Environment and Urbanization

Published by SAGE Publications
Online ISSN: 0956-2478
Publications
Basic Data on Accra and São Paulo 
Main Data Sources in Each of the Case Study Cities 
Article
PIP This paper presents the research methodology that applied existing data to the study of environmental and health inequalities in Accra, Ghana, and Sao Paulo, Brazil. After an introductory section, the paper considers why more research in this area is necessary and the reasons why information on cities in the South is lacking. The third section describes the aims and methods of the study by 1) looking at the development of the methodology, a form of descriptive epidemiology that uses existing data on morbidity and mortality rates to explore and describe the intra-urban distribution of health and environmental conditions in each location; 2) discussing the creation of an index of socioenvironmental deprivation based on judgements about the validity and quality of data on various socioeconomic and environmental indicators made by working groups in each location; and 3) reviewing data collection techniques and problems with data quality. Section 4 summarizes the results of the study by first noting that the study proved that existing data can be used to identify the extent of intra-urban differentials in environmental and health conditions and then presenting the results of the data analysis that exposed the myth of urban benefits by revealing the unequal distribution of socioeconomic conditions and exposed the myth of urban health by revealing the inequalities in life chances between groups in each setting. The concluding section explores the relevance of these results in environmental and health terms. A main achievement of the study was to introduce a method that allowed planners and policy-makers to work together to devise complex definitions of deprivation using existing data and to use the resulting information for actual decision-making to reduce inequalities.
 
Article
This paper presents empirical material collected in the small town of Biharamulo (population 20,000) and four surrounding villages in 1993. The study area is located in the Kagera Region of north-west Tanzania. The paper attempts to demonstrate how rural areas and small urban centres are economically interdependent. Biharamulo is a district headquarter town and fulfils, inter alia, important administrative, marketing, service and retailing functions. The paper discusses how the four villages interact with the town and illustrates how village households adopt a combination of survival and accumulation strategies including the use of rural and urban resources. The most successful village households appear to be those which use urban opportunities and assets (for example, urban employment, urban house and shop ownership) to diversify income sources and thereby avoid the uncertainties of relying solely on marketable crop production for household security. As a backdrop to the whole discussion, an attempt is made to analyze the types of households which might be poor or, at least, susceptible to poverty.
 
The study areas 
Article
This paper describes the mobility patterns, rural-urban linkages and household structures for a low-income neighbourhood on the outskirts of Mombasa, Kenya's main port, and a rural settlement 60 kilometres away. Drawing on interviews with a sample of mothers resident in each location, it documents their perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of rural and urban life, and shows the continuous interchange between the two areas. It also highlights how most rural to urban migrants are familiar with urban environments before moving and how, having moved, many maintain strong rural ties. The ways in which households are split across rural and urban areas is influenced by intra-household relations and by household efforts to balance the income-earning opportunities in town, the relatively low cost of living in rural areas and future family security. This produces dramatic differences between and among rural and urban mothers and suggests a need for policy makers and planners to recognize diversity and to build upon complex livelihood strategies that span the rural-urban divide.
 
Article
This paper examines the changes in household incomes, expenditure, savings and debts, patterns of work, living costs and use of social services among 100 households in a low-income settlement in Harare, Zimbabwe. The households were interviewed in mid-1991 as the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme began, and one year later in mid-1992 to see what changes had occurred. The paper considers the way in which gender functions as a critical variable in determining the effects of Structural Adjustment and disaggregates changes in incomes, expenditures and work of men and women and their effect on gender relations.
 
Article
This paper examines how recent and long-term female migrants find paid work when they arrive in Dhaka, including how long it takes to do so, the work they find, the income they receive, the extent to which they retain control over the income they earn and their work satisfaction. The paper also considers their intention to work, when moving to Dhaka and their work preferences on arrival. It highlights the importance of women's contribution to household income.
 
