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Cities as engines of change


June 2015 — The next few decades will see unprecedented population growth in cities, creating new political, economic, social, and environmental conditions that will, in turn, drive new approaches to sustainable development. Across the Global South, informal communities and sectors face the greatest uncertainties as to the future, as they are excluded from basic services, securities, and rights. Yet these gaps and uncertainties also provide informal communities the greatest urgency for change, along with the freedom from more established systems to experiment and shape developments in the cities around them.

On 9–11 June 2015, the New Cities Foundation will gather 800 of the world’s leading decision-makers, mayors, CEOs, entrepreneurs, thinkers, artists, and innovators in Jakarta for the New Cities Summit to discuss "Cities as Engines of Change." For the month of June, we will explore the idea of cities as a locus of experimentation in this period of rapid growth and development, with a focus on the role of the urban poor. Follow the conversation as it travels from city to city, and please contribute to the conversation in the comments below.

(Re)sourcing waste: waste management projects in Dhaka

Dhaka, 26 June 2015 — Social businesses and student innovations are leading the way in developing better waste management systems in Dhaka. Waste Concern has started a pilot project for community composting in slums and residential areas. This experiment is demonstrating results that may provide a sustainable, inclusive solution for the rest of the city. See more.

En la economía deprimida de Caracas, ¿cómo evoluciona la innovación?

Caracas, 25 junio 2015 — En Caracas, la innovación, no deriva de complejos algoritmos para el smartphone, sino dentro de los confines de pequeños espacios creados para el artista donde murales de pinturas son dedicadas a las emociones complejas de aquellos que comparten las vivezas duras que nos ofrece esta ciudad frenética de Caracas. Leer más.

The future of waste: from trash to cash

Lilongwe, 24 June 2015 — Lilongwe will soon become a city of trash due to the low capacity of the local authority to manage waste. Poor women in low-income areas are ending the trash story, turning Lilongwe into a city of cash. See more.

Bangalore NGO gives local youths tools to improve slums

Bangalore, 23 June 2015 — Children are rarely asked to participate in local politics or in drafting a better neighborhood in which they study and play. A Bangalore-based NGO, however, believes that the only way to achieve child-friendly cities is to bring children into the decision-making process. Their programs train local youths from slum areas to capture their surroundings through digital media and give them a voice at ward meetings — a step that opens up city-making not only in India but around the world. See more.

Who is planning for? Planning with urbanisation and informality in Johannesburg's Spatial Development Framework

Johannesburg, 22 June 2015 — Johannesburg remains the focal point for economic opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa and is the largest city in South Africa. Facing global challenges such as increasing urbanisation and economic inequality, the City's current Spatial Development Framework is being prepared to guide public and private investment toward not only accommodating a growing population and an increase in informality, but using these to drive growth and urban sustainability. See more.

Jaminan kesehatan untuk si miskin perkotaan

Jakarta, 19 Juni 2015 — Masyarakat miskin Jakarta memiliki Kartu Jakarta Sehat (KJS) sebagai jaminan kesehatan. Namun kini pemerintah Indonesia sudah memiliki Jaminan Kesehatan Nasional (JKN) yang bersifat wajib bagi semua warga. Permasalahan terletak pada kesiapan KJN yang belum mencakup semua fasilitas yang ditawarkan dalam KJS sehingga masyarakat miskin kota terancam tak mendapat jaminan kesehatan jika proses integrasi kedua kartu tersebut terhambat. Baca lebih lanjut.

Proyecto Hermes: combatiendo la violencia escolar

Bogotá, 18 junio 2015 — La violencia y los conflictos en las escuelas se han convertido en un grave problema en Bogotá. Se estima que 17 de cada 100 niños han sufrido alguna forma de acoso escolar. La Cámara de Comercio de Bogotá ha desarrollado el innovador Programa Hermes destinado a proveer a las escuelas con las herramientas y el conocimiento necesarios para combatir este problema. Leer más.

