UNDP Cities Initiative

UNDPOur Work on sustainable, inclusive, safe, and resilient urbanization:
More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas. By 2050, that figure will have risen to 6.5 billion people – two-thirds of humanity. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces.

The rapid growth of cities in the developing world, coupled with increasing rural to urban migration, has led to a boom in mega-cities. In 1950, only 30 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas. In 2014, 54 percent was urban, with the proportion being far higher in developed countries. By 2020, however, the majority of people in developing countries will live in cities, with Africa and Asia urbanizing faster than other regions. Together with Latin America, they collectively account for more than 90 percent of global urban growth.

Many national, regional and local governments have struggled to create and implement policies that tackle the growing challenges faced by population growth in urban centers. Making cities safe and sustainable means ensuring access to safe and affordable housing, as well as improving slum and informal housing settlements. City leaders must invest in public transport, create and regenerate new public spaces for all urban residents, and improve urban planning and management in a way that is both participatory and inclusive. Sustainable city life is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.

UNDP’s policy and programme support focuses on supporting countries (and cities) to implement policies and initiatives for achieving SDG 11 and the New Urban Agenda. Given the scope of urban challenges, UNDP will continue to work with a diverse set of partners and stakeholders—as part of a ‘coalition’—in addressing challenges to urbanization at the local, regional and national levels.

Urban residents in well-planned cities enjoy better access to employment opportunities, healthcare, education and public services compared to their rural counterparts. This is an opportunity to ensure that the urban infrastructure being built is climate resilient [1] and provides a better quality of life for the people who will live there. Better governance, planning and management mechanisms and access to affordable financing will be critical determinants of the sustainability, resilience, and inclusiveness of future urban centers.

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Dusan Bozanic ~ Amazing “Before and After” Photos of 15 Iconic Cities

Tokyo1945It’s quite amazing how cities can change over time. It doesn’t even have to be that much time, you can literally leave your city for only a few years and when you come back, you’ll be baffled with the changes that occurred in your absence. Now imagine how some cities can change after ten, twenty or even one hundred years. The most drastic example is probably the beautiful city of Dubai, but we also prepared many “before and after” photographs so you could see how some of the biggest cities on the planet have changed throughout history.

Enjoy: http://www.sortra.com/breathtaking-transformations-of-iconic-cities/


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Bonus Chapters 2016 ~ Supplementing ‘Generations Of Lucky Devils And Unlucky Dogs’

080212BeckerFrontBonus chapter 2016 – 1
Short alert concerning the discussion about generations

Bonus chapter 2016 – 2
The ICT-generation, also Virtual Generation

Bonus chapter 2016 – 3
Generations and the future of distance workers

Bonus chapter 2016 – 4
Life-history of a workaholic, autobiography of the author

Supplement concerning: Henk A. Becker: ‘Generations of Lucky Devils and Unlucky Dogs, strategies for assertive growing up, active ageing and intergenerational solidarity up to 2030’. Amsterdam 2011, Rozenberg Publishers. Paperback and e-book.

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Short Alert Concerning The Discussion About Generations

We come across the word ‘generation’ nearly every day, in various places. In discussions, in the media, in books. Often we know immediately what it is about, which is odd, as generations are extremely complex phenomena. This complexity causes discussions about generations in social sciences to remain fierce. This short alert is an attempt to give a concise summary of the discussion.

Starting point for this alert is the book Generaties van Geluksvogels en Pechvogels (Generations of lucky dogs and the unfortunate), which I had published in 2011. As the pattern of generations changes continuously, I made this book a ‘living document’. This implies that I frequently publish supplements to this book. These supplements appear on the website of the publisher of the book.

In this short alert I summarize the current discussion. This summary is particularly important as the pattern of generations is about to change intensively worldwide. By the end of July 2016 a report will be published, indicating in what way recent innovations in the IT sector influence the pattern of generations.

As this concerns extremely complex phenomena, it is essential to involve three areas of knowledge in the discussion. The first knowledge area are the descriptions of the generation pattern and are dynamics. This is mainly about the research reports and scientific reflections. The second knowledge area ensure the necessary idealisations. Especially a typology of generations is indispensable. The third knowledge area informs us about the discussion with regard to generations occurring in our society. What do TV, newspapers and magazines bring forward?

