All across Africa, the most rapidly urbanising continent, locals are taking action to improve their neighbourhoods and get access to adequate housing and services. Leading up the UN Habitat Assembly, URBANET presents examples from Senegal, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
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.
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.
Without land reforms, sustainable urbanisation is set to fail, argues Danilo Antonio from UN-Habitat. In his article, he outlines the conflicting interests around land governance issues and points out ways to secure land access and property rights for all urban dwellers.
A “new urban agenda” for displaced communities? Unveiling architecture and urbanism principles to strengthen the Right to the City
According to UNHCR, 65.3 million people were displaced due to conflict and persecution in 2016. How can city planning respond to this massive influx of people in a way that meets minimum standards for housing? URBANET's author Fernando Murillo outlines his ideas for inclusive cities that welcome refugees and migrants.
“The New Urban Agenda lacks a human rights focus” – Interview with Shivani Chaudhry from the Housing and Land Rights Network
The absence of a human rights approach and the lack of a focus on social justice in the New Urban Agenda is an cause of concern, says Shivani Chaudry from the Housing and Land Rights Network. In her interview with URBANET, she discusses these issues in relation to housing.
“We need to empower the people living in informal settlements” – An interview with Howaida Barakat from the Ministry of Housing, Egypt
In Egypt there are almost 850 000 people living in unsafe areas. We talked to Howaida Barakat, International Cooperation Advisor at the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities in Egypt about how the country deals with informal settlements, how the government is attempting to understand and include the people living in informal settlements and what sustainable housing in Egypt could look like in the future.
“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.
Cities have complex relationships with gender. They challenge some models of traditional femininity and masculinity, and reinforce others. Our author Paula Meth explains how gendered relations play out in informal urban settlements.
“Everyone has to bring something to the table” – An Interview with Janice Perlman, founder of the Mega Cities Project
Inequality and insufficient political and social structures in developing countries and and in the megacities of the Global South are still a huge problem, and change only occurs slowly. To enable cities to share their experiences and their efforts to bring about change, Janice Perlman founded the Mega Cities Project.
In a four-part series, URBANET takes a closer look at specific projects that contribute to making cities more liveable. In this first part, the focus lies on San Salvador, El Salvador's capital city, where the houses of thousands of families who live in slums are being reconstructed. Since they have gained access to regular water and electricity supply, the living conditions have improved significantly.
Slums and informal settlements are not just a matter of housing quality, they also affect the quality of life that people have, their health and their chances at a good education. At the Habitat III conference in Quito, URBANET talked to Sarah Nandudu, vice-chairperson of the National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda, about community building in slums, the responsibility of the New Urban Agenda, and what formal settlements can still learn from informal ones.
In modern-day cities, issues such as affordable and good housing, or the question of who designs neighborhoods are very relevant and often imply a conflict of interests. URBANET talked to Harvard Loeb Fellow Matthias Nohn about the challenges and chances that cities face, and about what really constitutes the "Right to the City".
At the German Habitat Forum in June 2016 URBANET talked to the African Centre for Cities Director Edgar Pieterse about cultural inclusion, informal settlements and why it is necessary that international institutions overcome their own limitations for the New Urban Agenda to have an impact.