Quíron: empoderando a educação brasileira

Curitiba, 17 junho 2015 — Quíron é uma organização de ensino complementar e participativo formada por cinco jovens de Curitiba com o objetivo de fomentar a cidadania ativa. Conheça aqui seu curso "Jovens Protagonistas", oferecido gratuitamente para jovens de baixa renda, que desenvolve conceitos como Cidadania, Autoconhecimento, Soluções de Conflitos e Confiança e dá sentido à palavra da vez: empoderamento. Leia mais.

کوچه ای بهتر در محله ای فقیر

Tehran, 16 June 2015 —پروژه تخریب و بازسازی بافت های فرسوده شهری برای ساکنان این محلات عواقب اقتصادی و اجتماعی وخیمی به دنبال دارد. یک نمونه از این قبیل پروژه ها، محله "سلسبیل" در تهران است که در دهه 70 به دست بولدوزر سپرده شد. "کوچه بهتر" تجربه ای از مشارکت میان ساکنان و متخصصان شهری است که با هدف ارتقای وضعیت زندگی در این محله بازسازی شده، گرد هم آمده اند. ادامه مطلب.

Informal settlements: mediators between economic growth and human development

Delhi, 15 June 2015 — How can Delhi act not just as an engine of growth but also as an agent for greater social justice and environmental sustainability? This article describes the case of Lado Sarai, an urban village of South Delhi, examining strategies for consultation processes in informal settlements. See more.

Morte e vida da São Paulo abandonada

São Paulo, 12 Junho 2015 — Onda de ocupações de imóveis abandonados marca o Abril Vermelho deste ano. Movimentos de sem-teto realizaram ações coordenadas em toda a cidade para pressionar o governo a implementar políticas habitacionais efetivas. Leia mais.

مشروع قومي يستهدف الشباب لتطوير العشوائيات في القاهرة

Cairo, 11 June 2015 — المشروع القومي لتطوير العشوائيات يركز على الإنسان والعمران ويهدف إلى خلق مساحات آمنة لإبداع الشباب وتوفير حزمة خدمات متكاملة للناس في منهج تشاركي... اقرأ المزيد عن ذلك

Partisipasi yang membawa perubahan nyata

Surabaya, 10 Juni 2015 — Surabaya menjadi satu-satunya kota yang didatangi oleh Pelapor Khusus Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa (PBB) mengenai Hak atas Perumahan Layak tahun lalu karena dinilai berhasil menangani perumahan kumuh di Surabaya. Apa saja sebenarnya yang telah dilakukan pemerintah Surabaya serta kunci keberhasilannya sehingga membedakannya dengan daerah lain di Indonesia? Baca lebih lanjut.

Proyecto Golazo: fútbol como sistema educativo en Cali

Cali, 9 junio 2015 — Los deportes se consideran una forma efectiva para mejorar la autoestima, la empleabilidad y los niveles de violencia entre los jóvenes en los países en desarrollo. Un innovador proyecto busca utilizar el fútbol como instrumento para obtener estos objetivos. Leer más.

Por una cultura de reciclaje de la Ciudad

Mexico D.F., 8 junio 2015 — La Ciudad de México presenta un gran reto para desechar 13 mil toneladas de basura generada por los habitantes al día. Cerca del 50 por ciento de la basura puede ser reciclada, por lo que diversas estrategias por parte del gobierno y de organizaciones implementan esfuerzos para cambiar los hábitos de consumo y disposición de desechos de los capitalinos. Leer más.

From carts to trucks: efficiency in waste management

Lagos, 5 June 2015 — Inspired by garbage cart pushers and manual garbage collectors, the city of Lagos, through public-private partnerships, has scaled up the system of waste management and has allowed, to some degree, for the inclusion of informal trash collectors into the formal system. See more.

