an inconvenient truth. And we can only achieve this if we use new, blended financing mechanisms to fund these often large and complex urban development projects.

Broad international coalition: From blue-chip companies to grassroots organisations

The Human Cities Coalition, initiated by a group of Dutch companies, has forged a unique coalition that brings together a wide range of partners, predominantly from the private sector. Our coalition consists of twenty partners and 150+ stakeholders spanning from blue-chip companies and top-tier universities to grassroots organisations and governments.

The Human Cities Coalition is a platform that acts as a convener and catalyst for change. Its strength comes from its strong roots in the private sector. Its members recognize the need to pioneer viable business models that serve the needs of the urban poor and harness the value of urban agglomeration as a driving force for sustainable growth and prosperity.

The role of the private sector in the Coalition in combination with its focus on the urban poor is unprecedented in the field of urban development. That is why UN-Habitat has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Human Cities Coalition to contribute to its platform and to the development of evidence-based policies to strengthen the case for investing in sustainable urbanisation.


Jakarta & Manila

In the first year we focus our work on Jakarta and Manila, both megacities in a river delta, which pose extra challenges for which Human Cities Coalition is extra equipped. Some members of our coalition are worldwide leaders in water management. Our first step is to determine precisely the local needs of the urban poor. We are conducting assessments from the bottom up focusing on the needs of local communities as well top-down assessments that give insights into the political-economic boundaries.

At the same time we are forging strong local coalitions with the aim to unite all key stakeholders, from grassroots to government level. For each city, Human Cities Coalition facilitates 1) the process to choose jointly one of the urban development priorities and 2) the design of an inclusive public-private partnership approach to build a sustainable business proposition, including its financing, to solve the chosen priority, e.g. clean drinking water.

We believe the Human Cities Coalition has a unique role to fulfil to truly include the needs of the poor in urban development by forging strong public-private partnerships that are united in their aim to build sustainable business propositions for basic services in slum developments.


Jakarta & Manila