We are on the verge of historic transition: at some point in 2008, more than half of all people will live in urban areas. Is this good or bad news? Urban centers are hives of creativity, economic hubs, and engines of technological process. Yet not far from the gated enclaves of luxury homes, children in slums routinely die from diseases spread by dirty water, while alienation, drug trafficking and violence undermine local and global security. Local governments from Bogotá to London have emerged as environmental innovators, but cities still disproportionately contribute to problems as wide-ranging as climate change to pandemic disease. This edition of State of the World examines changes in the ways cities are managed, built, and lived in that could tip the balance toward a healthier and more peaceful urban future. Authors investigate water and sanitation, urban faming, local energy production, "green" transportation options, disaster preparedness, local economic stability, and much more. Plus, snapshots of cities from Timbuktu to Los Angeles give a glimpse of the fascinating diversity of urban life.