Museologia Social e Urbanismo LIII

Urban research and methods

  1. Discuss the various questions that have come up over the course of the MOOC that you’d like to follow up on and research. Also share the various challenges you think you might face in conducting that research.

I know in the past you have been hearing how important research is for I’d like to talk about, in broad terms the different kinds of research modalities there are, that will help support inclusive, sustainable, urban development. First of all, what are the general issues faced by researchers in the field of city and regional planning? Secondly, we will look at the various approaches and the various modalities that are used to conduct research, the different kinds of measurements, their advantages and disadvantages, the different kinds of research designs, how local knowledge and peer-to-peer exchange and best-practice information are helpful for research and lastly, I’ll make a plea for supporting multidisciplinary and multi-disciplinary methods of research.

Today there are three global conversations that are pervading every person’s, thoughtful person’s mind – the first one is how to address issues of peace and conflict, the second one is what is Climate Change going to do and how is this going to affect us and lastly, how can we address this growing problem of inequality.

Underlying all of these, is the theme and question of urbanization, i.e. with urbanization how are these three conversations shaped? The central question then that really pervades these three global conversations and the fact that the cities are so important is this – ‘what are the key policies that we can employ to make sure we achieve inclusive, sustainable, urban development?” What are the policies that can protect and underguard the trend to urban life, the trend to cities creating the global GDP and the trend to making the biggest changes in Greenhouse Gas emissions in urban areas.

These are research questions and there are many ways to approach these questions- first, we can benchmark and measure what’s happening in places with regard to some of these things.

Secondly, we can engage in structured social science research that will help us understand what kinds of policies, what kinds of efforts work and don’t work, we can also turn to local knowledge to make sure that we’re informing our research designs and our decision-making with the kinds of information that people who are living in cities and living in neighborhoods and living with the issues and problems that we’re studying can help inform and lastly, as research and information and knowledge develops over time, best practices emerge.

We can study and use best practices particularly identifying the critical success factors to share how to move forward to identify the drivers and the kinds of policies will enable us to have sustainable and inclusive urban development.

And what are the sources of this knowledge? Many many sources – multilateral organizations, government and bilateral organizations, practitioners and professional, NGOs and advocacy groups,the academia and research institutes, the private sector, philanthropy, citizens. Research comes in in helping articulate the goal, helping articulate the target and most important inventing and understanding the set of indicators or measures that will see if we’re moving towards a particular policy framework. Housing, transport, open space, environment, heritage, planning and resilience – these are things that can be measured if we have the data and this is the big question, particularly when you’re engaged in any sort of urban research.

Normally researchers turn to traditional census data – United Nations for example, does collect and assemble composite data on urbanization and tells the world- the rate of urbanization, level of urbanization, location of urbanization but you have to understand there’re deep limits to this data.

1) The definitions really vary as to what urban is and even though the United Nations does its best to reconcile the different definitions, we need to look and understand what these differences are in order to understand what you’re dealing with.

So we’re not actually comparing apples to apples here, when we’re looking at that UN data; so just remember when you’re using it, it has its limits. Management counts too – when you’re thinking about censuses and how data is collected. India has stringent definitions for urban but has not updated that definition for 50 years, and there are other issues besides that – there are delays and redrawing municipal boundaries as areas expand and we know there’s a great deal of urban growth in India, at the moment and in the future. But the point is understand what you’re dealing with when you’re dealing with the data that is coming to you from census. We also have at our fingertips, all sorts of resources and what we’ll call the Big Data Area, we have the capacities of mobile phones and the information that they are giving us and many other devices that will help us understand what’s happening in the urban arena. I’d like to turn now to some other ways of collecting information- we talked briefly about Big Data but I think perhaps the most promising are the advances that are now being made in spatial analysis, what you’re seeing in front of you here is an illustration of the number of little satellites that are going around the globe, now right now as we’re watching and talking – there are many of them and they are taking images of different resolutions of land areas throughout the world. And we started doing this globally in the 1950s when the Sputnik went gone up, by 1970s we set the first land satellite which particularly measured land development and improved that through 2013. The improvement in the capacity of this measurement is illustrated by this slide as you see the improvements in the imagery on the top and the bottom looking at Delhi and how much clearer it is as the technology has advanced.

There are two other spatial protocols that came into place in 2014 – the Global Urban Footprint[8] which was put forward by the German Aerospace Centre which provides nodes of definition which you can see here on the right, and the Global Human Settlements Layer[9] which is a new satellite that has a much higher resolution than any of the previous satellites and can get you right down to the shape of a building in that resolution.

So as we think about how we’re going to measure, we need to think about how we can link the census data, census numbers-based data with the spatial data in order to measure the things that we think are important when we’re doing urban research.

Next I’d like to talk about structured social science studies and particularly the debates that often go on between qualitative and quantitative studies. For purposes of this discussion we just want to recognize that each one of these approaches when engaged in has particular strengths and particular weaknesses and when you choose to use one or both because some researchers blend quantitative and qualitative research with a mixed-method approach, you just need to know what you’re going to get once you engage in that research.

And with the quantitative statistically- based research, you’ll get patterns that you could use to predict, with the qualitative case, ethnographic study, you’ll get in-depth understanding that might help you really understand what is going on in a particular place but doesn’t necessarily reflect what’s happening broadly.

We also need to give importance and recognition to the ability of people living in cities to reflect on and give information back about the conditions of their cities and also to be the researchers themselves and lastly, let’s talk a little bit about peer-to-peer knowledge exchanges. Oftentimes, delegations of practitioners, of municipal leaders, of local advoc

ates from local advocacy organizations will convene to exchange their information, their local knowledge about what’s worked and been successful in their places, with others who are trying to do similar things. And this allows for real-time, practice-based information to be exchanged.

Lastly I’d like to end with a plea for us to remember that there is no one single discipline that is going to provide all the answers for places that are as complicated as cities.

Let’s take a look at this issue of food security – we are not going to have prosperous cities if people can’t eat, we’re not going to have cities that are socially inclusive if people are food insecure or we are not going to have healthy cities if people are not eating the right kinds of food and are ending up with food-related diseases.

So how do we need to solve this problem? We need to solve this problem starting with developing the rural-urban linkages that understand the production of food, the distribution of food, the marketing of food, we need to talk to the nutritionists, we need to talk to the land conservationist, we need to talk to the marketers, business people; these are just a few of the people that one needs to talk about when we’re talking about food security which is so essential to having sustainable city.

So as we go forward I want you to remember that the key items that we are talking about in this session: the great variety of sources of research; the great variety of approaches to research; the fact that there is no one perfect kind of research because each one has its weaknesses. Each one has its strengths and the necessity of understanding what the capacities are of each form of research and contributing it to the larger problem. The central question of how do we create inclusive sustainable places.

 

Pedro Pereira Leite

Researcher and professor. He had his PhD. on museology in 2011, with the title “Muss-amb-ike Homeland: The commitment on musicological process”, that was published in 2011. In 2012 he finishes a Post-PhD Research on "Biographical Glances: The intersubjectivity poetry on museology, at Lusófona University (Lisbon). Presently he is working in his Post PhD. Research about: “Global Heritages" with the aims to build a network on local cognizance and memory manager has a tool to build the will of action in 3 different communities, linked by past communed heritages.” He works at CES. He participates on different Research network, presented papers in national and international conferences, and had published books on research subjects.

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Museologia Social e Urbanismo LII

Urban innovation: community based organisations and the civil society

  1. Discuss other local, regional, national and international organisations that work in the space of urban sustainable development.

Well, that history starts off with how NSDF and SPARC started working together. NSDF – The National Slum-Dweller’s Federation[5] was a bunch of people, men from about eight cities who had been fighting evictions and Jockin’s work with the Janta colony moving to Cheetah camp became seminal in community people feeling that their voice wasn’t the voice that professionals were presenting to the outside world. One thing led to another and when we started SPARC and started working with Pavement Dwellers they came to us and said let’s work together.

Out of that came a bunch of things that emerged from our collective interest – one was the right of poor people to collect their own data and our capacity as professionals to compile it in a way that it actually challenged government data on poor people but the most powerful thing was that because we had already started working with women’s networks, we created a way by which this networking of women’s collectives got embedded into NSDF.

And so out of all this came three or four very important principles – one is that there’s no such thing as only self-help that the state has to participate in solutions for the poor, you can’t leave it to the city to solve all the problems, the nation-state has to be involved and that a role – them as the leaders of the movement and us as professionals had to find some middle way, which wasn’t based on the political ideology of middle-class, angry activists or populist stuff that poor people ended up doing for party political propositions.

How do you find this middle-way? What do you do? And while we were doing that we met Somsook who was bringing HIC to Asia and so we all became members of the Asian Coalition of Housing Rights (ACHR) in 1988. Our contribution to that was to share all these tools with the women savings groups as means of teaching women, collective leadership, of trusteeship of money, managing finances, data collection and negotiation of new solutions with the government; that came from Mahila Milan.

And so out of that engagement we contributed to the creation of federations as against the more traditional and conventional way by which you just took some professional went to 3-4 slums, started working there, you worked there till there was a project and when the project got over you moved on. It was not scalable, it was not sustainable and it didn’t leave any residue, so we learned a new word that residue is not a bad word that in the end your investment should produce something that people can continue with and that’s what the federations did – it produced a sustainable leadership cohort that could take their own agenda forward, and that inspired other poor people.

And we also met Fr. Anzorena who started giving us all money- ACHR[6] and ourselves to encourage poor people to visit each other you know to see with their own eyes, to encourage other people, to work. So out this came this bundle of strategies that we call the Federation Model – after Nelson Mandela got freed and came back and there was news of majority rule, we all got, all the housing activists in Asia, Africa, Latin America got invited to a very historic meeting in Johannesburg where we met the leaders of 80 townships from all over South Africa.

I hadn’t gone for that meeting but Jockin had gone. I mean all of them, had fought all this saying that democracy will give us that and he kept telling them that democracies only giving you the right to challenge your state, it doesn’t give you lollipops on your lap.

So for the next two years, groups from India, from our Federation went to South Africa, we met a lot of the NGOS there trying to convince them to explore this ideology but most of them rejected it.

They felt very comfortable to continue their associations with the civic movement and with the ANC (African National Congress), people thinking that that will continue their legitimacy. We had just experienced what happened in the Philippines where all the talented senior leadership went into government and created a huge vacuum.

By 1996, eight countries got together and said let’s start Slum Dwellers or Shack Dwellers. So in Asia it’s called slum dwellers, in Africa its called shack dwellers – we started like that. And so the principles again on which, now on looking back, we started was that whatever we did was accessible with support, with whatever legitimacy we could give them to any community movement that wanted it, and then as our process matured we had government officials and Mayors and administrators in different countries championing this process because they saw it useful to them. What happened is one country’s ideas went to the other; till then we never looked at subsidies in India. We said ‘Who’ll go to government and look for subsidy?’

So we started going to government and saying where is your subsidy, where is it? So you had this big cohort of community networks each one springing up with what they wanted to do and so that’s how it all started. Well, Habitat-II we were very involved, lots of our networks were actually part of government delegations and everything but we were still young as a global movement, we had lots of people telling us that we were politically incorrect, we didn’t know global language and the attitude of the slum dwellers was you know ‘if we say bad words we say bad words, we are the people on whom you’re doing development, you have to learn our language, we don’t have to learn your language.

So that was part of our gearing up to build the confidence of community leaders, to be able to express themselves, to not feel apologetic, to not worry if they didn’t understand these big words or something, be very comfortable to call for a 1996 and 2000- I think that’s our coming of age; MDGs were in 2000.By 2000 we had many of the international representatives who used to come to UN – Habitat and other places very intrigued with what they saw and our whole strategy was that we weren’t going to raise money, we were going to get opportunity, to get them to influence our governments and increasingly housing ministers and mayors or commissioners, started coming to the Federation to say ‘we want to do this with you.

So We started doing MOUs with them and so out of this process, this methodology that now is our signature came up – which is that unless you have a citywide network of slum dwellers, their voice is not heard. Their voice becomes constructive if women are central participation of that process. And we also felt that it’s a very important part of the strategy of this movement to contest the solutions that come from top. So instead of being apologetic of why poor people will sell something that doesn’t work for them and go back and live in the slum as something ‘Oh, very bad’, let’s find out why people do that and present that to government.

Now many of the solutions that people have explored are not solutions that are considered good by the development community and our principal has always been – you have to experiment, you have to make mistakes, it’s better you make the mistakes than somebody else because then your whole movement learns and that if anything doesn’t go to scale, you kill it.

So over a period of time the appropriation of this, I mean if you talk to all the networks they wont sit and say ‘Oh the Indians did, it’s now theirs and that’s the way we want it, we don’t want anybody to feel that you are the you know you’re like the the pope of this institution; because it’s supposed to be knowledge that blows with the wind, that’s available to people.

And so at some point we came to a situation where we said we don’t need everybody to be a member of SDI to learn this because earlier we were, we said you know unless you do it in a proper way women won’t be involved, data won’t be correct and then we began to say that there is always dilution when you move to scale.

So what degree of dilution can you cope with? And so that’s when we began to encourage other people to employ this and it’s through that process that for instance we have come into Cities Alliance[7].

Our goal is very simple – we want to mainstream this in development, to say that you cannot have – whether you are a World Bank, a UNDP, or a bilateral or a country program, if you don’t make a citywide plan, you don’t incorporate this process over a 5 to 10-year period; you can forget about it, better that you don’t do anything.

So those are the kinds of things that we move on and now gradually we have even expanded to start working with other global networks of people in livelihood, so WIEGO, the Huairou Commission, saying any grouping that has a embedded focus on informality, that is multi-country, that has a stated commitment to women’s issues, we don’t want only a woman’s process but we want to focus on that, we’ll share whatever we do with them, we’ll help each of us to represent the others, because we can’t all be the same place at the same time. And so those are the kinds of things that we do as SDI and now we’re looking at issues of energy, we’re looking at issues of Climate Change but very clear that our focus is the informal urban poor.

 

Pedro Pereira Leite

Researcher and professor. He had his PhD. on museology in 2011, with the title “Muss-amb-ike Homeland: The commitment on musicological process”, that was published in 2011. In 2012 he finishes a Post-PhD Research on "Biographical Glances: The intersubjectivity poetry on museology, at Lusófona University (Lisbon). Presently he is working in his Post PhD. Research about: “Global Heritages" with the aims to build a network on local cognizance and memory manager has a tool to build the will of action in 3 different communities, linked by past communed heritages.” He works at CES. He participates on different Research network, presented papers in national and international conferences, and had published books on research subjects.

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Museologia Social e Urbanismo LI

Who can enable and implement this change towards sustainable urban development?

  1. Discuss other international agencies that have been investing in the urban that you know about.

The journey from Habitat – I to Habitat – II and now to Habitat -III – it has not been straightforward. It has been a bit bumpy in several forms, but it has brought some clear outcomes. And I think now, Quito and the policy outcome of this conference called the ‘New Urban Agenda’ should be aware of some of the positive elements that these two other conferences and the process brought. For instance, if you think in Habitat II there were, in my view, were two or three things that are quite positive and I think they should be added to Habitat-III.

One is the fundamental role that was given in terms of decentralization policies to local actors and local authorities. I think that this is a positive achievement that the discussions today tend to forget little bit, that in a new world, in a world that needs to integrate from the very global to the very local, local authorities are playing a fundamental role in the process.

Second, is although it was there, it is Habitat II who brought that, is the fundamental aspect of housing and the rights associated to housing, and from there the connection to the ‘Right to the City’.

I think it’s a fundamental social and political achievement that we also need to be aware of and to understand that Habitat-III needs to be a platform to build up on these things.

And third, important one, many people tend to forget that Habitat-II created, at least for the UN system the notion of data collection, measurement which has to do with monitoring and which has to do with advocacy in the use of this information for policy, but also in the transparency and the accountability of who is responsible in achieving Habitat-II and the Habitat Agenda and how. And as a result of Habitat-II the global urban observatory, the local observatories, best practices were created.

All these important achievements. There are other things that were not that good in Habitat-II, are even less in Habitat-I.

For instance when you read the documents you will be very surprised to see two or three things. One, inequality is not mentioned, not even once in Habitat-I and in Habitat-II; only one time the word inequality appears. Which is telling you that the fight was really on poverty.

There was some conceptual misunderstanding that poverty and inequality were the same things. And today it is clear that they are unfolding and taking parallel routes, they are two different fights to be fought in two different battlegrounds, we can say, and inequality is becoming an agenda in itself, that was not there.

The role of migrants from rural to urban was very negative in Habitat-I and it started to be relatively positive in Habitat-II but is still the position in Habitat-II was to stop migrations.If you read carefully documents it was the idea that urbanization should be controlled and stopped.

I think that a fundamental achievement and a change to Habitat-III is the notion that urbanization is impossible to stop, and should not be stopped, because it is bringing development, it is bringing prosperity and it is bringing democracy in much of the places, is bringing gender development, etc.

So that in my view is a fundamental change but what is happening today in the notion of migration with different scales, not only rural – urban but international migration, forced migration because of war or situations of war, the world is becoming again very pessimistic a bit about the positive aspect of migration as a transformative force for the world as it has been historically.

And I think more progressive forces need really to remind us that migration is a good thing, that cities should be hosting and should be organizing conditions to be responding to this but the agenda in this thing in my view is still a bit unclear.

Another thing, Habitat-II made some connection between environment and urbanization. But it was not clear enough. Still urbanization was a culprit, was a danger, was a threat to the environment.

