Museologia Social e Urbanismo XXVIII

Sustainable transport planning

Discussion prompts:

  1. How are cities decoupling the use of energy and transport and overall growth?
  2. Discuss attempts of city-wide/neighbourhood level interventions of sustainable transportation

So Sustainable Transport – Is the world winning? I was on the committee – the Transport Committee of the IPCC that produced this report and our target was to see how the world is doing, particularly on transport and achieving 80% less CO2 by 2050.

Now that’s a very big call and you won’t find a great deal of hope coming out of this report because it has to look back and get the trends. And the trends look as though we’re going to have a lot more Katrinas happening – that the cities of the world are going to be facing all kinds of climate disaster.

When you look at the the growth in petroleum and coal use, the total CO2 seems to be out of control. Added to that, we have the growth of China which is now the biggest Greenhouse Gas producer and India where both of them seem to be runaway and the potential to make the global task impossible.

So we are left with a sense of despair and there’s a lot of people in the world feel – we’re not going to make it. Now I want to show you a different story, because I believe the world is beginning to win on Greenhouse Gas mitigation mainly because we’ve learned how to decouple wealth and the growth in wealth from fossil fuel growth.

The whole approach to this, the theory of decoupling is now well developed and many places in the world, the developing world, developed world in particular are decoupling.

So this is the Netherlands showing its growth in wealth but continuing decline in the footprint in various environmental areas including the climate change gases. Now the thing that is really impressive is that China is already decoupling from coal and now from oil.

We’ve heard a lot about how the coal-fired power stations are closing down, but it’s also decoupling from the transport-based oil, and that story needs to be told.

In the same way India is beginning to decouple its GDP from fossil fuels in both coal and oil. We collect data on cities, we write books about it, we’ve been doing it for a long time.

In 1989, we defined automobile dependence, then in 1999 we looked at how you overcome it and with lots of stories beginning of how cities were doing it and the kind of data we produce on a hundred cities is shown here. Now if you look at the black cities on the left of the diagram, you’ve got Atlanta with a 108 gigajoules(GJ) per person of transport fuel and the American cities always win on this race, then come the Australian, Canadian, New Zealand cities down around the 30s and 40s. The European cities around 20 or less.

Where the arrow is pointing is Barcelona- it has 8 GJ per capita, 8 compared to a 108 in Atlanta. Now these cities are not very  different in wealth. Barcelona is a very popular, very attractive city and yet massive difference in the amount of transport fuel. It’s very encouraging if you see you don’t have to have high amounts of fuel if you want to improve the wealth and liveability of a city. Now if you look to the right of that, these are the developing, emerging cities from China and India and Latin America and so on and Africa – they have usually around 2 gigajoules per capita, they are tiny.

Now how you relate that? We do all kinds of data on infrastructure in town but Land-Use is critical. This is the density of the cities, you see on the right the low-density cities of America, Atlanta is six people per hectare, New York is around the 20 mark, the European cities around the 50 mark, then you come to the emerging cities which are 200 to 300 people per hectare and Barcelona is 200 people per hectare- it’s a very dense city, it’s not high rise city but it’s dense and that makes a huge difference.


So what we have shown is the transport energy relates to density and there are emerge:

  • the Automobile cities which have spread out with the car and they have very high fuel use,
  • the Transit cities of Europe and so on which are in the middle and then
  • the Walking cities that are predominantly dense places where the amount of car use is very small, doesn’t mean the streets aren’t filled with cars but they’re very dense quite small.

Our new book is called ‘The End of Automobile Dependence’ and this is a pretty big claim to make, but it does show that a new era is emerging where cities are moving beyond car-based planning and it’s pretty extraordinary to see that after a 100 years of per capita growth in driving in the use of cars in American cities, it peaked suddenly in the early part of this century and is now going down quite rapidly.

Per capita car use is back to what it was in 1994 in the US and every other developed city that we’ve been able to look at. So in Australia the same year 2004, every city in Australia including the small ones, the ones without any congestion- all started going down and this phenomenon can be traced to Europe and most of the developed world, Canada and so on[1].

Car culture is changing. If you look at American cities, the red line shows the most recent amount of car use and it’s going down considerably. Those in their 20s, their 30s, their 40s, 50s even but when you come out to the 60s and 70s, they’re driving more but they’re getting less and less. So the baby boomers who grow up with the car are finding it very hard to get out of their cars but they’re driving to their funerals, so essentially the world is changing – younger people are driving less, and what are they doing they’re using public transport a lot more because you can then do your connection through Facebook and all the other things that you can do with the social media and on every train.

This one’s in Seoul you’ll see this phenomenon. It is a culture that’s changing and we’ve got massive growth in public transport occurring unpredictably. The transport modellers saw wealth growth as meaning more car use- it’s not that, it’s a change. So now we’ve got 82 Chinese cities building metros, high-speed rail, we’ve got 51 Indian cities building metros now with the recent commitment from Modi, and all the Middle Eastern cities are building rail for the first time and these are the cities with oil so they know something.

Shanghai is a great story – look at the difference in 20 years in a city modernising, enormous increases in wealth in this city and they started to build freeways because wealth means cars and therefore more freeways but they stopped because the streets are filled, as any dense city will fill with cars very quickly. Now they have very low car ownership still in Shanghai but the streets are full, so what do you do at that point you can’t grow any further with transport so they built the biggest metro in the world in 10 years. 450 kilometres and it now carries 8 million passengers a day.

The same in Beijing and you can see on this graph here how bicycle use has gone from nearly 70% down to about 14% which is very sad to see but when you’re riding a bicycle in freezing weather and it’s a long way to go you very quickly choose a car if it comes along and you’ve got a bit of money and that’s what happened, very quickly the growth in private vehicles there, but then it peaked and started going down and the growth now is in public transport.

The metros are taking over the major growth and it does show cities change and they can become more sustainable in their transport. The systems that they’ve built there- very attractive, they move very quickly so they’re winning in the race to get people around the city. At the same time we’ve got 250 million electric vehicles now being used in Chinese cities, mostly e-bikes and e-scooters but the growth in the electric vehicle in general, is pretty dramatic and therefore the price of lithium-ion batteries coming down everywhere and and that’s helping the overall reduction in carbon. High speed rail has grown enormously in seven years, every city, major city now linked up. So that’s China.

In America, there’s also transformation occurring and it’s mostly about rail, the increase in public transport-23%  in a period here of about 18 years, heavy rail grew 68%, light rail- 190% from a small base and bus-use actually went down.

So it wasn’t an overall change, it essentially meant that people getting out of cars into rail. My city (Perth) had a rail revival of a similar kind, it was a political process, the public chose from mass meetings and so on to bring back the rail system.

The changes were pretty dramatic, so we grew a 172 kilometers of electric rail in a 15-year period. Now this is a car city, this is a city built around the car from the 50s and 60s, the new rail lines like the Southern rail here was built quite cheaply about a quarter of the cost of a line of freeway and this is carrying 8 lines of traffic now. So dramatically successful- the Northern Line and the Southern line increased passenger usage from 7 million a year to 70 million a year. Not increased.

At the same time you begin to change the city, you focus urban development, you get a lot of development around stations and particularly in city centre where that’s now happened around the railway and new TODs very beautifully done have been emerging.

What we also found is that we could have paid for this rail revolution by using land value capture. We did a study which showed that there was a 42% increase in a five-year period around the stations on the southern railway. If you transfer that into how much money it raised for the government, 60 to 80% of the funding could have been found from value capture.

This is very important because we’re going to need very big networks of rail in every city and value capture is a way to do that. So overall the data is now very clear that we should be building trains not roads, for the economy in cities.

The new awareness of the knowledge-economy and how it grows in dense centres is very important because walkability, the walkable economy is now the agenda for many cities to become competitive. The top six most walkable cities in the US have 38% higher GDP.

So we’re not just talking about solving the Climate Change agenda here or clearing up urban air pollution- these are very important things to do but you will improve the economy of the city and that analysis we have shown through the way in which the knowledge economy needs to have very dense urban areas where people can meet easily and that is only possible if you have very highly efficient transport systems like rail and biking and walking that can use space very efficiently.

