Extreme Urbanism 1: Reimagining Mumbai’s Back Bay

A Collaborative Studio and Research Project, Spring 2011

Rahul Mehrotra, Chair of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard Graduate School of Design, provided the leadership for this studio and research project with collaboration from
Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Business School, Real Estate Academic Initiative at Harvard University and the Loeb Fellowship at the Graduate School of Design.

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David Satterthwaite – Rethinking Development Finance for City “Slums”

Policy Innovations. October, 15, 2012. Very little aid is actually available to low-income urban groups and grassroots organizations. If it is, it is subject to the conditions and priorities established by the aid provider. The Asian Coalition for Community Action (ACCA) is challenging this funding model by providing small grants to low-income communities for the initiatives they choose and supporting these communities to work together and work with their local governments.

Around one in seven of the world’s population lives in informal settlements in urban areas. City economies would collapse without their labor and the goods and services from informal enterprises—yet city governments often ignore them or see them only as a problem. In the absence of support from local governments, aid agencies, or development banks, they have had to manage by themselves. They’ve built a high proportion of all new housing in informal settlements with insecure tenure because they cannot get land legally and have often built on land ill-suited to housing because they were not allowed to settle on good quality land. They struggle to cope with problems such as regular flooding, and face high levels of fire risk (caused by widespread use of candles, kerosene lamps, and stoves in houses constructed from flammable materials located very close together). They face the constant threat of eviction—or actual eviction.
The Asian Coalition for Community Action (ACCA) sees these people, and the grassroots organizations they form, as the basis for urban development.

Read more: D. Satterthwaite – Rethinking Development Finance for City “Slums”

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A Omenya – A Networks Approach To Understanding The Role Of The Market And The State In Housing

The Cases Of Nairobi, Kenya And Johannesburg, South Africa

ajol.info This paper presents an outline case for use of ‘housing networks concept’ to unpack housing problems in the context of Johannesburg, South Africa and Nairobi, Kenya.
It begins by defining housing networks and outlining areas of knowledge where the ‘networks concept’ has been used. The paper then develops a case for application of ‘networks’ in understanding urban housing problems, focusing on the roles of the state, the market and civil society.
It explores resource origins, allocation, flows and destination in low-income housing in Nairobi, Kenya and Johannesburg, South Africa. The paper argues that the networks for land delivery make land inaccessible for the low-income in both cities. The means of accessing finance for housing available to the poor tend to be exploitative despite government regulation in the case of Johannesburg. Provision of infrastructure, services and social amenities ignore the collective resources of the low-income. Labour and sweat equity concepts are misplaced in light of cheap labour and unemployment, particularly in Nairobi. Building standards, materials and technology favour the upper- income despite allowance in both cities for lower building standards.
Key lessons and conclusions are drawn at the end.
Download full text:  http://www.ajol.info/

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Cities Alliance – About Slum Upgrading

citiesalliance.org – Slum upgrading is a process through which informal areas are gradually improved, formalised and incorporated into the city itself, through extending land, services and citizenship to slum dwellers.It involves providing slum dwellers with the economic, social, institutional and community services available to other citizens. These services include legal (land tenure), physical (infrastructure), social (crime or education, for example) or economic.

Slum upgrading is not simply about water or drainage or housing. It is about putting into motion the economic, social, institutional and community activities that are needed to turn around downward trends in an area. These activities should be undertaken cooperatively among all parties involved—residents, community groups, businesses as well as local and national authorities if applicable.
The activities tend to include the provision of basic services such as housing, streets, footpaths, drainage, clean water, sanitation, and sewage disposal. Often, access to education and health care are also part of upgrading.
In addition to basic services, one of the key elements of slum upgrading is legalising or regularising properties and bringing secure land tenure to residents.

Ultimately, upgrading efforts aim to create a dynamic in the community where there is a sense of ownership, entitlement and inward investment in the area.

Read more: About Slum Upgrading


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Tanzania – Unsanitary Urban Slums Worrisome

A GROUP of housing development officials from English speaking nations in Africa, including Tanzania, were told early this week that they should now discard a British colonial housing law that was enacted in 1947, because it generates slums in urban centres.

A director at the Centre for the Study of African Economies at the University of Oxford in the UK, Prof Paul Collier, told the officials that the Town and County Planning Act of 1947, which was enacted by the British Parliament in 1947 was no longer useful. The professor said that this outdated legislation should now be thrown out because it no longer works to the advantage of people who live in cities, municipalities and towns.

Read more: Tanzania – Unsanitary Urban Slums Worrisome

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Het multiculturele Bolivia van Evo Morales – Nieuwe vormen van burgerschap – Deel Een

El Alto 2006 – Photo Joel Alvarez

Op 21 januari 2010 werd Evo Morales Aima voor de tweede maal geïnaugureerd als president van Bolivia. Precies vier jaar eerder, op 21 januari 2006 accepteerde Evo Morales, de eerste inheemse president van Bolivia, al een keer zijn ‘inheemse autoriteit’ tijdens een kleurrijke ceremonie in Tiwanaku, een indrukwekkende archeologische plaats ongeveer 70 kilometer van La Paz, de (informele) hoofdstad van Bolivia. Getooid in de traditionele kledij van een inheemse mallku ‘condor’ of inheemse leider – werd hij toegejuicht door duizenden aanhangers die zwaaiden met de wiphala, de kleurrijke vlag die – hoewel dit ook betwist wordt – symbool staat voor alle inheemse volkeren van Zuid-Amerika. Vervolgens werd de president op 22 januari ’s ochtends beëdigd in het parlement door het omhangen van de presidentiële sjerp en het afleggen van de gelofte om de grondwet te respecteren. Rechterlijke en militaire prominenten, een aantal belangrijke buitenlandse politici en de nieuw verkozen leden van het parlement waren aanwezig.
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