Everyone wants to go smart. But Emana Nsikan-George warns against creating a new class of unfit-for-smart-city urban dwellers, especially when African cities are still struggling with fundamental development goals. A thought-provoking tale of smart fantasies and urban realities.
Urban planning for healthier cities has existed for millennia. Yet the current pandemic lays bare the truth: a billion people cannot comply with even the most basic containment strategies. Julian Baskin, expert in participatory urban planning, explains what is going on and how to move forward.
A photo competition called for urban residents in African countries to portray how they use media to change the narrative on their environment. Slum Dwellers International presents some beautiful results of the #ChangeOurPicture competition.
Rakhi Mehra reveals the story behind a pioneering digital tool that wants to help revolutionise the quality of informal housing. After a few clicks, users receive a customised construction manual and cost-overview with the aim of ensuring that their house meets the safety requirements it needs to stand the test of time.
India’s financial centre is one of the densest cities in the world and also home to a number of slums with urgent need for improvements. Trupti Amritwar Vaitla, CEO of the Mumbai Environmental Social Network, highlights a few of their innovative slum upgrading projects that have a participatory element at their core.
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.
Brazil's strategies towards its favelas have varied enormously over time. If they are to be successful in improving people's lives, it is essential that informal settlements are perceived as an integral part of a city, argue Mariana Dias Simpson and Itamar Silva.
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.
Street dwellers and the urban poor often don’t have access to their cities’ services. One reason behind this problem is the fact that they are not surveyed and consulted in data collection. How can this gap be filled?
Access to energy is considered a key factor in development and progress. Especially in informal settlements, provision of energy can be challenging. Alessandro Galimberti outlines how Public Private Partnerships that include local CSOs have been key to solving this problem in many of Brazil's favelas.
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.