So the future city – the polycentric city of the future is likely to be based around these nodes of information or knowledge economy linked together by fast urban electric rail across the city, around the city, it doesn’t just have to be in central cities and that’s the kind of plan that we’re doing in Perth, we’ve shown that could fit into these centres and enable the economy to improve at the same time as rapidly declining car use.

So our university for example is going from a suburban campus to a city, it is creating a city around its campus that will be one of these polycentric cities.

Now final word about how change happens because we’ve been doing this around the world, we use new software for deliberative democracy processes, we engage communities in ways that can enable them to come with this new agenda, we’ve had recent work in India where we showed that it works extremely well, we started in Pune with a project to try and  help pedestrians.

You can see this poor chap trying to cross the road, happens every minute of the day in Indian cities, it’s pretty chaotic and the road accident rightly expresses that. So how do we help pedestrians in these streets? We had a series of options drawn up by the BN College of Architecture for Women – did a wonderful job at providing designs that enable people to respond to them and we came up with a consensus view that this is the way ahead, all the NGOs, government departments, stakeholders like hawkers and businessmen they all came together and said ‘yes we want this,’ and on that day the local politician and the state politician Vandana Chavan, all said ‘yes we can fund this’ and we’ve now had changes to the streets.

Some of these small streets in particular been very successful- you can see how the footpath has disappeared, we’ve actually created the whole street as a footpath. The priority is for people walking, you solve problems of drainage and so on under it and then concrete it over, much more reflective, less absorbing of heat so it’s easier to sit outside on it and we found that the public were very happy with these changes. And so therefore it’s been taken on across Pune into other cities.

The other one was in Bangalore where we’ve been doing work on the metro- it’s a pretty extraordinary system that’s rolling out, but it will need to be extended to make a whole network otherwise you don’t have a real option of getting out of cars. We did the same thing with the deliberative democracy processes and then we had very high level department heads and so on working through this and seeing how it could help both make a better system and not displace the poor.

We also had a very successful consensus reached on that and you now find that ToDs are appearing around every station particularly the luxury housing which is now emphasising the connectivity through the the metro system, and the issues of what to do with the poorer housing that’s left around the metro station.

This one here is clearly going through a rapid transition and the opportunities to enable that area to retain its character with a lot of affordable housing options so that the poor are not displaced is clearly on the agenda and needs to be addressed. So these are the kind of issues that will be part of the Sustainable transport agenda that will be going on for some time but let’s be clear – ‘We’re Winning’.

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Museologia Social e Urbanismo XXVII

Sustainable environmental services and infrastructure

Leturer: Aromar Revi, Director, Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bangalore

Discussion prompts:

  1. What is the philosophy behind universal coverage of basic services and infrastructure?
  2. What has been achieved in the last two decades (or during the MDG phase) in terms of universal access to infrastructure and services?
  3. How could the cities approach this challenge of providing equitable, efficient and sustainable services to all in the two decades?

Basic services such as safe drinking water and sanitation, solid and wastewater management, drainage, clean air, access to non-food biomass for fuel, fibre and timber are daily necessities for people living in both urban and rural areas. Access to universal basic services is often limited in many settlements, whether urban or rural, except in high-income countries.

This is partially because of limited investments, but also because they are often considered sub-critical and uneconomical in scale. In larger urban centres and cities, economies of scale do exist because of their size and density. However, service provision and access often becomes an issue because of the sheer size and congestion in these settlements; overuse or pollution of the resource, like groundwater, fractured governance and the concentration of poor and vulnerable people who are often unable to pay the full cost of these services.

There are seven SDGs that link to the provision of sustainable urban environmental services: SDG6 (Clean water and Sanitation) SDG7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) SDG11 (Sustainable Cities, with a target to reduce adverse environmental impact by managing air pollution, municipal and other waste) SDG12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production) and all of them in line with SDG13 (Climate Change) and SDGs 14 and 15 on Life under Water and on Land.

In this lecture we will focus on the question of sustainable environmental services. We often forget that urban regions and their residents are and will continue to be dependent on the biosphere and the environmental services it provides: surface and ground water, soil and land, air in forests, wetlands, coasts and mountain areas. The challenge with the universal provision of environmental services is twofold: the availability of the resource (such as water or fuel, for example) and the equitable distribution of the resource.

Environmental services are typical, ‘non-produce’ functions of natural resources such as land, water, and air, and span a wide spectrum ranging from carbon sequestration and climate regulation to waste decomposition and the purification of water and air.

These services include the provision of raw materials and energy, used to produce goods and services, as well as the absorption of waste from human activities.

There are three broad types of environmental services as classified by the OECD:

  • Disposal services, which reflect the functions of the natural environment as an absorptive sink for residuals.
  • Productive services, which reflect the economic functions of providing natural resource inputs and space for production and consumption.
  • Consumer or consumption services, which provide for physiological as well as recreational and related needs of human beings.

Environmental services and functions are under stress across the world as the global human population increased from just over 1 billion in the early 20th century to the current 7.3 billion.

This has in turn led to increased per capita consumption and a consequent rise in waste creation, highly asymmetric access to resources combined with a lack of respect and understanding of the complex ecological processes involved, and insufficient and often inappropriate environmental regulation.

For instance, less than 50% of the population in parts of Africa and South Asia has access to improved drinking water supply from sustainable sources. Access to improved sanitation systems that do not cause, enhance health risks and irreversibly damaged water sources is critically inadequate, even in parts of South America and East Asia that have made significant progress on meeting the MDGs. There are several problems that arise out of neglect or over-consumption of these environmental services, and they’re interlinked with challenges of sanitation, water supply, waste disposal and health risks.

This is particularly important in low and middle-income countries where populations are growing along with weak institutional capacities to deliver public services. Inadequate safe water supply can lead to severe outbreaks of water-borne diseases in these cities and countries. Poor solid waste management can lead to long-term environmental degradation around dump sites, the expansion of vector-borne diseases and blockage of waterways and drains leading to floods, like those in Mumbai in 2005.

The management of urban ecosystems involves the integrated management of environmental service delivery and reducing the impact of urban activities on them. Land use change, changes in levels of water abstraction and quality due to persistent pollution, poor air quality and high pollution levels, resource depletion, over-consumption and poor waste management practices – all have significant impacts on ecosystem health and resilience.

There are many examples of successful responses to environmental challenges. The urban environmental health and sanitary reforms in many cities in the 19th century helped improve human health, and later, river quality was also improved after the displaced burden of sewer-based sanitation was recognised and addressed.

Releasing urban wastewater into rivers, oceans or in low-density peri-urban and rural areas is a classic example of this environmental displacement, till the birth of the environmental movements that enabled a better understanding of the cyclic relationship between cities and Nature.

Let us look at a few other examples that attempt to address various dimensions of sustainability and environmental services more holistically, the Durban Buffelsdraai Community Reforestation project was established as a project to help offset the carbon costs of being a host city for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. The project uses a 100 hectares about a 900 hectares site as a landfill and the remaining as a bio-reserve. The project is led by the eThekwini Municipality in close partnership with local communities, and seeks to maintain the long-term sustainability of the area. The partners have committed to mitigating their carbon footprint by planting indigenous trees and restoring the natural habitat, seeking to offset 42,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over a 20-year period, also acting as a climate mitigation initiative.

In October 2016 over 670,000 trees have been planted, there had been a marked increase in biodiversity and a simultaneous improvement in other ecosystem services such as water quality, flood attenuation, sediment regulation, biodiversity refuge conservation and river flow regulation, in addition to creating over 600 jobs for the surrounding community.

Starting in the 1980s Karachi’s Orangi Pilot Project was established to overcome the constraints faced by the government in improving informal settlements or ‘kacchi abadis’.

