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Urban Development

Cities are the main engine of economic and social development. The social interaction in cities drives innovation and creativity, giving rise to cutting-edge technological and cultural production systems.

The concentration of population, however, generates high demand for services. When the expansion of the supply of services is inadequate, significant deficits emerge in the coverage and quality of infrastructure and services, including housing. These problems are compounded by weak urban governance. In Latin America and the Caribbean 150 million people under the poverty line live in its cities.

The IDB is committed to urban development and expanding access to housing in the region. Its fluid dialogue with national and municipal authorities, its track record of good practices and innovation, and its high multisector technical capacity, have afforded it privileged access to the region.

Areas of action





Impacts of rapid urbanization and national prosperity The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation of Peru, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) organized in Lima, Peru, a high-level Summit to discuss common challenges in urban development and housing.

World Urban Forum 7 – Medellin

The World Urban Forum (WUF7) is the most important global meeting of national and gathers a wide range of people interested in urban issues, such as regional and local governments, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, professionals, research institutions and academies, professionals, private sector, development finance institutions, foundations, media and United Nations organizations and other international agencies. This large event is sponsored by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).

Rio’s Favelas: Informal Settlements and Social Mobility

Dr. Janice Perlman, author of The Myth of Marginality (UC Press, 1976) and Favela: Four Decades of Living on the Edge in Rio de Janeiro (Oxford University Press, 2010) and President of the Mega-Cities Project, Inc., will discuss her research in over one thousand favelas these past four decades. Dr. Perlman will reflect on the factors that reinforce social and spatial exclusion and the implication for future urban policy, practice and research.

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By the numbers


of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean is urban. This makes it the most urbanized region in the world.

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Call for proposals Deadline is August 1, 2016

MOOC Urban Development (Spanish only) Start on June 21, 2016


Women Forge a Future for Apartadó More and Better Homes New Homes for Guyana Transparency in Home Mortgages

    Women Forge a Future for Apartadó

    In the Colombian town of Apartadó, women are shaping a new beginning after decades of violence
  • Women Forge a Future for Apartadó (04:45) Video Icon
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    More and Better Homes

    According to the IDB study "Room for Development", Latin America and the Caribbean would need to invest 7,8% of its GDP to respond to an increading demand for quality housing. What can we possibly do? Govenrments need to motivate the private sector to build more and better homes at affordable prices. More information at
  • More and Better Homes (1:55) Video Icon
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    New Homes for Guyana

    Nearly 20,000 low-income families have become proud homeowners in new Guyanese communities.
  • New Homes for Guyana (02:40) Video Icon
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    Transparency in Home Mortgages

    The Inter-American Development Bank, through its Transparency Fund, is supporting Colombia´s National Savings Fund and Transparencia por Colombia in giving visibility online to the housing purchasing processes and access to mortgages.
  • Transparency in Home Mortgages (02:50) Video Icon

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Projects Highlights

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