Identifying how and to what extent the poor and most vulnerable in society are able to demand and access safe water as they define it is the practical realization of the human right to water. The explicit international recognition of the right to water and sanitation in 2010 is significant in that it obligates nations to recognize safe water for human consumption primarily as a social good, a significant point of contention after decades of global water politics. However, there remains a large gap between the international human right to water and on-the-ground determinants of water access and reliability. How can the right to water turn from being an abstract legal principle into policies and interventions that can be implemented and measured? This paper con- tributes to the considerable literature on the right to water and basic services delivery by assessing three critical mechanisms that inhibit the ability of the urban poor to exercise their right to water. Of particular concern in this paper is the prevalent role of small-scale providers and household co-production, the so-called non-state actors on whom much of the world’s poor depend to provide water and other basic services. Drawing from the normative content of the rights framework and literature on rights-based approaches to development against evidence of how states are undertaking water sector reforms and implementing the right to water and sanitation, this paper argues for the need to reconsider the concept of third-party duty bearers. Governments have an explicit role in maintaining dual systems of sanctioned and unsanctioned urban spaces and forms of service delivery that result in inequitable access to water and sanitation in violation of human rights.
Urbanisation is growing in the global South, but urban planning is not keeping up to ad- dress the problem of urban growth. Many planning schools in Africa still promote ideas transferred from the global North. (The master plan of Lusaka in Zambia, for instance, was based on the concept of the Garden City, but Garden City for whom?) Most planning schools fail to adequately prepare planning students for the problems they will later en- counter in African cities. In order to confront the urbanisation pressures on the continent in all its unique dimensions, fundamental shifts are needed in the way planning schools on the continent prepare planners. Responding to this challenge, the University of Zambia (UNZA) launched a Master of Science degree in Spatial Planning in 2013. Informality and studio-based teaching and learning are major components of the programme. In an effort to raise some of the inherent challenges and benefits of running community-based studio projects in Africa, this study addresses the question: How can planning studio projects contribute to the overhauling of the planning profession in Africa? The paper uses a case study to draw upon the experiences of eighteen master’s students who were engaged in a community-based planning studio project in the Lusaka’s Kalikiliki informal settlement. The paper concludes that community-based studio projects present an opportunity that has potential for raising the consciousness of planners and enabling them to build on post-colonial, endogenous innovation inspired by cities of the global South.
This paper investigates how the inclusion of political lifecycles and unrestricted housing development by private developers will impact the spatial arrangement and density of slums in a virtual urban environment. To do this, I build on the agent based model (ABM) entitled “Slumulation” developed by Crooks, Koizumi and Patel (2012). The intention of this is to generate conversation around the ways individual action impact the urban environment, and also how other stakeholders in the city create conditions that motivate the emergence of certain spatial arrangements over time. Through the addition of code into the original model, I am able to augment the actions of two actors in particular: politicians and developers. Borrowing from literature, I include local political cycles that minimize the interaction between urban dwellers and politicians throughout most of the simulation, except for in the case of election times where special consideration is made that allows for lower rents and lax rule enforcement in exchange for political support. In the center of this city, housing developers are programmed to build housing for high- and middle-income households because the real estate sector and government policies are encouraging the construction of a new and modern urban image that slowly prices out lower-income residents of the inner city. These additions show that local politics and development without efforts to mitigate the impact on individual households may contribute to slums, high density urban neighborhoods, and the peripheralization of the city’s most vulnerable.
Since 2012, California has generated billions of dollars from its market-based green- house gas emissions reduction program, commonly known as Cap-and-Trade. These revenues, deposited in the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), must be invest- ed in projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions while maximizing benefits for disadvantaged communities and households. SB 535 (de León 2012), as amended by AB 1550 (Gomez 2016), requires at least thirty-five percent of these revenues to be invested in projects that benefit disadvantaged community residents and low-income households and communities. Implementing these statutory requirements has been the work of a coalition of policy-advocacy and organizing groups, who have too often seen public in- vestment in environmental justice communities fail to meet the needs of low-income residents of color—or worse yet, actually harm them. This article presents the“ disadvantaged community benefits” framework that this coalition developed, which is now incorporated in large part into statewide guidelines on climate investments. The frame- work offers a four-step process for evaluating whether a project meaningfully benefits a disadvantaged community: (1) whether a project meets an important need identified by underserved residents (2) in a way that provides them a significant benefit and (3) targets its benefits primarily to low-income people while (4) avoiding substantial burdens on a disadvantaged community. This article discusses the genesis of this framework and its importance in enabling local residents to shape investment decisions in their communities, and then assesses a GGRF investment in affordable housing according to this framework. A key lesson of California’s experience in directing climate investments to benefit disadvantaged communities is that the same investments that promote the state’s climate goals are also helping to tackle the crisis of extreme inequality.