Following a series of community meetings as well as research, Sanitation emerged as a primary concern of the residents of these settlements. The Orangi Pilot Project or OPP, was proposed – focusing on addressing the project area sanitation crisis via a collaborative implementation solution, where residents built and installed household and street-level infrastructure and the government installed the linking secondary and trunk infrastructure. Service access rose to over 90% of the settlement and Infant Mortality dropped more than 70% in the first 10 years. Through the OPP Research and Training Institute (RTI)[1] this work continues to expand across Pakistan, helping communities build capacity to address similar challenges collectively and through collaboration.

In the city of Seoul, South Korea, a river restoration project focused on reclaiming the river from an elevated expressway that had been built over it in the 1960s. This expressway was diagnosed with serious structural problems in 2000 that would have cost close to a US$ 100 million to remedy. It was demolished, re-establishing 400 hectares of green space. The project cost about US$ 360 million, social costs were evaluated about US$ 1.9 billion and an estimated US$ 3.5 billion in social benefits stood to be gained.

They include reduced air pollution levels, up to a 5% decrease in upper bound city temperatures, a 50% decrease in average wind speeds, sharp increases in biodiversity of fish species (from 4 to 25), bird species (from 6 to 36) and flood resilience. Yet, this project faced severe criticism because of a doubling of property prices threatening long-term residents with displacement; and that a nearby river and ground water reserves are being pumped to ensure perennial flow in this restored river.

The Kuyasa low-cost urban housing energy upgradation project in Khayelitsha, one of the largest informal settlements of Cape Town has civil society, government and communities coming together to deliver low-cost housing, but also solar water heaters to replace biomass burning. Households involved have enjoyed savings of about R150 per month on energy, respiratory illness has decreased by 76%.

A significant challenge is that most environmental services do not conform to urban administrative boundaries. This exacerbates the risk of their being exposed to the Tragedy of the Commons, where in the short-run users try to maximise benefit, leaving much less for others and future generations to enjoy.

Increasingly scarce surface water sources are forcing cities like Bangalore to pump water from many hundreds of kilometres away, increasing its costs and adding to the city’s energy needs and carbon footprints.

Urbanisation in itself may not be bad for ecosystem health. Many biomes in and around cities are more diverse than rural monocultures driven by commercial agriculture and forestry. Cities offer opportunities to manage ecosystems more sustainably, if appropriate governance and conservation systems are in place like in Vancouver, Durban and Melbourne.

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, found that dense urban settlements often impose a lower environmental burden than urban and suburban sprawl – like New York’s Catskill watershed that provides a secure source of water to the city and helps conserve ecosystems, supports livelihood of landowners and farmers and in the long run is also economically efficient.

So what have we learned from this today?

The environment provides us with critical ecosystem services that support the functioning of not just the public utilities and infrastructure, but are also critical for overall human well-being.

Environmental resources often suffer the Tragedy of the Commons and without proper regulatory systems and implementation, the stressed systems can be completely lost for the next generations.

Many attempts at reducing such environmental burden often only displace it spatially and temporally, and fail to mitigate the risk in its entirety.

Cities have the capacity and the opportunity to reduce environmental burden by investing in better land use management, universal infrastructure delivery and the management of their resources to better and efficient regulatory systems.


Museologia Social e Urbanismo XXVI

Case study on South Africa

So, we talked a little bit about how you need to ideally actually have some understanding of history and how history shape cities and the South African case is a really good example of that. And the reason, it’s a good example is  partly because it’s a story that’s been quite well told but the South African case is one where you cannot understand the contemporary city without reference to the past and you can’t understand contemporary patterns of racial segregation, or of race today which continues to be it was and it continues to be the dominant dialogue about inequality in the country, unless you have understood both the history of the city and the history of race policy.

So I’ll try and show you how that is. And just before I start to say that the argument is basically that race continues to matter hugely in the South African cities but perhaps not in the ways that we always understand.

In other words, I’m going to tell you the story of why the urban poor are almost exclusively black by showing you how that was embedded in the urban form historically. But also implicitly, I’m going to make the argument that not all black people are poor because of the way that the city was managed. That becomes really important, in other words, if you want understand who is black and ‘middle class’ at this point, you need to understand urban history as much as if you need to understand why almost all poor people in South Africa are black.

So race matters; but it matters in two ways: it matters in dictating who’s poor and it matters in the sense that not everybody who is black, is necessarily poor. And that’s some of the confusion that we have at South Africa at the moment: it’s how do you untangle who’s poor and why, is it still Race, is it not still Race? So let me try to help you work, understand that complexity a little better. Apartheid did two things:  it kept people who are Black, of African descent outside of cities. It had a very strict policy of influx control bit like China does, bit like Indonesia has done, even Cuba has done and it did that because it tried to make sure that the only black people who came into circled white space in cities, were there to work an over form of Race

Segregation. It justified that through a policy of saying – if you were African that you had access to so-called ‘tribal land’, ‘homeland’ lands sometimes called Bantustan land, but the effect of that was that it meant that a deeply illegitimate policy in all sorts of ways but it meant it had to control who came into town.

So Race Segregation was first and foremost about controlling who came into town but it is not true that all African people were kept out of town. In other words, Apartheid divided Africans that some black people can come in and some can’t. Once they came into town, once they were working in town, building the cities, providing the labour force on which the economy thrived, they’ve been internally segregated. So we got two kinds of segregation: a National pattern of segregation and then an Internal pattern of segregation and when we look back what we find, is that we can begin to look at six very important reasons historically which help us understand why today when you go around the South African city, almost everybody you see who is poor, is Black.

Let’s have a look at some of those: the first thing that  apartheid did to those black people who came into town was that it created a system of Forced Removals, it tried to segregate, kept black people away from white people and it did it through a number of different ways: it used public health legislation, it used anti-slum legislation and eventually it resorted to overtly segregationist legislation, ‘you’re black you go’ and it did that over a period of time and there’s a very interesting story which is much more nuanced story then we can still hear about those phases of forced removals.

The impact of being moved in a city is one that impoverishes, so because you destroy economic enterprise as much as everything else, they absolutely decimated the economic vitality of Black communities. So having got a niche a town, having established your somewhat precarious niche you then get moved, all your networks go, all your infrastructure goes, all your knowledge goes. So forced removals have an economic impact in that sense. They also move people who are black to lesser advantageous parts of town.

So you increase the costs for people in particular kinds of ways. So forced removals are very easy to understand as an impoverishing source that took place not in one instant but over a hundred year period, it was a systematic process of the relocation of people in town.

The second thing which apartheid did, once people were in town which makes African people have a much less affluence status today than before was the kind of housing that was provided. Now interestingly, one of the ways that the State controlled who could come into town and who is black, was by saying ‘you can’t come into town unless you are living in state housing or in some form of state recognised housing’ so it might have been private sector housing, a compound perhaps but it was acknowledged by the State, it was regulated by the State but more typically what was happening under Apartheid is that the State itself provided housing and significantly the quality of that housing was very very much lower, the building code literally the building code was different.

Ok, It meant that until the 1980s most houses that Africa almost all houses that African people lived in didn’t have electricity, they may well not have had running water internally.

You think about what that has implications for – whether you can study for school, for what your health opportunities are as well as what you can hand over to your children because the house that you hand-on from generation to generation is with much less money. Another which is an explicitly urban thing is about the kind of work people were allowed to do.

So there was a racial code and again it’s not one racial code, that can sit in a particular point in time. It goes right back to into the early 1910s and 20s when poor white people’s access to it was privileged, they were given jobs when they didn’t have jobs, public works program – what we would call them today, the so-called civilised labour policy where white people were deemed to be civilised and therefore given work.

Later on, African people were restricted to certain kinds of work, low-paid work, work which didn’t require high levels of education and in some cases were actually restricted sometimes by the State and sometimes by organised trade unions, craft unions, white unions who kept African workers out and kept a racial code.

You can never get to be rich in a city if you’re only allowed to do certain jobs and a very very small minority were allowed to become highly educated and become priests or teachers, people who had largely come through mission education.

So what Apartheid did was that it structured not just what jobs you could get, but also what skills you could get and it did that through the control of education.

There’s a whole evolution of policy which gets worked out and has real implications in the urban form and in urban politics and in urban identity, so for example, the Soweto Riots which come through in 1976 which is a fundamental, which lead to the end of, or really so instrumental in the final phase of Apartheid.