Today I think, this equation has changed little bit and what we can see, is that urbanization when is well planned, well organized, well managed, can be a fundamental tool for environment protection and sustainability.

I think this is also a positive change that has come in these years and one where I’m a bit worried in this situation is a sort of regression in the notion of how the New Urban Agenda is going to be monitored how is it going to be reported, who is going to be responsible for that. The discussions today in Quito are still unfolding in that area but in my view much more clear messages of international and local and national accountability and transparency should be integrated into this agenda.

I believe there it is also a positive change if the agenda concludes as we are considering because in Habitat-II the agenda was all-encompassing there were 200 and something goals and very sectoral oriented covering all dimensions but in this sectoriality, difficult to understand that the city was working as a whole, was an integrated system.

I think a fundamental change for Habitat-III, is the notion that the best way to deal with sustainability is through a city-wide approach, through a perspective of laws, of economy, of planning, that looks at the whole city. And many of the sectoral things that were entry points in Habitat-II today will be integrated into these more holistic views and the responses will be a part of that.

To give you an example, for instance, Habitat-II will devote specific attention that itself at the time at itself today to issue like poverty or slums but today Habitat-III is telling us that the responses to slums perhaps are not only in slum improvement per se, although it is important but in some related notions of how to control, how to respond to the whole city perspective – in terms of better redistribution of wealth, of opportunities, better management of the land, better creation of local economic activities for slum dwellers, etc.

So this change I think is also extremely important. And I’ll would consider that the New Urban Agenda is bringing also a very interesting dimension in the notion that this space could be a limit, could be an obstacle, could be an agent for change.

For instance we have studied that if you take inequalities in cities and you reduce economic inequalities in one specific neighborhood, you reduce some forms of access to services inequalities or inequalities in the provision of public goods, the last reduct, the last element to change is the space itself. The space is a concentrator of inequalities in itself, so it can be reversed and used for change for the whole city and the New Urban Agenda somehow is looking at this positive aspects.

To recall that Prepcom 3[3] – Surabaya was a very important political discussion and technical, in which some elements that we wanted as UN-Habitat international community, academicians and people worried with the fate of the New Urban Agenda. But some member states thought that monitoring, reporting and all associated with this that has to do with who is responsible for what, and who is accountable and under which forums and mechanism for reporting.

Some forces managed to convince at that time member-states and many of the issues related to monitoring and reporting were diluted. The document at the time was weak and worrisome because it was giving a free hand as the document said, on a voluntary basis.

Something that the UN-Habitat, obviously we oppose because we believe that September 2016 we are discussing with governments that it should be brought to the document. The fundamental issue that the reporting, as it is for instance in the Paris agreement, reporting is mandatory every five years. It is a serious issue in which you create conditions to make sure that this journey that we are starting for the next 20 years will have benchmarks, and will be and it will be possible to know in these benchmarks that we are going in the correct or not correct direction.

And in that case who can be held accountable for that and in our view and we hope that this is going to change not only in terms of a document but a serious form of embracing reporting and monitoring in a way that if I don’t do it, you can knock on my door as civil society or as an international society, in terms of either development agencies – UN and others to say that you are not doing your work and something should be changed.

For that there are two or three fundamental ingredients. One is that the New Urban Agenda and SDGs and particularly what we call Urban SDGs which are Goal-11 and other indicators of target with an urban component, they should not be considered as parallel agendas or isolated agendas, but UN-Habitat and other UN agencies and partners, we are working in bringing a connection of these two.

We are analyzing in which way some of the fundamental components of the New Urban Agenda dialogue with the SDG indicators and to establish frameworks and mechanisms of connection of these two. This is one ingredient of success fundamentally.

The second one is other international development agendas. Paris agreements. I mean Climate Change and other elements in which cities as the panel, as the eminent panel of Climate Change is telling us cities are playing a fundamental role in C02 emissions but also in the possible reduction of them. And in the control or vulnerabilities of populations affected by climate change conditions, all these elements that point to resilience that point to better forms of planning are telling us that we need to connect all these international development agendas in which the element, that is the vector for these connections are the cities themselves.

Local governments for sustainability

Agenda-21, the very first summit that brought together the theme of Environment and Development in Rio in 1992 was of course, part of a serious preparation period just before. Actual preparations already started by 1990 and that is the birth year of I.C.L.E.I[4]– Local Governments for Sustainability. At that time when nations embarked on preparing the negotiations it was felt that local governments could actually provide a good contribution to the discussion on Environment and Development, but there was no organization that particularly was dealing with sustainability issues.

That is why ICLEI was created in 1990 and then helped into the preparations of the summit and then ultimately of course as the outcome of the Rio summit, the Rio declaration foresees in a Chapter-28 which is about the Local Agenda 21 which we then have as a, as the organization ICLEI being, of course driving throughout the world, and I think in the meanwhile there are thousands of Local Agenda 21 or similar sustainability planning process that have been taken up by local governments, by the leaders, by citizens.

And so that is what we have been doing obviously, over the years the themes have been broadened and have even also been deepened. So today we are working with what we call 10 Agendas and I think the MDGs have been you know a driver for us to spread the thinking and the embracing of sustainability at the local level in particular in the Global South. But I’m very pleased that now with the SDGS that these are universal and not only you know looking Global south-wards but also Global north-wards. And it is even more important and great to see that there’s a standalone SDG-11 on resilient, safe and sustainable cities, and inclusive cities. So I think that is a real great achievement and this has been taken up by the Intergovernmental Conference and the United Nations General Assembly – it’s absolutely fantastic.

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change is an essential part of the overall sustainability agenda, we are also very pleased as ICLEI that we could contribute to finding that recognition and empowering of local and sub-national governments enshrined in the Paris text. It was not in the UNFCC convention nor in the Kyoto Protocol. So you know I think this is good because these are challenges that are so global, that are so large that all actors, all stakeholders that discussion; so it’s not only a governmental discussion nor only at national intergovernmental but also local and sub-national governments and then academia, the businesses, the youth, citizens, NGOs obviously- all of us can contribute to those challenges that are in front of us and therefore move ourselves also towards more global sustainability. The leadership in a number of Asian countries are doing fantastic, fantastic things – but the problems are also quite severe I mean if we just think air pollution in Beijing, for example.

So I think it is important to continue supporting and providing assistance, training, capacity building to all those good leaders to help them, to move further on their work.

I would think the SDGs as some kind of a contract between nations and the citizens at a global level of trying to advance ourselves to a better quality of life and a better planet and so in that sense the job is huge. I think one of the biggest challenges will be to find that new governance and cooperation mechanism between these various actors – so I think that is what is going to be one of those issues that we will have to work hard on. I am confident because of the fact that at least common understanding on how we want to move forward, I’m confident that also with the other actors we can find that trust and that co-operation but secondly I think there are a couple of issues that we indeed have to work on very, very fast and this has to do with of course the ways of how we consume our energy, I mean can we have a discussion about fossil fuel, we have to decarbonize; that is absolutely  essential but also how we you know build our infrastructure.

This is a long-lasting so can we have a discussion about how can we actually achieve a real change, a drastic transformation? Can we have you know a discussion about our buildings producing energy rather than consuming energy? Things like that.

We need to construct and/or provide infrastructure and opportunities for the next 40 years as what we have done in the last 4,000 years. If you just take the perspective that 3.5 billion people will live in urban areas again. So this is an enormous amount of funding and financing that is required. Obviously this cannot be financed just via the multi-lateral development banks and other mechanisms we have in place, we have to look locally- how can we raise those funds.

I think it is, it’s definitely necessary to try to see how can other cities, other local governments learn from those that have already on that path and how can we actually raise those funds locally and therefore, help ourselves.

You have to have good capacities to be able to analyze well, the problem and therefore also having the data already. Secondly, then be able to address solutions making priorities around the solutions-so you need also to have the information what are the solutions, and then thirdly, you have actually to be able to understand your partner’s with whom you are going to implement those solutions.

So it’s the supplier’s side as well as a financing part of it and then actually you have then when you actually get there you have to maintain it and make sure that all your citizens are embracing that part of the development, or you know planning that the you wish to undertake.

Now if you then look into the other actors where we have this kind of institutions, organizations, platforms of dialogue that provide that stability I think then that kind of cooperation, mechanisms between those that are the convenors, the connectors between the individual maybe cities or subjects and provide that stability and then again create that trust amongst ourselves – I think that’s one way of moving forward for sure and scale it up basically because that I think the scaling up will be one of the biggest parts that we have to achieve now.

 

Pedro Pereira Leite

Researcher and professor. He had his PhD. on museology in 2011, with the title “Muss-amb-ike Homeland: The commitment on musicological process”, that was published in 2011. In 2012 he finishes a Post-PhD Research on "Biographical Glances: The intersubjectivity poetry on museology, at Lusófona University (Lisbon). Presently he is working in his Post PhD. Research about: “Global Heritages" with the aims to build a network on local cognizance and memory manager has a tool to build the will of action in 3 different communities, linked by past communed heritages.” He works at CES. He participates on different Research network, presented papers in national and international conferences, and had published books on research subjects.

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Museologia Social e Urbanismo L

 Local, regional and national government leadership

Who can enable and implement this change towards sustainable urban development?

  1. Discuss other networks and organisations that you know of, in which local governments have come together to learn from each other and advocate for a common goal.

I am Edgardo Bilsky, I am in the headquarters of the UCLG. UCLG is United Cities and Local Governments- local organization of local authorities, we are a global, federal organizations, with sectioned in each region of the world – seven regions and we are represented in 130 countries.

So principally local governments, national local government associations and city members. Sustainable Development Goals Post-2015 agenda- most of its targets, goal and targets should be implemented at local level – that means that local authorities, cities will have particularly role, an important role in implementation of this agenda.

For that we need first of all to create awareness between, in local authorities within our membership and to try to mobilize them to be part of this discussion of the Post-2015 agenda and later to participate actively in implementation to improve the access to basic services, to create jobs, to support local development, to improve the environment and sustainability and all the things that in which local authority’s seats particularly are very much involved.

And then also to get support to daily activities, to promote inclusion, to promote sustainability, to promote development. That is why we consider that an urban SDG will be critical to recognize the role, to mobilize our membership and to mobilize resources and support to the daily work.

If you address a developing, emergent or less developing countries or even developed countries because the capacity of cities, big cities, middle cities, middle-sized cities or little local governments are not the same. In developing countries, as you know in Africa or Russia where most of urban development will take place in the coming 20 years, many local authorities need to not only have the resources and even the capacity to ensure the daily responsibilities. And if there is not a clear support to them we will be confronting in the next decades two very critical situations – development of slums, problem of environment, a jobless and young problems to integrate them in the society.

Then is critical that the international community, national government will be aware that local governments need to be supported and transferring responsibilities to local levels is not so much the case in India where you still have a very centralised system. We need to make a critical effort to support this process, if we want to have a real implementation of the sustainable development agenda.

We need to look to different situations- you have in developed countries the role of local authorities are very much of knowledge, they participate in their daily support, to deliver services, to promote inclusion, to promote local economic development.

In emerging countries there was a big change if you take the example of Brazil, where there was a partnership, a really collaboration between national government and local governments, you can see all the indicators in general – public services, improved access to water, to sanitation, of a better education then I think there is a possibility if local governments are enforced, if they are really participating in the process to improve the capacity of our society, to deliver and to integrate people and particularly the young people, then that is a one of the critical issues.

And we can multiply a lot of examples well of cities participating, even leading some of the solutions to deliver Sustainable Development on Climate Change, local climate action plans, improving transport, improving gas- carbon gas emissions. If there is a visionary leader and you have the resources to do it, they can make the change.

First of all, is for us as global organization of global authorities is a good opportunity to share with different stakeholders, academics, UN agencies, the debate on what are the next step, what are the strategy related to the urban SDGs and all the debate on Sustainable Development Goals. Working with UN-SDSN, UN-Habitat and many of the stakeholders are there on the table, we achieve a big step forward that we need to ensure that the Goal 11 will be approved.

Now, we need to move forward on the implementation. So I guess let’s get going on the question of Melbourne. Melbourne is a remarkable city. It’s one of the most livable cities in the world, it’s been on the rankings for a long time and it’s a wonderful place to walk around, travel by public transport. How did it make its way here?

It wasn’t like that 30-40 years ago. It certainly wasn’t and Melbourne was fairly and staid and somewhat boring place 30 years ago. Hardly anyone lived in the inner city. It was a place that was known to be dead after 6 pm at night.

What changed, I think, was a few factors. The first was migration. That we had people from all around the world coming to live in Melbourne. And I think diversity is absolutely fundamental for cities. It’s getting people from all around the world, different cultures, different skills, that’swhat makes the city that’s changed totally.

That was the first thing. I think the second thing was the community together with the local councils decided that we needed a different sort of Melbourne. One that was probably, more jobs, more opportunities and we know that most of the GDP comes out of the cities.

Well, it comes out of cities because businesses choose to live there and the government at the time, this is going back 20 years or so, saw attracting businesses and people to the city was going to help with that.

The service industries now dominate so in Melbourne – now, Education, finance, tourism are the big industries and that’s I think inevitable; but what’s interesting is that people in businesses are choosing to agglomerate in that Central Business District.

The other thing that’s critical, I think, is livability and it’s really been very much about making up a place where people want to live and critical to that is culture and it’s not just big art centers it’s also buzz and everyday street life. You go around Melbourne now, you see graffiti that’s fantastic; makes the street alive. You see little bars, little coffee shops that are run by entrepreneurs. And it’s safe and open till late at night? Absolutely.

So, what drove it – the businesses, or you know the residential redevelopment; how did that play itself out in practice?

That’s a good question. It’s hard to know which came first, but look I think it’s both. Businesses want to be around other businesses. People do a lot of business after work. Now people going and meeting up and having a drink, or going for a walk or a run or a sport, that’s creating the networks, the links that drives – especially the service industry.

The service industry is all about contacts and networks and skills and shared capacity. So that’s all feeding on itself.

The other thing I started with migration. What we’re seeing now, of course is many more people from Asia – from India, from China, from Indonesia come to study in Australia, but also to work. They’re buying property, they’re buying apartments, their families are coming here, that’s a key driver for Melbourne’s economy. But are they living in the center of the city or are they living sort of somewhere outside – because you have a lot of peripheral development, a fair amount of sprawl also.

That’s the downside of Melbourne. So traditionally, it’s a very sprawling city. It’s a city where most of the new housing was on the fringe, totally unsustainable. That’s what had led to Melbourne being largely a car-based city.

So we’ve got these two processes. In the inner city we’re seeing a great deal of development – more residential development, which is much more sustainable. We’re still seeing too much sprawl at the fringe.

The challenge actually is to get the same level of compact type of city that we’re seeing in the inner city [overlapping chatter] in the middle.

And the challenge there has largely been political; so people living there have often objected to more high-density living and I think that’s really a matter of habit. People just aren’t used to the new types of living. But, as we get more density in some of those middle suburbs, I’m sure you’ll see businesses follow. The transport business requires density, and the cities that have that are the cities that are going to be more successful in the future.

And the other challenge we have in Melbourne is inequality across the city. So, in some areas we have got most of the jobs, very good services, parks, good environment; in other areas we have got far less services and far less jobs and so for Melbourne the big challenge is how do we share the incredible livability we have got, the wealth we have got more equally. Because if we don’t, then that’s a recipe in the long term for conflict and the sort of thing.

So who would address that kind of question? City government? Communities? How do you address the question of inequality in a first-world city in some senses?

Well, it’s few things. First you have got to ensure the services are good and here I think you can say that about our health services. Our health services are pretty equal and they are very good all around the city. But education I think is in our country and in Melbourne, not as fair as it should be.

So we have a very private education bias and frankly, people in the wealthier suburbs get a better education usually than people in the poor suburbs. But then, if you look at things like parks.

You know I was a standard, I was astounded to fly over Melbourne as minister responsible for parks, and just be shocked by how many parks there are in the wealthy areas and there were almost none, in the poorer areas, which happens in many parts of the world. We have a quite a high rate of obesity, we have got a high rate of chronic illness. And, one of the factors that drives that is lack of access for, in some areas, to sporting opportunities.

So what you need to do is that you need to ensure that everyone has access to that. And, you know, at times it might seem expensive but – the cost of obesity, the cost of chronic illness is going to be extraordinary. Our health system here just will not be able to manage that cost in future years.

What about housing? Australia has had historically a fairly progressive policy on social housing and you know integrating communities near where their places of work are. How is that doing in Melbourne at the moment?

Australia and Melbourne has traditionally had a very high rate of home ownership. What we’re seeing now is that it is declining. One of the reasons for that is just the level of housing affordability because houses are getting more and more expensive. There’s certainly social housing and that’s a mix of state government and there are some federal supports for that, but really it’s largely a matter of taxation policy.

And that’s probably the biggest factor so we have a number of taxation incentives for wealthier people essentially to buy property and that’s driving up the price. But state and local government can play a role by ensuring that their planning systems are very efficient, that we don’t have delays which can lead to higher charges. In many cases I think we could be doing more to reduce the massive windfall gains that are made when the land is rezoned. So that you capture some of that, whereas now developers can make huge, huge gains which ends up going on the price of the house.

How do you build resilience into water supply and urban systems? I mean – you have worked on this question?

Water is one of our biggest challenges. We are the driest continent. We’re a place that’s going to be hit harder by Climate Change than most places.

First, we have done it through water conservation – so here in Melbourne we reduced our water use by over 40% per head in a decade. And when I was minister I lead that, the campaign to reduce water use that involved media, social marketing, and behavior change.

