The planet Earth recently passed a milestone: 50% of the population now lives in urban areas. That number is expected to grow to 75% by 2050. This is not always good news, as cities are often detrimental to human health and development. In many cities in Africa, the life expectancy is half that of rural areas in the same country. This startling statistic was true in Europe in the 1800s, before key reforms in infrastructure, housing, healthcare and employment opportunities. At the same time, there is great potential for cities to excel over rural areas at providing key resources such as clean water, optimal housing, accessible healthcare, and employment opportunities — and doing so with reduced environmental impact.
On October 28, 2011, the Center for Global Health and Development hosted a consultative meeting of experts from around the world to begin to develop a clearer understanding of the ways in which Boston University could contribute to the field. A summary of the event including proceedings, program, photos, presentation slides and video are available on the summit archive page.