2. Descriptions of the pattern of generations
Our society has over one hundred years of birth. The higher the age of the people involved, the smaller the ‘cohorts’. This clearly applies for the members of society who are over one hundred years of age. The more than one hundred cohorts shift in time annually. Often this shifting is accompanied by changes in the structure of the cohorts. These processes are for example shown as the movement of a rabbit that was eaten by a snake. Slowly the rabbit sinks into the bowels of the snake, while it is being digested.

In addition it is important that every time some cohorts cluster into a generation. Such clusters are formed under the influence of great social changes (‘major events’). There is no official acknowledgement of generations. As a result the social and scientific discussion decides about the question whether there is a generation. In any case these debates ensure an extensive flow of books and articles.

3.Idealisations of the pattern of generations
Studying and discussing such complex phenomena does not only require detailed scientific and generally social texts. In addition simplified models are essential. Therefore a typology of generations is available. A stereotype of every generation within the typology is assimilated.
The idealisations of the pattern of generations changes over the years. After all they are required to correspond with the changes that the generations themselves undergo each time. In connection with these changes I adjusted the typology of generations time after time in my book. Below I indicate how I presented the typology in 1992 and in 2011.

Cohorts born between 1910 and 1930
Name in 1992: pre-warGeneration
Name in 2011: pre-warGeneration

Cohorts born between 1930 and 1945
Name in 1992: Silent Generation (During the Cultural Revolution of the sixties, and later the struggle was between the mature adults and the rebellious youth over the heads of the Silent Generation. The Silent Generation largely remained silent).
Name 2011: Silent Generation (The name remained unchanged)

Cohorts born between 1945 and 1955
Name in 1992: Protest generation (See above about the struggle during the Cultural Revolution)
Name in 2011: Early Baby-boom generation (Protests have escaped the attention. Baby-boomers are currently relatively very confident. The start of their working life went relatively favourable. Gradually the extent of their cohorts has shown relatively many social effects).

Cohorts born between 1955 and 1970
Name in 1992: Lost Generation (The term ‘lost’ could imply ‘losing the way’ but also it mean ‘prospectless’, for instance in terms of finding a job).
Name in 2011: Late Baby-boomgeneration (Less great effects on the great extent of cohorts, therefore: Late).

Cohorts born between 1970 and 1985
Name in 1992: Pragmatic Generation.
Name in 2011: Pragmatic Generation, Generation X

Cohorts born between 1985 and 1995
Name in 1992: Generation Y;
Name in 2011: Unlimited Generation, Generation Y

Cohorts born after 1995>
Name in 1992: None
Name in 2011: ICT-Generation (Also: Generation )Z. By the end of June 2016 it will become clear from which year this generation can be observed).

As far as the ‘Patatgeneratie’ (Fish ‘n Chips generation) is concerned, I refer to Wikipedia. I, myself do not use that name.

4 Generations in society
Time after time research takes place, based on the question: what generation names are recognized by members of society? Investigating generations and drawing up typologies of generations is systematically done in accordance with these society customs wherever possible.

A fascinating example of this is the article ‘Vrijheid blijheid voor altijd’? (‘Freedom and happiness for always’). This appeared in Elsevier magazine on 21 May 2016. The youngsters in the article, presented as an illustration, are all between 17 and 30 years old. In secondary school they were prepared by means of the idea: ‘Do whatever you like, and you will be alright. Follow your heart. The world is at your feet. You can be whatever you want to be’.

In the ‘Introduction’ to this alert it was announced that soon the generation pattern worldwide will experience a shock. By publishing the effect of the break-out of the IT-revolution on youngsters, who are at that time in their formative timeframe. Think about the grandsons of grandfathers, who give their granddads the required assistance while dealing with a computer or another digitally functioning device. This will concern a cluster of young cohorts of such an apparent feature that the generation sociology will finally obtain a categorically convincing example of the emergence and survival of a generation.

6 Finally
Ever since the rise of the generation sociology some hundred years ago, this specialism has been facing continuous fierce criticism. In our day and age we still hear the statement: ‘Henk Becker’s generation sociology is too vague’. The generation sociologists should not only refute the criticism, but also benefit from it as much as possible. The attention for generation sociology are very much alive, due to fierce debates. This attention will also be retained because of the aforementioned announced break in the trend and the consequences in society.

