Today, cities have taken on a substantial role in terms of the challenges involved in improving the quality of life of their inhabitants through transversal public policies that positively impact access to rights and risk mitigation. Sustainable Development Goal (SDA) N° 11 proposes as a goal that cities and human settlements be inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. Hence the importance of understanding that decisions made in the governmental spheres of cities, in interaction with multiple actors, determine the evolution towards disintegrated cities, or towards integrated cities. The municipalities or mayors are the sub-national state level of greater proximity. The development of analysis and monitoring tools that allow for the visualization of the level of urban fragility will be very useful for the purpose of defining priorities, public policies, and risk mitigation systems.

WHAT IS A FRAGILE CITY? One of the main problems for citizens today is access to basic rights/services, including safety, public transport, water, and sanitation, among others. Latin American cities are the most unequal on the planet (10 of the 15 most unequal countries on the planet are in the region): approximately 111 million of the 588 million inhabitants live in poor neighborhoods. Moreover, in 2015, 46 of the 50 cities with the highest number of homicides in the world were in the region. Many Latin American cities suffer from a range of risks that contribute to fragility. The most susceptible are not necessarily the large cities, but the ones that grow the fastest.


The Igarapé Institute in Brazil, with the support of the United Nations University of Japan, the World Economic Forum and the organization 100 Resilient Cities, developed a global index on the fragility of cities, which shows the greatest risks cities are facing to guarantee well-being and quality of life, but above all to be viable territories. The index included information on 2,100 cities with a population of more than 250,000 inhabitants. This index is built on eleven variables, namely: population growth, rapid and unregulated urbanization, poverty, inequality, unemployment, homicides, urban conflicts, risk of terrorism, risk of natural disasters, atmospheric pollution (air pollution), and access to electricity.

The adaptation of this system of analysis to different urban sizes and densities is a challenge and a proposal towards managing and building more resilient cities.

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