Behavior change is a really big part of that process, yeah. Huge part. The key thing there was social norms. I was always amazed that businesses actually saved as much as families and people asked me why was that. Essentially it was the social norm; because if families were saving water, as a business you couldn’t just get away with not saving water.

So I think creating those social norms about valuing water, what I found challenging was that we achieved that and yet we couldn’t achieve that with energy and carbon. I always compared our circumstance with California. Where California had little success in their water saving but, a lot of success in energy. And what drove that was frankly was regulation.

So I think underpinning a lot of these things has to be – smart regulation. In Australia, as in many countries, electricity, utilities are essentially paid for how much energy they produce. Now, obviously, they are going try and get you to use more energy. So, efficiency is never really incentivized. Whereas in the Californian system, they actually embed efficiency in the payment of the utilities. And I guess the conflicts may emerge not only in terms of territorial development but also how the fiscal frame is actually working, where the resources actually flow, who is controlling it.

And you know are there any thoughts about potentially changing that framework or you think the current arrangement works quite well? Look, they could certainly be improved. Changing fiscal frameworks is very, very difficult. Of course, it’s the most difficult thing in politics.

We have tried and every year there is a debate about this. Currently states control hospitals, federal government controls doctor payments. It’s not efficient. We talk about changing it and we don’t resolve it. Similarly, with education. I think, the principle of subsidiarity is important and ensuring that what you actually do is done at the level that is appropriate which in many cases is the lowest level.

The challenge of that though is that the money is not with the local governments.  Absolutely it’s at the top and so until you make sure that your revenue rising power matches your actual powers you going to always have these conflicts.

In your experience of working as a politician at the municipal level and then at the state level and then of course engaging internationally with a whole range of things. What do you think there is a need for new politics? Do you think there’s space for it? And what would it look like?

Look I do think that we need to have a new politics that engages the whole community to get community support for the sort of measures we are going to have to take if we are going to be zero carbon, if we are going to not use up resources in the way we are.

So, we have to get community support but I don’t think that’s enough. In some ways, to get to where we need to go, we have to go back to some old politics and one of the key aspects of old politics is regulation. Regulation is a dirty word now, in most western democracies. We’re always looking at ways to cut red tape and certainly we don’t want regulation for the sake of it. But the reality is, many of these sustainability questions – carbon emissions, pollution – are really issues that unless you have clear regulation, the problems are going to get worse.

And I’m afraid my experience as a politician in government was where we had clear regulations, we got action. We got action in the timeframe that was needed. Similarly, in carbon, we’re not going to get there just by holding hands and saying we want a new type of world. We’re going to have to say to some companies that have a vested interest in the current system that they can keep operating the way they are … Now that means you know – a new politics in that I think economic liberalism and what you might say the disenchantment with regulation has to change. I think we have to go back with some clear vision, clear regulation; everyone understands what the rules are. And for a lot of businesses, that’s going to be cheaper if they know the rules they become more efficient, more competitive, it helps them increase their market share, etcetera.

But what do we do about the tough questions? Land, I mean, regulation of land is central to the idea of cities that are you know much more sustainable, have more access to various things that have public transportation and that in some countries is a very difficult thing to try and enable.

Well, it is for historic reasons and of course when we are talking about land, we’re talking about wealth and if of course acess to development. I know from my time working in Timor-Leste probably the biggest impediment to the development was problems of the land system. Where it wasn’t clear who owned the land and therefore you could never develop anything because if you did, people would claim that they owned it.

We have been very fortunate in Australia for well over 100 years to have a very efficient system of title – land title and so, that issue itself isn’t so difficult. But we do have a lot of debate about this through our planning system. What you can do on your land and once again I think at times we’re disinclined to provide the sort of regulation you need to provide a sustainable city.

A sprawling city that just takes up all the [space in] agriculture that is inefficient and unsustainable can’t be where we want to be in this or any other city. But to stop that, we’re going to have to change the planning regulations and not release more and more land on the fringes of the city. Put a real urban boundary around what we do.

The nature of politics is that it is competitive, you’ve got different parties involved. Often the interests of one party maybe, not to reach a solution but to prevent a solution. So one of the first things, I think you have to do is to try to develop a level of bipartisanship about these policies. And one of the best ways to do that is to look to a longer- term vision that everyone can agree with and work back from that.

And in terms of the states – many of the state organisations, utilities that are pretty inefficient – they provide an incentive to the states to sign up providing money if you perform. And, you know I think it is the same on many of the environmental areas – if you provide an incentive, but also you have to meet a target – then your more likely to perform.

So I’m a real believer in targets. I think signing up to long-term agreements are critical. What’s the sort of infrastructure we want? Where do we want to be in 2030? How are we going to get there? So putting in that framework is critical.

 

Pedro Pereira Leite

Researcher and professor. He had his PhD. on museology in 2011, with the title “Muss-amb-ike Homeland: The commitment on musicological process”, that was published in 2011. In 2012 he finishes a Post-PhD Research on "Biographical Glances: The intersubjectivity poetry on museology, at Lusófona University (Lisbon). Presently he is working in his Post PhD. Research about: “Global Heritages" with the aims to build a network on local cognizance and memory manager has a tool to build the will of action in 3 different communities, linked by past communed heritages.” He works at CES. He participates on different Research network, presented papers in national and international conferences, and had published books on research subjects.

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Museologia Social e Urbanismo XLIV

 Who can enable and implement this change towards sustainable urban development?

About this module: So far we have dealt with the various challenges facing the cities, and the ways to go about making a change in the current processes.

This final chapter attempts to give examples of the various groups of people, communities and organisations that are working towards bringing this change. We start with the local, national and regional leadership within the government, and Edgardo Bilsky tells us a bit about the history of United Cities and Local Governments[1] (UCLG) and the various activities they are involved as a group of Local governments[2].

John Thwaites then talks to us about  the role of local leadership in the case of Melbourne. Both Eduardo Moreno and Gino Van Begin give us insights about UN-Habitat and ICLEI, as international development agencies involved at a global scale in driving this agenda. Sheela Patel takes us through the story of the Slum Dwellers International, as a community based organisation and the role civil society can play in making cross-regional platforms for engagement as well as a collective to enable activism. At last, Eugenie makes a call to all of us as researchers and practitioners to act, and ways in which we could think about conducting our research in the urban.

 

Pedro Pereira Leite

Researcher and professor. He had his PhD. on museology in 2011, with the title “Muss-amb-ike Homeland: The commitment on musicological process”, that was published in 2011. In 2012 he finishes a Post-PhD Research on "Biographical Glances: The intersubjectivity poetry on museology, at Lusófona University (Lisbon). Presently he is working in his Post PhD. Research about: “Global Heritages" with the aims to build a network on local cognizance and memory manager has a tool to build the will of action in 3 different communities, linked by past communed heritages.” He works at CES. He participates on different Research network, presented papers in national and international conferences, and had published books on research subjects.

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Museologia Social e Urbanismo XLVIII

Addressing the Opportunities of Secondary Cities

  1. What are the opportunities that intermediate sized cities offer for implementing new forms of urban governance and financing models, that mega-cities don’t?

So what is your sense of this whole progress towards sustainability in the intermediate cities of lets say Europe and Africa how do you think that’s spanning out at the moment?

There is disproportionate attention in many respects research policy debates on mega cities multi-million cities like Bangalore but actually majority of urban dwellers already live in smaller intermediate cities and the bulk of the city still to come to use that now well-worn phase will also find themselves in those classes of cities and perhaps for the audience it’s helpful to be a little clearer what we mean by that.

There are different definitions around as obviously you know but for most purposes we tend to think of cities between about quarter of a million perhaps half-a-million the bottom end and between two and four million in the top end according to whichever classification and of course these things have to be flexible because rather like the urban definition as a whole almost every country has its own because of different urban histories, settlement systems, land use planning, indigenous urbanisms and so on where they exist and therefore it’s impossible to find one benchmarking threshold that works everywhere.

But I think the key thing in terms of planning is that in many respects the challenge in small intermediate cities should be easier to meet then in mega cities.

Why would I say that? Well, because most of them have some resource base from local revenue generation urban taxation of one sort or another from direct or indirect taxation on economic activities, but the challenge is generally less extreme what is often missing is institutional capacity and that deficit can be made up through innovative private partnerships with with the public sector or through skills and capacity building training but the scale is fine on it when one often feels in the mega cities that whatever you throw at the problem is but another grain of sand on the pile or a drop of water in the lake and it makes no difference where is the marginal increment in small intermediate cities can actually make a very tangible difference I think the importance of it is both obviously for the urban residents or the migrants to these cities we need those services nee the secure shelter and so on but it’s also important in a broader context of national or even regional and global settlement systems because the more people who can be safely accommodated livelihoods made available in the smaller and the intermediate ones the less it is like to be the pressure to migrate to the mega cities.

So why is it that there’s this massive move in some parts of the world starting in Latin America and now in East Asia to really push for large mega cities and mega urban regions I mean what’s driving them?

I think it’s the kind of elite discourse of that international prestige the kind of competitiveness where every government every mayor wants to have a world city with so-called world-class facilities it doesn’t matter where you are there is a kind of competition and I think that the moves that for me kind of demonstrates that more clear than anything else is this absurd competitions have the tallest free-standing tower or tower block in the world and that is both an interesting phenomenon academically.

But in terms of the kinds of things that you and I spend our time on it also found a worrying because that image symbolizes the inappropriateness and the unsustainability and the rush for the cities and the resource intensive lifestyles and consumption based activities which you know simply aren’t going to be workable if all 7 billion people on this planet are to consume the same level of resources in the same wasteful generally non-recyclable way.

So in in this context you know where you see the secondary cities actually helping deal with this sort of sustainability questions on the economic front the social front on the sort of ecological you know the world where would they contributed most?

In many respects intermediate cities are also the most efficient. You mentioned economies of scale so very often in a small place of you have tens of thousands of people to put in high-level infrastructure on a per capita basis and also in terms of absolute total cost is prohibitively expensive once you get to to the mega cities the opposite kind of kicks in so you start to get diseconomies of scale and congestion and pollution and environmental degradation and all the rest of it.

So in that intermediate range bear in mind the flexibility of definitions that we alluded to the beginning you tend to find the the point if you like of optimal marginal cost and revenue if you want to use neoclassical tools which I don’t generally but it does illustrate the point quite simply.

And therefore to put in higher levels of infrastructure to be able to think about that sustainable energy solutions integrated transport multimodal interchanges between your mass transit and suburban distribution or whatever you want to call it collection system all of these things can be done remarkably efficiently at that range of between about quarter of a million half million and two or three million depending on the context and therefore in a sense In increasingly think of them as almost laboratory’s of the future because if we can demonstrate the viability of these sorts of solutions and but also crucially avoiding the car driven suburbanization and sprawl which creates the megacity problem.

Many contexts and where you need then cars and master transit on a large scale what you can also do with these more secondary intermediate cities is demonstrate the concept of compactness. Some of these urban areas which have old cores and you still have the mix land use where the proverbial shopkeeper living about the shop or around the corner from or whatever then one can use that as the local demonstration if you’ve got a new town of city that’s developed in a plan sense that based on single land uses and the western planning norms then it’s more difficult.

So you almost have to then kind of reinvent the wheel whereas if you still got past the old wheel so to speak it is much easier to do that but there is also a challenge in the sense that one of the drivers of this mass consumption rapid to westernization stroke modernization which is the form urbanisation takes in many places is that people’s aspirations are measured in terms of what they see their own national elites and equally important in this age of mass consumption and global media elites in New York or Miami or London or Tokyo or wherever it might be you know and and that then becomes very difficult image to disabuse them off.

Part of the the trick, if you like, is to build on indigenous traditions and foundations and I don’t mean that in a kind of naïve nostalgic way but a sense of hybridizing elements of indigenous architecture land-use activity patterns indigenous respect for the environment because almost everywhere in the world those indigenous values saw people as part of the environment.

And for me in many ways the real tragedy of the kind of westernization is the way in which through kind of the techno optimism the technological environmental irrelevantism is in which people have become separated from alienated from the environment and those kinds of traditions where they still intact or can be recovered through widespread religious beliefs and practices can be absolutely invaluable as aids to in the sense of contemporary conservation sustainability ethos.

Urban poverty in various parts of the world especially the global  south is significantly concentrated in these smaller centres rather than the metropolitan cities in some cases well it depends from country to country.

Tthey may not be social safety nets in some countries how does one deal with that question because you know as a nature of poverty changes, as it shifts from agrarian to sort of more urban kind of context you need different ways of dealing with them and cities have historically not been very good at you know in these questions. How does one address that institutionally.

I would always caution against a kind of master plan approach or the idea of of one solution that works everywhere I think it always have to be locally contextualized so what is likely to work in a situation where the small intermediate town was for example a mining town and get the coal mines shut down which has been the history in many parts of Europe in the last 30 years or so you often have long-term unemployment in very spatially concentrated pockets and whats gradually been happening there is either you get intervention by the state or parastatal agency that clears the place and creates new some science park or techno park or one of these sorts of large-scale things.

Or funny enough in some of the cases Bournville is an interesting example where many of the old premises of the old Cadbury chocolate factory exist they are turning these into using the old buildings restoring the interiors and are keeping the Heritage Site. Is reinventing them as training centers or creating the little hubs for self-employed or small scale industries I think these are the site of hope and potential and very much not for the most part of the few notable exceptions the sites of urban despair that is so often parodied and portrayed in the mass media or other places.

So to make this kind of thing to happen, what kind of relationship do you think we need to enable between you know municipal and national governments, the private sector, both formal and informal because in many parts of the world the private sector that it’s essentially is dominated by an informality and civil society what kind of institutional relations with enables kind of process to take hold and you know I have become vibrant?

To my mind from my experience worldwide, the most difficult base is the underlying attitudes. So the first of the most difficult challenge is to change the attitudes of the decision-makers the politicians the officials in the city at in the Indian context, the state-level the National parastatals so that instead of viewing self-employed people.

So called ‘informal sector’ as a problem will be mocked up or pushed out or modernized and formalized they’ve seen as people actually trying to help themselves and encourage and facilitate them if you do that then over time a proportion of them will formalize pickup bank accounts they’ll ask for forms of credit in order to upscale improve their investment, equipment or whatever.

When you try to force it you often get the reverse reaction and you actually set back the initiatives.

So having that flexibility and building up a bit of track record that people perceive this is for real that can be very transformational in and of itself without having to be a borrowed billions from the World Bank or UNDP or become a dependence and again a small intermediate urban scale these things can often be managed much more realistically with domestic resources if not just from that city but from the state or national development agency without getting involved in all these kind of complex foreign investment or aid dependence kind of debates and challenges.

 

Pedro Pereira Leite

Researcher and professor. He had his PhD. on museology in 2011, with the title “Muss-amb-ike Homeland: The commitment on musicological process”, that was published in 2011. In 2012 he finishes a Post-PhD Research on "Biographical Glances: The intersubjectivity poetry on museology, at Lusófona University (Lisbon). Presently he is working in his Post PhD. Research about: “Global Heritages" with the aims to build a network on local cognizance and memory manager has a tool to build the will of action in 3 different communities, linked by past communed heritages.” He works at CES. He participates on different Research network, presented papers in national and international conferences, and had published books on research subjects.

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Museologia Social e Urbanismo XLVII

Conversation on Secondary Cities

  1. What are the limitations of data collection and what are the other essential features to enable monitoring?
  2. What is the opportunity in the face of monitoring these SDGs and collecting and analyzing new types of data?

I’m Eduardo Lopes Moreno, Director of Research and Capacity Development with UN-Habitat. This program works with data, with information, with analysis, trying to depict what is happening in the world, to anticipate some of the things, to transform these things into knowledge, to write about these things in a way that the decision makers and other partners understand the major trends that are unfolding, how they can anticipate them for policy purposes and then also we transform all these things into tools for training and capacity development.

So it is a continuum from data to knowledge and to capacity development and training. We have been fully involved in the last years in the Sustainable Development Goals. This has been a great opportunity for us because since the Millennium Development Goals we claim that cities, urban and urbanization at large was an important absence in this process.

We were saying and we’re happy that working with several partners our voices were heard, that the cities, human settlements are sort of visible, sometimes invisible, stream that connect many human development issues and this space, unlike many years ago, is not any longer a neutral platform, it has become a vector for change.

When you use well cities, when you use well space, you have a transformative tool in your hands and this is the way that we have been advocating, in the world that cities should be understood for all the targets, for all the indicators for all the goals – as this transformative tool to achieve different things associated to human development, to development at large.

We work with countries, we work with partners, we work with UN agencies, with think tanks in doing something that seems to be simple but its understanding that Goal 11 brings a completely different methodological challenge to the world.

A challenge of approaches, a challenge of the way we need to do things. To tell you for instance, among the 15 indicators that Goal 11 has, there are 9 that are completely new.

New in methods, new in spatial analysis, new in the way you need to aggregate or disaggregate information, collect information and this represents not only a change in data collection, not only a change in analyzing information, it is a change in governance systems. Because now local authorities, neighborhoods, local actors – they need also to be fully a part of this process and engaging them in a way that national governments understand that the equation integrates all these actors, is difficult.

It is politically difficult; it is still a lot of inertia, lot of resistance. So our work is by no means only technical, it’s at the same time advocacies, it is at the same time to sensitize our partners and a lot of political work in order to understand that, for instance you have indicators for Goal 11 like transport, of efficient land use, of air quality, waste management public spaces that national statistics offices do not have – neither the mandate nor the information.