Complexity theory has become a popular frame for conceptualizing and analyzing cities. The theory proposes that certain large systems are characterized by the nonlinear, dynamic interactions of their many constituent parts. These systems then behave in novel and unpredictable ways—ways that cannot be divined by examining the components of the system. Complexity theory problematizes traditional reductionist, linear methods of scientifically analyzing and predicting cities. It also opens up a new world of scholarship to researchers keen to formulate new kinds of sciences that take complexity into account (e.g., Wolfram 2002). These attempts usually follow Kuhn’s (1962) theory of paradigm shifts: new evidence and modes of thinking undermine an established science, and a new science emerges to replace it.
In The New Science of Cities (2013), Michael Batty argues that we need a new kind of science to understand cities as complex systems of networks and flows between people, goods, resources, and institutions.
In An Urban Politics of Climate Change (2015), Harriet Bulkeley and her co-authors present eight case studies of climate change mitigation via energy efficiency in housing in different global cities. The authors explore the mechanics of these climate “experiments” and the way they vary contextually in terms of national priorities, regional and city-governance structures, and social and economic conditions in communities.
This book joins a growing literature on locally-driven climate planning. The local climate planning literature has focused on eliciting the reasons that cities engage in climate planning (Millard-Ball 2013; Sharp, Daley, and Lynch 2011) and categorizing the contents of climate plans (Bassett and Shandas 2010; Wheeler 2008). Bulkeley and Bestill (2005) called for research that clarifies the broader political, economic, and social context in which local climate planning occurs. This book provides a more nuanced understanding of how climate planning is shaped by non-state network governance and multilevel governance by state actors.
This piece pays tribute to a great scholar and urbanist, Sir Peter Hall, who was concerned with the social and economic vitality of neighborhoods. In his 1988 book, Cities of Tomorrow: An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design in the Twentieth Century, Hall writes about the Garden City, exploring both the original vision as imagined by Ebenezer Howard and the global diaspora of Howard’s ideas. Hall also discusses the theoretical contribution of Garden Cities today, especially with regard to issues of social equity and social sustainability. This piece critically re-examines the Garden City concept, including its utopian social origins, its implementation on a global scale, and its impact on current planning theory and practice. I illustrate how Hall and others have affected the canonical garden cities literature, and have created a “legacy landscape” concept that is still relevant today in new sustainable development.
The emergence of the Garden City movement, inspired by Ebenezer Howard’s book To-morrow: a Peaceful Path to Real Reform (1898), subsequently published as Garden Cities of To-Morrow (1902), would have an enormous impact on future urban development and town- planning worldwide (e.g., Parsons and Schuyler 2002, 78; Ward 1992; Cooke 1978). Lewis Mumford claimed that the two most important inventions of the early twentieth century were the airplane and the Garden City (Mumford 1960). The Garden City model in many ways represents the antithesis to the historic city, as a model derived from smaller rural communities with a defined size, low densities, and a wealth of green space. Many subsequent urban models have expanded upon, altered, and diverged from Howard’s ideas. The Gar- den City has radically challenged the expectation that a city is a dense, vibrant, and largely hard-landscaped environment. In fact, urban environments developed over the last half-century have in many cases been dispersed, low-intensity, and soft-landscaped environments, resulting in substantial changes to the way cities are constructed, managed, and inhabited.
This paper traces the development and evolution of Letchworth Garden City in Hertfordshire, England, the first and most comprehensive attempt to actualize the amalgam of anarchist and utopian ideals on which Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City movement is based. Letchworth’s social and economic elements of integrated industry, agriculture, and cooperative land owner- ship eroded fairly quickly, leaving architectural and aesthetic concerns to dominate the Garden City’s legacy. This legacy resounds in contemporary discussions of property rights and New Urbanism, suggesting its pertinence to issues of place and community has endured across widely different contexts and time periods. With the erosion of the Garden City model’s founding ideologies, Letchworth demonstrates the tenacity of structural market and economic forces in guiding the implementation of planning projects.
Worker cooperatives—businesses that workers collectively own and manage—offer an opportunity to ‘anchor’ wealth in the community, particularly in communities where deindustrialization has led to high unemployment and disinvestment in community institutions. Cleveland is one such Rust Belt city: greater Cleveland ranks in the top 10 metropolitan areas for concentrated poverty, with 28.2% of the metropolitan area’s poor residents living in extremely poor neighborhoods.
