Panos Institute

Governing our cities: will people power work?

This report was written in the context of the special session of the UN General Assembly on the successes and failures of the Habitat Agenda. It analyses the rhetoric of empowerment and examines whether these strategies have led to real improvements in people's lives. It was agreed at the Second UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in 1996, that sustainable urban development can be achieved if poor people are able to assert their own rights, and organise themselves to provide their own services and infrastructure. Successful urban governance depend on people power.