Article
PIP Inadequate social infrastructure provision--in terms of education, health care facilities, and water and sanitation--has become a critical issue in Nigeria's urban areas. The decline of the Nigerian economy and the introduction of economic structural adjustment have curtailed drastically government spending on these services. Recommended is a return to the regional community-based approaches that prevailed in earlier periods. In precolonial Nigeria, the community help ethic ensured that all societies had adequate social infrastructure. With colonization and the emergence of an urban cash economy, the government took control of service provision in urban areas; in rural areas, neglected by government, self-help efforts continued to flourish. The trend in recent decades has been toward the privatization of urban services, deregulation, and growing inequities between affluent urban dwellers and the urban and rural poor. The recommended localization strategy would involve the creation of regional bodies to provide public utilities and regulate social infrastructure provision. Responsibility for the organization and provision of these services would rest with democratically elected community associations in rural areas and municipal councils in urban areas. The needs of poor communities could be funded by cross-subsidizing utility costs among affluent communities. Such a strategy, although unlikely to be supported by government and urban elites, would revitalize the community responsibility ethos that was lost in the urbanization process.
 
Article
"The aim of this paper is to argue the importance of considering ¿the household' in analyses of gender and rural-urban migration, both in respect of how it shapes the gender selectivity of migrant flows and how, in turn, the latter contributes to household diversity across rural and urban areas.... [It] examines the impacts of gender differentiated demographic mobility on contemporary household forms in rural and urban areas including reference to case study evidence from my own research in Mexico, Costa Rica and the Philippines."
 
Article
The impact on healt of urban environments reviews the range and variety of environmental hazards present in urban areas including biological pathogens, chemical pollutants, physical hazards and psychosocial stressors and their impact on human health. It also discusses how and why it is low-income groups (and within such groups women and children) who generally bear most of the health burden.
 
Article
Approximately half of all slums in India are not recognized by the government. Lack of government recognition, also referred to as "non-notified status" in the Indian context, may create entrenched barriers to legal rights and basic services such as water, sanitation, and security of tenure. In this paper, we explore the relationship between non-notified status and health outcomes in Kaula Bandar (KB), a slum in Mumbai, India. We illuminate this relationship using the findings of a four-year series of studies in the community. By comparing KB's statistics to those from other Mumbai slums captured by India's National Family Health Survey-3, we show that KB has relative deficiencies in several health and social outcomes, including those for educational status, child health, and adult nutrition. We then provide an explanatory framework for the role that KB's non-notified status may play in generating poor health outcomes by discussing the health consequences of the absence of basic services and the criminalization of activities required to fulfill fundamental needs such as water access, toileting, and shelter. We argue that the policy vacuum surrounding non-notified slums like KB results in governance failures that lead to poor health outcomes. Our findings highlight the need for cities in India and other developing countries to establish and fulfill minimum humanitarian standards in non-notified slums for the provision of basic services such as water, sanitation, solid waste removal, electricity, and education.
 
Article
PIP This paper critically examines the literature on the interaction between population, the environment, and development. It posits that population pressure and resource scarcities are unfairly blamed for internal conflicts in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Internal conflicts are, in fact, affected by underlying economic and political causes (international companies, development assistance agencies, and military). This reasoning implies that the national security threats are environmental groups, poor women, and social change groups, which in fact should be integrated within solutions to poverty, environmental destruction, and violence. The US military's focus on "neutralizing environmental consequences that could lead to instability" and promoting sustainable development is misspecified and falls within the domain of civilian agencies. Use of military satellites by the US Central Intelligence Agency in environmental surveillance raises questions about the management of secret archives. The scarcity-conflict model has an indirect role in misshaping public opinion, legitimizes population control as a top priority, neglects gender issues, and dehumanizes refugees. Evidence indicates that the conflicts in Rwanda were the result of institutional failure and ethnic divisions. Homer-Dixon's model fails due to weak definitions of scarcity, ignorance of the role of colonial history and economic inequities, idealized views of the state, and neglect of external factors. The scarcity-conflict model is popular due to opportunism and political pragmatism. For the military, it provides new rationales for a huge budget.
 
Rural-urban flows
Article
Although there is no consensus on the definition of the peri-urban interface, there is growing recognition among development professionals and institutions that rural and urban features tend increasingly to co-exist within cities and beyond their limits. There is also recognition that the urban–rural dichotomy that is deeply ingrained in planning systems is inadequate for dealing with processes of environmental and developmental change in the peri-urban context. This paper argues that environmental planning and management of the peri-urban interface cannot simply be based on the extrapolation of planning approaches and tools applied in rural and urban areas. Instead, it needs to be based on the construction of an approach that responds to the specific environment, social, economic and institutional aspects of the peri-urban interface. The paper also outlines approaches to environmental planning and management in the peri-urban interface, examining its specificity in terms of both the challenges faced and possible approaches for implementation.
 