The product of mass education because by then, there is the role of the creation of a universal base of education but of a universal very low level base and the assumption there was, if you only educate people in subjects that are not going to give them access to, elite jobs you will continue to keep them in unfair conditions of work.

The history of of a sector like education, of the different ways that craft unions play out in the race-class dynamics of the city, already critical and that literature is absolutely there for those of you who want to go and read that.

We sometimes forget that the cost of reproduction if you’re going to use a theoretical term from Marxist work for African people were very much higher than they were for anybody else.

What am I saying here? –  When you think about what do you have to pay a worker you have to pay a worker enough for them to reproduce themselves. So we talk about cost of reproduction and a big issue here is the question of transportation, because segregated townships were typically put on the periphery of the city, they cost more go to work. But there’s more than that at stake here.

The way that apartheid worked was that it made local authorities very largely responsible for the provision of infrastructure at least in the early phases to the circled African areas. That was done through a highly sophisticated system of taxation.

In the early days what they did was they took, they created a municipal monopoly on beer and said only the State can provide beer. The State taxed that and it used that money to finance African areas. What that meant was that rich people’s taxes, white people’s taxes were not being used to finance poor neighbourhoods. Imagine if you had a poor neighbourhood and we said we’re not gonna take any money from the central area of the city, we just gonna make the poor people pay for their own infrastructure. In fact what we saw was worse than that – because when we start looking in-depth at what those financial records show us about the past, what we discover is actually that poor people’s revenue from the sale of beer was being used to cross-subsidise infrastructure in some white areas. So the normal cross-subsidy that you would expect from commercial interests was not going into the whole city, was certainly not going to poor areas and in some instances in fact, the surplus from poor areas was going in to the infrastructure of rich areas and so that’s a real problem.

The fifth thing that I think, that the history of Apartheid begins to tell us that is this, a very difficult thing to say in a post-apartheid context. Apartheid did not impose on all black people in the same way, in other words, it treated different black people differently. And this is much less well-known than the story that  Apartheid treated everybody who is white well, that we know – it is unambiguous, we’ve seen some of the implications of them after teasing that out. What’s much less well known as I say, is the internal differentiation of the African population.

The whole overarching project was about providing labour, was about providing growth for a growing economy, about delivering to elite interests and if that meant dividing and rooting, keeping some people out completely of cities, allowing some people into cities only as migrant workers, not given full-time permanent status in town and allowing some people in town to have inferior to white but permanent family housing, that’s what the State did. So,if you begin to start looking at within the African community, you’ll see intra-racial discrimination as well as discrimination between races and that’s the stuff which has been much harder to get rid of, because it’s very easy in a process of political transition to go back and say let’s cut out everything that is racist, then we will have an integrated city.

It turns out that racial segregation is embedded in the codes that run the city: the housing codes, the building codes, the opportunities that we’ve seen in those kinds of ways. And then the final thing that I wanted to just point out about what I think history teaches us and this is a very different kind of history, this is not an economic history, it requires a different kind of sensibility, is the stuff about People, stuff about struggle, politics and culture.

And when we begin to look at the narratives of individuals – what we realise is how much so many of them lost individually in making a very active contribution and I was thinking of the people who are of my age and my generation, who gave up on education in order to participate in street politics at the very time that I was training and now benefit from my training both in financial terms and in cultural terms and in who I am. So I think we forget about those dimensions and our parallel, and of course they’re absolutely fundamental to the way that are different communities continue to live in cities today. So go back and read.

South African history is really rich on this – there are fabulous novels, there’s some really good books, there’s some really good synthesis pieces and it’s a rich story and I think what you’ll discover is that it’s not just a South African story because what it tells us is, that patterns of inequality can be uncoupled and decoded and situated in the way that we structure the city and the way that the the city is built its form, the way that it’s implemented. That it helps to know your History.

Portugal e as Políticas de Memória

Joana Craveiro: Portugal trata mal a sua memória

A ditadura, o 25 de Abril, o PREC, a descolonização são os temas abordados na exposição performática “Quando o Museu Vivo se Torna Físico”, da autoria de Joana Craveiro, que vai estar no Teatro São Luiz entre 12 a 18 de Dezembro.

Joana Craveiro: Portugal trata mal a sua memória
Bruno Simão
 Susana Moreira Marques 09 de dezembro de 2016 às 14:00
 Durante vários anos, Joana Craveiro reuniu material documental para um espectáculo que dá voz aos cidadãos que viveram – e talvez nunca deixem de reviver – a ditadura, o 25 de Abril, o PREC, a descolonização. “Um Museu Vivo de Pequenas Memórias Pequenas e Esquecidas” é um espectáculo sobre a memória e a transmissão da memória ou a falta que temos dessa transmissão. Como um museu, vivo, nunca está terminado. Como num museu, Joana Craveiro ficou com colecções nos reservados, à espera, e decidiu agora mostrar esse material. Vai estar no Teatro São Luiz, entre 12 a 18 de Dezembro, com “Quando o Museu Vivo se Torna Físico”, uma exposição performática. É mesmo ali ao pé da antiga sede da PIDE/DGS, agora condomínio de luxo, um exemplo da facilidade com que Portugal esquece ou da dificuldade que tem em lembrar os aspectos mais tenebrosos da sua história. Conversámos no São Luiz, num dos dias em que montava a exposição e o percurso das visitas, que começa onde o teatro sempre começa: na rua.

1. Sempre fui apaixonada por pessoas e pelas suas histórias. Sou apaixonada pela vivência individual de cada pessoa: acho que é um mundo. Às vezes, quando estou a entrevistar uma pessoa, penso: podia fazer um espectáculo só sobre esta pessoa. É de partir o coração, às vezes, só usar um parágrafo do que a pessoa contou.
Para o espectáculo “Um Museu Vivo de Memórias Pequenas e Esquecidas”, fiz pesquisa e recolha de fontes orais durante cinco anos, e não usei metade do que recolhi. Por isso vamos fazer esta exposição performática no São Luiz.
Tinha mesmo muito material: livros, documentos, muita imprensa, coisas que várias pessoas foram doando com carinho ao longo dos anos. O objectivo de ter reunido esta colecção de objectos não era ficarem encerrados em caixas num armazém do Teatro do Vestido. Parecia quase um crime ficar com esse material guardado.

2. A maioria das pessoas que entrevistei viveram directamente esses acontecimentos, mas também entrevistei algumas pessoas da minha geração. Acho que é um espectáculo muito da minha geração, porque reflecte uma inquietação de pós-memória, de pessoas que não viveram directamente os acontecimentos mas que os receberam de uma forma muito directa das suas famílias. É um projecto que reflecte sobre a transmissão de memória.
Não sei se alguém tem dúvidas de que Portugal trata mal a sua memória. Mas acho que já se tem falado bastante sobre as políticas da memória ou, melhor, sobre a ausência delas.
Há países que tiveram regimes ditatoriais, portanto são pós-ditatoriais como o nosso – nós tivemos uma ditadura, é esse o nome daquilo que vivemos – e um exemplo é uma política, em alguns desses países, de transformar locais emblemáticos de tortura em espaços museológicos. Não é aquilo que aconteceu aqui na Rua António Maria Cardoso. Sem dúvida, vou falar sobre isso no São Luiz: dessa ausência, que nesta rua se materializa na transformação num condomínio de luxo de um local com uma simbologia política, de repressão, que merecia ser preservada, a bem das gerações futuras.
Gostava que houvesse um diálogo de outro tipo sobre políticas de memória e que os governos se envolvessem de uma forma activa. Tem de haver uma estratégia, um pensamento. Mas, para isso acontecer, tem de ser algo importante e o que sinto é que não é importante, não é uma prioridade.