In 2009, a broad group of stakeholders in Cleveland came together to try to address the city’s economic development challenges by means of an innovative ‘place-and-people-based strategy'—Evergreen Cooperatives.
Waterloo, Ontario, a city of about 100,000 people in a metropolitan area of roughly half a million, is home to both the University of Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier University. Substantial increases in enrollment at these institutions over the 2000s and early 2010s have contributed to a recent building boom in privately-developed, off-campus, purpose-built student apartments centred on the Northdale neighbourhood, located between the two universities. While the formerly middle-class postwar suburban neighbourhood dominated by single-detached bungalows had previously been increasingly occupied by student renters, the municipality has since acted as an enabler by rezoning much of the area to accommodate high-rise residential towers—in some cases up to 25 storeys. These drastic urban changes engender displacement in a number of forms across spatial scales ranging from the local to the transnational and at various temporal moments.
As we become more cynical of the federal government’s ability to get things done, there is a growing movement to empower cities to step up and take more control over their own economic destinies by “measure[ing] what matters.”
Measurement is often carried out under an evaluation framework that is set up to identify priority areas for growth and then determine progress toward reaching the desired outcome. Evaluation frameworks are one of several tools appropriated from the private sector that bring a data-driven approach into the public sector (and also, increasingly, in the nonprofit sector).
The High Line – a nearly one-and-a-half-mile linear park in Manhattan built on an elevated section of a disused railroad trestle – is a useful case in considering both the effectiveness and problems of an evaluative framework.
On September 11, 2012 a fire broke out in a garment factory, located in Baldia Town, Karachi, Pakistan (on the same day, incidentally, another fire broke out in a shoe making factory in Lahore, another urban center in Pakistan).
Baldia Town is located inside the Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (SITE) in the Karachi metropolitan area. Reportedly, 314 people died in the garment factory fire, which was said to have erupted due to a short circuit, and over 600 were seriously injured, while 100 were rescued.
When the fire finally died down after 12 hours, the extent of the damage came into full view: the loss of life had been this significant due to the exit doors being locked from the outside, which trapped workers inside the blazing structure. Locking doors is a common practice in production industries in Pakistan to discipline labor. The practice allows factory owners to make sure workers don’t take any unauthorized breaks.
As the companies, workers and wealth of Silicon Valley creep north into the city of San Francisco, the effects of an industry with a relatively small but highly paid labor force are leading to widespread social unrest. Embodied in the symbolic protests around “Google Buses,” lower-income residents are reacting to tech’s ability to produce so much wealth that is thinly distributed to a small labor force, disinvested from local infrastructure (with private transportation), and funneled to comically useless purposes like the “Google Barges” mysteriously floating in the Bay. However, conversations about tech wealth are often limited to its distribution—with even mainstream economists (as well as The Economist) conceding that, “Facebook will never need more than a few thousand employees.” Clearly, the other side of this is production; even with its relatively small labor force, Facebook can generate billions in wealth and profits. Instagram, the hip photo sharing mobile application, famously had only 13 employees when it sold for $1 billion (that’s around $77 million per employee).
There was a time—not too long ago—when informal settlements the size of small cities were practically invisible. Large and empty beige-gray fields, intercepted by an occasional thin blue line, signifying water, and several thicker, windy white lines that stood for major roads, would pop up on the computer screen when searching for infamous slums such as “Kibera” on Google Maps. The information void stood in stark contrast to the hundreds of thousands of people living in Kibera, ironically tucked away between some of the city’s most valuable and celebrated resources: the Royal Nairobi Golf Club, Ngong Forest and the Nairobi dam.
“I don’t mind the American soldiers on our streets. If I could talk to them I’d ask: Why are you so afraid of us? Why do you fear us so much?”
So answered my Afghan friend, when I asked him how he felt about the American troops parading the streets of Kabul. I expected him to be appalled by the invasion on his privacy, or sovereignty. But what appalled him most was their fear, and how it seeped into his everyday life. When he looked at them too long, they pulled out their gun, he said. I thought the high walls and barbed wires of Kabul’s new architecture conveyed the same message.
David Chavis’ 1990 article, “Sense of Community in the Urban Environment: A Catalyst for Participation and Community Development," highlights the effects that perception of environment, social networks, and how residents’ sentiments about their communities can further influence the behaviors and perspectives of others. The article further emphasizes the importance of citizen participation in community organizing and explains why it has been regarded as key to improving the quality of the physical environment, enhancing services, preventing crime, and improving social conditions.
