April 2016: From the MDGs to the SDGs and Habitat III
In 2015, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were replaced by the Sustainable Development Goals. And the UN Conference Habitat III to be held in October 2016 is meant to agree on “the new urban agenda” through which these goals are to be met. This issue of Environment and Urbanization looks critically at whether the much-needed changes in urban policy and practice will be achieved. It includes papers on:
- what inclusive urbanization actually means (and whether governments will act on it)
- the rapidly expanding urban agenda but with diminishing expectations for Habitat III
- the return to large, heavily subsidized and inappropriate mass housing
- the high rates of return that can come from good urban policy
- whether we need a new urban agenda for refugees/those displaced by conflict
- whether urban centres are taken seriously in the post-2015 Agenda
- indicators that allow cities to measure and monitor their SDG performance
- missing the MDG targets for water and sanitation in urban areas
- getting public and environmental health back into urban agendas
The papers on climate change in cities examine how vulnerability and adaptation are shaped by particular spatial contexts, community practices and political decisions in Dakar, Brazilian municipalities and Rio Branco.
Papers in Feedback describe the varied responses to inadequate services and infrastructure in urban areas, with a particular focus on informal settlements. These encompass young entrepreneurs providing critical sanitation services in Kisumu, urban poor federations building housing in Mumbai, and wetland communities adapting to flood risk in Kampala. Other papers examine the effectiveness of communal toilets in Kisumu, the decline of rental housing in Mumbai, and how the Ahmedabad government’s infrastructure projects not only displaced large numbers of low-income groups, but also passed on costs as well as maintenance and management responsibilities to those in the resettlement sites.
October 2015: Sanitation and drainage in cities II
In light of the failure to reach the sanitation target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), this issue of Environment and Urbanization explores methodological, political, financial and other challenges to measuring and improving sanitation in urban areas.
This is the second 2015 issue of Environment and Urbanization to cover sanitation and drainage. Only one of the countries covered in these two issues met its MDG target. Some even saw their urban populations’ access to improved sanitation decline from the start of the reporting period in 1990. These papers are therefore very timely given the global discussion around how to ensure the stronger performance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, as the editorial points out, it will be essential to establish a robust monitoring system to actually implement the SDGs.
The themed papers in this issue cover Maputo (Mozambique), Johannesburg (South Africa), Mumbai and Chandigarh (India), Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Lusaka (Zambia), Cap Haitien (Haiti), Shanghai (China) and Accra (Ghana). Topics covered include the realities and limitations of market-driven sanitation services; the interplay of politics and history in determining the context of urban sanitation; the role of tenure in sanitation decisions; and innovations in the management of waste. Several papers address the prevalence of communal sanitation in poor urban environments, despite shared sanitation not falling under the definition of “improved” sanitation. The papers also highlight that progress in extending sanitation access has been highly uneven.
The papers on climate change provide examples of positive steps toward resilience. These cover Uganda (where residents of informal settlements are engaging in participatory resilience building) and Indonesia (where two cases of adaptation in riverbank settlements are compared).
The feedback section features a paper documenting how urban poor leaders have set their own national poverty lines. Other papers explore climate and health in informal urban settlements and uneven disaster risk in Tigre, Buenos Aires.
- EDITORIAL: Will urban sanitation “leave no one behind”?
- Development and application of a methodology to assess sanitary risks in Maputo, Mozambique
- Using tenure to build a “sanitation cityscape”: narrowing decisions for targeted sanitation interventions
- State-led versus community-initiated: stormwater drainage and informal settlement intervention in Johannesburg, South Africa
- Opportunities and limits to market-driven sanitation services: evidence from urban informal settlements in East Africa
- Sites of entitlement: claim, negotiation and struggle in Mumbai
- Evaluation of a closed-loop sanitation system in a cold climate: a case from peri-urban areas of Mongolia
- Reworking the relation between sanitation and the city in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
- The role of power, politics and history in achieving sanitation service provision in informal urban environments: a case study of Lusaka, Zambia
- The urban sanitation conundrum: what can community-managed programmes in India unravel?
- User perceptions of and willingness to pay for household container-based sanitation services: experience from Cap Haitien, Haiti
- Everyday practices of sanitation under uneven urban development in contemporary Shanghai
- Urban sanitation in India: key shifts in the national policy frame
- Solid waste management and sustainable cities in India: the case of Chandigarh
- Public toilets and their customers in low-income Accra, Ghana
Climate Change in cities
- Local and participatory approaches to building resilience in informal settlements in Uganda
- A tale of two cities: comparing alternative approaches to reducing the vulnerability of riverbank communities in two Indonesian cities
- How urban poor community leaders define and measure poverty
- Climate and health in informal urban settlements
- Present-day capitalist urbanization and unequal disaster risk
April 2015: Sanitation and drainage in cities
October 2014 issue: Conflict and violence in 21st century cities
This discusses the dramatic increase in conflict in urban areas and a paradigm shift in the approach to managing violence. Violence in cities across Africa, Asia and Latin America can no longer be seen as a problem which can be overcome through development programmes. It also provides new insights which could help those affected to manage violence on a day-to-day basis, as well as empower them to question and address the causes.