3. Muitas vezes comovi-me com as entrevistas que fiz. Lembro-me de algumas entrevistas a pessoas retornadas das ex-colónias que foram muito fortes para mim. Pela emoção das próprias pessoas. Eu nem sempre me identificava com o ponto de vista delas, mas identificava-me com o seu sofrimento: e isso para mim foi uma revelação. Tenho um ponto de vista político, evidentemente, mas isso não me impediu de me comover com alguns relatos, mesmo que ainda hoje me inquiete e me pergunte sobre a ingenuidade das pessoas – e a desinformação e a ignorância – que as levaram a aceitar uma coisa que é inaceitável que é o colonialismo.
As entrevistas de alguns revolucionários, pessoas muito engajadas politicamente no 25 de Abril, também me tocaram muito. Têm uma grande sensação de impotência perante o rumo que as coisas tomaram, que não era o que desejavam. Mas aquele momento da entrevista parecia possibilitar-lhes um reconciliar, um reviver da memória: ah, alguém quer ouvir a minha história, quer ouvir o que é que eu andava a fazer naqueles momentos do PREC, como nos organizámos naquelas comissões de moradores incríveis, como construímos uma creche…
A demonização que a comunicação social tem feito do PREC diminuiu aspectos do poder mais directo que, se calhar, eram absolutamente fulcrais que voltassem: porque trata-se de cidadania. O que se conseguiu em certos aspectos foi extraordinário. Aquilo que as pessoas conseguiram pela sua vontade foi extraordinário: por exemplo, construir algo tão simples como uma creche. As creches foram uma grande conquista do 25 de Abril, para as mulheres poderem trabalhar, poderem ter onde deixar os filhos. A alegria com que essas pessoas me contavam isso…4. Estudei Antropologia e fazer trabalho de campo, recolher histórias de vida, fazia parte da metodologia. Desde o princípio, no Teatro do Vestido, trabalhamos com a nossa própria biografia e com a observação da realidade. Íamos para a rua falar com pessoas. O trabalho de campo foi-se tornando parte do processo.
Entretanto, fui descobrindo historiadores orais maravilhosos, que têm todo um discurso sobre a história oral e como a história oral dá voz aos que não têm voz.
Eu procuro determinar o que é que aconteceu para aquelas pessoas [com quem falo]. E quando se conta isso, em cena, há uma quantidade de outras pessoas que se identificam porque também têm uma versão daquilo que aconteceu. E há uma vontade em cascata: “Ah, eu também quero partilhar o que aconteceu.” “Eu também tenho uma história.”
Quando pomos em cena “Um Museu Vivo de Memórias Pequenas e Esquecidas”, é surpreendente o número de pessoas que vêm ter comigo no final e que querem que eu recolha a sua história também. Mesmo que não venha a ser parte do espectáculo.
É surpreendente que as pessoas sintam que a sua história não foi ouvida. O 25 de Abril não é um acontecimento que pertence a uma elite político-militar. A um nível, ele foi feito por essa elite político-militar, mas há um quantidade de outras pessoas – cidadãos anónimos – que viveram esses tempos de uma forma muito particular e que constituem um mosaico daquilo que foi o período revolucionário: com todas as suas contradições, com todos os seus excessos por vezes, com a sua beleza por outro lado, o seu idealismo, a sua utopia.
As pessoas não tiveram uma voz, mas as pessoas tem muita coisa para dizer e querem dizê-lo.
Cada vez que sei que alguém [que viveu determinados acontecimentos] morreu penso: estamos a ficar sem tempo. Estamos a ficar sem tempo de contar estas histórias. E, depois, as novas gerações não vão saber.

Museologia Social e Urbanismo XXV

Gender equality

I am Gautam Bhan. I teach at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements in Bangalore and I’m talking to you today about one of the central questions in thinking about any imagination of sustainable or inclusive development which is putting at the centre the question of social inequality articulated through Gender. When we first think about what Gender is, one of the things to think about is that we must move beyond our intuitive understanding of Gender that is the identity of an individual, one is a man or a woman, transgender, gender non-binary, queer, the multiplicity of ways we identify our gender identities. We are never just men, women or transgender, we are always – also possessors of identities like religion, like caste, like nationality, we also have interests, we have tastes, we have personalities. So gender is one of a set of intersectional identities that makes us who we are, but yet on a social scale it is very much something that structures every part of our life and that’s the understanding we take of gender into this session – not something that we possess only as an individual psychic identity, though gender is also that, but one that we read as a systemic set of social relations, a social structure.

So given this – How do we think about Gender in the city? In one way, you find Gender everywhere in the city, it shapes your life in the city, it shapes your sense of self, it shapes your belonging, it shapes your mobility, shapes where you go, it shapes what you are able to do, where you are able to work, what kind of relationships and social networks you are able to form. So one can read Gender in the city in multiple scales: we can read it spatially, which is something that is very specific to asking the Gender question in the city, we can read it economically, culturally, politically, ecologically. In some ways we will do all of these at once because these sectors just like the city are wickedly entangled into each other.

What we think of and call starting with gendered perspective therefore, is not about simply disaggregating data by sex, it is not as feminists told us right from the 60s about counting women or counting men, it is about understanding how the conditions we live in are co-produced through norms that are based on assumptions about gendered behaviour, gendered values, gendered characteristics, everything from ability to capability to futures. So in this lecture, we’ll take on an impossible task, to try and capture insights into one of these various ways in which Gender is shaping the city. Of the hundreds we could take, we’ll take 5.

We will think about transport, we’ll think about Work, we’ll think about Political Representation, we’ll think about Gender & Sanitation and Gender and the question of Public safety and Violence.

So let us think of our first urban sector, let us think of Employment and Poverty. What does it mean to ask questions from and Poverty? Two kinds of things become very apparent. In this section, we’ll focus on taking an example of one kind of gender relationship which is looking at the category of women. If we think about women, employment and poverty, what do we know from cities? That the very information and data we collect in thinking about women’s employment has Gendered assumptions about what work is, Gendered assumptions about waged work in the public as the only form of work. Now the minute we take away this assumption, the notion of employment opens up. We also get a very useful concept that feminist economists have given us which is of Time Poverty, the idea of the ability to have time for multiple human development ends for self-improvement, for rest, for leisure, for capacity, for child-rearing, for pleasure that women have a deficit of even though they are formally and technically considered not to be working.

But even if for a minute we accept that definition of employment, we accept employment mean waged work done in the public in an enterprise of some kind, Gender distinctions then take a different kind of form. They take the form of unequal inclusion, of inequalities not just differences but inequalities, UN Women tells us that 50% of working women who are 15 years and above are compared to 75% of men in the same age category who participate in the labour force. We also know that not only are there more men that are able to work, the kind of work the women who do work do is significantly different, it is more vulnerable, it is usually without benefits, with poor occupational health.

Organisations like Women in Informal Employment Gathering And Organising (WIEGO), a global collective and federation of informal sector workers remind us consistently that informal employment which is the dominant mode of urban employment in much of the world is also dominantly a woman’s mode of employment. In almost every region in the world, more women tend to work in more precarious employment. What we already know colloquially is that when they do equivalent work they also earn significantly less than men.

The wage gap varies in region but again taking a UN Women statistic, it is on an average globally at about 24% which means that men earn 24 more cents to every dollar than women. The scale of these absences are telling us that Gender inequality in work and employment not only create disadvantages for certain sets of people, in this case women, but prevent overall balance and equitable growth. And you look at both the size of the pie, to use that example, not increasing and the way the pie is cut, not changing. At the lower end of the spectrum is that even with these additional responsibilities for work and doing work for more diminishing returns, women are still overwhelmingly responsible for the management of the household, therefore, the ultimate conclusion of this Gender inequity is that women are overwhelmingly represented in the world’s poor. By some statistics up to 70% of the world’s poor are women.

So when we think about a Gendered perspective in employment and work, we see both the case of biases of omission, of structural inequalities and of deep prevailing vulnerability that will require not just reform but deep structural change in both our responses to the problem, and the way we diagnose what’s happening as we begin.

