Cities are places where opportunities for prosperity coexist with stark inequalities
between the richest and the poorest. Cities produce and attract highly educated workers
and innovative employers. It is usually easier in cities than in other parts of the
country for individuals to climb up the income, education or jobs ladder. But cities,
especially the largest ones, also concentrate inequalities, both in income and in
other well-being aspects, that remain remarkably high in many OECD economies. Access
to opportunities seems stalled for many low-income urban residents, who often live
in distressed neighbourhoods. This report provides ground-breaking, internationally
comparable data on economic growth, inequalities and well-being at the city level
in OECD countries. It provides empirical evidence on how cities are diverging from,
or converging with, other parts of the country, and of the extent of inequality within
cities. Finally, it proposes a framework for action, to help national and local governments
reorient policies towards more inclusive growth in cities – a new approach to growth
that ensures that no part of society is left behind.
Improve access to education, with a particular focus on disadvantaged groups and increased investment in early childhood education. Establish vocational education and training programmes that match local needs.
Invest in adult skills training and entrepreneurship, and encourage job creation in locally relevant industries.
Better target housing allowances to make access to housing fairer and promote mixed-income neighbourhoods. Reduce regulatory barriers to homebuilding.
Co-ordinate investment for urban housing and transport, and ensure that national and local policies for urban development support, rather than contradict, each other.
Provide easier access to public services such as healthcare and develop urban regeneration strategies across the board.
This report contributes to an unprecedented global political commitment to make cities more sustainable, inclusive and resilient through the implementation of the New Urban Agenda of Habitat III (Quito, Ecuador - October 2016). Through Making Cities Work for All, the OECD stands ready to help decision makers adopt policies that reinforce each other and give a voice to all – so that cities become a better place for current and future generations to fulfil their potential.
Local governments are also central to solving global challenges ranging from climate change to violent extremism, food insecurity and refugee resettlement. Global commitments such the Sustainable Development Goals provide major opportunities for cities to achieve meaningful change through their implementation.