As we prepare to publish the 28th volume of the Berkeley Planning Journal, California is experiencing a fifth year of drought; Haiti has recently been devastated by a massive hurricane and a subsequent cholera epidemic; Louisiana is recovering from finding itself, once again, under massive flooding; and the United States has just elected a president who claims to support oil pipelines and has threatened to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Human potential to harm the environment and expose our most vulnerable populations to environmental hazards has never been clearer. At the same time, we live in an era of tremendous uncertainty as to whether we have the collective capacity to right environmental wrongs. By dedicating this volume of the BPJ to environmental justice, we are seeking to highlight the many ways in which scholars and practitioners across the many subfields of planning are wading through the wicked problems that emerge at the intersection of society and the natural world.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More