Henk Becker
June 2016

Henk A. Becker (1992).’Generaties en hun Kansen’.Amsterdam: Meulenhoff
Henk A. Becker (2011). ‘Generaties van Geluksvogels en Pechvogels: Strategieën voor assertief opgroeien, actief ouder wordenen intergenerationele solidariteit tot 2030’. (Met een Woord Vooraf van Paul Schnabel).Amsterdam: Rozenberg Publishers. Paperback en e-book. Sinds 2011 als ‘living document’ beschikbaar, op de website van de uitgever. (rozenbergquarterly.com/category/europe generations).
Idem, ‘Generations of Lucky Devils and Unlucky Dogs: Strategies for assertive growing up, active ageing and intergenerational solidarity up to 2030’. Amsterdam: Rozenberg Publishers. Paperback and e-book. As ‘living document’ available on the website of the Publisher.
Frits Spangenberg en Martijn Lampert (2011). ‘De grenzelose generatieen de opmars van de B.V.IK’. Amsterdam: Nieuw Amsterdam.
Over de onmisbaarheid van idealisaties zie: Broer, H., J. Van de Craatsen F. Verhulst (1995). ‘Chaostheorie: het einde van de voorspelbaarheid?’. Utrecht: Epsilon Uitgaven.

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The ICT-Generation, Also Virtual Generation

In the Netherlands about one thousand schoolchildren are sick and have to stay at home. An organisation called ‘Classcontact’ is responsible for the communication between the healthy and the sick members of the classes. All members of a class communicate with eachother by video conferencing. This arrangement aims at avoiding that the sick children feel lonely and that they get excluded from the lessons.

This arrangement is possible because these schoolchildren belong to cohorts that have experienced the ICT-revolution during the formatieve period in their lifecourse (1). The children belong to the ICT-Generation’, also called virtual generation (2). Members of this generation have in this period profited from a relatively high level of intelligence and a relatively high memory capacity. They will profit from these experiences during the rest of their lifecourse, although the impact will shrink and the content will change somewhat in the course of time.

In this bonus chapter I will first discuss the charateristics we can expect of the ICT-generation in the future, looking at a number of areas in society. Second, I will look at the strategies that will have to be applied. Third, the perspectives for the ICT-generation will be explored.

2.Areas of activities
The first area to be discussed is education. All members of the virtual generation will profit substantially from the experiences during their formative period. They have learned much about virtual communication and about handling computers. They have also acquired a relatively high level of communicating in English.

They will profit much from distance learning. An example of this kind of education are the Open Universities active in many countries in the Western World. Also distance learning will enrich the opportunities on the labour market for youngsters in developing countries a soon as they try to find a job in a developed country. These opportunities will lead to government meaures to keep them in their home country and to avoid migration to a developed country. If they live in a safe area, there will be no reasons for emigration. We are confronted here with a structual reduction of mass migration towards developed countries.
Also training and coaching will have an important impact upon the lifecourses of the ICT-generation. The members of this generation will try hard to acquire knowhow about practical activities. In particular coaching will improve their opportunities on the labour market. An example of coaching in schools was presented at the beginning of this bonus chapter.

The opportunities involved are present in particular in the area of administration. Already in our time many enterprises in the Netherlands and other Western countries engage administrative workers in countries like Rumania and Slovacia in programming in the sector of administration and bookkeeping.
Furthermore medical care presents many examples of distance work suited for members of the ICT-generation. As an example we can take handling of care-robots at a distance. This activity requires knowhow about robotica. This kind of knowhow the members of the ICT-generation can acquire without too much trouble.
As a last example we will take a look at surveyance. For instance surveyance by cameras.

In the next five to ten years of its existence the ICT-generation will have to design and practice strategies that
first, provide optimal profits of the abilities of its members in handling ICT,
second, lead to optimal profits from distance workers worldwide,
third, lead to optimal cooperation with members of other generations,
fourth, reduce mass migration of economic refugees living in safe areas.

In the area of education in the next five to ten years the members of the ICT-generaion will not have yet enough training and experience to act as high-quality teachers. The members of this generation will contribute assistance that requires strategies that will be inspired by the practices described in the beginning of this bonus chapter, dealing with the support of schoolchildren that have to stay at home.
The same kind of strategies is required in the area of training. Members of the ICT-generation need strategies to act as assistants. For instance training in handling knowledge and know-how regarding the pattern of generations. This training will be supported by the book Generations of Lucky Devils and Unlucky Dogs.
With regard to coaching the members of the ICT-generation will in the next five to ten years already be able to act on a high level. As an example we can take the coaching of economic refugees that are admitted to developed countries. Distance work based on ICT will take place worldwide.