So you need to create systems and this system implies a complete change in the way that now government will understand that new players have come in to set things. Because obviously it is not collecting an indicator, it is related to what kind of actions you are going to implement to transform this indicator into positive or negative for improvement. These changes entail many statistical offices, the UN at large sometimes are reluctant to understand that these changes need to take place. So what at UN -Habitat we are doing, is working at different levels in a systematic process.

No. 1 is creating what we call ‘metadata which is information required for anyone in the world working with indicators to understand how to compute, how to measure, how to aggregate or look at the specific thing which are the limits of the indicators, how it works, how it connects with other indicators, what kind of implication it has.

We are working in all these methodological aspects. We are working with partners in doing a lot of training. Imagine, many of these indicators require satellite images, analysis or non-conventional forms of data collection with communities, sometimes with ICT that we are integrating a lot in the system.

And all that requires that people understand how to use these tools to transform them into policies. So we are working also at that level. Now we were confronted – you produce some of this information, what do you do, we did.

How you translate this into specific plans, actions, into reporting mechanisms. And then you will see that Goal 11 brings additional challenges. For instance, two important – one is that, you have, as I said, 15 indicators for one city.

Are you going to conclude that with 15 indicators – a city is doing well, medium? How?

How do you aggregate all this information and it is here where UN- Habitat has introduced a framework and a tool that we call the City Prosperity Initiative and we are more and more trying to put these two frameworks together in a way that the City Prosperity Initiative (CPI) can perform some functions that the tyranny of sectoral approaches of the indicators can be overcome.

Because if you analyze transport – which is one of the indicators, transport is strongly connected as you know to the use of the space and land uses and some decisions in planning, etc.

How do you connect these dots? It is the City Prosperity that is giving us these interrelations, and some mutually reinforcing mechanism among the processes and indicators Second and fundamental problem that we just found, we knew, Habitat since one year ago we wrote a report on that to the UN system is the following.

Imagine for instance Kenya or India for the case, you have reporting on 50 cities, on 30 cities, on 20. It doesn’t make the ‘urban India’, it doesn’t make the ‘urban Kenya’. How do you aggregate indicators that you can in all confidence to say India in this indicator or in this target or in this goal is improving. And then you need methods that enable you to create conditions to aggregate values for national, regional or global indicators.

And then we are working with governments in creating something that we call the National Sample of Cities.

What we are saying is that countries should create a systematic way of measuring indicators with the same number of cities.

Obviously outside the sample they can integrate other cities, but what they cannot do, countries, is in 2017 report in 20 cities and 2018 in another 30 not necessarily the same, or the same plus others or the minus others and that will never give you the picture of what is happening in the country.

So we are worried for these things, because it’s not just the matter of measurement, it’s the connection to policy dialogues, it’s the connection to how when you conclude that transport in India is improving or waste management in Kenya is not improving; it refers to the reconfiguration if I can say, of national governance mechanism in which you need to rethink the role of the institutions, you need to rethink the role of what the local, the state or provincial and national are going to do in this process and also how the international community can participate in this process.

Third fundamental thing that we are doing, we’re starting but is key, and you will understand within the framework of the UN and the data revolution, this fundamental idea of ‘not leaving anyone behind’ that we have been saying with partners from India, Aromar among others, that we should ‘not leave any space behind’ as well, and not leaving any space behind means that cities, metropolis are far from being homogenous and we need to understand how they at the level of indicators and at the level of dynamics of segregation and marginalization in cities, categories of ethnicities of minorities but also specific spaces; how you can respond to these important challenges.

To give you an example, when we talk about inequalities that this is what this aggregation will look at specifically to understand that in the last twenty years since Habitat II and now today with Habitat III, what we see is that 75% of cities in the world, 75%, grew more unequal, not more equal, which is telling us that in these 20 years also, urban planning systems for instance, reduced the capacity to control planning in cities by 30 or 40%.

And this is very surprising because with more technology, with more civil society participation, with stronger institutions, what you can see is that the cities are responding less to some of the challenges, and are being less able to be more sustainable and to create conditions for shared prosperity and these incapacities are strongly related to governance mechanisms, are strongly related to aspects of institutional building and other mechanisms that again coming back to Sustainable Development Goals is not a matter of creating an indicator but understanding all these connections that have a lot to do with who is taking decisions, who benefitting from these decisions and what are we going to do in order to make sure that improvement of one indicator means improvement of the society at large, and means improvement the whole city in terms of this notion of shared prosperity.

 

Pedro Pereira Leite

Researcher and professor. He had his PhD. on museology in 2011, with the title “Muss-amb-ike Homeland: The commitment on musicological process”, that was published in 2011. In 2012 he finishes a Post-PhD Research on "Biographical Glances: The intersubjectivity poetry on museology, at Lusófona University (Lisbon). Presently he is working in his Post PhD. Research about: “Global Heritages" with the aims to build a network on local cognizance and memory manager has a tool to build the will of action in 3 different communities, linked by past communed heritages.” He works at CES. He participates on different Research network, presented papers in national and international conferences, and had published books on research subjects.

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Museologia Social e Urbanismo XLVI

Sustainable Development Goals and other global processes

Discussion prompts:

  1. What are the ways in which the SDG 11 connects with the other SDGs?
  2. How can cities play an anchoring role for achieving all these related SDGs?

Sustainable development, the SDGs and the urban SDGs in particular, are not a short term miracle that have appeared from nowhere, they’ve emerged from nearly a century of debate, contest, experimentation, failure and success.

This debate has brought together multiple actors and stakeholders from the local, provincial, national, regional to the global and created 17 goals and a 169 targets within the SDGs. But why are there 17 goals? The formation of the SDGs was deeply influenced by the experience on the MDGs. The MDGs demonstrated the value of clear, quantified, limited sets of goals, they highlighted the importance of partnerships to achieve all these goals, they proved the value of common metrics, global indicators that are achieved through local and national processes.

At the same time the MDGs showed the shortcomings of a top-down rather insular process of designing goals and the missed opportunities of ignoring large sectors and areas of global action like cities.

The design of the SDGs was spearheaded by the UN Secretary-General informed first by a grassroots consultation through ‘The World We Want’ managed and solicited by the UN but bringing in voices of over a million people from all backgrounds, communities and nationalities. A high-level panel of eminent persons then brought together a global policy consensus on the SDGs.

Once the technical priorities were determined the process was handed over to the member-nations at the United Nations Open Working Group which forged the political consensus and the negotiations needed to effect priorities of 193 countries.

No mean feat, but one achieve by painstaking discussion, debate and negotiation. As urbanization and cities have become more important in the economic, social and political life of the world, the urban sector and its institutions have struggled through multilateral processes.

Until relatively recently the sector was fractured around narrow geographical, thematic and institutional themes and mandates. Recognizing the imperative role of cities and settlements in development, the global urban community has come together over the last few years to present a coherent political front, clear arguments and a commitment towards action and implementation.

This has happened because cities are now being seen not as problems but as sites of opportunity and effective implementation. To understand this, it may be useful to examine what happened on the morning of 7th January 2014, on the floor of the United Nations. When a debate took place on the value of sustainable cities in global development – taking part in that debate representatives of UN member countries, the global campaign for an urban SDG and UN officials. A few short clips from that day:

we have a set of challenges in the developing world which is the challenges that we have been talking during those days, yesterday and today but also in the developed world we need to change our cities, we need to retrofit our cities and this is why also something that should be if it is the case in the targets because we know that we cannot go on with the level of greenhouse emissions that we have in the developed cities. (…)

But eventually if you have to manage such large and complex and interdependent systems, you do have to transfer both the authority and the ability to respond to the local level because that’s how innovation will actually function.(…)

So if this, if these two aspects are true and this is as multi-dimensional, the question we would ask is how could you address that there probably will not be an SDG on transport. We would not support it for the simple reason that everybody wants something an SDG on, and we’re going to end up with about 327 SDGs at my last count including things like nuclear ways, breast milk, diarrohea – I’ve heard as a candidate the list is endless. (…)

So you can imagine how complex and challenging this is. The solution of course will not come from the co-chairs, the solution will come from the membership. That’s one way of I getting out from that particular challenge.”

We just saw an example of the existential debate on the value of the city’s goal. It’s actually quite remarkable that the SDGS include Goal 11.

How did we get here? How has the world changed in the last 70 years since the UN was created?

Where has the idea of Sustainable Development come from or more pertinent to us where has the idea of Sustainable Cities come from? The United Nations was formed almost 70 years ago after the end of the second world war in 1945 with 50 member-states.

That was a world that was still colonized desperately in need of post-war reconstruction and development. The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 laid the foundation of the universal entitlements that underpin both the MDGs and now the SDGs, but the process of developing the urban SDGs started well before this in 1913 with the organization of local governments and the creation of the International Union of Local Authorities. The UN had a 152 members by the time Sustainable Development was born in the 1970s.

This came together by bringing together development and the emerging idea of sustainability that came from the global environmental movement after the publication of “Limits to growth”, the first oil shock and the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972. Four years later, the first UN Conference on Human Settlements that we call Habitat-I in Vancouver, recommended national action for sustainable human settlements, with an emphasis on social sustainability and socio-economic development, minimum standards of urban basic services for an acceptable quality of life and reducing disparities between rural and urban areas. It also helped create UN-Habitat, UN-CHS as it was known at that time. Even though its lead sectors were housing and access to basic services Habitat-I laid the foundations for the urban SDGs that would come nearly 40 years later. In the late 1980s the World Commission on Environment and Development – the Brundtland Commission helped define sustainable development as ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. This decade also saw the International Year for the Shelter, for the homeless, building on the momentum of Habitat-I, the period also saw the establishment of the IPCC to address Climate Change, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 led to a significant increase in the number of UN member states to 159.

The World Summit on Environment and Development at Rio set the frame of bringing environment and development together in 1992 and laid the operational basis for Sustainable Development via Local Agenda 21 and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change which in turn, led to the Kyoto Protocol. The launch of the Human Development Index, the World Conference on Women in Beijing and the World Conference on Education for All at Jomtien, established the basis for universal goals on poverty and inequality, women’s equality and education.

The IPCC issued its First and Second assessment reports on Climate Change and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development was also founded to reorient the role of the private sector in sustainable development. On the urban front the UN City Summit, Habitat-II in Istanbul, acknowledged increasing global urbanization but focussed largely on the global south and addressing the needs of the urban poor. It built on Habitat-I and discussed universal goals for safer and healthier cities and ensuring adequate shelter for all. A new emphasis on the importance of local and regional governance emerged that echoed the message from the Rio conference. Cities Alliance, ICLEI, WEIGO and SDI were all founded in the spirit as was the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights.

The 2000s kicked off with the Millennium Summit in New York that established the Millennium Development Goals- the MDGs. 8 international development goals to be achieved by 2015 focusing on extreme poverty and hunger, primary education, gender equality, child mortality, maternal health, infectious diseases and environmental sustainability.

The MDGs did not focus on cities, they did however have a strong sectoral focus including a limited emphasis on water, sanitation and slums. But this provided the scaffolding on which the SDGs were built. This decade also saw the release of the Third and Fourth IPCC assessment reports that established the anthropogenic basis for Climate Change. The Hyogo framework for Disaster Risk Reduction established the first global framework in this area.

The First and Second International Conferences on Financing for Development in Montreal and Doha started to build a global framework for financing sustainable development in the 2000. On the urban front, the C40-cities Climate partnership group was established and the UN General Assembly adopted this Declaration on Cities and Human Settlements. The 2010 saw a significant activity around Sustainable Development as 2015 was a target year for the achievement of the MDGs. In 2012 the Rio+20 conference was held to commemorate two decades of the First World Conference on Environment and Development. This created the impetus for and the mandate for the creation of the SDGs in 2015.

In 2012 the UN Secretary-General initiated a series of processes within the UN and created SDSN to facilitate the SDG process – this culminated in the SDG summit in September 2015 in New York, where 193 countries endorsed a set of 17 universal goals to be achieved by 2030. On the environmental front the Fifth IPCC Assessment Report was issued with a special focus on urban areas addressing the Climate Challenge gathered momentum at the 2014 Climate Summit and finally at COP21 in Paris in December 2015, a global agreement around Climate Change was reached to keep mean global temperature rises below 2 degrees centigrade. On the urban front the Global Taskforce for Local and Regional governments was created in 2013 at the same time as a global campaign for a standalone urban SDG was launched.

This culminated in the successful creation of SDG11 on sustainable cities. In 2016 Habitat-III and the third UN conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development frames the new urban agenda.

Why have the SDGs become so important for sustainable cities?

1) The SDGs are universal setting out a single normative base for all people everywhere, unlike the MDGs that focussed on poor people in poor countries. SDG-11 spans the urban-rural continuum.

2) The SDGs are based on the interdependence of social, economic and environmental outcomes- all operating within planetary boundaries including the challenge of Climate Change.

3) Inclusion and equity are central to the SDGs.

4) The global urban agenda is now being debated alongside issues of global, national and local finance.

5) The SDG monitoring and reporting framework becomes spatially explicit using new geospatial technology, crowdsourcing and big data analysis-this enables us to track outcomes from the local to the global.

How do countries address the challenges thrown forward by the SDGs? The fundamental unanswered political question about sustainable cities is that of subsidiarity and devolution. At what level of governance – national, provincial or local should have function or service be provided- staffed, financed and delivered?

The current SDG frame because it was agreed by national governments imagines that they are the primary agents of delivery with local governments and other actors as implementers or part players. We know that this is not possible from history- experience of implementation and the ambitious scale of the universal agenda in the SDGs. How do countries move forward from the current aspatial imagination of the SDGs to one where territorial development could move to the forefront of partnership between national and local governments?

How do cities become prosperous and how does that enable poverty reduction, employment and growth? How could cities built resilient infrastructure and foster innovation and what kind of national and international financial architecture could enable this?

How do cities reflect adequately the agency and role of the poor, vulnerable and the informal sector in driving the global and urban economy? How do cities address the challenge of Goal 13 – Climate Change by making them an important actor in implementing the Paris Climate Accord? A new partnership that involves national governments, local and regional governments, informal and formal enterprises, civil society, universities and knowledge institutions and inevitably citizens, will be required to deliver the urban SDGs and sustainable cities in 15 years.

In short – 1) the SDGs and the idea of sustainable cities have emerged from nearly a century of debate, contest, experimentation and implementation; this involved multiple actors from communities to local regional and national governments.

2) The urban community has come together over the last few years after recognizing the role of cities in Sustainable Development. They have presented a coherent political front and a commitment to action.

3) The SDGs especially those focused on sustainable urbanization outline a universal developement agenda for all people everywhere.

4) Implementation will be challenging, it will involve addressing the deeply political question of partnerships and devolving power mandates and finances from national to regional and city governments and a range of other ideas.

The SDGs are an important milestone in a long and complex journey that we’re embarked upon. They help outline a universal agenda that all major nation states are expected to endorse.

More important, they make the commitment that no one will be left behind and specifically within the context of the urban SDGs that no place will be left behind.

 

Pedro Pereira Leite

Researcher and professor. He had his PhD. on museology in 2011, with the title “Muss-amb-ike Homeland: The commitment on musicological process”, that was published in 2011. In 2012 he finishes a Post-PhD Research on "Biographical Glances: The intersubjectivity poetry on museology, at Lusófona University (Lisbon). Presently he is working in his Post PhD. Research about: “Global Heritages" with the aims to build a network on local cognizance and memory manager has a tool to build the will of action in 3 different communities, linked by past communed heritages.” He works at CES. He participates on different Research network, presented papers in national and international conferences, and had published books on research subjects.

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Museologia Social e Urbanismo XLV

Financing Sustainable Development

  1. Can local property taxes be enough for making local governance sustainable? What are the alternatives? Are these experimented in some cities? Discuss innovative financing systems you may be aware of.

The first point to make is this that the 12 of the 17 SDGs have to be implemented in cities and a lot of this involves investment involves capacity building and involves resources of many different kinds and so the whole financial package which the foundation for this needs to be mobilized somehow so I think this is a one of the preconditions.

The SDGs in my judgment are good, there’s a good agreement on the what but there’s almost nothing about the how and with the how comes the question of what are the resources to be applied I don’t believe that the aid system the international agencies have the resources to cover this at all and I think I remember years back at one point someone was making an estimate of what was the annual investment in infrastructure in urban infrastructure by developing countries and it was something on the order of a hundred and fifty billion a year and at that time the World Bank was providing six right and so that should have kept everybody in a kind of a more humble mood and realizing that it wasn’t going to come from these institutions so at this point I think the resources have to come from every place they have to come with some kind of combination of catalytic small but catalytic resources from the international agencies but a lot from the global private sector a lot from national and local public finance so it really requires measures at every single level in order to get more resources going.

Well I think the first point on that is there’s a basic misperception by national governments of the role of cities in their whole future in the whole economic situation because we know now that at least seventy percent of GDP in all countries is coming from urban based economic activities so it’s not an exaggeration to say that if cities are not productive the economic and social futures and political futures of all these countries isn’t very promising so if you know that a large share of your future depends on city functioning you better start allocating resources in that direction.

So the first issue is a political is a political technical judgment about the importance of resources coming from these places in the present situation the local the performance at the urban level is insufficient we need some kind of an urban social compact which would increase local and urban institutional performance and we need that performance performance criteria which can give confidence to global capital to be able to land well I think there has to be much more much more control on both the revenue and expenditure side on the revenue side there has to be much more effort as too much more serious it has to be strategic and national government have to not just think about what are traditionally local taxes to but think about what’s the combination of local and national taxes that would make sense to finance something that seventy percent of the economy of the country and I think that probably means thinking about sales and income tax and other things like that also generating revenue at the local level I don’t believe that telling the local governments that their future is going to be based on property taxes is going to go very far in property taxes are highly inefficient and expensive to collect I don’t think that’s going to be a reasonable outcome I would say that national urban policy needs to have as an objective local economic development and that presumes that there is in fact a commitment and that can be backed up by some resources as required but that that the nation requires local prosperity and prosperity productivity is going to come from local places it’s not going to come from some abstraction called the nation right and it’s going to be in real terms of – whether it’s in Mumbai or some other place or Hyderabad –  it’s from a real place it’s not from the cloud.

