Ecosystem loss and degradation contributes to water insecurity worldwide – natural infrastructure strategies that protect and restore natural systems aim to halt and reverse this trend. Suzanne Ozment and Rafael Feltran-Barbieri discuss how water utilities can profit from restoring ecosystems.
Basic Infrastructure & Housing
How can digitalisation of urban services increase sustainable urbanisation? What different approaches and innovations already exist and have proven successful? Kala Vairavamoorthy, director of the International Water Association addresses these questions.
In urban settlements around the world, city administrations struggle, and often fail, to provide essential services, safe spaces, and socio-economic securities to residents. While this poses difficulties and dangers to all inhabitants, the consequences of such neglect are especially severe for low-income women and girls.
With more and more people moving to cities, the question arises how to organise urban expansion in a way that ensures economic growth and quality of life. Nina Harari discusses which urban configurations can best accommodate urban growth and whether a city's shape influences its economic development.
Projects aimed at the upgrading of settlements often face the question of how to increase living standards for all residents – while keeping housing costs at a level affordable for the original population. The initiative "Casa Minha Nosso Bairro" takes an innovative approach towards this issue, aiming at living conditions that nurture a peaceful living environment for all urban residents
Many of Lagos’ residents live in informal settlements with no or limited access to basic services. With new immigrants arriving from rural areas every day, pressure increases on the already poor living conditions. Comprehensive action is needed to tackle interconnected social, environmental and health issues, says Olaoluwa Pheabian Akinwale.
Brazil's social housing programme Minha Casa, Minha Vida prides itself on having delivered an enormous amount of affordable housing. But putting a roof over people's heads is not sufficient if the settlements are located on the far outskirts of a city, depriving residents of access to urban resources, claims Clarisse Cunha Linke.
“Minha Casa, Minha Vida” (My House, My Life) is Brazil’s largest affordable housing project to this day. Priscila Pacheco describes the buildings’ sustainability features that benefit the residents and the environment.
Housing and labour are mutually dependent, but their connection is overlooked in economic policies most of the time. Edmundo Werna, Ramin Keivani and Youngha Cho argue that a closer look and a different understanding of how the two markets are linked will lead to more effective solutions and better housing and livelihood conditions, especially in the Global South.
Climate change poses new and specific challenges to the way we think about building. Christine Lemaitre from the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) calls out to architects, planners, and builders to respond to this challenge instead of waiting for the entailing problems to solve themselves.
Lagos is suffering from severe water shortage due to profit-oriented politics. Akinbode Oluwafemi points out the conflicts and problems around the privatisation of the water sector and offers alternative solutions for one of the world’s most populous cities.
By the People, For the People: Social and Environmental Revitalisation of the Caño Martín Peña, Puerto Rico
Improving the living conditions in low-income communities always entails the threat of gentrification processes, eventually displacing the original residents. Lorena Zárate claims that this is not an inevitable outcome, as can be seen in the success of the Caño Martín Peña Land Use Plan.
“There are huge health risks in not dealing with solid waste” – An interview with Graham Alabaster from UN-Habitat (video)
What are the linkages between solid waste management and urban health? And how can city governments improve waste management systems to reduce health risks? On the occasion of World Health Day, URBANET talked to Graham Alabaster, Chief of Sanitation and Waste Management at UN-Habitat.
The benefits of cities are rarely distributed equitably. Particularly for the poor and disadvantaged, cities have a high rate of health hazards and risks. To address these dangers, city leaders need to take a multidisciplinary, rights-based approach. Maria Jose Amilibia argues that by leveraging cities’ unique opportunity to scale up essential services, we can truly transform the urban health landscape.