Article
Women and development in Peru: old models, new actors discusses the difficulties in integrating the gender perspective into development concerns through examining the establishment of communal kitchens and the "glass of milk" programme in Lima and the role of women within this. Through these activities, women have become important social actors in Peru during the last decade.
 
Article
Drawing on the 1996 census, this paper challenges the orthodox view that rural migrants are causing a rapid expansion of Egyptian cities and have created “cities of peasants”. It describes how most major cities have ceased to be centres for rural in-migration and looks at the spatial diffusion of urban development through the growth of agro-towns, urban villages and new industrial towns. Many settlements officially classified as “rural” are growing rapidly and acquiring urban characteristics. The paper also questions commonly held assumptions that the large informal settlements in which much of the urban population live are “abnormal” and associated with social deviance and political violence.
 
Article
Community policing remains more a talked-about concept than a practice actually taking place in South Africa today. In spite of much legislation pointing to the need for people's participation, there is limited understanding of how this should be done. The emphasis in this research note is on a process that is being developed that might provide one such methodology to assist the police in its approach to partnership policing. The application of community participatory action planning processes and practices to the crime prevention field was initiated by urban researchers, and resulted in the development of the model described here. Initial results indicate that the process allows people to understand that crime does not occur randomly but that it happens in certain and predictable places. The process has the ability to empower communities to act together with the police in order to prevent and reduce violent crime.
 
Article
This paper has two principal aims: first, to unravel some of the arguments mobilized in the controversial privatization debate, and second, to review the scale and nature of private sector provision of water and sanitation in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Despite being vigorously promoted in the policy arena and having been implemented in several countries in the South in the 1990s, privatization has achieved neither the scale nor benefits anticipated. In particular, the paper is pessimistic about the role that privatization can play in achieving the Millennium Development Goals of halving the number of people without access to water and sanitation by 2015. This is not because of some inherent contradiction between private profits and the public good, but because neither publicly nor privately operated utilities are well suited to serving the majority of low-income households with inadequate water and sanitation, and because many of the barriers to service provision in poor settlements can persist whether water and sanitation utilities are publicly or privately operated. This is not to say that well-governed localities should not choose to involve private companies in water and sanitation provision, but it does imply that there is no justification for international agencies and agreements to actively promote greater private sector participation on the grounds that it can significantly reduce deficiencies in water and sanitation services in the South.
 
Annual rainfall in Beijing, 1951–2001  
Distribution of arable land area over different crop categories in 1991 and 2001 in different parts of Beijing Municipality (hectares) 1991 2001
Livestock in the various parts of Beijing Municipality in 1994 and 2001, and the change over this time period (thousands) 1994 2001 Difference Cattle Swine Goats Sheep Poultry Cattle Swine Goats Sheep Poultry Cattle Swine Goats Sheep Poultry
Production per capita of various food products by the agricultural sector in the different parts of Beijing Municipality in 2000
Article
For Beijing Municipality the quantity of available water resources and the quality of the available water have become matters of concern. This is caused by the rapid urbanization and the strong intensification of the agricultural sector. In this literature review for Beijing Municipality the following main topics are covered: (1) water use and water resources; (2) major trends in the agricultural production systems with respect to land use, input use, production and economic role; (3) impacts of agricultural and other activities on water quality. This review indicates the major trends and the districts with most severe environmental problems.
 
Article
This paper describes the serious water shortages that have been a feature of life in Karachi in recent years, and how community-managed public tanks (awami tanks) have been used in Orangi, Karachi's largest informal settlement, to cope with the situation. These tanks are an example of a water supply service developed as a cooperative arrangement between informally developed community organizations and public sector agencies. The paper explores the partnerships between service providers, recipients of the service and other related stakeholders.
 
Article
In order to improve the quality of urban governance in cities in the South, it is believed that local institutions and citizens should be brought together more closely. To bridge the gap, there is a need both for citizen participation to have a stronger role in collective decision making and for institutional strengthening, to make local governments more responsive to community needs. This paper explores the role that North—South city-to-city cooperation can play as an instrument for meeting those needs. The outcome of two partnerships between cities in Nicaragua and Peru and their sister cities in the Netherlands is discussed in terms of the resulting support to urban governance. The case studies reveal that while city-to-city cooperation has a particular potential to strengthen local governments, their administrations, service delivery performance and levels of responsiveness, the outcome with regard to encouraging citizenship and citizen participation in urban decision making and development planning has been more modest.
 