Right, but here I come back again to this notion of the urban social contract the local has to prove that it’s credible that it has to agree that it’s ging to tighten up on certain things and it’s got to convince people you’ve gotta convince its own electorate and communities that that better administration will lead to long-term better quality of life and better results for everybody.

If we assume that we’re not just talking about water systems or roads or traditional urban infrastructure but we’re thinking about things which affect health and education and protect Social Protection response to climate change all these things I think we’re in a very different situation and the case that that does that I’ve been thinking a lot about now is this question Zika in Latin America where people are realizing that that if in fact this becomes a large-scale epidemic what will happen is that the the care of damage children will lead to a reduction in the number of wage earners and by household so we’ll see a new generation of urban poverty and so we almost need an insurance policy at the level of the city against Zika which I think people would understand I think people would agree to pay a certain Zica tax where they may not be prepared to pay climate change tax yet so it the the cross-sectoral character the SDG must have some opportunities there that we have to discover it.

I think there’s going to be a hot moment and the aha moment will be about the discovery of interdependence. I recently was in some discussions with the CAF the new Latin American Development Bank and they said that the subject what they were interested in was productive transformation and well what sector is that is well that’s got a little bit of people and get them infrastructure it’s got some productive investments that industry and so they began to think about this in a much more integrated way. I’ve had recent discussions in the UN economic Commission for Latin America in Santiago they’re talking about saying the same language so I think there’s a sense there’s a moment where things are beginning to change I think that one of the questions is whether these organizations are interested in being innovative at this point how hungry they are for new customers. How they conceptualize their line of business my impression is that the CAF really is interested in this and my impression also is that the new bank in China is also interested in that. It’s interesting and it’s notable that you don’t see as much activity coming out of the out of the way to Washington right that neither the World Bank of the IDB seem to be is as active and and proactive in fact an innovative on this.

I think the role of technology and this will be very interesting there’s an interesting comparison that I’ve come across in the last several months I was working in Bogota where it turns out ninety percent of the enterprises are under 10 employees that means there’s no room for economies of scale no returns no investment technology so firm size is a problem in production and employment. Come to New York it turns out that sixty percent of the new startups since the year 2000 under five employees so what’s the difference is not that sizes that what matters what matters is infrastructure and connectivity and human capital investment.

So productivity is related to other things and I think we have to kind of move more and towards this direction of what we’re seeing in places like Brooklyn here in New York which has a different which is suggesting more about the future. In Mexico, Mexico has 5 million empty housing units surrounding Mexico city where people without housing and housing without people right and so the lack of regulation of the developers of the private sector demonstrates that next thing as housing policy is really the disastrous.

The number is six million in Brazil, is four million in Argentina and so we’re we’re coming out with a book now which basically says that housing policy  has undermined urban policy and I believe that part of that’s related to the global financial sector because this is is some money that’s landing in these places and allowing for outcomes which are not urban outcomes their housing outcomes and bad housing outcomes and that’s one of the things that for example I think was is terribly weak in the New Urban Agenda the regulatory function there’s almost no mention of regulatory functions there’s almost no mention of markets alright and that’s a pretty silly thing to do that’s a big mistake so the question I mean the Mexico example would show you that even though after Habitat II Mexico put in heavy decentralization and all kinds of institutional reforms but they still were unable to regulate the markets and you come up with this terribly wasteful situation. It’s in fact it’s even worse because they ended up using public savings and public resources, they use the social security fund the workers payments have gone into financing this housing I think that we need to think about regulation as I think there has to be a national perspective on regulation but one of the things that we we really have not seen in decentralisation in general is the decentralization of the regulatory function and maybe the regulation we really have to think about a different form of regulation or where different jurisdictions for regulation to govern local markets so that these are not so generalized as not to be meaningful in local places real ecologies and where people can manage them on the ground.

I don’t really see a big improvements in the water sector. I think the water sector is a little stuck and it is dangerous because we know that the marginal cost of water is going up and almost every city in the world so that we’ve got to move to a different approach on water but the institution doesn’t seem to be that much reform and the promises of privatization by the big companies absolutely did not work on the privatization of roads, people are prepared to pay for tolls for some of these roads because the traffic situation is certainly become disastrous in many places but that doesn’t solve the urban transport problem we need much more public transporting and public transport system.

Let’s say we take a city like Buenos Aires they have a big architecture school that brings 28,000 architect you know come out of there but these people don’t learn about environment they don’t certainly don’t worry about public health they don’t learn about enough about the infrastructure right there housing and housing design maybe some of the best in the world but they’re not urbanists. I’m particularly interested in how urban practice is increasing exclusion, right. I mean if you think about it a lot of urban practice is about definition about definition of spaces definition of jurisdictions of eligibility criteria and every time we talk about definitions we talk about distinctions and exclusions so we need to think about a different kind of urban practice which is much more integrated. They have to help in the estimation of what are the resources required to service any particular urban area what do we need to do and to build the consensus among the institutions and the political forces that if we have to tax at a 30-percent level instead of a 20-percent level we should do that but this is what we expect to get out of it that part of the job is the mobilization of resources and management of expectations to needs and and all these things so it’s a much more holistic kind of judgment. I also think that’s absolutely essential if one imagines the prospect of climate change and the need for infrastructure to to mitigate and and later for adaptation so I think that this kind of judgment it’s somebody who is much broader than the traditional you know micro surgeon who worked with micro economist who can tell you about the rate of return on the housing project. We have an interesting dissertation for example being done on Karachi it turns out that everyone will say well Karachi has a very poor urban governance the public institutions don’t work very well yet Karachi recently has been called one of the most charitable cities in the world.

Ok so where’s all this coming from and what are the practices and in fact when we look at what the practices are we see that they are highly integrated right but they’re out of the formal governance structure.

Alright so now the question is how you train for that how would you modify curricula how would you get people to think about a kind of urban practice which is much broader and I think again the Zika problem is a good example of that is it a public health problem is that urban infrastructure problem or is it an urban economics problem I mean it becomes all of those things and so this is a new urban practice this is no longer architects. This is, alright… architects they are helpful for but limited in a limited way but we need people who are can cross these disciplinary boundaries who can see the whole right it’s almost like urban practitioners in fact which are aware of these range of things I think that would be important.

 

Pedro Pereira Leite

Researcher and professor. He had his PhD. on museology in 2011, with the title “Muss-amb-ike Homeland: The commitment on musicological process”, that was published in 2011. In 2012 he finishes a Post-PhD Research on "Biographical Glances: The intersubjectivity poetry on museology, at Lusófona University (Lisbon). Presently he is working in his Post PhD. Research about: “Global Heritages" with the aims to build a network on local cognizance and memory manager has a tool to build the will of action in 3 different communities, linked by past communed heritages.” He works at CES. He participates on different Research network, presented papers in national and international conferences, and had published books on research subjects.

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Museologia Social e Urbanismo XLIV

Public participation and democracy

How can cities and urban areas be governed better to make them more sustainable?

  1. Discuss examples and cases of participatory governance and what conditions enable such processes

The focus of this lecture will be on public participation and democracy and it starts off with recognizing that since the early 1990s the principle of participatory development has been firmly entrenched but if we look back over the last 25 years the implementation of that has been rather disappointing.

So the purpose is to explore why that’s the case and how we can we rethink the idea of public participation and democratization as a constituent part of achieving sustainable cities. Now what I will do is to mention a few reasons for this disappointing history and then touch on a number of key ideas in the literature that helps us to understand how to think our way through this problematic and explore alternatives and then conclude with an interesting case study from a very poor neighborhood in Cape Town called Khayelitsha where social movement called the Social Justice Coalition has been able to very effectively mobilize  participatory techniques to both raise awareness about injustices but also enroll the community to be an active part of solutions.

So let’s now explore the reasons for the disappointing track record of participatory development: in the first instance what we witness is that there’s often a difficulty to surface the underlying issues that is associated with the problem and so what is participating processes tend to do is to be very superficial.

This relates to a second problem where this process is often designed that they are merely performative or ritualistic in other words people are gathered together, they go through the motions of having a conversation about a shared issue but there’s no real mechanism to deal with underlying conflicts of interest or genuine differences.

This in turn connects with another phenomenon that we see where these processes are enacted, they makes certain decisions but we then see no follow-through, no commitment to implementation, no institutional support to make sure that what does deliberative process generated is in fact acted upon and then finally when we look across different case studies is that often these processes failed to be strategic, in other words they can be very specific in relation to an issue or the manifestation of a certain problem but they’re unable to differentiate between what is a manifestation of the problem and what’s the underlying cause and what needs to be done in the short-term, medium-term and long-term in other words be strategic.

The combination of these dynamics mean that everyone can pay lip service to participatory development, they can even enact the institutional fora but it has no impact on the way in which decisions are genuinely made.

So in order to understand why participatory development have such a poor track record it is helpful to turn to the literature and explore a number of debates.

Now at the heart of this debate is a difference in opinion or approach between what we call those from the Deliberative Democracy tradition and those from the Radical Democracy tradition and the central difference is how they think about consensus and conflict.

The Deliberative Democrats what they believe is that if you use Democratic forum to bring all the different stakeholders together, you sit around a table and you create the conditions for what they term free speech, then it is possible to arrive at a clear coherent consensus that is in fact the best possible outcome in relation to the matter under discussion. The Radical Democrats take a very different view, they believe that in any speech context there’s already pre-programmed differences and there’s also unequal power relations and by merely having an equal space within which everyone can talk you don’t resolve the underlying differences.

So they believe what you really need is for conflict to be surfaced, is to acknowledge that certain interest, certain conflicts are irreconcilable and that unless you are able to make that clear and visible and put that out into the open, you don’t generate enough political heat so that you can really get to this underlying structural drivers of various urban problems. So in their mind set, yes, deliberation is important, negotiations is important but you also need an extra deliberative element in other words you need the street, you need voice, you need opposition to also coming to the frame and that creates if you will a pressure cooker effect that changes the terms of the debate and this is really central to how we think about the quality of participation and what the prerequisites are for participatory engagements to lead to more substantive structural engagements around urban problems.

At the heart of this is a view on conflict and how we think about conflict and in this regarded it is really helpful to turn to a text that differentiates between what the authors call Unnecessary conflict and Genuine conflict. Unnecessary conflict can be in the realm of value conflicts or relationship conflict, in other words people just don’t get along and can be bothered for mediation or conflict resolution or people disagree on the facts. Whole of these are conflicts that are always present but they can in theory through effective processes be resolved.

But then you get 2 kinds of conflict that are deep and genuine and in a sense you can only mediate them effectively: one is Structural Conflicts and this can relate to how context is set up, what the preordained differential interests are and you also get Interest Conflicts which is in a sense self explanatory, people have different interests in the game and if they have more power, more resources their interests will trump and so you’ve got at least make that visible and clear to everyone. So what this does is it helps us to understand that it is important to recognize that participatory processes require speech and dialogue but it also needs a recognition or space for conflict to play itself out so that you can in fact have the real debate or the real discussion and recognize what you can agree on and what you can’t agree on.

So moving on from the idea of consensus and dissensus or the idea of agreement and conflict, we then get to the issue of how does change happen, how do you get sustainable development through participatory processes. Now in this regard there’s again two traditions in the literature, if you want to simplify things the one is if you will about incremental change and the second tradition is about rupture. Now of course in the bigger scheme of things if you look through the history of political theory, you can really differentiate between proceduralism in democracy and violent ruptures – revolution if you will.

I won’t explore that full gamut today but I just want to focus on two ideas: one is Radical Incrementalism versus what we can call Systemic Change or Systemic Structural Ruptures.

Now Radical Incrementalism refers to the importance of changes in the everyday livelihoods of ordinary people through participatory development processes as a precondition for a full essence of citizenship that is about structural change of class relations and other structural differences in society and these two things are interdependent, but if you don’t have periodic crises in a society or in the city – so for example if someone suffered an acute abuse or if someone has seen like the Syrian child that washed up in the beach in southern Europe and so on, you don’t have the mechanism for rupture.

What those crisis represent is a public mechanism for rupture that allows some new kinds of debates and questions to emerge and then your everyday struggles and practices get onto a new plane and it can be if you will deeper, more effective, more radical in its effects. And so there’s a certain dialectic in the participatory development process that is very important to understand and for those who are absolutely convinced about violent rupture, what they don’t recognize i that if you want to produce the new citizen, you cannot do that in the absence of the patient day-to-day work of psychic change through direct engagement in remaking society in everyday spaces and this is really the fundamental debate that has to be understood, when we think about participatory development and democracy.

So if we then take this understanding of this dynamic interplay between everyday incremental change and the importance of that and recognizing the necessity of ruptures from time to time, we can begin to also appreciate what I called the full spectrum of democratic atmospheres- this is where you have civil society organizations who work if you will to ‘fix the system’ they are in the domain of cooperation and you’ve got organizations that are there to undermine the system to keep the system in crisis through direct actions, through opposition, through exposure, litigation and so forth. All of these if you will, democratic pressures are absolutely essential for participatory developmental work and to make sense.

If we then move on from that, we can begin to talk about what we refer to as the preconditions for a vibrant polity and this is in the first instance, a dense network of institutions that are autonomous in other words, they’re not beholden to political parties, they’re not beholden into powerful interest in society but they are propelled through democratic action and they earn democratic energies.

Secondly, you’ve got civil society organizations that have the resources to give expression to their strategic intent.

Thirdly, you have a phenomena where these institutions or layers of society are recognized by the state in other words, they are seen, they are visible, they are legible and therefore they can have a strategic impact; and finally there is what for me often is underemphasized in the literature as what I call that you need a dense network of civil society organizations but you need effective institutions as well.

And for me effectiveness refers to that the fact that they are internally democratic and that they deepen the democratic cultures and practices; secondly, that they’ve got a clear purpose about why they exist and how they can achieve their goals; thirdly, that they are able to advance the interest in a programmatic, systematic fashion; and lastly that they are continuously adapting the practice through learning, through critical reflection and understanding that they’ve got to always evolve in a changing context. If we then conclude this lecture, we can begin to think about last set of distinctions.

Yeah, it is important to recognize that there are different scales at work: the household, the neighborhood, totality, the nation-state and of course the global scale.

Secondly, we have to understand the differences between the short-term, the medium-term and long-term and thirdly, that there are various organizational organizations, you get non-profit interest driven organizations, you get strategic intermediaries that can fulfill a connecting function between the state, private sector and civil society and of course you get coalitions and networks. All of these public forms are really important for different kinds of participatory development at different scales and then finally, we’ve got to recognize that there’s always a multiplicity of incentives at play.

So people need material incentives, they need to know that they will get access to better quality water, that they’ll get access to better health care etc., and so forth but they also may want recognition, they want their identities, their collective identities to be seen, to be acknowledged they may simply want voice and of course in an ideal vibrant inclusive polity all of these incentives will come together and people will be able to both access material improvement in the quality of life but in that very process deepen the citizenship through a recognition of their identities and their cultural practices.

And so all of these elements help us to understand what is the importance of participatory processes, well-structured public institutions and civil society organizations and how participatory processes can deepen the quality of the polity.

Now to conclude this lecture, I’d like to reflect on a case study from Cape Town. In Cape Town, we’ve got a relatively new social movement called the Social Justice Coalition- they emerged in 2009-2010 when there was a crisis of gendered violence in Khayelitsha. The conditions they are such that most people don’t have access to sanitation within their dwelling, within the household and so they have to use communal toilets that are between 50 and 500 meters from their dwellings, and of course they often have to use these facilities at night and in a context of high crime rates, high levels of violence this is incredibly precarious.

After a woman was murdered while she was trying to use one of these facilitiesm there was a public outcry in the community and social justice coalition emerged in that context to begin to advocate for the right to development in the form of sanitation, but also better policing and safety and security.

Over the years they’ve matured two campaigns: one was focused specifically on making sure the police was held accountable and the second was to engage with the local authority to improve the quality of sanitation services in the community.

What is noteworthy about them is that they use full spectrum of democratic practices. They will litigate if that’s required, they formed a coalition with the premiere of the province to get a formal Judicial Commission around policing, they would use the media to expose the lack of service delivery, they will even go so far as contract analysis and management to make sure that the private sector players were meant to manage these services are held accountable to their contracts and they will mobilize the community to get directly involved in forms of service delivery to compensate for the absence of proper state provision whilst these campaigns are going on. So this is very unusual to have these kind of strategic dexterity to move between very pragmatic responses, but also being very alive to the importance of militant politics- nonviolent militant politics that can exact accountability from public authorities.

To date, they’ve achieved incredible awareness across the city, they’ve been able to mobilize middle-class elements in these struggles and they’ve been able to get significant attention focused on the problematical  sanitation. However, they still have not been able to get a higher quality of service because of political opposition to the modality of operation and so in their case they’ve suffered because they’ve insisted on being both using direct action and using collaborative methods and the direct action has upset the mayor and the political leaders of the city and so they are withholding additional investment in sanitation. But as they would say – the struggle continues.

