Global Urban Development (GUD) is a worldwide non-profit organization founded in 2001, consisting of a rapidly growing network of more than 600 dynamic and well-known urban leaders and experts in 60 countries. GUD has offices in Barcelona, Beijing, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London, Porto Alegre, Prague, Rehoboth, San Francisco Bay Area, Singapore, Sydney, Toronto, and Washington, DC.  We conduct education, research, and action to promote policy ideas that help generate more prosperous, sustainable, and inclusive urban development throughout the world. 

GUD’s goals are for all people everywhere to live and thrive in peace with each other, and for all people everywhere to live and thrive in peace with nature.  To further these goals, we publish the state-of-the-art GUD Magazine on our website,, and we engage in projects in partnership with a wide variety of international organizations.  GUD operates under three major themes:  Innovation and Prosperity, Sustainability, and Inclusiveness.

Global Urban Development was founded on three basic ideas.  The first idea was to acknowledge that for the first time in all of human history, the world is now becoming an urban world.  According to the UN, more than half of the people in the world are now living in cities and towns as of 2007.  Therefore, the majority of the world’s population is now urbanized.  This occurrence is all the more remarkable because in 1950 only one-third of the world’s population was urbanized, and yet by the end of this century, two-thirds of the world’s population will be urbanized.  Many people are alarmed by this trend, seeing it as a major problem. 

GUD, on the other hand, believes that everyone should adapt to changing times by working together to solve the urban challenges rather than turning our backs on them or trying to reverse these powerful urbanizing trends.  Since urban economic activity is more productive and innovative and produces both more jobs and higher incomes, GUD advocates using rapidly increasing urbanization as a resource for improving the standard of living and the quality of life both for urban and rural residents alike.

The second idea is that all people and communities have much more in common than the differences between us.  Thus we do not divide the world into irreconcilable differences, such as the standard division between “developed” countries and “developing” countries.  GUD includes every person and community equally in our policy debates and program initiatives.   This explains why GUD works very closely with the UN on several different initiatives, including the Community Productivity Project (CPP), in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat), and Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI), designed to make significant progress in researching and identifying new and better ways to reach the UN’s Millennium Development Goals related to environmental sustainability, poverty reduction, gender equality, public health, and global development partnerships.

The third idea is that Global Urban Development stands for practical action to accomplish visionary goals through broadly inclusive and sustainable solutions.  We do not seek to divide people into greater conflict between “winners and losers” or “haves and have-nots.”  Our approach is to unite people through education and consensus-building in order to identify and implement “win-win” solutions where all can successfully become winners and where every person, family, and community can achieve long-term peace and prosperity, health and happiness. 

GUD is organized into participatory program committees based on values-oriented themes such as Analyzing Global Urban Development, Building Gender Equality, Celebrating Our Urban Heritage, Envisioning Sustainable Futures, Facing the Environmental Challenge, Generating Sustainable Economic Development, Improving Global Health, Inclusive Economic Development: Treating People and Communities as Assets, and Metropolitan Economic Strategy: Advancing Innovation, Prosperity, and Quality of Life.

GUD is a global innovator in sub-national sustainable economic, business, employment, and community development, for states and provinces, regions and districts, cities and counties, towns and villages, and neighborhoods and communities.  GUD’s Metropolitan Economic Strategy and Sustainable Innovation framework is now widely accepted worldwide, including by major international agencies such as the United Nations, World Bank, and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). 

Currently GUD is working on Metropolitan Economic Strategy and Sustainable Innovation in Brazil. We are advising the Federation of Industries of Minas Gerais (FIEMG) and the State Government of Minas Gerais, the Federation of Industries of Rio Grande do Sul (FIERGS) and the State Government of Rio Grande do Sul, and the Federal Government, including the Brazilian Agency for Industrial Development (ABDI).  Please read GUD’s two recent Brazil reports, Advanced Manufacturing and Sustainable Innovation: The Third Wave of Industrial and Urban Economic Growth for Minas Gerais (October 2012) and Local and Regional Economic Development Opportunities Related to the Implementation of the Sao Jose do Norte EBR Shipyard in Rio Grande do Sul (December 2012).


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