Article
This paper presents case studies from four cities in Latin America – Cotacachi in Ecuador, Barra Mansa and IcapuÌ in Brazil, and Ciudad Guyana in Venezuela – all of which involved initiatives to foster the active participation of children and young people in the governance of their cities. The paper describes the larger context in each case, the range of methods used to involve young people in each city, the process as it evolved over time, the challenges experienced and the impact of the initiatives. To some extent, all four projects involved the adaptation of participatory budgeting as an approach to participation for young people. The paper concludes with a discussion of the lessons drawn from these cases.
 
Article
This paper describes how watershed protection is being combined with settlement upgrading and land-use management within an area that serves as one of Greater Sao Paulo's main sources of fresh water. This is being undertaken in the municipality of San to Andre. Unlike previous watershed protection measures, which proved ineffective, it recognizes the need to combine the protection of water-sheds with the improvement of conditions in existing settlements and guiding, rather than prohibiting, further settlement. The paper describes how, the community-based watershed management involves the inhabitants of illegal settlements and other stakeholders in an adaptive planning framework that first seeks consensus on what is to be planned before developing the plan, its implementation and its operation, maintenance and monitoring.
 
Article
Awards and competitions are often used to motivate public servants, and this paper examines how the central government of China uses these to try and motivate cities to improve public hygiene. The authors argue that apart from improving performance,(1) awards and competitions are good at motivating user participation and spreading good practice. However, the design of the schemes used in China tends to prioritize disproportionately the winning mentality, and sometimes causes high costs and social tension.
 
Article
International migration is an integral part of the lives of many people in the South, and many households add remittances to their income in order to finance the daily costs of living that cannot be met by their traditional source of income. In the literature, a debate has emerged on the impacts of these remittances on development, focusing in particular on the micro level, namely the impact on households. Many studies also contend that national governments should try to redirect the impacts of remittances. However, the role of actors in local governance structures seems to be overlooked in this discussion. We argue that in the discussion on managing development through remittances, local governments and other stakeholders at the local level — such as NGOs — might also play a role, especially in those countries that have implemented decentralization. However, thus far, interventions aimed at leveraging remittance flows and facilitating migration processes are only in an initial phase. Our study of 12 municipalities in Bolivia shows that a lack of knowledge and capacities among local governments and NGOs is a decisive factor.
 
Article
São Paulo is one of Latin America’s most modern and developed cities, yet around one-third of its 10 million inhabitants live in poor-quality housing in sub-standard settlements. This paper describes the response of the São Paulo municipal government that took office in 2001. Through its Secretariat of Housing and Urban Development, it designed a new policy framework with a strong emphasis on improving the quantity and quality of housing for low-income groups. Supported by new legislation, financial instruments and partnerships with the private sector, the mainstays of the new policy are integrated housing and urban development, modernization of the administrative system, and public participation in all decision-making and implementation processes. The programmes centre on upgrading and legalizing land tenure in informal settlements, and regeneration of the city centre. The new focus on valuing the investments that lowincome groups have already made in their housing and settlements has proved to be more cost-effective than previous interventions, leading to improvements on an impressive scale.
 
Participatory budget per inhabitant in 18 cities (US$) (enlarged)
Article
This paper describes participatory budgeting in Brazil and elsewhere as a significant area of innovation in democracy and local development. It draws on the experience of 25 municipalities in Latin America and Europe, selected based on the diversity of their participatory budgeting experience and their degree of innovation. The paper provides a systematic analysis of the range of experience that can be included in participatory budgeting – in terms of the level of funds being considered, the extent of control and mode of involvement of local citizens, the relationship with local government, the degree of institutionalization and the sustainability of the process – and it considers the questions that are raised by this diverse set of possibilities.
 
Article
This paper describes two experiences with community-led upgrading programmes in precarious settlements in Ho Chi Minh City and discusses how and why these are more effective and appropriate than the city's "redevelopment" and relocation programmes. Although rapid economic growth has meant improved material conditions for much of the city's population, it has also had a negative impact on the environment and on the poorer groups whose living conditions are deteriorating, especially in the precarious settlements on vacant lots, along canals and on the city outskirts. The city has plentiful water, but large sections of the population are not reached by piped water and sewers. Although relocation programmes are better managed here than in most cities, many who are relocated suffer a drop in income, a steep rise in housing costs and a disruption to their social networks. The paper ends with some reflections on the changes needed in government attitudes towards citizens.
 