Yearning for a rural lifestyle is a legitimate desire for all city dwellers. It is more than understandable to think about a nicer place if you can afford it, considering that “nicer” often means more greenery and nature. Nevertheless, countryside living is not only an aspiration for people in Bogotá who are planning a systematic exodus from the city’s current sense of collapse, but also for displaced rural people who try to make a living in the city. Sometimes there is a situation of urban dwellers colonizing farmers’ land, or the current national social illness of forced displacement.
I don’t remember the first time I saw a homeless person You can’t find one of those in Lexington, Massachusetts Birthplace of the American Revolution Red pavement without payment of litter, Elegant boutiques, dainty planted trees Cul-de-sacs curled around mansions Little girls boys bright, bubbled futures – so few chills For want is no friend to upper middle class glut Fear does not feed on green pesticide-not-quite-grass As dreams are blown from mouths like bubbles – fragile, wet, still steaming Weightless they cling to skin, nesting, become another skin, home My home But if you can’t find a home here, then you have no home This town is not for the homeless.
Shrinking cities have been the subject of much conversation in recent years. With Detroit filing for bankruptcy protection and the growing concern about aging cities in Europe, the discussion is gathering ever more momentum. In a climate of hasty blanket statements and one-size-fits-all solutions, Aksel Olsen takes a step back to critically examine the phenomenon of shrinking cities, in order to find real, practical solutions.
A significant number of cities and regions across the US and Eastern Europe currently face population decline, economic contraction, or both. The ‘greying of Europe,’ where nearly a third of the population will be 65 or over by 2060, is increasing pressure on social services, urban infrastructure, and the labor supply.
This is a tale of a well-intentioned stream restoration project in a residential park-neighborhood of Richmond, CA that sparked a community power struggle. The unintended consequences of the restoration left the neighborhood divided. Neighbors who wanted to reduce criminal activity in the park were pitted against those attempting to promote local pride with aesthetic improvements. It provides an interesting case study bothfor understandingsuccessful urban creek restoration and neighborhood-level politics.
San Francisco has oftenserved as a blank canvas since its rapid rise to prominence after the Gold Rush in the mid-1800s – the subject of countless visions for how the built environment should be designed. Whilesomewereoutlandish and others more grounded, the many ideas advanced over the years for guiding the City’s development have each presented a roadmap for moving forward, complete with nested values of what is most important for the future. Such is the subject ofUnbuilt San Francisco – an exhibit currently presented at five locations around the Bay Area, including at UC Berkeley (more details below). On display are plans, renderings, models, and other media depicting unrealized visions for the San Francisco Bay Area. Some of these proposals, such as a BART line running into Marin County, many wish had been built; others, like Marincello, a 30,000-person community in the now-preserved Marin Headlands, we cannot imagine advancing today. The exhibit covers a journey of great breadth, ultimately leaving the viewer with anuneasy sense of what could have been.
Some see the rising steel structures in downtown St. Louis as milestones in a long-awaited project, others as an unwelcome reminder: as construction on the Cardinals’ Ballpark Village becomes more visible, controversy surrounding the $650 million development has also grown.
Ballpark Village has been envisioned as a new downtown destination for over a decade, but like thousands of other developments nationwide, remained just a vision until earlier this year due to the recession. The 2007 plan included high-rise condominiums, bars, shops, restaurants, plus the introduction of a street grid intended to integrate the project into the surrounding downtown neighborhood. The current construction, however, will include none of the mixed-use features, and replaces much of the planned development with a bemoaned surface parking lot.
Greece. The word brings to mind a dazzling array of images. Whitewashed houses topped with cobalt blue roofs. Windmills and grape vines. Anthony Quinn dancing with a glass of ouzo by the sea. Yet what the word does not automatically trigger is desperate landscapes comprised of abandoned, half-constructed homes.
This article explores the vernacular architecture of Greece (in particular the island of Santorini), and also investigates such landscapes in times of economic debt & crisis. As the US government finally reaches a deal to end government shutdown and avoid default, we can look to other countries for precedents regarding how debt crises affect building, planning and constructed landscapes at the local level. This isn’t an alarmist cry against the certainty of a debt-ridden future. Instead, I tracethe possibilities of how debt affects the built environment, and ask if we should begin thinking about parallel models and case studies. Although Greece and its islands may comprise a much smaller geographic scale than the US or Canada, it is an instructive example and microcosm that we can learn from.
These are the questions with which University of California Berkeley professor of City Planning Ananya Roy begins her headlining talk at TEDCity2.0. Roy takes the audience through an examination of the “cottage industry” of city officials, advocacy groups, and others who spend countless hours pondering this notion of world-class city identity. In municipalities across the globe, from Shenzhen, China, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, local leaders want to know whether they have the “it” factors for achieving world-class city status.