So if we step away now from questions of employment to another key urban sector that of Sanitation, we again form our exercise of looking at the sector now with Gendered perspective. If we think of sanitation as the safe and adequate management and disposal of human waste, the questions of the sector are never just technical. Sanitation is one of the sectors where social norms, understanding of proper behaviour, shame, privacy, honour body, cleanliness, hygiene, deeply culturally-constituted phenomenon and ideas really shape our practices and our sanitation practice for ourselves, our households and our communities. Much of these norms are very particularly gendered. When we think of the way in which Gender impacts Sanitation, we think about several set of connected factors: first, particularly in urban areas, women require different modes of access to sanitation, there are questions of design, there are questions of privacy between the community toilet and the public toilet or open defecation in the field, many of these are determined equally by questions of safety, the possibility of mobility just as much as they’re determined by notions of shame and honour, of sanitation and waste as activities and thoughts that must be hidden particularly because and particularly by women.

When we think about urban areas, the density of habitations often makes these conditions much more acute than they are in rural areas. They vary by region, they vary by place but only places that have explicitly addressed the Gendered nature of these behavioural attributions, countries like Bangladesh that have been incredibly successful in reducing open defecation by frontings making sense of the gendered idea of proper and improper sanitation not just thinking about science or hygiene but thinking very much about questions of propriety.

When we then think of sanitation systems for the individual and the household we also must think of them institutionally. The immediate example comes about thinking about girls’ education and sanitation in schools. When we think about girls’ education and sanitation, one of the key things that comes to us is that one of the factors that explains the dropout rate of adolescent girls in middle school is inadequate sanitation provisions in the schools themselves. When we think about the importance than of the interconnections between sanitation, education and human development, some of the ways in which asking a gendered question why sanitation is inadequate become more and more important. From the private to the institutional, we also can think about the question of sanitation not just as an individual or household question but very much also the question of thinking about sanitation in the public space, for example, if you are a woman in any city in the world who had to commute, travel, be in the city, go to work, perform care, perform functions, your ability to be in the public, to feel safe in the public, to hold on to dignity in the public is deeply determined by access to public toilets that are functional, that are safe, that are well maintained and that are located next to your own transit patterns. When we think about the inadequacy of sanitation in the public, our questions of unemployment come back to us reminding us again that one of the reasons behind women’s absence in the labour force is also their inability for mobility, to have sanitation connect and protect them during their presence in public space and their mobility to work that is necessary to construct conditions of dignified employment.

When we think of work that is predominantly done in the public, informal sector workers, street vendors, sex workers, every one of these categories of employment demand long-term public presence not in office, not in condition this sanitation arrangements are secure but is fundamentally one of the ways in which what we described earlier as vulnerable employment is constituted.

Transport is very similar to sanitation in this sense, a sector in which not only our, is a very composition of the sector differentiated by Gender, but the experience of mobility has very significant in particular Gender characteristics. Take it directly from the UN-Habitat Global Report on humans settlements that says and I quote “Women’s travel patterns are different from men’s and these differences are characterised by deep and persistent inequalities. Within any given urban setting, women have inferior access to both private and public means of transport while at the same time assuming a higher share of that households travel burden and making more trips associated with reproductive and caretaking responsibilities.”

Now this statement has layers of meaning for us in thinking about transport from a Gendered perspective, both that there is a difference in responsibility, a difference in behaviour and a difference in character.

What can these differences look like? For example, if women make multiple shorter length trips through different modes or what transportation planners called ‘trip chaining’ not only did we spend more time, I think back again to the question of Time Poverty but also more money on multiple short modal trips. This is largely because the transportation system is not geared towards this type of mobility, it is geared towards a commuter mobility that assumes a certain kind of spatial employment relation to go from home to work, twice a day in public, distinct from the private, something that on gendered examination spatially cannot hold. But you also think about very separate question that we’ll come back to later again, when we speak of public spaces which is that the experience of transport itself, the experience like the experience of the public is a persistent locus on fear on violence and harassment. Debates on how to make public transport more safe for women even, and especially safe not just for women in fact but safe for anyone who is seen as non-normative in their gendered performance particularly Transgender people is a pivotal question, from reserving gender only, women-specific, cars and public transport as temporary solutions. The larger questions of how social inequalities and prejudice shape the mobility experience on the basis of Gender remains with us.

One way to think about this, is to see that when Transport for London, one of the world’s largest public transport systems came out with guidelines for what they call the ‘Gender Equality Scheme’, they didn’t just mention accessibility or integration of services or design, not just safety and security but also information, affordability and critically the representation of women in transportation-related employment. Women in the design spaces of public authorities where decisions on transportations were made. And when Transport for London speaks of the question of the representation of women in decision-making structures on transportation, they remind us of a very important point which is to say that one cannot begin asking the question of Gender only after the plan has been made, after the design has been finalised, the question of making a Gender perspective central means that the not only are the concerns that Gender represents fronts and centre on the table, but that the decision-making processes by which we govern, manage and live in urban areas are then represented by individuals who have the authority to act on this information to make decisions that then create a next generation of cities that do not repeat and inherit the similar biases or omissions or silences on Gender.

When we then think about this as the idea of Gender and Political Participation, we don’t just then speak of formal elected representation even though that is a critical part of looking at governance structures that make decisions that shape our everyday lives in cities, representation of women or of transgender candidates in local government, in regional governments, in city government has around the world had profound impacts, not just because women make better decisions for women or transgender candidates make better decisions for transgender candidates but because the presence of a more Gender- diverse representation changes precisely the norms, behaviours and cultural assumptions about leadership and concerns, questions, omissions of data, the sidelining or evasion, or even the absence of thinking about Gender concerns becomes much more difficult when decision-making structures are much more diverse on Gender. When we then think a little bit about the way these norms can change thinking about Gender not just as a data category or a variable, but very much as part of the structure of governance moves us forward across sectors and gives us a better and more nuanced understanding of taking Gender essentially and starting and thinking about politics and not just about government.

So let’s come to the most apparent and direct question of Gender in the city, which is literally thinking about Gender in our public spaces, in our cities is the one we encounter and experience every day. When we do this, one of the assumptions that even we have been making throughout this lecture actually becomes untenable, which is that the Gender can be reduced to isolated autonomous identity categories: Men, Women, Trans gender, Gender Non-binary. In actuality because Gender is also a set of norms, the ways in which different people are present in public space and the experience they have in public space is shaped by multiple notions held socially, held diffusely about propriety, about honour, about shame, about inclusion, about equal citizenship. So the fault lines that can make someone an ‘other’, that can create environments of discrimination or prejudice or on the converse can equally create environments of diversity, multiculturalism actually cut across all of these identities, across religion, across caste, across gender, across age, across nationality.

You can tell this by doing a quick example yourself; whenever we think of trying to denigrate another person in the midst of an argument or a fight, we call them a word that’s unsavoury, our choice of metaphor very often invokes a gendered or sexual behaviour. We do this because one way in which devaluing and marginalising another person is done is to invoke a gendered or sexual norm, now what these norms are, changes with time, with place. Every part of the world has a different set of norms, what is out and shape our presence in public spaces, who should be there when, with what reading, in what clothes, at what time of day or what time of night.

Each one of us with our multiple identities, not just women not just transgender people, even though they disproportionately bear the burden of this public violence in most of the world, we are constantly read and surveilled and police and disciplined in these public spaces. In cities that are inclusive and sustainable, we are welcomed, protected, celebrated where we can seek pleasure and belonging. In cities that are not, that begin to close, public spaces become hostile. In this case each of the sectors that we have thought of so far, work, employment, sanitation, mobility, every one of them is undone if we cannot see ourselves belonging and passing through public spaces. Cities are a particular kind of challenge for this presence, they heighten the interactions of a public, they bring together multiple communities, sometimes strangers, sometimes fellow-citizens but  the twin dangers: of pleasure and danger, of freedom and vulnerability come together in the urban, heightened, maybe their degree deepened and therefore the question of safety and public space is particularly an urban question and in dynamically changing mega-cities, this question becomes wicked and complex.

Take a city that I know very well, take the city of New Delhi- in a spectacular case of horrific violence against a young girl in 2012, one case of a gangrape on a girl in a bus late at night brings together so many of our concerns about safety, mobility, aspiration, employment. What happened to that girl has also to be read against what happened immediately after. How did we speak about her presence in the city?

