The 1970's saw increasing migration from the inner city. Industrial and professional resources moved to the suburbs, leaving a vast amount of unclaimed space, evident both in vacant lots and in empty, deteriorating buildings. Inner city buildings are also vacated and boarded up as a result of fire and substandard conditions. Furthermore, occupied housing is also deteriorating, a situation inevitable in the face of aging architecture, lack of repair and rapid turnover among residents. Still more unpleasing to the eye is the amount of litter strewn throughout most inner city residential areas. Broken glass and discarded paper along cracked sidewalks give the impression of deliberate carelessness. The effect of this condition is that even the well-cared-for space in the community and the few attempts at rehabilitation go virtually unnoticed; residents see little hope for dealing creatively with the area as a whole; there is an attitude of resigned acceptance in the face of mounting deterioration, encouraging further desecration which in turn increases the deterioration and deepens the despair. Until radical, expansive rehabilitation and new construction take place in such urban neighbourhoods, gradual deterioration of the area will continue to paralyse action and degrade human dignity.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.