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Solutions to make cities safe and inclusive


More than 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. Many urban residents in the developing world experience violence or the fear of violence on a daily basis. Social exclusion, poor economic opportunities, restrictive gender roles, and lack of access to basic services for certain groups are some of the main factors driving this violence.

From 2013 to 2016, more than 75 researchers and policymakers in 16 countries have tested the effectiveness of urban violence reduction theories, strategies, and interventions. Part of the Safe and Inclusive Cities (SAIC) initiative, funded by IDRC and the UK’s Department for International Development, the research has revealed the heavy burden of physical and sexual abuse borne by women, children’s early exposure to violence, and how lack of planning, corruption, and state neglect exacerbate existing insecurities and tensions in impoverished urban communities. Researchers also examined what works in urban upgrading, community work programs, changing gender roles, and more.

Throughout the research — covering 40 cities across Latin America, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa — several themes emerged that lead to a better understanding of the links between violence and strong community ties, forced displacement, and entrenched gender identities. The thematic briefs below delve into these issues.

SAIC findings are already having an impact on policymakers, practitioners, and researchers in the field of urban safety. Policy briefs produced by IDRC and SAIC research partners distill the findings and recommendations for decision-makers, learning summaries share key challenges in carrying out research on urban violence, and five impact stories bring the research and findings from cities in Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Pakistan, South Africa, and Venezuela to life.

Results from SAIC

See all SAIC outputs in the IDRC Digital Library.

SAIC was a global research effort jointly funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and IDRC.