 

Pedro Pereira Leite

Researcher and professor. He had his PhD. on museology in 2011, with the title “Muss-amb-ike Homeland: The commitment on musicological process”, that was published in 2011. In 2012 he finishes a Post-PhD Research on "Biographical Glances: The intersubjectivity poetry on museology, at Lusófona University (Lisbon). Presently he is working in his Post PhD. Research about: “Global Heritages" with the aims to build a network on local cognizance and memory manager has a tool to build the will of action in 3 different communities, linked by past communed heritages.” He works at CES. He participates on different Research network, presented papers in national and international conferences, and had published books on research subjects.

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Museologia Social e Urbanismo XLIII

New forms of institutions and governance

Cities are systems of systems that frequently tend to self-organise to protect themselves and resist change yet, as they grow and sometimes evolve, they give up established and stable forms of organisation, spatial structure and even metabolism to embrace new ways.

This often happens in conditions of extreme uncertainty of the future and the external environment, as well as the complex dynamic inter-relationships that define urban systems in the first place.

To address the systemic challenges, cities have both to be resilient and maintain the potential for change and transformation. In this chapter we will examine what ‘urban resilience’ is, understand the impact of resilience on the poor and vulnerable. We will also examine key characteristics of resilient cities, the governance and institutional qualities that make them so, and finally, the financial resources required to enable urban resilience. What is Urban resilience?

It is the capacity of cities to function so that the people living and working in them, particularly the poor and vulnerable, survive and thrive no matter what stresses or shocks they encounter. This conception of resilience moves away from traditional disaster risk reduction based understanding, which is founded on risk assessments that relate to specific hazards.

Instead, it accepts the possibility that a wide range of disruptive events both stresses and shocks may occur but are not necessarily predictable. It is also focused on not only bouncing back after a shock like an earthquake or a chemical accident but ‘building back better’ to enhance system resilience of the entire city.

It also emphasises improving baseline living and working conditions of people converging with the SDG agenda. Resilience concentrates on enhancing the performance of a system in the face of multiple hazards rather than preventing or mitigating the loss of assets due to a specific event. The Indian city of Surat for example, one of the fastest-growing cities in Asia has experienced several shocks in the last few decades including floods, social unrest, economic shocks and even an outbreak of plague. These shocks have strongly influenced the city’s ability to enhance resilience in multiple ways through community engagement, private sector participation and extending improved infrastructure facilities to all residents.

This was enabled especially due to effective local leadership. Various approaches may be adopted to frame and assess urban resilience: in the past asset-based approaches tended to limit themselves, to reducing the risk to physical assets like buildings and infrastructure often failing to value intangible, social, cultural and institutional assets, that play a critical role in making cities and communities bounce-back or bounce forward in the aftermath of a shock.

They also tend to seriously underestimate the impact of risk on poor and vulnerable populations, who typically have very few assets. Poor populations are disproportionately impacted by disasters, although they suffer only a small share of the economic losses caused by disasters.

According to the World Bank estimates of socio economic resilience in a 117  countries – the effects of floods, windstorms, earthquakes and tsunamis on well-being are an equivalent to a 520 billion-dollar drop in consumption.

Resilience building therefore, should not focus exclusively on protecting assets but also on reducing the vulnerability of poor people by improving access to basic services and housing which is in effect is the implementation of the SDGs.

This along with disaster risk reduction interventions such as water conservation and flood protection may generate lower gains in avoided asset losses, but larger gains in well-being. Efforts to reduce poverty and build resilience are complementary.

The World Bank estimates for 89 countries, find that if all natural disasters could be prevented next year, the number of people in extreme poverty would fall by over 25 million. The impact of disasters on poverty is large because poor people are exposed to hazards more often, lose more of the proportion of their wealth when hit and receive less support from financial systems and governments and sometimes from family and friends. In fact disasters can push people into poverty.

Hence, resilience building and disaster risk reduction are often effective poverty reduction measures. In building resilience, it’s also important to consider regional assets that may be outside the physical boundaries of the city but play a large role in their functioning such as ecosystem services, for example, watershed development and reservoirs that provide safe water supply to a city.

Territorial development and planning is a good way to enable this for sustainable cities. It is therefore important to use a whole systems’ approach to understand and build resilience for urban systems and the people living in them. According to Da Silva and Morera, a resilience city has 12 essential characteristics:

1) There’s low human vulnerability such that everyone’s basic needs are met, for example, Addis Ababa which is home to a quarter of Ethiopia’s population response to large-scale rural to urban migration, unemployment and congested living conditions.

2) Diverse livelihoods and employment opportunities facilitated by access to finance, ability to accrue savings, skills training, business support and social welfare, for example Thessaloniki, the Greek port city is addressing social inequality, unemployment and transpiration shortfalls in an innovative and coordinated manner.

3) Adequate safeguards to human life and health via integrated health facilities and responsive emergency services like that are being established in Surat, India.

4) Collective identity and mutual support through active community engagement, strong social networks and social integration, for example, immigrant and marginalised communities uniting in New Orleans, United States to overcome the impact of Hurricane Katrina and a major oil spill.

5) Social stability and security through law enforcement, crime prevention, justice and emergency management for example, the public looting and arson in Concepción, Chile following the February 2010 earthquake that demonstrated that it can take a city considerable effort to recover from the social and human impacts of disasters.

6) Availability of funds within city finances, diverse revenue streams and the ability of urban areas to attract business investments, capital allocation and emergency funds. San Francisco leveraged its huge tourism industry, 30 of the world’s largest financial institutions and major bio technology and internet commerce firms to help mitigate earthquake and fire risk.

7) Reduced physical exposure and vulnerability with environmental stewardship, appropriate infrastructure, effective land use planning and enforcement of planning regulations. Belfast in Ireland is attempting to respond to an increase in weather-related vulnerability as most of its strategic infrastructure is flood-prone.

8) Continuity of critical services along with diversity of provisions, redundancy, active management and maintenance of ecosystem services and infrastructure. For example, despite their proximity to water, residents of coastal communities in Semarang, Indonesia are often most affected by water shortages forcing them to over extract groundwater which in turn leads to land subsidence.

9) Reliable communication and mobility including diverse and affordable multi- modal transport systems and information and communication that is ICT networks, for example, Radio BioBio due to its continuity planning and backup systems disseminated critical information in earthquake-hit Concepción in Chile when all other systems failed.

10) Effective leadership and management via government, business and civil society through platforms that enable multi stakeholder consultation and engagement and evidence-based decision making. A concerted government effort to assess and monitor ageing infrastructure integrity has prevented a repeat of the tragic building collapses that occurred in the 1990s in Seoul, South Korea – the city is implementing a citywide resilience strategy to reduce infrastructure risk by involving diverse groups of citizens and stakeholders.

11) Empowered stakeholders underpinned by education and awareness for all particularly the vulnerable, for example, the city of Cali in Colombia grew rapidly in the 1970s forcing poor people to live within the floodplains although levies were made to protect against flooding they had become compromised by encroachment by local communities, they have to be involved in their rehabilitation.

12) Integrated development planning with a vision, strategy and plans that are regularly reviewed and updated by cross-departmental groups, for example, integrated development is helping tackle the legacy of apartheid, building more cohesive communities and a more connected city in Cape Town, South Africa.

Apart from these characteristics resilient urban systems especially their governance and institutional arrangements have few qualities that distinguish them from other locations. They are typically reflective with mechanisms to continuously evolve to respond to an uncertain future based on new emerging evidence.

Robust with well-conceived constructed and managed physical assets so that they can withstand the impact of shocks and provide for safe failure;

Redundant, with spare capacity that is intentional and cost-effective such that systems can accommodate disruption, extreme pressures and surges in demand;

Resourceful, such that people and systems can rapidly find different ways to achieve their goals or meet their needs at the time of shocks;

Flexible implying that they can change, evolve and adapt in response to changing circumstances; Inclusive emphasising the need for broad consultation and engagement including with the poor and most vulnerable groups;

Integrated ensuring alignment between city systems promoting consistency in decision-making and making investments mutually supportive to a common outcome.

An enormous volume of capital is expected to flow into urban and regional infrastructure development in the coming decades particularly in East and South Asia and Sub-saharan Africa. Much of this growth will occur in countries with weak capacities to ensure risk-sensitive urban development. The global average annual loss in urban infrastructure alone is estimated to increase to up to 400 billion dollars by 2030 if current trends of poor building and infrastructure quality continue.

This growth in expected losses is not inevitable as annual investments of just 6 billion dollars, inappropriate disaster risk management strategies could generate benefits in terms of risk reduction of over 360 billion dollars according to the World Bank -this is equivalent to an annual reduction of new and additional expected losses by more than 20%. In new development is yet to be built, it signifies a huge opportunity to implement the SDGs. Meanwhile, of the total development assistance provided globally for international disasters only 4% is allocated for disaster prevention and preparedness and the bulk, about 70%, is used for emergency and disaster response.

We need to invert this prioritisation starting with local and regional governments to realise the potential of both SDG 11 and the other SDGs. Policies that make people more resilient and so better able to cope with and recover from the consequences of disasters, that cannot be avoided, can save about a hundred billion dollars a year. Action on risk reduction has large potential but not all disasters can be avoided. Expanding financial inclusion, disaster risk and health insurance, social protection and adaptive safety nets, contingent finance and reserve funds and universal access to basic services, improved housing and early warning systems would also reduce well-being losses from natural disasters.

If all countries implement these policies in a proposed resilience package, according to the World Bank the gain in well-being would be equivalent to about a $100 billion increase in annual global consumption. So what have we learned from the session Resilience focuses on enhancing the performance of a system in the face of multiple hazards; rather than preventing or mitigating the losses of assets due to a specific event. City systems should be reflective, robust, redundant, flexible, resourceful, inclusive and integrated to enable resilience. Natural disasters effect well-being more than what traditional systems estimate, yet efforts to reduce poverty and disaster risks are complementary and policies that make people and systems resilient can save over $100 billion a year that can be invested further towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Pedro Pereira Leite

Researcher and professor. He had his PhD. on museology in 2011, with the title “Muss-amb-ike Homeland: The commitment on musicological process”, that was published in 2011. In 2012 he finishes a Post-PhD Research on "Biographical Glances: The intersubjectivity poetry on museology, at Lusófona University (Lisbon). Presently he is working in his Post PhD. Research about: “Global Heritages" with the aims to build a network on local cognizance and memory manager has a tool to build the will of action in 3 different communities, linked by past communed heritages.” He works at CES. He participates on different Research network, presented papers in national and international conferences, and had published books on research subjects.

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Museologia Social e Urbanismo XLII

How can cities be made sustainable?

Theme: How can cities and urban areas be governed better to make them more sustainable?

Components:

About this module: In the previous sessions so far, it has been made evident that governance is central to achieving these sustainability goals, and yet it is also evident that there are gaps in the current understanding (both in theory and in practice) of governance that exist. This module brings us to this question then “how can cities and urban areas be governed better to make them more sustainable?”

Aromar Revi starts us out with ways of understanding these new forms of institutions and governance. Edgar Pieterse brings public participation to the core of this discussion on governance. Michael Cohen then talks about the real constraints of financing, particularly at the local level to enable these institutions to function. We then redirect our understanding of the SDGs and what role could these play in governance and Eduardo Moreno talks to us about the challenges in monitoring and measuring these  SDGs and what are the ways that have been found out. David Simon then gets into a conversation with Aromar realigning our attention from mega cities to the secondary sized cities, and how they could offer a potential way of piloting many of these new forms of governance, financing and institutions.

 

 

Pedro Pereira Leite

Researcher and professor. He had his PhD. on museology in 2011, with the title “Muss-amb-ike Homeland: The commitment on musicological process”, that was published in 2011. In 2012 he finishes a Post-PhD Research on "Biographical Glances: The intersubjectivity poetry on museology, at Lusófona University (Lisbon). Presently he is working in his Post PhD. Research about: “Global Heritages" with the aims to build a network on local cognizance and memory manager has a tool to build the will of action in 3 different communities, linked by past communed heritages.” He works at CES. He participates on different Research network, presented papers in national and international conferences, and had published books on research subjects.

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Museologia Social e Urbanismo XLI

Building Urban Resilience and Transformative Development

Discussion prompts:

  1. What are the various components that constitute urban resilience and how can resilience be measured and augmented?
  2. Discuss case studies where cities or local communities have been resilient to disaster risks, and analyse the reasons that have lead to such outcomes.

Cities are systems of systems that frequently tend to self-organise to protect themselves and resist change yet, as they grow and sometimes evolve, they give up established and stable forms of organisation, spatial structure and even metabolism to embrace new ways.

This often happens in conditions of extreme uncertainty of the future and the external environment, as well as the complex dynamic inter-relationships that define urban systems in the first place.

To address the systemic challenges, cities have both to be resilient and maintain the potential for change and transformation. In this chapter we will examine what ‘urban resilience’ is, understand the impact of resilience on the poor and vulnerable. We will also examine key characteristics of resilient cities, the governance and institutional qualities that make them so, and finally, the financial resources required to enable urban resilience. What is Urban resilience? It is the capacity of cities to function so that the people living and working in them, particularly the poor and vulnerable, survive and thrive no matter what stresses or shocks they encounter. This conception of resilience moves away from traditional disaster risk reduction based understanding, which is founded on risk assessments that relate to specific hazards.

Instead, it accepts the possibility that a wide range of disruptive events both stresses and shocks may occur but are not necessarily predictable.

It is also focused on not only bouncing back after a shock like an earthquake or a chemical accident but ‘building back better’ to enhance system resilience of the entire city. It also emphasises improving baseline living and working conditions of people converging with the SDG agenda. Resilience concentrates on enhancing the performance of a system in the face of multiple hazards rather than preventing or mitigating the loss of assets due to a specific event. The Indian city of Surat for example, one of the fastest-growing cities in Asia has experienced several shocks in the last few decades including floods, social unrest, economic shocks and even an outbreak of plague. These shocks have strongly influenced the city’s ability to enhance resilience in multiple ways through community engagement, private sector participation and extending improved infrastructure facilities to all residents.

This was enabled especially due to effective local leadership. Various approaches may be adopted to frame and assess urban resilience: in the past asset-based approaches tended to limit themselves, to reducing the risk to physical assets like buildings and infrastructure often failing to value intangible, social, cultural and institutional assets, that play a critical role in making cities and communities bounce-back or bounce forward in the aftermath of a shock.

They also tend to seriously underestimate the impact of risk on poor and vulnerable populations, who typically have very few assets. Poor populations are disproportionately impacted by disasters, although they suffer only a small share of the economic losses caused by disasters.

According to the World Bank estimates of socio economic resilience in a 117 countries – the effects of floods, windstorms, earthquakes and tsunamis on well-being are an equivalent to a 520 billion-dollar drop in consumption.

Resilience building therefore, should not focus exclusively on protecting assets but also on reducing the vulnerability of poor people by improving access to basic services and housing which is in effect is the implementation of the SDGs.

This along with disaster risk reduction interventions such as water conservation and flood protection may generate lower gains in avoided asset losses, but larger gains in well-being. Efforts to reduce poverty and build resilience are complementary.

The World Bank estimates for 89 countries, find that if all natural disasters could be prevented next year, the number of people in extreme poverty would fall by over 25 million. The impact of disasters on poverty is large because poor people are exposed to hazards more often, lose more of the proportion of their wealth when hit and receive less support from financial systems and governments and sometimes from family and friends. In fact disasters can push people into poverty.

Hence, resilience building and disaster risk reduction are often effective poverty reduction measures. In building resilience, it’s also important to consider regional assets that may be outside the physical boundaries of the city but play a large role in their functioning such as ecosystem services, for example, watershed development and reservoirs that provide safe water supply to a city. Territorial development and planning is a good way to enable this for sustainable cities. It is therefore important to use a whole systems’ approach to understand and build resilience for urban systems and the people living in them. According to Da Silva and Morera, a resilience city has 12 essential characteristics:

1) There’s low human vulnerability such that everyone’s basic needs are met, for example, Addis Ababa which is home to a quarter of Ethiopia’s population response to large-scale rural to urban migration, unemployment and congested living conditions.

2) Diverse livelihoods and employment opportunities facilitated by access to finance, ability to accrue savings, skills training, business support and social welfare, for example Thessaloniki, the Greek port city is addressing social inequality, unemployment and transpiration shortfalls in an innovative and coordinated manner.

3) Adequate safeguards to human life and health via integrated health facilities and responsive emergency services like that are being established in Surat, India.

4) Collective identity and mutual support through active community engagement, strong social networks and social integration, for example, immigrant and marginalised communities uniting in New Orleans, United States to overcome the impact of Hurricane Katrina and a major oil spill.

5) Social stability and security through law enforcement, crime prevention, justice and emergency management for example, the public looting and arson in Concepción, Chile following the February 2010 earthquake that demonstrated that it can take a city considerable effort to recover from the social and human impacts of disasters.

6) Availability of funds within city finances, diverse revenue streams and the ability of urban areas to attract business investments, capital allocation and emergency funds. San Francisco leveraged its huge tourism industry, 30 of the world’s largest financial institutions and major bio technology and internet commerce firms to help mitigate earthquake and fire risk.

7) Reduced physical exposure and vulnerability with environmental stewardship, appropriate infrastructure, effective land use planning and enforcement of planning regulations. Belfast in Ireland is attempting to respond to an increase in weather-related vulnerability as most of its strategic infrastructure is flood-prone.

8) Continuity of critical services along with diversity of provisions, redundancy, active management and maintenance of ecosystem services and infrastructure. For example, despite their proximity to water, residents of coastal communities in Semarang, Indonesia are often most affected by water shortages forcing them to over extract groundwater which in turn leads to land subsidence.

