Urban Persepectives: A New Generation of Ideas

By the year 2050, 70 percent of the world’s population will be urban. With 1.5 million people moving into cities every week, managing urban growth is one of the most important development challenges facing the world today. In an effort to create a global framework to guide sustainable urbanization for the next twenty years, national governments adopted The New Urban Agenda during The United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), held in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016. As attention focuses on implementation of the agreement in cities across the world, policy, planning and practice are being shaped to reflect the global urban reality. Evidence-based research, new data and metrics for monitoring progress are critical tools and resources for decision making about urban priorities in order to advance the New Urban Agenda.

Recognizing the need to strengthen the ties between urban policymaking and new scholarly work on urban development, the Wilson Center’s Urban Sustainability Laboratory, USAID, the World Bank, IHC Global and Cities Alliance teamed together to cosponsor the annual “Reducing Urban Poverty” paper competition for advanced graduate students. The competition is designed to promote the early career development of young urban researchers, encouraging a new generation of urban scholars, practitioners and policymakers, and to disseminate their innovative ideas.

This publication marks the seventh year of the “Reducing Urban Poverty” paper competition and includes a range of perspectives on urban challenges and policy solutions. The 2016 competition called for papers linked to one of the following subtopics: Cities and Climate Change; Arrival Cities: Responding to Migrants and Refugees; Innovation in Urban Planning; and, Financing Sustainable Urban Development. To select the winning papers for this publication, a panel of urban experts representing each of the sponsoring institutions reviewed 157 abstract submissions, from which 27 student authors were invited to write a full-length paper. Of these, eight papers were selected to be included in this publication. The chapters in this volume critically examine urban policies and projects, offering original, solutions-oriented research and strategies.

CHAPTER SUMMARIES

Arrival Cities: Responding to Migrants and Refugees

While not a new phenomenon, current global conflicts are focusing public attention on refugees and migrants, as countries strive to cope with the influx of newcomers. Traditional refugee camps and services are increasingly out of date in today’s urban landscape. As policy makers and practitioners alike are struggling with how best to provide assistance to refugees in an urban setting, research must examine current policies and practices and propose new strategies for inclusive urban refugee services.

The first chapter in this volume examines the incremental housing model of the Urban Shelter Program of the Norwegian Refugee Council. The program provides financial assistance for house expansions and interior finishings to homeowners in cities of Northern Jordan in exchange for rent-free accommodation to Syrian refugee families. Authors Francis Goyes, Sera Tolgay and Valeria Vidal combine quantitative and qualitative analysis to explore the benefits of the project, making the case for incremental housing as a shelter strategy for refugees in urban settings.

Climate Change

Cities are at the forefront of grappling with the challenges of climate change and its adverse impacts on the urban poor. Forced to adapt to the realities of a changing climate, urban areas are on the cutting edge of innovation, testing promising solutions that incorporate strategies for building resilience into urban planning and management. Good governance, with coordination across all levels of government and engaged citizens, is essential for making communities safer and more prosperous in the face of climate change.

In their study of the sea defense project in the Ada East District of Ghana, Kwame Owusu-Daaku and Stephen Kofi Diko analyze differences in national, district and community level discourse on climate change adaptation, exploring the implications for policy formulation and implementation. The authors put forth a set of recommendations for improved stakeholder engagement for effective urban climate change adaptation. Lakshmi Rajagopalan draws from the case of Chennai, India to emphasize the need to integrate climate resilience into urban planning and development policies. Rajagopalan examines key factors that cause flooding, concluding with policy recommendations for increased coordination and integration of strategies and implementation frameworks for land use development and urban flood control.

Innovation in Urban Planning

The New Urban Agenda recognizes that integrated urban and territorial planning can deliver the positive outcomes of urbanization. Urban and spatial planning is a critical tool for addressing urban challenges and building equitable and sustainable cities. Innovative planning systems involve a broad range of stakeholders to develop a common vision for the city.

Jakub Galuszka draws from research conducted in the Philippines and South Africa to analyze the role of evidence-based planning and evaluation regimes in housing policies. His chapter examines large-scale housing programs and co-productive, incremental housing solutions to identify ways that evaluation regimes can block or streamline innovation. Galuszka calls for evaluation measures based on outcome rather than output, with greater consideration for the long-term effects of policies on people’s lives and a city’s development.

Emily Hall investigates how urban morphological analysis can be used as a tool to assess and develop policy responses to multiple deprivations in datapoor cities of the developing world. Hall presents evidence from Kaduna, Nigeria to examine the variations of deprivations experienced by residents of the city at a disaggregated level using an urban morphological approach.

Financing Sustainable Urban

Development Investment in sustainable urban development is critical for the future of a rapidly urbanizing world. Growing funding gaps will have a significant impact on economic growth and the quality of life in cities. Financing infrastructure and services for city residents, particularly the urban poor, will be the primary challenge for successful implementation of the New Urban Agenda, demanding clear, innovative, and sustainable financing frameworks.

Devaditya Mukherjee draws from fieldwork conducted in Bhilai Township to examine strategies to leverage public land for public housing development in India. Mukherjee analyzes land leasing policies and surplus land potential, concluding with a set of targeted recommendations for the Township to achieve goals for affordable housing delivery and urban redevelopment.

Yuxiang Luo examines the intricacies of public-private partnership for urban redevelopment in a case study of Dachong Village Redevelopment in Shenzhen, China. The author investigates how local property rights politics and informal social mechanisms affect perceptions and management of risk, exploring the implications for urban policy and market feasibility.

In the final chapter of the volume, Nicolás Valenzuela-Levi examines the impact of social housing policies in Chile on the creation of jobs and access to opportunities. Valenzuela-Levi considers quantitative and qualitative results, assessing public housing production capacity and the quality of location for opportunities to explore the policy implications for housing investment to address poverty.

Source: Relief Web

This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat. 

Author: 
USAID - United States Agency for International Development

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