It includes papers on: urban violence and displacement of Colombian migrants to London; partnerships for women’s safety in the city; gangs in global perspective; violence in post-invasion Kabul and in post-war Juba; exploring insecurity, violence and resilience in the fragile city; the “humanitarianization” of urban violence; visible and invisible violence in Santiago; and knowledge transfer on urban violence: from Brazil to Haiti.
The Feedback section has four case studies on water governance – in eThekwini Municipality (South Africa), Guarulhos (Brazil), and Lima and Arequipa (Peru). It also has papers reflecting on urban citizenship, impoverishment and inequality in Delhi, urban fantasies and emerging realities from Luanda, policy-relevant differences in slum types and adaptation strategies in Bangalore and addressing disaster risk in a small town in Malawi
April 2014 issue: Towards resilience and transformation for cities II
October 2013 issue: Towards resilience and transformation for cities
April 2013 issue: Gender and Urban Change
Urbanization is often associated with greater independence and opportunity for women – but also with high risks of violence and constraints on employment, mobility and leadership that reflect deep gender-based inequalities. These issues are explored in the April 2013 issue of Environment and Urbanization, which is on Gender and Urban Change. It includes papers on: where and when urban women enjoy advantages over their rural counterparts; community savings schemes that build women’s leadership and support upgrading; how transport planning still fails to respond to women’s travel needs; how urban contexts can reduce gender-based violence, although often they can increase it; how income and ideology influence women’s decision-making in rural and urban areas in Nicaragua; the changes in women’s participation in labour markets in Dhaka and the tensions this can generate within households; what was learnt from a project working with girls and boys with disabilities in Mumbai; and the particular roles of women in seeking to get better services for their low-income/informal neighbourhoods in Bengalaru.
The editorial which has a summary of the key issues covered is open-access at http://eau.sagepub.com/content/25/1/3.full
This issue also has two papers on climate change, which are a detailed benefit-cost analysis applied to Durban; and the different responses of low-income tenants and squatters to adaptation in Khulna. Other papers include: the limitations in the Indian government’s Basic Services for the Urban Poor Programme; the politics of non-payment for water in Manila’s low-income communities; community-managed reconstruction in Old Fadama (Accra) after a fire; developing a solid waste collection service in informal settlements in Managua; how well-connected individuals control land allocations and water supply in an informal settlement in Dhaka; and an assessment of provision for water, sanitation and waste collection in two informal settlements in Kumasi.
October 2012 issue: Addressing poverty and inequality – new forms of urban governance in Asia
This issue has seven papers that consider the design and implementation of an ambitious Asia-wide initiative to support community-driven citywide upgrading − the Asian Coalition for Community Action (ACCA). Starting in 2009, this programme has supported 950 grassroots initiatives in 165 cities in 19 Asian nations and has set up Urban Poor Funds in more than 100 cities to help continue such support. These initiatives were also to encourage and support communities to learn from each other and to work together to get the engagement and support of city governments for citywide upgrading.
The papers consider different aspects of ACCA, including how it evolved and how it uses finance to support community action and engagement with local governments (and the setting up of national and city Urban Poor Funds). Also, how it supports collective processes within low-income communities, including: collective information collection (settlement mapping, citywide surveys); collective definition of problems and search for shared solutions; and bringing together savings networks. One paper presents the perspectives of two community leaders from the Philippines on change-making by communities, and who helps or hinders them; another explains how the community initiatives are being assessed by peers (those engaged in comparable community initiatives) rather than outside ”experts” who have no experience of living in informal settlements on very low incomes; and another discusses the role of community architects and other professionals working in grassroots-directed initiatives.
Five papers are on climate change and cities: lessons from practice in Asia for building climate change resilience; addressing climate change in New York City; incorporating cities into the post-2012 climate change agreements; Ibadan’s vulnerability to wind hazards; and assessing climate change adaptation for water and sanitation providers.
Papers in Feedback include: why enumeration counts; the health and social implications of living in a non-notified slum in India; financing urban agriculture; and mapping and enumerating informal Roma settlements in Serbia.
April 2012 issue: Documenting the undocumented
The April 2012 issue is on Mapping, enumerating and surveying informal settlements and cities. It includes case studies from Ghana, Kenya, India, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda of how the residents of informal settlements worked with grassroots leaders and local NGOs to map and survey their settlement. These discuss how this helped to develop better relations with local government and in some cases partnerships. Also included is an account of how community-based enumerations started in India, a discussion of the role of architects in community mapping and planning, and a paper reviewing the environmental effects of informal urban expansion in Xalapa.
On climate change adaptation, there are papers on exploring ecosystem-based climate change adaptation in Durban, assessing flood protection measures in Dhaka and drawing in private finance to develop resilient cities.
It also has papers on revisiting a rehabilitation programme, 10 years after the earthquake in Gujarat, the fragmentation of urban landscapes worldwide, socioeconomic characteristics of informal dwellers in South Africa , assessing the performance of constructed wetlands in Thailand, the transformation of “villages in the city” in Guangzhou (China) and migration and mobility in a rapidly changing small town in Ethiopia.