9) Reliable communication and mobility including diverse and affordable multi- modal transport systems and information and communication that is ICT networks, for example, Radio BioBio due to its continuity planning and backup systems disseminated critical information in earthquake-hit Concepción in Chile when all other systems failed.

10) Effective leadership and management via government, business and civil society through platforms that enable multi stakeholder consultation and engagement and evidence-based decision making. A concerted government effort to assess and monitor ageing infrastructure integrity has prevented a repeat of the tragic building collapses that occurred in the 1990s in Seoul, South Korea – the city is implementing a citywide resilience strategy to reduce infrastructure risk by involving diverse groups of citizens and stakeholders.

11) Empowered stakeholders underpinned by education and awareness for all particularly the vulnerable, for example, the city of Cali in Colombia grew rapidly in the 1970s forcing poor people to live within the floodplains although levies were made to protect against flooding they had become compromised by encroachment by local communities, they have to be involved in their rehabilitation.

12) Integrated development planning with a vision, strategy and plans that are regularly reviewed and updated by cross-departmental groups, for example, integrated development is helping tackle the legacy of apartheid, building more cohesive communities and a more connected city in Cape Town, South Africa.

Apart from these characteristics resilient urban systems especially their governance and institutional arrangements have few qualities that distinguish them from other locations.

They are typically reflective with mechanisms to continuously evolve to respond to an uncertain future based on new emerging evidence.

Robust with well-conceived constructed and managed physical assets so that they can withstand the impact of shocks and provide for safe failure;

Redundant, with spare capacity that is intentional and cost-effective such that systems can accommodate disruption, extreme pressures and surges in demand;

Resourceful, such that people and systems can rapidly find different ways to achieve their goals or meet their needs at the time of shocks;

Flexible implying that they can change, evolve and adapt in response to changing circumstances; Inclusive emphasising the need for broad consultation and engagement including with the poor and most vulnerable groups;

Integrated ensuring alignment between city systems promoting consistency in decision-making and making investments mutually supportive to a common outcome.

An enormous volume of capital is expected to flow into urban and regional infrastructure development in the coming decades particularly in East and South Asia and Sub-saharan Africa. Much of this growth will occur in countries with weak capacities to ensure risk-sensitive urban development.

The global average annual loss in urban infrastructure alone is estimated to increase to up to 400 billion dollars by 2030 if current trends of poor building and infrastructure quality continue. This growth in expected losses is not inevitable as annual investments of just 6 billion dollars, inappropriate disaster risk management strategies could generate benefits in terms of risk reduction of over 360 billion dollars according to the World Bank – this is equivalent to an annual reduction of new and additional expected losses by more than 20%. In new development is yet to be built, it signifies a huge opportunity to implement the SDGs. Meanwhile, of the total development assistance provided globally for international disasters only 4% is allocated for disaster prevention and preparedness and the bulk, about 70%, is used for emergency and disaster response.

We need to invert this prioritisation starting with local and regional  governments to realise the potential of both SDG 11 and the other SDGs. Policies that make people more resilient and so better able to cope with and recover from the consequences of disasters, that cannot be avoided, can save about a hundred billion dollars a year. Action on risk reduction has large potential but not all disasters can be avoided. Expanding financial inclusion, disaster risk and health insurance, social protection and adaptive safety nets, contingent finance and reserve funds and universal access to basic services, improved housing and early warning systems would also reduce well-being losses from natural disasters.

If all countries implement these policies in a proposed resilience package, according to the World Bank the gain in well-being would be equivalent to about a $100 billion increase in annual global consumption. So what have we learned from the session Resilience focuses on enhancing the performance of a system in the face of multiple hazards; rather than preventing or mitigating the losses of assets due to a specific event. City systems should be reflective, robust, redundant, flexible, resourceful, inclusive and integrated to enable resilience. Natural disasters effect well-being more than what traditional systems estimate, yet efforts to reduce poverty and disaster risks are complementary and policies that make people and systems resilient can save over $100 billion a year that can be invested further towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Pedro Pereira Leite

Researcher and professor. He had his PhD. on museology in 2011, with the title “Muss-amb-ike Homeland: The commitment on musicological process”, that was published in 2011. In 2012 he finishes a Post-PhD Research on "Biographical Glances: The intersubjectivity poetry on museology, at Lusófona University (Lisbon). Presently he is working in his Post PhD. Research about: “Global Heritages" with the aims to build a network on local cognizance and memory manager has a tool to build the will of action in 3 different communities, linked by past communed heritages.” He works at CES. He participates on different Research network, presented papers in national and international conferences, and had published books on research subjects.

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Museologia Social e Urbanismo XL

Interventions for response

Discussion prompts:

  1. What are the core challenges of post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation process and what are the critical attributes to include in practices of recovery?
  2. Discuss examples from around the world where post-disaster reconstruction has lead to further challenges for the communities and how could they have been done better.

I am Kamal Kishore, I work on disaster risk reduction and recovery issues. Today I will talk about what happens in a post disaster, post crisis situation, the external response to a big disaster and the support to communities. We can divide it in three interrelated areas: Immediate rescue and relief efforts; Long-term reconstruction and recovery; and Early recovery.

The immediate rescue and relief effort in the international arena is coordinated by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs or OCHA. In case of major earthquakes, one key element which is quite unique to earthquakes is the search-and-rescue. For search-and-rescue, most countries specially countries which are earthquake prone have search-and-rescue teams which specialize in urban collapse structure search-and-rescue and they’re certified by something called INSARAG-International Search-And-Rescue Advisory Group, they are coordinated, they’re I-Want site with specialized equipment, know how, sniffer dogs and under the coordination of OCHA, they carry out search-and-rescue operations.

Just to give you an example in case of Nepal earthquake in 2015 there were 76 teams from across the word responding in terms of search and rescue after the earthquake. Typically the initial response and relief last from where it is a very complex event, there are issues of accessibility, the losses are widespread, there are underlying vulnerabilities it can be longer but typically there is three to six months.

At the international level there is a mechanism called CERF-Central Emergency Response Fund which is response to a flash appeal or a response plan prepared by the government with the support of the UN, money is immediately released from efforts for the first three to six months. The whole area of relief and rescue is extremely challenging- the first thing is of course the timeliness of the response, for example in earthquakes, if the response for certain rescue arrives three days later it’s almost of no use, at the same time it has to be very relevant support.

There are numerous examples where people from across the world out of a sense of compassion or you know there’s great outpouring of support but they sent irrelevant or not suitable relief to the affected people for example medicines are sent into an area with all the labelling in languages that are not understand locally or food items sent which are not consumed in that particular culture. So it is important to keep the assistance both very timely, swift at the same time relevant. A very quick and dynamic assessment of what are the life-saving needs of the affected people and these needs are changing very rapidly.

How do we quickly assess that and dynamically respond to that? That’s a big challenge as well. There is so much support from both the national sources from within the country sources there is a huge outpouring of support, coordinating it, keeping track of who is doing what, where is extremely important and in that respect there are a number of international organisations that just provide coordination, support, there are agencies that just quickly set up a facility on site to produce maps, maps of where the affected people are and also mapping who is doing what, where in terms of humanitarian agencies, what are the gaps that are being reported from the field which then helps direct humanitarian agencies in directing the response appropriately.

A corollary of that challenge is ensuring that you reach everyone, there are numerous examples where the people who are easily accessible or more visible on TV for example, get disproportionate amount of attention at the expense of people who are difficult to access or who are not very vocal in expressing their tend to get left out. How do we make sure that while making a timely, relevant rapid response we also reach everyone- the most vulnerable and marginalised as well and finally the big challenge of relief is not to create dependency. It is very easy to set up a system and do things which will compromise the local initiative, the local way of doing things for, by people for themselves and create long-term dependency on relief and then that perpetuates the need for relief for months sometimes years. In urban areas, the search-and-rescue and relief and response bit is even more challenging- just to highlight one or two of those challenges. One is that shelter, temporary shelter after disaster.

A lot of the time the building stocks may not be safe, after a disaster how do we ensure that people are located temporarily in safe locations? Where are those pre-identified locations? Is there enough space to accommodate temporary settlements for a long period of time? At the same time there is also issues of people wanting to go back to live in houses that are partially damaged. In the absence of other options how do we ensure that people do not take actions which actually So there are some challenges which’re  very specific to urban areas.

Let’s turn our attention to the long term re-construction. Long-term  reconstruction essentially focuses on restoring what has been lost and hopefully also building it better to  more resilient standards, to more sustainable standards and also to standards that represent better quality of life for the affected people compared to the situation before the disaster.

Typically long-term reconstruction is preceded by a detailed Post-Disaster Needs Assessment which is also referred to as PDNA. For PDNA, we have a methodology, internationally accepted methodology which has been developed, applied and defined over the last 25 years or so We applied it very recently in Nepal and came up with a very thorough assessment of what the damages and needs are in that affected area.

It focuses on all sectors, it focuses on productive sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, it focuses on social sectors such as health, education, housing as well as on infrastructure sectors which is transportation, communication, power supply and so on.

It systematically assesses the damages and needs and comes up with an assessment of how much money will be required across these sectors for reconstruction to better standards. Quite often housing represents a very large chunk of reconstruction needs, to give you an example, in Nepal 59% of the cost of damages enhance needs was in housing sector alone and housing is also one of the most challenging sectors of recovery, simply because there are many stakeholders and there is also a sense of urgency about restoring housing for many people. Housing is at the centre of, it is perceived to be at the centre of people’s recovery and establishing supply chains for building materials making building workers who are qualified available in a short period of time on in a large, in large numbers is is a challenging task. How to we train hundreds sometimes thousands of building masons to build differently, to build to disaster resilience standards- that’s a big challenge. Over the last 20-30 years that has been a lot of literature developed based on practice, on different approaches to housing and there’s a whole range from contractor driven housing where basically the reconstruction of housing is contracted out to contractors to a situation where building materials are provided to house owners and along with some cash and they can do whatever they want to totally owner driven, community driven housing to a combination of these 3 approaches and all of these three in different situations have their advantages and disadvantages.

However we can say that according to our current understanding the owner driven housing where owners not just reconstruct themselves but also determine what is the kind of house they need within of course the parameters of you know what is there, the package of assistance they’re given and the safety standards they should adhere to. So an owner driven approach where they determine what the housing should be like and they actually drive the housing process is the most favoured one right now but this is not to say that this is without variations, there are lots of innovations within the owner driven approach and it has to be very very context specific.

The whole reconstruction process is an extremely challenging process. One can highlight many challenges but there are 2 that need to be highlighted prominently. One is how does one strike a balance between swiftness with which reconstruction is delivered and quality, so there’s this temptation to build very quickly but sometimes building very quickly means rebuilding the risks that existed before.

The second thing is how do we apply the notion of building back better. ‘Building back better’ is a phrase which became very popular after the Indian ocean tsunami of 2004 but how do we build back better not just in the physical sense but in many other sort of non-physical dimensions?

How do we make sure that the reconstruction leads to better quality of life, more resilient livelihoods, better social cohesion. There are examples where countries have done that successfully, there is the examples of Aceh, Indonesia where they not only build back better but they also resolved conflicts that existed before the earthquake and tsunami of 2004.

Now let’s turn our attention to the third aspect of post-disaster response which is early recovery and the term early recovery has become popular in the last 15 years ago although we have been doing early recovery for a long time. In the last 20 years there has been a growing realisation that the artificial phasing that this is is relief and rescue phase and then this is reconstruction phase is not helpful and it often leads to gaps between when relief and rescue operations begin to wine down and when reconstruction begins. There is a growing realisation that these phases don’t have to linear, all of these 3 things need to almost happen simultaneously. So there is the realisation that we need to focus on recovery as early as possible in the humanitarian setting, in fact one would argue that the recovery begins on day one as early as possible and the sooner we start the sooner we will be able to help the affected people get back on their feet and recover quickly.

With that realisation the early recovery interventions typically last for 18 months from the disaster but they could be a bit longer or shorter and one can say that there’re four main objectives of early recovery interventions.

The first is to really augment humanitarian relief and reduce dependency. This can be illustrated with examples from say shelter sector, after the earthquake in Pakistan in 2005 if you look at the temporary housing needs of the affected people and all the temporary housing were to be provided through say establishment of camps or tents – winterproof tents. The need for tents far exceeded the global capacity to produce tents but we can address that if while provisioning for tents we also work with communities in devising solutions of setting up transitional shelters using salvaged materials. This will not give us a permanent shelter but it is a good way where we’re involving communities rather than just handing things to them in a recovery process and augmenting humanitarian relief. In Myannmar, after cyclone Nargis, a lot of farmers in the face of planting season lost their agricultural implements. If you do not provide agricultural implements and agricultural inputs in time they lose a whole planting season which means that further down the road the need for food assistance will be extended by at least six months if not more. So every single day’s delay in providing support for this kind of recovery would be detrimental to their sort of back on the feet for recovery.

The second is ensuring that risk is not rebuilt and we assist peoples’ spontaneous efforts to recover. After the Burma earthquake in 2003, I noticed that three days after the earthquake an affected 10 family where half the family members had died, they were actually clearing rubble and setting up you know a temporary shelter.

So we underestimate the resilience and resolve of the affected people and they need to be supported in their recovery efforts from day one. So support provided early on can go a long way. The third is really setting up arrangements by which we can lay the foundations for long-term recovery, begin to build institutional arrangement which will manage the large-scale of recovery and fourth objective is really putting in place measures by which we can make sure that disaster risk is reduced when reconstruction begins.

So we can do the training of masons, the training of engineers, do risk assessments and so on. You know after one of the earthquakes, the earthquake in Kashmir in 2005, the affected people interviewed two months after the earthquake- they were not looking for cash grants, they were saying that get the banks that have collapsed restarted so that we can access our own savings.

So restoring financial services, restoring critical infrastructure you know small market places you know which are essential for the functioning of local economy, giving small grants to micro and small enterprises, you know another example from Myanmar- giving some cash assistance to rice mills which had shut down after the cyclone in 2008 meant that hundreds of people could go back to work; so these kinds of activities which do not compare to long-term reconstruction, but they’re very timely and they play a catalytic role in putting people on the path of recovery early on. So these are the three components that we talked about today: the post-disaster immediate relief and rescue, then long-term reconstruction and finally early recovery which basically provides a smooth transition from relief and recovery to long-term reconstruction.

 

Pedro Pereira Leite

Researcher and professor. He had his PhD. on museology in 2011, with the title “Muss-amb-ike Homeland: The commitment on musicological process”, that was published in 2011. In 2012 he finishes a Post-PhD Research on "Biographical Glances: The intersubjectivity poetry on museology, at Lusófona University (Lisbon). Presently he is working in his Post PhD. Research about: “Global Heritages" with the aims to build a network on local cognizance and memory manager has a tool to build the will of action in 3 different communities, linked by past communed heritages.” He works at CES. He participates on different Research network, presented papers in national and international conferences, and had published books on research subjects.

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Museologia Social e Urbanismo XXXIX

Climatic impacts, adaptation and mitigation

Discussion prompts:

  1. What are the various implications of climate change on our current as well as future generations?
  2. What are the various strategies put in place by many cities across the world to fight these climatic impacts?

Climate change has gone from a relatively unknown phenomena to become one of the most important urban challenges that we have to respond to. Why? Only 600 cities are estimated to produce 60% of global output yet, many of these concentrate climate risk lie in climate hot spots including in low elevation coastal zones. Climate Change also has a disproportionate impact on the poor and vulnerable and can become a serious impediment to poverty reduction. How is Climate Climat change related to urban areas?

Since the industrial revolution of the 19th century a range of new energy and production technologies especially those that use fossil fuels like coal, oil and more recently gas have helped propel some developed countries to their high income status.

They’ve used this by using the atmosphere as a huge global sink. While no single factor explains their variation in per capita emissions across cities, key urban drivers of energy and greenhouse gas emissions are population density, consumption trends, the land-use mix, connectivity and accessibility. Greenhouse gas emissions and their concentrations in the atmosphere have led to a mean elevation of global temperatures of about 0.72 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average.

Incidentally these mean global temperatures are not the same all over the world, they translate into a much higher temperature in the higher latitudes leading to the melting of the Arctic ice, permafrost and potentially the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

This could lead to massive sea level rise, impacting cities that are on or near the seacoast. Human-induced greenhouse gas emissions have grown steadily from the 1970s but have accelerated since 2000. The bulk of this addition is from carbon dioxide, from fossil fuel burning and industrial processes like power generation or from cars followed by CO2, from changes in land use and methane emissions due to deforestation, agriculture and urban expansion. How has this happened? With changes in the world economy the most significant increases in GHG emissions are from upper middle income countries and come from the expansion of the energy and industrial sectors and changes in land use in them. The gross emissions of low-income countries have changed only marginally over the last 40 years. In lower middle-income countries emissions have more than doubled coming from land use changes, the energy and industrial sectors. The growth in global urban population over the early 21st century will require a massive buildup of buildings and urban infrastructure which in turn are key drivers of GHG emissions. The very factors that help some of the most economically dynamic cities thrive like strategic positions along trade routes, access to sea ports or river waterways, now make the most vulnerable to the effects of Climate Change.

Even well-endowed cities will struggle with dangerous Climate Change as their best adaptation measures and technologies reach their limits towards the latter part of the century. In short, if dramatic mitigation is not put into place early in the century, even the most developed cities will only be able to put off irreversible impact by a decade or two. There is already clear evidence of human-induced Climate Change impact on unique and threatened systems including marine systems. What are the expected impacts of Climate Change on cities?