Next administration requires our attention. In bonus chapter 2016-3 experiences with distance programming are described. Young experts living in a country in the East of Europe contibute programming to enterprises situated in the Netherlands, England and other countries in the Western World.
In the area of medical care members of the ICT-generation can support patients that have to stay at home. They will supervise these patients and organize social contacts.The same kind of distance work can be practiced to support senior citizens living alone and in need of social contacts. These activities require strategies inspired by activities already existent.
Also surveyance will have to be contributed by members of the ICT-generation. In particular surveyance based on cameras. For instance camera surveyance in the centers of our large cities. In Generations of Lucky Devils and Unlucky Dogs examples of Amsterdam are presented.

These strategies require a lot of support. For instance if the producing position or the receiving position cannot be reached by daylight. Often night shifts will be require.

We may expect that the European Commission will stimulate pilot studies and will contribute to the finances required for these activities.
We also expect that distance work will grow fast in the next years. Furthermore we expect that the book Generations of Lucky Devils and Unlcky Dogs will contribute substantial to these developments.
A lot of problems still require attention. For instance we need safeguarding of the copyrights of specific texts published in a living document.

5.Next steps
First. I will send this version of Bonus Chapter 2016-2 to a translation bureau to correct my mistakes in the use of the English language.
Furthermore, I will supplement Bonus Chapter 2016-3 with new information.
Also, I will add new information to my autobiography.

(1) Henk A. Becker (2011) Generations of Lucky Devils and Unlucky Dogs. Amsterdam: Rozenberg Publishers. Page 33.
(2) IT Generation, Barendrecht.

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Generations And The Future Of Distance Workers

080212BeckerFrontA distance worker performs his work at the ‘production position’. The results of his work emerge at the ‘outcome position’, at a distance from the production position. An example is a series of guest lectures I presented at the University of Johannesburg. I lectured in Utrecht in a video conference center. The students were located in South Africa. After a few minutes, I forgot that I was speaking to a glass screen. I could see and hear the students’ reactions to my presentation. The male students participated a bit more actively than their female colleagues. To support my lectures, I had distributed a set of handouts in advance.

In this essay, I will first discuss the dynamics of the Pattern of Generations. These dynamics will structure the future of distance workers substantially. I will base this discussion on my research program on generations, active since 1983. Secondly, I will present several examples of distance activities. Thirdly, the future of distance workers will be discussed in detail.

The Pattern of Generations and its Dynamics
The concept of generations has been a part of our cultural heritage for many centuries. We can define a generation as: ‘the clustering of a set of birth cohorts as an effect of one or more major events in society’. [1] The impact of major events is particularly strong during the formative period of the life course. The formative period is from around age twelve to seventeen. In this period intelligence and memory capacity reach their highest level in the life course. [2]

In 2015, the pattern of generations can be represented by a number of idealizations. [3] The ‘Silent Generation’ is birth cohorts from 1930 to 1945. The ‘Early Babyboom Generation’ is cohorts born from 1945 to 1955. The ‘Late Babyboom Cohorts’ go from 1955 to 1980. The ‘Pragmatic Generation’, also called ‘Generation X, is situated between 1980 and 1990. ‘Generation Y’ goes from 1990 to 2000’, and ‘Generation Z’ starts in 2000.
The dynamics of generations are represented by the changes over time that each generation experiences. Take the ‘Early Babyboom Generation’ for instance. In its formative period it experienced the emergence of ICT. In its formative period, ‘Generation Z’ will experience the impact of substantial improvements in ICT, combined with a substantial increase in command of the English language.
Generations can be discussed with the aid of idealizations. Another type of generation consists of the results of empirical research in sociology and related social sciences. Third, we are confronted with the images of generations in everyday life. [4].

Examples of Distance Workers
First of all, distance workers in education demand our attention. At the start of this essay, I mentioned a series of guest lectures delivered from the University of Utrecht and received at the University of Johannesburg. This is one example of the many kinds of education being provided at a distance. Nowadays, many universities offer their lectures on the Internet. Institutes in higher education increasingly offer online courses. Professors’ discussions with students are held by e-mail or virtual conferences. In most cases the English language is used.

