Urban planning during the apartheid regime specifically designed cities to displace and separate. Ngaka Mosiane, Mamokete Matjomane, and Avhatakali Sithagu argue for a concept of spatial culture that captures this particularity of South Africa's resilient urban history.
Basic Infrastructure & Housing
To ensure that cities are healthy, residents need access to affordable housing, argues Andrew Jones from Reall – a social enterprise, innovator and impact investor that has been at the forefront of affordable housing for decades.
Rapid urbanisation also means that the game for the quality of life and the health of the citizens will be won or lost in the cities. Barcelona-based architect Eloi Juvillà Ballester analyses the potential of urban green spaces as decisive component in this game.
Rebuilding cultural sites that were destroyed in armed conflict needs to be an essential part of urban reconstruction policies. However, as Shadia Touqan argues, rebuilding these sites cannot be addressed in isolation from what should be any policy's priority: protecting the lives of the people who live there.
In Namibia, the major share of urban growth is informal, with an estimated 30-40 per cent of the population living in informal settlements, with trends projecting shacks to become the predominant form of housing by 2025. Being especially vulnerable to climate change, these forms of settlements require special attention in the development of climate resilience strategies.
High density and poor building materials make informal settlements extremely prone to fire hazards. The Nairobi-based enterprise Kwangu Kwako has developed a housing model that, while being truly affordable, increases fire resilience and thus positively affects many aspects of residents' lives.
As densely populated urban areas like Homs, Raqqa, and Idlib in Syria continue to be the site of years-long armed conflicts, architect Ammar Azzouz argues that cities must not wait for post-conflict reconstruction plans. Rather, amidst destruction, ideas for the cities of tomorrow should be developed.
The number of children living in urban areas is on the rise. However, this is not reflected in cities' infrastructures. Rapid development is shrinking the amount of suitable and safe play areas for children. Using Nairobi as an example, Peninah Ndegwa, founder of Wow Mom Kenya, reflects on why and how cities should become more child-friendly.
Enabling participatory democracy is the goal of South Africa's online platform Grassroot, where community members get together to change their municipalities for the better – with considerable success, as Katlego Mohlabane, outreach and campaigns coordinator at Grassroot, illustrates with examples from Mnandini and Mzondi.
With a growing population and economy, Ho Chi Minh City faces important decisions regarding transportation infrastructure. Robert Marshall calls for a contextual approach.
Socialist-era apartment buildings in Vietnam’s cities, so-called KTT, are decaying rapidly. Tenants’ community organisations could help upgrade them and prevent redevelopment, says Boram Kimhur.
Urban areas around the world face the challenge of delivering affordable housing to ever growing populations. Availability and expenses of both building material and skilled workers are a common hindrance. Turning sand into a revolutionary new building material might offer a solution, writes PolyCare Co-Founder Dr Gerhard Dust.
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, commits to implementation of the SDGs. To this end, the city focusses on sustainable construction, always ensuring to align the SDGs with national policies.
Cape Town is committed to providing clean, affordable and accessible energy to all its residents. Increasing the use of renewable energy, implementing innovative financing options, and challenging national energy legislation are some of the ways the city hopes to shift away from a history of inequality, writes Mary Haw.