Increased frequency and intensity of current hazards, drought, flooding, cyclones and hurricanes, storm surge, rainfall variations and increased temperatures. Urban environmental degradation leading to deteriorating ecosystem services like air quality and water storage and of course developmental deficits, increased rates of morbidity and mortality due to water washed diseases and water scarcity, exposure to a wider spectrum of diseases caused by altering environments, vector-borne diseases, heat disorders and respiratory disorders due to a high concentration of air pollutants.

New emergent vulnerabilities with different spatial and socio-economic impacts that are expected to further degrade the resilience of poor and vulnerable communities. Who are the most vulnerable in cities? The most vulnerable people are usually those who are poor and who live in informal settlements like slum-dwellers, with limited access to tenure security, safe housing and public services. Women, children and the aged are also particularly vulnerable.

Lifetime infrastructure and informal economic enterprises also need special care. What is Climate mitigation? Climate mitigation is a set of interventions to limit the magnitude and reach of long-term Climate Change, typically over the 21st century by reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions for example, by shifting to renewable energy, implementing energy efficiency, reducing energy intensity and consumption and increasing the capacity of carbon sinks for example via reforestation or more radical ideas like Carbon Capture and Storage.

Cities can enable deep decarbonisation and mitigation by doing the following things: focusing on urban economic sectors with considerable mitigation potential like buildings, energy, transport and industry, making the transition to low-carbon cities through urban regeneration, through compact mixed-use development, promoting transit, walking and cycling, adaptive reuse of buildings, the use of energy efficient building designs; through better land use planning and management, creating more compact cities with accessible public transport and containing automobile driven sprawl; by fuel switching in public transport, cutting private vehicle use and encouraging fuel-efficient vehicles and active mobility; using a range of policy instruments effectively by promoting the collocation of high-density residential and employment areas, achieving mixed land use and public transit; shifting power generation to renewables and lower emission fuels, integrating photo-voltaic and renewable productions from local small grids like in Northern Europe.

What is Climate adaptation? Adaptation is a set of responses that seeks to reduce the exposure and vulnerability of economic, social and ecological systems to Climate Change. This is caused by the inability to mitigate their impacts fast enough. Their limits to adaptation that if breached could cause irreversible impacts on particular systems or regions. Cities can become sites of transmitive adaptation by addressing increased exposure and vulnerability through ecosystem-based adaptation, enhanced urban food security, good quality affordable and well located housing, a reduction in basic service deficits and building resilient infrastructure.

What are Co-benefits, and how can one realize them? Co-benefits are adaptation and mitigation interventions that mutually reinforce each other, they’re often related to good development practices. Co-benefits can be realised by integrating Climate Mitigation and Adaptation, poverty reduction and disaster risk reduction to reduce risk to households, enterprises and critical infrastructure. Working within the SDG frame can certainly help this. It is important to take into account the contextual urban landscape and risk drivers focusing on both mitigation and adaptation. For example, the overall climate risk to Indian cities are associated more with vulnerability than hazard exposure, hence, improving universal access to basic services and housing is a more effective strategy in Indian cities than let’s say, exposure modification by raising dykes in Dutch cities. How can cities help to address Climate change?

Cities are not only local Climate hotspots, they also provide the opportunity for fast track Climate action that can be propelled by the momentum of urban investment, growth in institutional capacities and the potential for social, economic and technological innovation. Most of the urban infrastructure expected to be in place by 2050, has yet to be built. This means that there is significant space to map out appropriate urban solutions today that prevent or reduce carbon lock-in.

With integrated long-term planning these windows of opportunity can be kept open as new buildings and infrastructure is built and new energy consumption patterns are established. At the same time, urban and regional infrastructure in mature and established cities in North America and Europe are ageing and there will be new opportunities to rebuild and redevelop these taking advantage of the latest scientific and technological advances. Much of the opportunities to foster sustainable low-carbon urbanisation will be concentrated in low and middle income countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

This provides us an opportunity to dramatically reduce carbon intensity and climate risk if we make appropriate technological and institutional choices in the ongoing urbanisation processes in these regions.

Cities and regions as diverse as Seoul, Durban, Stockholm and Manizales and the state of California in the United States have led ambitious mitigation and adaptation interventions that are hard to legislate and implement at national level. This has been done successfully by engaging with local, regional and national governments, key city networks and urban climate research institutions to craft a deeper scientific understanding of viable, mitigation and adaptation pathways. The SDGs include an explicit standalone urban SDG11- make cities and human settlement inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. When read with SDG13- take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts and SDG7- ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, we have a policy frame of goals, targets and evidence-based progress monitoring towards climate action at all scales. In conclusion, cities and regions are not only sites that produce two-thirds of current greenhouse gas emissions but they host half the world’s population and three-fourths of the global economy which is at varying levels of risk to Climate Change. As we approach an era of dangerous Climate Change, urban areas are expected to be impacted by extreme climate events and associated health risk, well before sea level rise and other irreversible changes take place.

There are clear limits to adaptation in most regions of the world. This implies that deep decarbonisation of urban systems from energy and infrastructure to buildings, transport and production is necessary, if irreversible impacts are not to be felt from mid-century onwards.

The role of local and regional governments and local action is crucial to effective implementation of the climate agenda in cities. Strengthening this will require concerted action and devolution of power, finances and resources. Joining up the development, poverty reduction, disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation and mitigation agendas is an effective way to accelerate the response to Climate Change, use less resources and build synergies within the SDG frame.

If you look at population trends and growth right – what we call here two-tier cities right – so maybe the small cities and the medium-sized cities.

Those are the rapidly growing cities. Most of the world’s largest cities, there are some other still but they’re peaking right they are capping and it’s a second tier of cities that are growing really fast that don’t have enough resources, they don’t have that much tax revenues because they’re not that big yet and these are the cities where they’re going to balloon in their population and that’s right where some really some scary issues the change especially the rate of urbanisation in Africa, things that are occurring or have (been) occurring in China, and India are just staggering in terms of the speed again and the lack of planning, lack of passive, lack of funding, lack of technology and that those issues no small cities actually as you model them out over time will dwarf the C40’s emissions. So C40 for a long time,  had had kind of a gap in our footprint and engagement in two parts of the world – India and China. India has been difficult and continues to be difficult because of the governance structure there, and the model that we have in terms of the mayor and and how kind of central government, it’s not the way India is set up, so it’s tricky there amongst other issues. And then of course in China it is very kind of closed off and it’s top-down control and they don’t let a lot out. We’ve been very fortunate in last year and a half to really make a breakthrough in China and once you’re in China you’re in, they make a decision and you’re out.

We had some good signals and meetings with NRDC, they started a few cities for us to work with – that’s gone well – and now we’ve got six cities in China, by the next year we’ll have 12 – so we have a huge footprint there. We’re also doing something with the Peaking Cities Alliance which is a great thing and we’re also been helping them usher in and host a US-China City Summit, which was the beginning of this kind of collaboration which has been really remarkable and moved the world, frankly between the US and China national leaderships in Paris and basically came together in the failures that we had in Copenhagen was the opposite. They basically said we’ll get together and single-handedly move the markets because we’ll agree to this and it’ll happen. Now we’ve just seen this huge movement and I think what’s really interesting is that again for practitioners who’s been there means that you can hear this stuff and you can read this stuff, when you go to China and you actually see the scale – the immense scale of these, of the issues that they’re facing, the size of their cities, the dirtiness of their air, the congestion of the traffic, I mean it is really, you HAVE to see it to believe it and this is what they’re dealing with everyday. So China is completely bodying on this, it’s not an angle, it’s not an issue, this is life, quality, all out on it and in fact depending on what we’re searching to look at, it very well may be the case the Chinese cities have already peaked in terms of their emissions.

That’s how rapidly they are going after this. So I think what was for the last decade a huge cause of concern and still is, is actually maybe one of the best stories on this topic in the world. On how quickly, how swiftly a country of that size can move on one agenda and one topic very aggressively going after this and I think part of what we’re trying to to do is by collaborating with that and take some of those good case studies and the stories out and radiate it out and show the rest of the world what is possible, how you can so radically go from one really intense curve to another and that’s occurring in China to an extent maybe nowhere else in the world.

It’s both coupled technology and policy, because of the size and the breadth of the economic prowess of China- I mean they’re one of the large manufacturers in the world PV, of batteries – they got it all there – and they recognise that they cannot only be a producer but a consumer and self-generate their economy. So initially and this is a big thing that they were grappling, they turn into the largest automaker in the world, they are tanking out cars like crazy.

So how on earth are we going to have some kind of you know policy, a really draconian policy on limiting vehicle use when that’s how we just lifted up everybody out of poverty into middle class in China.

And we have you know, literally a national Right on our hands we do that. Well, we’ll just make electric vehicles. So as an example one of the things that they have done – Shenzhen and I can’t remember the number, some staggering number of electric- they just electrified the entire busfleet, something like 10,000 buses, it’s staggering what they can do when they make the decision to do it and how quickly they can implement it based on the governance structure which is a big thing that we’re working on now, maybe we’ll come onto it a little bit but just to flag it for the people on the big issues – vertical and horizontal policy integration between local, regional and national government and then even within horizontally, within the city. And what happens is you’ve got a very very vertically aligned system of governance in China, for right or for wrong, but what we’re seeing is you know, how you move that supertanker – when it’s that aligned you can do things very quickly, if the decision is the right one that you want to take – well whether it’s right or not, you can move quickly, if you get my point. So anything also have that the economic prowess in the manufacturing capability to do this; so they’re building their own buses, they’re building their own PV, high-speed trains, bridges one of the really interesting things happening in China too, is that China is the largest consumer of concrete cement in the world. And I love that… many people know that, the concrete production is hugely energy-intensive and huge amounts of off-gasing, in terms of concrete cement, so the impact they can have even alone on that as the largest consumer of what they do and how they do it is that really can keep changing the game of the materials they use and the process with which they manufacture it. And they are really really thinking about this and that some of the research coming out of their organisations over there is really kind of astounding and the last point

I would say on China is that I think it’s quite exciting and hopeful is that we’re actually beginning on working with them on data collection as well. So actually working with them on the GPC- Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions; doing citywide inventories that matchup to the cities around the world, you can have like comparison finally what’s happening in Chinese cities and getting some of the data out of there which hass been kind of slow and reluctant but now we’re seeing it happen. I think a couple of interesting things that the Chinese contacts have, one is the the cultural systems and norms that they have, and there’s a lot of acceptance of decisions and policy where it’s not like that in context for example for the US, not at all. So you can set a policy in the US and people don’t care, don’t engage, don’t know it’s there or outright don’t like it and won’t follow it and which they have the right to do, unless that’s law but there’s difference between policy and law.

It’s not the context in China, in most cases. And in policy context, it’s socially understood that you will accept it different than what you ask though that’s more like in the individual level but they’re also strong engagement and mandate between politics and private sector in China. Which again, in the case of US is not the case. They’re totally kind of getting that horizontal, so when in some of those cases they don’t have those issues to the same extent in China. But because it is so structured and rigid you do still have a.. it comes together but it doesn’t blend interestingly enough so that’s where you see I think this proliferation in China of eco-cities and it really aggressively going after this like have what does that look like, how do we build it, how do we build it, at the rate in you know they’re kind of models these concentric ring roads and their designs- is that the right one, is it not the right one?

They have these concept called superblocks, because of the size and speed and you get a block that big it makes it not usable at the human scale, you can’t walk it or yeah you can kind of bike it but the access as the roadways aren’t enough. So they’re doing some really interesting stuff to try to tear down the superblocks, make it more manageable.

Is concentric ring roads the right one? Do we cap the size of the city and make smaller cities so we shouldn’t have 15 million person city, maybe we should cap it at 10? I laugh you know? How many 10 million-person cities in the U.S.?

Not that many, China- they’re you know they’re abundant but so they are grappling at figuring out how to blend that together and what it looks like, but again at a ferocious pace, you can’t take the governance structure of China, pick it up and put it down on another country – doesn’t work. What you can do however, is you can link together and use kind of tangible examples of what worked, at what cost, at what scale and you can transfer that at other places or you can learn from that. So that’s something we’ve spent a lot of time at C40.

You know, initially one of the reasons, and even still to this day while many private sector businesses and national governments have bypassed and overlooked cities was because of their complexity. They’re messy, they move quickly, they’re hard to keep accountable, they are hard to track and not transparent in some instances and the biggest issue is that you can’t replicate it. So we can get smarter about what happened in one city and not just like a broad-brush spectrum kind of share that with everybody but share with cities that may find it useful, you get a much more higher rate of uptake, so how do we do that?

The good news in terms of building energy efficiency is we know that we know what you need to do right, the technology, the insulation, the passive house standards, the ability to do and design buildings that operate, you know practically a fraction of what the current buildings do – that’s the good news.

We know what that is. The difficulty and the trick is having to implement that, and largely that comes through a kind of incentive programs, comes through policy, it also comes through standards and codes and a lot of cities don’t have building codes of any kind let alone ones that are more stringent and that’s a situation where we need strong kind of vision and leadership that a city can provide and then there’s different roles the city can play in developing that. So for example, city can set a citywide vision and policy and standard at one level and they can do it to another level even higher level for the building’s they’re going to operate – the municipal buildings, they can lead by example, show proof of concept but you also have to engage the stakeholders because you’ve got a lot of buildings that are private and you’ve got the private sector who has commercial builders, developers who have to buy into this understand this. So you have to bring that along it and it does take time and the issue here is time right; so that’s the other thing that’s really interesting about buildings is they stay around for a long time, you need deep and swift retrofits and part of the problem there is even though we know that we have the technology and we know kind of the process and procedural things that we need to do, we have to change the market in terms of the ROI or Return On Investment because it’s easy to get some quick paybacks and even that the low-hanging fruit you know isn’t kind of completely taken yet and then we need to kind of spur more of that but you’ve got to be very careful because when you strip out that low-hanging retrofit fruit, that also strips out the payback on the things that take a longer time. So if you don’t bundle efficiency measures and buildings together the short-term returns and the long-term returns to kind of, get it an average that’s more appealing to everybody but what you end up doing is you strip out that kind of saved money out of the building from the beginning because it’s very hard to do the deeper retro fits that ultimately will have to happen. So that’s the kind of the context of more in the Global North and then we’ve got a lot of building stock and I think Global South- it’s very different because there our issue is that we’ve got a lot of informal settlements, you don’t even have formal buildings right and within that you don’t have building codes and in some cases you know there aren’t even addresses, so how are you going to have a system that tracks energy use in a building that isn’t even a formal building, that doesn’t even have an address? So you have those everything I just described previously now is and what we’re talking about here in Global South is how do you build buildings that are cheap, that are safe, that are efficient? How do you build them in advance because the urbanisation’s happening so rapidly that in many cases that’s why the informal settlements are getting set up because the city isn’t aware of, doesn’t know, can’t predict where they’re going to that population growth is going to occur in the city,  in the inner city  or outskirts of the city, how will they have the funds, and the capacity to build the buildings – so informal settlements get(instead). So they you’ve to convert those without displacing communities that grow up around them and then how do you get energy into those buildings that you can track and use, even though there’s a lot of informal use for tapping in of that electricity. But there’s some really amazing examples that are happening around the world.

Since you don’t see that energy demand, you don’t see that those GHG emissions that’s not to say it won’t be there very very soon and go up really quickly, so wehave to be very aware of that context of making sure we avoid the emissions and in Global South there’s a very low emissions per capita right now. Global North is very high GHG emission per capita and Global South you’ve got to have new systems and new processes in place that allow uplift of economic opportunity and prosperity, but do not follow Western civilisation in the consumption and development pathways, but actually have a keep there where they’re at now flat so you don’t have a curb in terms of the emissions profile. That’s gets a little bit complicated and tricky because you have to deal with the same thing from two totally opposite ends of the spectrum. Especially if you look at kind of cities and urban agglomerations kind of sinks and sources, not of emissions but rather of energy and of resources purely. Water as an example of different services and it becomes a really big one and I think there’s also we’re talking about kind of institutional governmental, governance shifts, you got to do that now and you gotta be really careful about accelerating around the rate of action to reduce emissions that are future proofed. Because then we’re following bad behaviours, more bad behaviour, you’re gonna have to rip out infrastructure even if it was for a good purpose for mitigation because it wasn’t future proofed that might be underwater and very thoughtful in the beginningm so it’s kind of a really exciting time at C40, we’re kind of looking at the things that we’re touching on and how we’re impacting transportation system to reduce emissions but reducing black carbon and increasing air quality and using the impact of health associated with air quality like in China, like in Dar es implementation of bus rapid transit and the motivation wasn’t to reduce emissions, the motivation was to  create better air quality, reduce the pollution in air. So it’s really interesting in terms of the premise and the mechanism in which you would do this, but ultimately you find out these things are all interconnected, aren’t they? they’re all linked and trying to tie that together weave a narrative that brings the people along in this decision.

 

Pedro Pereira Leite

Researcher and professor. He had his PhD. on museology in 2011, with the title “Muss-amb-ike Homeland: The commitment on musicological process”, that was published in 2011. In 2012 he finishes a Post-PhD Research on "Biographical Glances: The intersubjectivity poetry on museology, at Lusófona University (Lisbon). Presently he is working in his Post PhD. Research about: “Global Heritages" with the aims to build a network on local cognizance and memory manager has a tool to build the will of action in 3 different communities, linked by past communed heritages.” He works at CES. He participates on different Research network, presented papers in national and international conferences, and had published books on research subjects.

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The inclusion of community knowdlege on territorial development