In Bangladesh, urban poverty is neglected in research, policy and action on poverty reduction. This paper explores the underlying foundations for this relative neglect, including national identity and image, the political economy of urban poverty, and the structuring of knowledge creation. It argues for more comprehensive policy and programmes for the urban poor given Bangladesh’s increasingly urban future and the growing magnitude of urban poverty. The impact of climate change will accelerate Bangladesh’s ongoing urbanisation, as well as deepen the scale and severity of urban poverty. That urban poverty reduction will subsequently be increasingly important to the ability to meet national goals for poverty reduction means that policy and action must pay more attention to the urban poor. This is contingent upon two factors - a better understanding of the scale and nature of urban poverty reduction and vulnerability, and the confrontation of powerful interests necessary to secure national commitment to urban poverty reduction.