More and more of the world's people live in urban areas, which share the same problems: unemployment, corroding infrastructure, deteriorating environment, a collapsing social compact, and weakening institutions. To ask why this is happening and what can be done, twenty-two leading social scientists and experienced public officials have pooled their experience and their research in preparation for the June 1996 United Nations conference on human settlement in Istanbul. Their collaborative effort is published in Preparing for the Urban Future: Global Pressures and Local Forces. The contributors find commonalities in the globalized economy in which all cities compete and in the mixes of squalor and splendor found in urban environments east and west, north and south. But common, too, in these accounts, are local, rather than national, solutions to urban challenges, which local community groups often view in purely local terms. Contributors are Nezar Al Sayyad, Ilona Blue, Jordi Borja,Robert Bruegmann, Galia Burgel, Guy Burgel, Michael A. Cohen, Maria Elena Ducci, Allison Garland, Mohamed Halfani, Trudy Harpham, Lisa Peattie, Julie Roqu, Blair A. Ruble, Hank Savitch, K. C.
Sivaramakrishnan, Martha Schteingart, Richard Stren, Joseph S. Tulchin, Edmundo Werna, Michael White, and Weiping Wu.
Michael A. Cohen is senior adviser to the vice president, environmentally sustainable development, at the World Bank, where he has long been involved in urban policy and projects. Blair A.Ruble is director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, Joseph S. Tulchin is director of the Latin American Program, and Allison Garland is program associate of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.