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By the year 2005 it is estimated that half the world's populatuion will be living in cities, and already half the poor are urban dwellers. Confronted with the sheer scale of the problem, urban policy in the South has undergone sharp changes of approach over the years. As the examples in this book show, there are renewed grounds for optimism that a new approach, with an emphasis on a partnership between the people, NGOs, private investors and local authorities, can be effective in tackling the multiple dimensions of the urban crisis. It describes innovative, but not necessarily well-known, approaches that have actually worked on a large scale in a variety of big-city contexts, and which are socially equitable, ecologically sustainable, economically viable and culturally transferable in other contexts.