How did we speak about violence? How we respond to violence is just as important as what violence does to us. Violence comes in cycles, it disrupts meaning but also creates new ones. In Delhi, like the picture of the girl seeing on your screen a different moment emerged, in that moment, young women now in the public, striking for a different Gendered environment refused to make a trade-off, they refused to be told that they would be safe, if they behave a certain way if they restricted themselves that the public was not for them. The risk of violence, was a greater threat than the risk of closure, of a forced immobility. These young women remind us what it means to think about Gender in the context of inclusive development, that Gender must begin not as a data variable, as something that is added and stirred at the end, an afterthought.

It must be a normative centre to our imaginations of sustainability and development, it must be a part of our decision-making and our politics, our regimes of government, it must be priorities and places where we begin asking questions of exclusion, it must be on our research agendas, it must be shared as a goal that impacts all of us regardless of our Gender entity so that we can move towards cities, where how we are born and who we think we are does not shape the kind of lives that we are able to lead.

Museologia social e Urbanismo XXIV

Education and skills

Cities are shaped by people, for people. It is no surprise therefore, that Human Capital is their biggest asset. Today we will look at the experience of cities in imparting knowledge and skills to their residents and consuming the product of this knowledge and skills, in ways that enable cities and the countries that they are part of to grow and prosper.

We’ll try and answer two questions: First, can achieving SDG4 or the SDG on education contribute to creating and nurturing sustainable cities? And second, can cities help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal on Education?

Let’s start with the first question and begin by asking ‘Why do we care about education?’ We care because at a fundamental level, educating children and enabling them to be productive, fulfilled individuals who can live life to their full potential is the first responsibility of every society.

Education is an important right in itself, one that has been recognised in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that was adopted in 1948 at the United Nations. Education is not just a Right, it is also critical to achieving Sustainable Development in all its dimensions. Its first immediate effect is on individual wages and on national incomes. Hanushek and Woessman showed in their 2015 paper, the direct link between learning and incomes.

In the case of lower middle-income countries, they estimated that the universal acquisition of basic skills will translate into gains that would be 13 times current GDP, averaging out to a 28% higher GDP over the next 80 years. Additionally, Education especially, Early Childhood Education helps reduce inequalities. Data from 73 low and middle-income countries has shown us that if we increase pre-primary enrolment from current levels in these countries which average to about 15% to 50%, we could cut the gap in education attainment of 15 to 19 year olds between the highest and the lowest income quintiles, by half. But that’s not all; education improves health outcomes by lowering mortality rates, reducing the risk of chronic non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease and reducing morbidity related work days. And finally, education can help build social values of civic behaviour, social justice, global citizenship. Indeed over much of the 20th century since mass education was implemented by governments, it was seen as a tool to transmit national values and cultures just as much as build capacities. In today’s age, it can help build skills of critical reasoning, innovative thinking, interpretation, socialisation, self-direction and creativity, what are commonly known as 21st century skills, helping form communities that are economically and socially inclusive and thereby building the social capital for a sustainable future. If we take a step back to look at the state of global education today, we can see that there’s been enormous progress in school education across the world. The biggest success story is one of Access. Since 1990, the number of out-of-school primary age children has dropped from a 102 million to a 61 million a worldwide.

The Sustainable Development Goal on Education calls for all countries to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” As you can see this is a fairly ambitious goal. Its targets require countries, to provide free equitable and quality education at primary level and at the secondary level, to ensure quality learning outcomes to provide pre-primary education, to allow young men and women access to technical, vocational and tertiary education and to build skills in young people amongst other targets.

The SDGs are global commitments that all countries have signed up to, but they do not make up national policy. Each country designs its own national policy on education which in most cases is also implemented at a national level.

Now this create special challenges for cities: First, cities have little control over national curricula, decisions on what to teach are not in the control of school boards. Second, in many cases there are overlapping jurisdictions where the ministries of Education and local municipalities share responsibilities leading to fairly complicated implementation challenges. Third, cities often have little control over fiscal transfers and grants to run or open new schools. In cases where city limits expand or new populations congregate in certain areas, this lack of fiscal autonomy can become a binding constraint. Fourth, in many countries teachers’ recruitment happens nationally, this means that school boards and municipalities have very little control over the quality of their teaching staff making it harder for them to improve the quality of teaching. While these factors do make it harder for cities to deliver on education, there is a wide space of innovation that still available in most countries.

So let’s look at how the urban experience interplays with education.  We’ve just seen that at its most basic level this is a positive relationship, but in reality the experience is more complicated and more variable. Let’s do a tour across different parts of the world and look at the experience of cities in different regions recognising that first, there is a vast intra-regional variation but second, also noting that some common threads do weave through regional and economic experiences of cities across the world.

Let’s start with the United States which is one of the few countries where education outcomes and cities are relatively worse than those in rural areas. In 2005 nationally 47% students in urban schools dropped out of school, compared with 29% in non-urban areas. In some selected cities, as you can see this difference was even sharper. The experience of urban education in the US is inextricably linked with the experience of urbanisation itself. In 1954, in the Brown versus Board of Education decision the US Supreme Court struck down the ‘separate but equal’ principle requiring children of different races to study together.

Racial tensions worsened especially in cities that had seen large-scale migration of black families during the war years. To comply with the Brown ruling, urban districts began busing programs and magnet schools but in the 60s and 70s, white middle-class families keen not to send their children to desegregated or distant schools took advantage of the newly created federal highway programs and housing incentives to move away from urban school districts into the suburbs, what is popularly referred to as “the by more than half leaving urban schools in disarray and followed quickly by an exodus of teachers that continues to date. At the same time racially stratifying, social and urban planning policies led to deeply segregated urban communities seen in the rise of ghettos and reflected in the student mix in urban schools who today are predominantly poor, over half qualify for free-lunch programs and belonging to minority groups. Over 70% today are either black or Hispanic. This combination of poorly resourced schools, serving a disadvantaged community which was geographically distinct and is located in economically depressed often crime-ridden parts of the city has created a challenge that over 30 years of reform efforts – for example, charter schools, the No Child Left Behind initiative, The Race To The Top program have not been able to solve.

Let’s move now to Latin America where education outcomes in urban areas are much better than rural areas. Latin America is 77% urban and home to some of the largest urban conglomerates in the world, Mexico City- 21 million people, Sao Paulo 19 million people and over a 150 million poor people live in the cities of the region. The migration rates into the cities far exceed their carrying capacity or their planning capacities, leading to shortages in housing, infrastructure, education. Large belts of poverty have developed at the periphery of the cities which over time become informal settlements with communities, cultures and often laws all of their own. These settlements exist along the fault-lines of income, class, race, employment and invariably educational opportunities. High-quality private and select public schools are accessed by the wealthy, while the poor send their children to under resourced and overcrowded public schools. Latin America is also the only region in the world to face a reverse gender gap especially in the higher years of schooling. Gross enrolment rates for upper secondary for girls is 96%, compared with 82% for boys. This is predominantly an urban phenomenon, a consequence of overcrowded and under-resourced schools and the opportunity costs of working, which is what attracts boys away from schools.

Cities in Sub-saharan Africa and South Asia are viewed as being privileged compared to rural areas, both in terms of the number of schools but also in terms of their quality and resources that they have. The large cities in both sub-continents host the best schools and the most well-functioning schooling systems in the countries. Yet, as in Latin America, the largest cities Lagos- 21 million people, Mumbai- 22 million people and others like Delhi and Johannesburg have settlements of deep poverty and deprivation. The urban poor are located in areas where educational planning has not yet reached; and this has led not just to the under-provision and poor quality of public schools but the rise of informal and low-cost private schooling that proliferates in urban areas. In Nairobi, for example over 40% of the poorest children in slums attend private schools. Gender disparities are persistent in both Sub-saharan Africa and in South Asia, but in both regions girls in urban areas are twice as likely to be in school than girls in rural areas. Cities offer greater educational opportunities and fewer barriers of access, of distance and facilities though girls especially adolescence in cities have to navigate different kinds of safety concerns. Cities in these regions are also where migrants from different states, languages and occupations come together.

