Over the next 32 years, cities will shape virtually every aspect of global development, including the manner in which rights to housing, health, and education are won or wasted, implemented or ignored (Marcuse and Van Kempen, 2011; Sassen, 2011). The urban century can transform the productive capacity and outcomes of the estimated 400-600 million urban citizens who live with disabilities. This number is set to increase dramatically by 2050 when 66% of the global population will be living in cities (Acuto, 2013; Alger, 2013). Of the projected increase of 2.5 billion urban dwellers, 15-20% are expected to be persons with disabilities. Well-planned cities have dramatically improved the social and economic outcomes for individuals with a range of disabilities, their families, and the larger communities they participate in. Well-planned cities take into consideration the widest range of needs and incorporate design standards that assume that a significant portion of the population may have difficulty seeing, hearing, or moving around without assistance.
A growing body of research now shows that the most pressing issue faced by millions of persons with disabilities worldwide is not their disability but rather social exclusion (Abendroth et al., 2015; Ahmmad et al., 2014; Al Qadi et al., 2012; Amedeo and Speicher, 1995; Anguelovski, 2013; Bezmez, 2013). Poor planning, and unregulated urban development can have devastating consequences for persons with disabilities. According to the United Nations CRPD Committee, “Without access to the physical environment, to transportation… and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, persons with disabilities would not have equal opportunities for participation in their respective societies.” The committee also states that “Accessibility is a precondition for persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully and equally in society.”
Gender, ethnicity, and poverty, compound existing exclusions for persons with disabilities, limiting their access to opportunities.
 The proportion of the world’s urban population is expected to increase to approximately 57% by 2050. African Development Bank, http://www.afdb.org/en/blogs/afdb-championing-inclusive-growth-across-africa/post/urbanization-in-africa-10143/.
 Approximately 90% of this increase will be concentrated in African and Asian cities like Shenzhen, Karachi, Lagos, Guangzhou, Dhaka, Jakarta, and many others that have urbanized at a rate of 40-60% between 2000-2010
 The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination guarantees everyone the right of access to any place or service intended for use by the general public, such as transport, hotels, restaurants, cafes, theatres and parks (art. 5 (f)). Thus, a precedent has been established in the international human rights legal framework for viewing the right to access as a right per se.