Article
This paper uses the cases of four small towns in Shanxi province, PRC, to examine how domestic migration has been used to boost the local economies and generate local revenues. However, how to govern migration is not a priority and as a result, the outcome of migration governance is very much affected by the ways in which towns interact with the higher authorities.
 
Article
In Chinese cities, employer-provided housing has played an important part in accommodating low-income, rural-to-urban migrants. Employer housing is often used to study other problems such as management style or worker psychology. In this paper we intend to examine employer-provided housing for its own sake. We use two surveys in the cities of Taiyuan and Tianjin in China to understand the reasons why Chinese employers want to provide housing for employees, the conditions of this type of housing and whether workers are satisfied with it. In doing so, we may identify areas that suffer from serious market failure and will discuss possible solutions to the problems.
 
Article
This paper summarises the recent quantitative and qualitative evidence on urban poverty in Ethiopia. The analysis of poverty dynamics is difficult and has been neglected, hence most of the studies reviewed here focus on urban poverty at a particular point in time. The paper also attempts to discuss in some detail what little evidence exists on urban chronic poverty. We discuss the consistency of findings across studies which use different methodological approaches and consider key correlates or dimensions of poverty such as livelihood insecurity, gender, income/total household expenditure, prices and HIV/AIDS. Finally, the study identifies the emerging research agenda, future research strategy and activities. Since most of the studies reviewed are static in nature, it is suggested that future research should focus on the analysis of household welfare in a dynamic sense. The studies reviewed in this paper come from a variety of sources. Academics, NGOs, independent research institutions, World Bank country poverty economists and other poverty consultants presented papers. Given this and the differences in their methodological approaches to the study of urban poverty, it is particularly encouraging to see an overlap of research agendas and consistency of findings on key correlates of urban poverty and its trend.
 
Policy-driven and needs-driven practices in the " water supply wheel " SOURCE: Allen, A (2005), " Governance and service delivery in the peri-urban context: towards an analytical framework " , unpublished paper prepared for the research project Service Provision Governance in the Peri-urban Interface of Metropolitan Areas, Development Planning Unit, University College London.  
Policy-driven and needs-driven practices in the " sanitation wheel "  
Article
Using the results of a comparative three-year research project in five metropolitan areas, this article reviews a range of practices in accessing water and sanitation by peri-urban poor residents and producers. It starts from the observation that neither centralized supply policies nor the market through, for example, large-scale profit-making enterprises are able to meet their needs. Although they are consumers insofar as they have no option but to pay market prices for water (and often for sanitation), the peri-urban poor are, in practice, sometimes regarded as citizens with basic entitlements such as the right to water. This article outlines a conceptual distinction between "policy-driven" and "needs-driven" practices in the access to peri-urban water and sanitation services. The case studies show that this access is mainly needs-driven and informal rather than the result of formal policies. The key to structural improvements in water and sanitation lies in the recognition of these practices and their articulation to the formal system under new governance regimes.
 
Article
This paper explores the emergence of a new pattern of spatial segregation linked to rising urban insecurity in Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, during the past decade and a half. Rather than fragmenting into an archipelago of isolated “fortified enclaves”, as has been the case in other cities around the world, Managua has undergone a process whereby a whole layer of the metropolis has been “disembedded” from the general fabric of the city through the constitution of an exclusive “fortified network” for the urban elites, based on the privatization of security and the construction of high-speed roads and roundabouts. This pattern of urban governance diverges significantly from Managua’s historical experience, and rests upon new urban developments that have explicitly favoured the urban elites, both directly and indirectly. These raise critical questions about the nature of relations between social groups within the city.
 
Article
In India, recent micro-experiments clearly show that environmental regeneration is possible if native wisdom and local decision-making is respected. Towards Green Villages sets out an environmental improvement strategy that is based on real life experiences of grassroots work in which people have improved their environment together with their economy. Three initial steps are essential. First, the decline in overall biomass production must be reversed. Second, economic growth and rural development programmes must focus on how to increase biomass in an equitable and sustainable manner. Third, there must be democratic decentralization and a devolution of powers to village communities.
 
