About Us

GUD board meeting Vancouver_edited_edite
About Us

Global Urban Development (GUD) is a worldwide non-profit organization founded in 2001, consisting of a rapidly growing network of more than 700 dynamic and well-known urban leaders and experts in 60 countries. GUD has offices in Barcelona, Beijing, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, New York, Panama City, Porto Alegre, Prague, Rehoboth, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, 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 engage in projects in partnership with a wide variety of international, national,  city, and community organizations.  GUD operates under the major themes of Sustainability, 

Prosperity, Innovation, 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 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, Panama, and other countries.


We first began organizing Global Urban Development (GUD) on the morning of September 11, 2001, and we were legally incorporated as a non-profit organization in Washington, DC on December 3, 2001. GUDbegan in 2001 as the Prague Institute for Global Urban Development, and we officially changed our name to Global Urban Development in October 2005. Today GUD is legally incorporated in the State of Delaware.


Since 2001 we have built a worldwide network of more than 700 leaders and experts in nearly 60 countries who serve on our Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and as Senior Fellows and Fellows. During these years, a number of distinguished GUD leaders have passed away, including co-founder and Vice Chair Sir Peter Hall. We deeply mourn the loss of our beloved friends and colleagues.

The original Prague Institute brochure was proudly unveiled early in 2002. Working out of our Prague office in the early years we participated in a number of European projects and conferences in addition to projects in the US, South Africa, and other regions.

.... more to come