About the right to the city

Early milestones on the road to internationalizing the right to the city as a human right include the dialogues that took place during the 1990s between human rights activists, environmentalists, non-governmental organizations and urban poor people’s social movements with local and national authorities and international agencies during Global United Nations Conferences such as Eco-92, in Rio de Janeiro and the Human Settlements Conference, Habitat II 1996 in Istanbul. These conferences introduced right to the city components into Agenda 21 and the Habitat Agenda by defining adequate living conditions that should be achieved in human settlements.

In the first years of the 21s Century, continuity was achieved by networks and global forums that incorporated urban themes into their debates and dialogues, especially the World Social Forum and the World Urban Forum. Highlights include the referential documents built during these processes such as the World Charter on the Right to the City, in the World Social Forums, and the Global-Agenda Charter for human rights in the cities, built through networks and organizations of local authorities such as the ULCG.

There are various documents that also contribute to the understanding of the right to the city as a structural element for promoting urban development policies geared towards building of just, democratic and sustainable cities such as:


  • Towards just, democratic and sustainable towns and villages treaty (1992);
  • European Charter for the Safeguarding of Human Rights in the City  (Saint Denis, 2000);
  • The City Statute of Brazil (Law n.º 10,257 of 2001).