Article
This paper explores the strategic use of sexual relationships in bolstering the economic well-being of young low-income women and men in The Gambia, West Africa. While other studies of sexuality in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond have demonstrated the importance of intimate (and often cross-generational) relationships for young women as a means of accessing resources, less is known in this regard about their male counterparts. This study points to the increasingly prominent place of cross-generational relationships, related to international tourism, in the livelihood strategies of young men struggling for employment in a constrained labour market. For poor young Gambian women and men, resource scarcity seems to be associated with a prioritization of the instrumental and material over the affective or recreational value of sexual partnerships, often resulting in multiple, concurrent relations. However, manifold considerations come into play in the relationship decisions of young women and men, indicating the importance of close attention to social and cultural as well as economic factors.
 
Article
This paper discusses recent moves towards participatory local governance in Vietnam. In addition to outlining the reasons for their introduction and the extent of their implementation, the paper also considers the overall political significance of this process. It argues that the introduction of participatory local governance in Vietnam represents a deeply political process, and can be seen as a response by central government to challenges to its authority at the local level. The long-term political impact of this response cannot be predicted with any certainty.
 
Article
This paper discusses the difficulties facing the post-apartheid metropolitan government of Johannesburg as it reforms itself, seeking to better respond to the needs of all its citizens, while also attracting new investment. These difficulties include high levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality as well as the apartheid legacy of “separate development” with its large backlog of poor quality housing and inadequate basic services, much of it concentrated in former “black townships” and peripheral informal settlements. Limited budgets and overloaded bureaucracy have limited the scale, quality and speed of delivery. Meanwhile, the need for organizational change and for good fiscal performance compete for attention and resources with poverty reduction and with the need for a more integrated, cross-sectoral poverty reduction policy. The paper ends with a discussion of how the principal challenges facing Johannesburg are also challenges for contemporary urban governance in many other cities.
 
Article
Taking advantage of our existing dataset of 6,721 slum households in two Indian cities, we undertook six rounds of follow-up phone interviews on the impact of COVID-19 between July and November 2020 with three key informants in each of 40 diverse slums. These cities showed contrasting health effects resulting from the first major wave of the COVID-19 pandemic – no deaths and nearly no illnesses were reported in Patna, while there was widespread low-intensity sickness and a cluster of deaths in Bengaluru. We found no clear pattern in the links between outbreaks and city or neighbourhood characteristics. Livelihood effects, however, were devastating across both cities. All but a few slum dwellers lost their jobs for several months and survived by cutting back on essentials, incurring loans, liquidating assets, and seeking help from neighbours. Government assistance, generous in the early part of the lockdown, dwindled rapidly. Many will likely become chronically poor.
 
Article
How has COVID-19 affected the urban poor across cities and over time? This research note serves as a follow-up to an earlier study on the impacts of the first wave of the pandemic on informal settlements in two Indian cities. This note draws on additional interviews with key informants from 20 settlements to compare the economic and health impacts of the first two major waves of the pandemic in Bengaluru and Patna, as well as respondents’ attitudes towards the government’s response. Informants in both cities reported higher levels of food insecurity during the second wave resulting from a substantial reduction in government aid, cumulative economic impacts from the first and second waves and, in the case of Bengaluru only, a surge in COVID-19 infections and associated healthcare costs. While slum residents in Bengaluru universally describe the health and economic effects of the second wave as more severe than the first, residents in Patna report the opposite. I argue these disparate characterisations reflect different expectations and approval of local government’s response to the crisis across cities and waves.
 
Article
This article seeks to explain why some popular neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires have responded more effectively than others to COVID-19. It compares actions that took place between March and October 2020 in the neighbourhoods of Villa 20, Villa 15 and Villa 1-11-14. We analyse public policies carried out by government agencies, especially the Instituto de Vivienda de la Ciudad (IVC) and the Ministerio de Desarrollo Humano y Hábitat (MDHyH), and the active collaboration of local organisations. While significant scholarship has focused on COVID-19 effects and coping strategies in Latin American neighbourhoods, there is limited analysis of how pre-existing relationships between local actors and government agencies have shaped neighbourhood responses. This comparative analysis shows that in fact the consolidation and depth of historical working relations between local government and local organisations determined the response capacity of each informal neighbourhood.
 