Observatório de Favelas representa o poder dos cidadãos organizados e sua capacidade transformadora

Rio de Janeiro, 4 junho 2015 — Conheça dois projetos inovadores na área da educação dessa Organização da Sociedade Civil de Interesse Público localizada no Rio de Janeiro: o Conexões de Saberes, que investe na permanência de jovens de origem popular nas universidades, e a ESPOCC, que promove o primeiro curso de Publicidade Afirmativa do país. Leia mais.

Innovations in health care access for Nairobi residents

Nairobi, 3 June 2015 — Unregulated pill shops and pharmaceutical dealers are abundant across Kenya. These shops are one of the most accessible and affordable immediate health care options available to residents of Nairobi's informal settlements. Seeking to fill a gap in the quality of care and ease of access to qualified medical workers, Access Afya has begun piloting efficiency-based micro-clinic models in two slums. See more.

Reinventing Dharavi

Mumbai, 2 June 2015 — Dharavi is one of India's — and Asia's — best-known informal settlements. Much debate has centered around its future, but little has actually been done to improve the lives of its residents. To stimulate fresh thinking on how Dharavi can reinvent the future of urban transformation, Mumbai's Urban Design Research Institute sent out a global call for ideas — and the proposals that came back have reignited the debate on the future of the city's densest settlement. See more.

"BCA — Tác nhân thay đổi": Nơi lan toả động lực để thay đổi cộng đồng

Ho Chi Minh City, 1 Tháng Sáu 2015 — Trong vài năm trở lại đây, người dân TP.HCM chứng kiến nhiều hoạt động "lạ" của nhiều nhóm các bạn trẻ: giơ bảng khuyến khích tắt máy xe tại các giao lộ, thu nhặt vé xe buýt dùng rồi cho các tác phẩm nghệ thuật bảo vệ môi trường, từ chối làm theo yêu cầu hối lộ của cảnh sát giao thông. Rất nhiều trong số những thử nghiệm thay đổi cộng đồng ấy được khởi nguồn từ một chương trình dành cho thanh niên mang tên "BCA — Tác nhân thay đổi". Xem thêm.

 

Join the discussion on cities as engines of change in the comments below.

 
You can also join our May discussion on finding a voice in the politics of urban poverty.


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Comments

Andréa Azambuja's picture

Hi Tam Nguyen,
Thanks for your article. These days I was reading an article about the work of psychiatrist James Gilligan, who has a very interesting thesis that describes violence as an attempt to replace shame with self-esteem. It made me think a lot about the power of our exclusionary realities in people most deep essences and personalities. I think one of the most serious problem we face is that people in vulnerable situations are often seen as part of a homogeneous and stereotyped mass, and they are made to believe that a change is not possible. Unfortunately, at least in Brazil, traditional public education seems to reinforce that – it doesn't stimulate critical thinking and it doesn't encourage people to make way for new perspectives. That's why initiatives as these one are so important. While preparing youngsters to think beyond the problems' surface and propose solutions in practical ways, they work in theses kids' self-esteem, make they stronger, show them that they have the power to intervene and to conquer, show they are valuable, creative and powerful human beings – and maybe this is the strongest tool one can have to fight for a better life.

María Fernanda Carvallo's picture

Andréa, I enjoyed a lot your article. It is amazing how this laboratory came true from the initiative of intellectuals of the community. It would be interesting to know more about how these intellectuals launched the proyect and obtained the financial resources in order to create the asociation and support students of the favelas. More over, I was wondering if you could explain what happens when students finish the academic programe, is there any strategy to link them to the enterprises or the labor market?

Shaima Abulhajj's picture

Dear Olatawura
Great piece giving idea on a very persistent issue as waste management. I wonder how much is the per capita payment for this service provided by LAWMA despite it was franchised and if the employees working in this project are trained and their safety is maintained before practicing such services?
Best!