More and more education takes place within developed countries and from developed countries towards developing countries. We also encounter distance workers operating within developing countries, or from these countries towards other developed counties. Often, high level distance workers teach in cooperation with low level distance workers.

Second, we encounter consultation and coaching by distance workers towards their clients. This is provided by e-mail or virtual conferences for instance. In this case also, distance workers operate within a developed country or towards a developing country. And again, developing countries may act internally or towards developed countries.

Third, distance workers are engaged in creating and distributing products and services. Products are created online more and more. Increasingly, the products and services offered can be ordered on the Internet. Distance workers are responsible in these cases for the creation and distribution of these products and services. As a rule, these products and services are accompanied by the availability of a ‘call center’. An experienced distance worker will generally be available at a call center.

Fourth, health care is part of the distance worker phenomenon. This occurs within or from a developed or a developing country. This health care is provided by high or low level distance workers. Cooperation between high and low level specialists is often involved. Care for hospital patients is frequently provided now by large numbers of health robots supervised virtually by a team of distance workers.

As a fifth example, we can mention supervision. For instance, supervision by cameras. What is registered by the cameras is analyzed virtually. The outcomes of the virtual analyses are supervised by distance workers. If required, these distance workers take action.

Distance Workers in the Next Decades
In order to discuss the future activities of distance workers we will start by summarizing the assumptions behind this discussion. Our first assumption is the prediction that the members of younger cohorts, born after 1990, are highly skilled in handling ICT and using the English language. Second, we assume that members of cohorts born before 1990 are able to handle ICT and English as well, but at a lower level. Third, we assume that the members of all cohorts concerned show interest in employment as distance workers. Fourth, we assume that over the next decades the number of safe regions will have increased. These developments can be predicted as a result of military actions against terrorist organizations like IS.

Next we will take a look at the hypotheses that predict the outcomes of policy activities in developed and developing countries. First, we predict that inhabitants of safe regions will be effectively motivated to stay in these regions. This primarily because political and economic refugees will largely be disappointed about staying in the countries they are living in. Second, because European countries will successfully refuse economic immigrants because they would do better staying in their original area. Third, because European countries will successfully refuse most political migrants because they would do better going to safe areas in developing countries.

These hypotheses are primarily based on the behavior of distance workers. The working lives of these distance workers involve a great deal of ‘hidden resources’. They could decide on a much larger scale to participate in distance work, as we have argued in the second paragraph and also in the third paragraph.

Final Remarks
This essay is supported by ‘existential proof’ (Existentsbeweis, in German). Distance work in education already takes place on a large scale in many countries. As a next step, more distance work can be explored in other areas, such as commercial activities, health care, etc.
The emergence of distance workers is already on its way, although at a low speed. National and international governmental strategies could substantially speed up the rise of distance work. Nevertheless, it will be many years before the reduction of economic and political immigration towards European countries is sufficiently reduced. [5]

Henk A. Becker
January 2016

[1] Henk A. Becker (2012). Generaties van Geluksvogels en Pechvogels: Strategieën voor assertief opgroeien, actief ouder worden en intergenerationelesolidariteit tot 2030. Amsterdam: Rozenberg Publishers. Periodieke aanvulling met bonushoofdstukken. Zie: http://rozenbergquarterly.com/caterogy/europegenerations. Paperback and e-book. Also, Henk A. Becker (2012). Generations of Lucky Devils and Unlucky Dogs: Strategies for assertive growing up, active ageing and intergenerational solidarity up to 2030. Amsterdam: Rozenberg Publishers. Periodically supplemented by bonus chapters. Seehttp://rozenbergquarterly.com/category/europegenerations. Paperback and e-book.
[2] Shu-Chen Ki, Ulman Lindenberger Bernhard Hommel, Gisa Aschersleben, Wolfgang Priz, and Paul B. Baltes. ‘Transformations in the Couplings Among Intellectual Abilities and Constituent Cognitive Processes Across the Life Span’.Psychological Science, Volume 15-Number 3, 2004.
[3] Henk Broer, Jan van de Craats en Ferdinand Verhulst (2008). Chaostheorie: het einde van de voorspelbaarheid? Utrecht Epsilon Uitgaven. Page 141 e.v.
[4] See Note 1.

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