Article
How are civil society organizations responding to COVID-19’s impacts on informal settlements? In Latin America, civil society organizations have developed a repertoire of collective action, seeking to provide immediate and medium-term responses to the emergency. This paper aims to map these initiatives and identify strategic approaches to tackle the issues, given the strengths of those undertaking the initiative, and the scope, purpose and sphere of intervention. Using direct contact, a survey, and a virtual ethnography with social organizations has allowed us to identify and characterize the initiatives. The repertoire focuses on emergency measures around food security, and pedagogies for prevention, sanitation and income relief at the neighbourhood and district levels. We argue that the civil society response repertoire is diverse in form and resources but limited in scope; meanwhile the urgency of the situation and the mismatch with state action mean that crucial spheres of informality, vital to cultivating grounds for a healthy recovery phase, are being neglected.
 
Article
As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases nears 27 million, there is a rush to answer (what next) and a rush to act (to solve the immediate problems of COVID-19). This paper discusses, with a specific focus on urban areas in the global South, what is missing to date from this response. That includes an identification of things that there are too much of, things that are not being done at all, and things that are unbalanced. There has been an enormous upsurge of academic research papers and opinions on COVID-19. “Technological” and “scientific” solutions tend to overshadow other approaches, even if people know that “social is important”. Based on our analysis to date, our primary concern is that there is too little understanding about the importance of building dialogue, exploring collaboration and co-producing solutions. There is too little understanding as to why social and cultural responses are important, and how the recognition that they are important can be actioned.
 
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has had disproportionate economic consequences on the urban poor, particularly on young people living on the streets. As the pandemic moves from acute to chronic phases, novel methodologies can be used to rapidly co-produce outputs and share learning opportunities with those living in urban poverty. A “story map” focusing on the effects of the pandemic and lockdown was co-produced by UK researchers with street children and youth and practitioners in Harare, Zimbabwe in June 2020. Story maps are web applications combining participant-generated visual media into online templates, with multimedia content supported by narrative accounts. This story map reveals young street participants’ experiences of lockdown, including the effects on their livelihoods, sources of food and support networks. Its purpose is to tell the “story” of street lives, and to provide an advocacy tool and learning resource for policymakers, academics and practitioners working with young homeless people.
 
Article
Throughout the early months of 2020, COVID-19 rapidly changed how the world functioned, with the closure of borders, schools and workplaces, national lockdowns, and the rapid normalization of “self-isolation” and “social distancing”. However, while public health recommendations were broadly universal, human capacity to accordingly transform everyday life has differed significantly. We use the example of South Africa to highlight the privileged nature of the ability to transform one’s life in response to COVID-19, arguing that the virus both highlights and exacerbates existing inequalities in access to infrastructure. For those living in urban poverty in South Africa, where access to basic infrastructure is limited, and where overcrowding and high density are the norm, it is frequently impossible to transform daily life in the required ways. The failure of global public health recommendations to recognize these inequalities, and to adapt advice to national and local contexts, reveals significant limitations that extend beyond this specific global pandemic.
 
Article
This paper highlights the major challenges and considerations for addressing COVID-19 in informal settlements. It discusses what is known about vulnerabilities and how to support local protective action. There is heightened concern about informal urban settlements because of the combination of population density and inadequate access to water and sanitation, which makes standard advice about social distancing and washing hands implausible. There are further challenges to do with the lack of reliable data and the social, political and economic contexts in each setting that will influence vulnerability and possibilities for action. The potential health impacts of COVID-19 are immense in informal settlements, but if control measures are poorly executed these could also have severe negative impacts. Public health interventions must be balanced with social and economic interventions, especially in relation to the informal economy upon which many poor urban residents depend. Local residents, leaders and community-based groups must be engaged and resourced to develop locally appropriate control strategies, in partnership with local governments and authorities. Historically, informal settlements and their residents have been stigmatized, blamed, and subjected to rules and regulations that are unaffordable or unfeasible to adhere to. Responses to COVID-19 should not repeat these mistakes. Priorities for enabling effective control measures include: collaborating with local residents who have unsurpassed knowledge of relevant spatial and social infrastructures, strengthening coordination with local governments, and investing in improved data for monitoring the response in informal settlements.
 
