Environment & Urbanization

World leading environmental and urban studies journal

Themes for future issues

April 2019: Climate change and cities: new perspectives for the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment.

Deadline for submissions: passed.

Preparations are underway for the 6th Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). For this issue of Environment and Urbanization we encourage the submission of papers on all relevant aspects of climate change and cities, especially those that bring new insights or analyses in relation to the Fifth Assessment. Papers are encouraged on both adaptation and mitigation –- and the possibilities of integrating them. Authors who presented papers at the IPCC Cities and Climate Change Science Conference, held in Edmonton in March 2018, are encouraged to submit to this special issue.

October 2019: Getting food on the table in cities.

Deadline for submissions: passed.

Food security and nutrition policy debates have shifted in the past decade or so, with growing attention to food consumption and especially to food access, affordability and utilization. This recognizes the importance of two transitions: the urban transition, with the majority of the world’s population now living and working in urban centres; and the nutrition transition, with a growing proportion of overweight and obese adults, sometimes living in the same household as under-nourished children. There are clear links between malnutrition and food insecurity on the one hand, and urban poverty in both its income and non-income dimensions on the other. There are also links between urban expansion and urbanization and the changing extent and nature of food systems. Changing gender relations, changes in urban form, and the impacts of climate change also affect urban households’ food consumption. Understanding the factors that shape access and utilization of food in urban contexts is still patchy; so too is knowledge that supports policies that explicitly benefit the urban poor.

We are calling for papers that examine food and nutrition related issues in urban areas, including:

• How local environmental hazards in low-income settlements affect food safety – often as the result of inadequate provision of basic services and infrastructure and safe food storage.

• How low, irregular incomes, lack of time and lack of storage space within the home affect how low-income groups access, prepare and consume food. How is this changing? What are the impacts of increasing built-up areas and densities?

• The role of informal food vendors and formal and informal markets in food access and distribution; and the role of local governments and urban planning in supporting – or undermining – food security and healthy nutrition for the urban poor.

• Innovations in data collection methods on food and nutrition, and assessments of what data are needed and by whom.

• Examining how urbanization dynamics affect local food production and availability, including the role of small urban centres in processing and distributing food.

April 2020: Rethinking the role of the state and communities in urban housing and land-use management.

Deadline for submissions: 15 August 2019.

Housing seems to be in crisis in most urban centres around the world. In prosperous cities, house prices rise faster than incomes – forcing low-income (and even a proportion of middle-income) households into more cramped, poor-quality housing in more peripheral locations. In much of the global South, high proportions of city populations live in informal settlements because they cannot afford to buy, rent or build formal good-quality housing. The proportion of individuals who live in informal settlements – often 30–60 per cent of city populations – is a measure of the failure of formal systems. The irony is that this is marginalizing the workforce on which city prosperity depends – and on which its wealthier households depend for goods and services. We welcome papers that offer original analyses of the causes of the housing crisis.

We also welcome papers that give us insights into how low-income urban dwellers buy, build or rent (or otherwise acquire) accommodation and their priorities with respect to shelter. And how this can be supported by national and local government policies and programmes that increase the supply and reduce the costs of housing. This includes:

• Expanding supplies of serviced plots for housing with good access to employment and integrated into high-quality public transport

• Reducing costly, slow and often corrupt procedures for land purchase

• Changing inappropriate regulations – for instance unnecessarily large minimum plot sizes

• Housing finance systems that are inclusive and that support land purchase and incremental housing

We encourage papers that go beyond descriptions of the problems to offer conceptual and analytical insights into inclusive and scalable solutions – including examples of good practice. This includes housing initiatives that draw on resources from individuals/households and community organizations (including their savings and their capacities to contribute to upgrading) and private sector enterprises (for instance for building materials, small loans and rental housing), as well as drawing resources and support from ward, municipal and higher levels of government. We also welcome papers on housing initiatives, which include building resilience to the changes that climate change will or may bring and that contribute to low-carbon cities.