Olatawura Ladipo-Ajayi's picture

Thank You shaima. The personnel are trained before engaging there are strict specification to be met before the contract is awarded. Specific number of trucks to ensure the areas can be fully covered and many checks along the way to ensure efficiency including resident feedback. How well this sources are utilized however, is unclear. Citizens seem not to be proactive or aware of this option. Regarding the fees, as far as I understand, this is basically per tonnage/ location. The tariff is lower in low income areas and costed per waste bin picked up monthly.

Andréa Azambuja's picture

Hi María Fernanda, thanks for asking!

Observatório de Favelas, in its most early origin (before having this name even), began as a program of IETS – Instituto de Estudo do Trabalho e Sociedade (Portuguese for "Institute for Labour and Society Studies"), an initiative of Rio de Janeiro's government (of its Labor and Employment "delegation") to strengthen the relationship between researchers, policymakers and other stakeholders committed to the fight against poverty. The IETS is a Civil Society Organization of Public Interest, a title that facilitates the creation of partnerships with all levels of government and public agencies and allows public and private actors to contribute with financial donations (discounted of its income tax payments).

When Observatorio de Favelas (actually, what it would become OF) was an IETs program (funded by private partners through discounts in their tax), it was a group of researchers hired to work in two levels: producing research (to enlarge the qualified knowledge of the slums and urban phenomena) and training local researchers (that's when they created "University Network Program for Popular Spaces", which in the future would turn into Conexões de Saberes). Over the years, these researchers got more and more engaged with the community and expanded their operations a lot, so they decided to become an autonomous entity.

At this point, they had already formed new researchers, had already been in contact with lots of community leaders and scholars throughout the city, and also had made relations with various companies and government representatives. It's likely that in the beginning they had to dedicate time and work voluntarily to establish partnerships, but this changed. Today, they are supported by many many partners, from private companies and NGOs to the government: http://of.org.br/parceiros/ . It was something progressive: the more partnerships they had, more manpower they could hire to train new workforces and to start new projects.
Regarding Conexões de Saberes, the program goal is to make students keep their studies at the university, to avoid them to give up. The idea is that they apply for master's degrees, PhD, Postdoctoral... and I'm sure they are supported to compete for scholarships in their educational institutions too. In this case, this is already an strategy to link them to the labor market, as they are pursuing an academic carrer. In addition, many of them continue to work for OF after graduating, but I don't know whether they are paid or not. I'm not sure either if Observatorio scholarships are directed only for undergraduate students or to MS, PhD... too. I've asked them by e-mail and let you know asap.

To finish, regarding Espocc, it's kind of the same: the program goal is education, forming youngsters. All the students are enrolled in school or are just starting university (the age range is roughly from 14 to 20), so the focus is to study, not to work. As part of the practical education, they do internship, what usually takes part in Diálogos, Espocc agency. Some Espocc classes are held in partners headquarters (advertising agencies, TV channels) and, as a result, students do a lot of contacts with professionals who are already in the labor market. I don't know, however, if there are any subsequent programs focused on officialy inserting these youngsters into the labor market. I'm gonna check that and, as soon as I have further information, I'll let you know.

I'm sorry for my infinite answer, I hope it helps! :)

Felipe Villela's picture

In Johannesburg as in São Paulo, It really does seem like the greatest challenge for the urban poor to achieve substantive citizenship is to make the elite agree on material redistribution. For instance, here in city’s central area there are lots of abandoned buildings as well as many organized homeless groups with the right expertise to “renovate” them. Nevertheless most of government actions favor buildings’ legal owners, as a way to ensure their right to speculate with urban property.

Olatawura Ladipo-Ajayi's picture

Hello Wonderful, your article is very interesting, its inspiring to see how individuals without government support are working to improve their environment. You mentioned the initial project helping turn trash to cash is over, I wonder if there was any plans from the authorities to incorporate this system into their waste management plan as they aren't covering all areas. Pushing this mechanism large scale seems like a viable option to prevent lilongwe being overrun by waste.

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