Article
This paper describes the development of savings schemes by urban poor groups in different urban centres in Zimbabwe and their negotiations with local authorities to allow them to develop their own homes and neighbourhoods. It also describes how these savings schemes developed into the Zimbabwean Homeless People’s Federation (now with 20,000 members), and the constant inter-change between different savings schemes as they learnt from each other (and from leaders of federations from other countries) and encouraged new savings schemes to be set up. Despite very difficult political circumstances and economic problems, there are housing and income generation schemes underway in many Zimbabwean urban centres, organized and managed by urban poor groups’ own savings schemes. The larger ones are inevitably those where local authorities have recognized their potential and provided appropriate support.
 
Article
This paper tells the story of how a small savings group formed by low-income women in Cape Town invaded a land site and built a house over the period of a weekend to demonstrate that they could build their own homes better and more cheaply than any government programme. It tells of their long negotiation for land on which to build, the various promises from government agencies that were broken and, finally, of the weekend invasion and construction. It also tells the story of the confrontation, first with the police and then with the local government, and how then the house had to be dismantled.
 
Article
This paper reviews the work of an international environmental management project known as the Africa 2000 Network that emerged from the need to address the growing awareness of gender issues in environmentally sustainabledevelopment activities worldwide. The intention of this study was first to establish the degree of linkage between women’s needs and interests and the work of Africa 2000 Network’s national coordinators in Cameroon, Ghana, and Kenya. The second was to relate the findings of Africa 2000 Network’s (hereafter called the Network) responses to women to the current research on gender, environment and development. The third was to clarify more specifically and substantively the types of actions that have empowered the resource management roles of African women while at the same time alleviating the effects of environmental degradation. It is hoped that this investigation will begin to contribute to the formulation of strategies and structures that go beyond the mere cooptation of African women’s labour into mainstream development activities. The aim is to work towards the transformation of current configurations of power relations within the ownership and control of resources; not only between men and women but also, ultimately, between nations.
 
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Institutionalizing slum upgrading as part of government-led citywide or national programmes can overcome the limitations of piecemeal, “bottom-up”, ad-hoc upgrading projects. This article presents a case study of 15 years of practice to institutionalize participatory slum upgrading in Afghanistan. The article explains the main approach and tools used in Afghanistan to mobilize residents into Community Development Councils (CDCs), undertake neighbourhood action planning, and implement civil works projects in a co-production process to improve access to basic urban services and strengthen local governance. The findings provide original insights into key elements for institutionalization in fragile contexts: (i) building support of the international community, donors, and development banks for urban investment; (ii) the role of community contributions; (iii) the need to embed upgrading with improved tenure security and municipal revenue generation; and (iv) the importance of reliable and recent data to guide decision-making and build political support for in-situ settlement upgrading.
 
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This comment discusses the lack of attention given to children at the June 2006 World Urban Forum in Vancouver. Although progress was made in terms of the recognition given to youth at this Forum, only two out of 162 events focused on the concerns of children under the age of 15 - a group that constitutes almost one-third of the world's population. This failure is not unique to this Forum, but reflects a broader failure to integrate attention to the priorities and involvement of children within development practice. The paper explains why this failure is significant, not only for children themselves but also for the successful implementation of the Forum's more general concern with "urban sustainability".
 
Article
The work of Buenos Aires' cartoneros (informal recyclers) has important environmental and economic repercussions for the city. This paper investigates cartoneros' working and living conditions, establishing a 2007 baseline for the logistics of informal recycling practice in Buenos Aires and providing a description of the socioeconomic characteristics of these workers at a key moment in time. Under the purview of a new chief of government elected in 2007, a formalization plan for cartoneros was initiated in 2011. This paper assesses some of the potential impacts of this plan on cartoneros and their work, and suggests that while such a system may benefit some workers (providing them with increased income, social acceptability and improved relationships with the municipality), there are also potential drawbacks to the formalization plan (including possible difficulties instituting a cooperative system with previously unorganized workers and the labour exclusion of more socially marginalized cartoneros).
 
Top-cited authors
Gordon Mcgranahan
David Satterthwaite
  • International Institute for Environment and Development
Deborah Balk
  • City University of New York - Bernard M. Baruch College
Cecilia Tacoli
  • International Institute for Environment and Development
William E. Rees
  • University of British Columbia - Vancouver