Around the world, coastal cities are threatened by storms, rising sea levels, and other climate change related hazards. With conventional approaches often both costly and ineffective, nature-based solutions are offering valuable alternatives. One example are the community-based methods developed by the NGO Mangrove Action Project.
Narrated from a community leader's viewpoint, we take a look at the neighbourhood of San Pablo, Ecuador, where the project "Guardians of the Hill" conserves urban ecosystems while at the same time empowering female community members.
In neglected parts of Mexico City, the work of the NGO ENSAMBLE shows how investing into community and togetherness can change poor urban areas for the better, including all residents in a highly participative process.
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.
When opening creative spaces, it is not enough to simply designate a space and add tools and technology, says Roman Vydro, co-Founder of Garage Hub, a community workshop in Kharkiv, Ukraine. What is way more important, is to include a variety of people and let their input create an entire creative ecosystem.
In Mexico City, residents organised to convince the city government to build a public park instead of developing an area for office buildings. The Parque Imán can serve as an example for successfully greening neighbourhoods, and reclaiming public space in a participatory and transparent manner.
Interview: “Building resilience requires active public participation” – Vera Bukachi from the Kounkuey Design Initiative
How can vulnerable groups and their needs be integrated into resilience building? URBANET talked to Vera Bukachi from the Kounkuey Design Initiative, who strongly believes that participatory planning and design are key to sustainable urban development.
In South Africa, historical shortcomings in city planning by the apartheid regime, rapid urbanisation, and a lack of economic opportunities have increased inequity and social exclusion. Faced with high rates of violence and crime, citizens are getting involved in enhancing safety in public spaces. Margo Weimers and her co-authors present an example from the city of Johannesburg.
“Some very important elements were left out of the New Urban Agenda” – Interview with Lorena Zárate from Habitat International Coalition
National and local governments must value and support community-driven development, says Lorena Zárate. In her interview with URBANET, she discusses viable and non-viable approaches to housing, democracy, and everybody's Right to the City.
A key recommendation of the German Habitat Forum held in May 2016 in Berlin was that “cities need to be empowered as actors”. Urbanization not only implies geographical changes, but also a political change in order to manage growth. This is where local governments are most needed.
To be able to achieve good governance, local governments must not only work together with communities, but also grant them a certain amount of responsibility. In an interview with URBANET, Diana Mitlin, Managing Director of the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester, talks about the importance of community-led development and the value grassroots organisations can add to local communities.