Urban schools face the additional challenge of teaching children with different mother tongues who are often unfamiliar with the language of instruction. This is not just a South Asian or Sub-saharan African problem, this is also a problem that several cities in Europe are facing, in schools with large immigrant populations. For instance, recent estimates indicate that Turkey now hosts over 1.5 million refugees of which 1 million are Syrian. An estimated one-third of Syrian refugees in urban settings are unregistered and in 2014, 70% of school-age refugee children were not attending school.  When they do attend, the burden on the Turkish education system will increase manifold. In many countries the urban poor have worse primary completion outcomes than the average rural household – a disparity that becomes more pronounced in lower secondary, possibly because the opportunity cost of employment is higher in cities. Finally, cities of East Asia and China have had a very different experience with education.

Cities and countries like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore have invested heavily in education, their learning outcomes, their attention levels, their years of schooling: all exceed many industrial countries in the West. Across the world, Higher Education is almost entirely a privilege of income and largely an urban phenomenon. Gross enrolment rates in low-income countries hover at under 10% compared to middle-income countries where there in the 37% range and for high-income countries where they’re over 70%.

Most students enrolled in tertiary education come to cities to study, and are limited by the number of higher educational institutions in those cities. Students who are unable to enrol in formal degrees, join institutions that teach vocational or technical skills.

Such institutions are almost always found in urban or peri-urban areas because of the proximity to industry. Technical and vocational skills are critical for manufacturing and services sectors and for overall economic growth.

Talent and creativity drive the Triple Helix Model of innovation; one that builds synergies between higher education, government and industry. Such synergies are best situated in cities.

Two examples illustrate this: San Francisco is the first that comes to mind. Stanford University incubated the talent and knowledge base that then interfaced with industry and government to create a global hub of knowledge and growth. Over 18,000 firms are estimated to be created by alumni of Stanford in California alone. The Tsukuba Science city near Tokyo in Japan is a second example. It was set up in the 1970s by the government to upgrade and decentralise science and engineering research. It hosts universities, publicly-funded scientific research laboratories and national research institutions that receive about half of Japan’s public research and development budget and has become an important global site for government-industry-research collaborations. Cities host institutions of higher learning that not just add to their economies, but also create journalists, doctors, lawyers, artists, public intellectuals on one hand and low skill labour on the other.

For instance the city of Shanghai in China, is situated within a network of other smaller cities and attracts over a 100,000 graduates from 60 higher education institutions every year and more than a quarter of the labour force has a college education which is double the proportion from just a decade ago. Finally, as we think about SDG4, higher education institutions are in a unique position to offer evidence-based scientific solutions to the problems of sustainable development. Cutting-edge research on issues of Climate Change, solutions for adaptation and mitigation, alternate energy sources, management of water resources and ecosystems are being led by academic institutions today. Universities and research centres can claim the space of high-quality, locally relevant research that will offer solutions to the cities and the countries that they are in. By doing so, they can help cities solve the challenges of exclusion, inequity and deprivation that are a reality not just of urban education but of the urban experience more broadly.

In summary, ‘How can cities help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal on Education?’ First, by providing improved access and opportunities for learning which as we’ve seen – cities do much better at than rural areas. Second, by providing better infrastructure and resources in terms of connectivity, safety, access, teachers, facilities. Third, cities allow for greater connection to markets and immediate links to skills, employments and opportunities to work and Fourth, at the higher education level cities are central for universities and provide the ecosystem for linking with innovation and tapping into the creative and the cultural zeitgeist of the time.

Let’s come to our second question: “How can achieving the SDG in Education help build sustainable cities?”

First, widespread quality education is a must for creating a strong pool of human capital that allow cities to thrive.

Second, education adds to productivity, it improves health as we saw earlier, reduces inequality, help stabilise demographic change: all of these factors allow for a stable healthy population.

Third, a skilled and educated workforce can help fuel economic productivity, build social capital, encourage creative thinking and innovation.

How do we do this? How do we ensure that sustainable cities help in the achievement of the SDG on Education and how do we ensure that the achievement of the education goal contributes to the development of sustainable cities?

First, governments need to plan for education centres for schools, for colleges, for universities concurrently with city planning. Second, governments need to deal and expect the diversity of student mix, students of different backgrounds, different linguistic abilities, different economic levels and train their teachers, their school principals and their administrative staff to be able to welcome students into the schools without discrimination and without disadvantage. Third, cities need to encourage links between the educational institutions that they host – with markets, industry and jobs. And finally governments need to plan for creating educational clusters that could encourage growth, innovation and jobs together. In this way urban education can play a much needed and critical role in helping cities become sustainable.

Museologia Social e Urbanismo XXIII

Raising living standards : Health

I’m Srinath Reddy,President, Public Health Foundation of India speaking to you from New Delhi. Today we will discuss Urban Health. You may ask ‘Why is urban health important all of a sudden?’ It is because many people are now currently living in urban areas, and more will be living in cities and towns as the years roll by. And this is not happening only in high-income countries, it is also true of low and middle-income countries. Indeed in some of the low and middle-income countries close to 80% are now living in  cities and towns in urban areas whereas in others, it’s around 30% now but it is increasing year by year. With the majority of the world’s population going to be living in the cities or in towns, urban health becomes an important consideration because that is where they’re going to be spending all or most of their lives.

Urban health becomes a particularly important problem because of the special characteristics of cities where people live not only in large numbers but highly crowded communities. And we find that some of the health problems arise because of the configuration of cities, the nature of services available or not available and some of the living conditions that are created by urban lifestyles.

So, if we are really trying to keep people healthy over a life course and are trying to provide them essential health services whenever they need, health planning has to become an important part and parcel of city planning or urban planning.

Unfortunately that’s not happening now and that’s why we find a very large number of health problems in our cities. One would intuitively think, and it’s to some extent is true, that people in cities are healthier than people living in rural areas – at least in the low and middle income countries where there is a fair amount of poverty, deprivation in the rural areas compared to cities. And one would think that a higher life expectancy in people who live in cities or in urban areas compared to people living in rural areas is an indicator that in general they’re living healthier lives.

That’s not really true. Firstly, the very high level of what we call morbidity or disease-related disability because of a number of diseases which may not kill early but certainly occupy a very large part of one’s life. Secondly, the urban poor are particularly disadvantaged and those living in slums or low-income communities and cities and towns experience not only poor health but also a fair amount of early mortality which cuts down their life expectancy and they become prey to a very large number of diseases. Even the urban middle class and urban rich are not spared from diseases and disability which accrue from the kind of lives they lead. Therefore there is a wide variety of diseases and disorders that now we find in urban population. Quite often its a mix of the problems of under development, which are particularly seen in rural and poor populations and diseases of maladapted modernity. For example, infectious diseases: one would think that people dwelling in cities would not have much of infection but access to clean drinking water, proper sanitation and unpolluted air are not available in most urban environments particularly in low and middle-income countries. And when you have poor sanitary conditions with huge garbage heaps or open defecation there are bound to be infectious diseases like diarrhoea, respiratory infections which are particularly problematic in children, Kill them early or disable them significantly and childhood under nutrition is often a problem that occurs by itself in poor communities and sets the stage for infection, and infections also create undernutrition and therefore this is a vicious cycle affecting child health.

Similarly, poor communities also have problems in young women going in for pregnancies in a state of poor nutrition and having higher Maternal Mortality Rate and indeed when we take urban health indicators as single aggregate, we mask huge inequities that exist between the urban rich and  urban poor. The urban poor, in some cases are worse off than the rural population when it comes to those indicators – whether they’re living in slums, or whether they are recent rural migrants from rural areas, who will now have the double jeopardy of the diseases they have carried and the risk they’ve carried from rural areas to the risk they have acquired, and the diseases now they manifest because of their urban living. When it comes to infections, there are also other problems in urban areas. We now find a large number of vector-borne diseases coming in because mosquitoes are breeding in fresh water pools that are occurring in stagnant water collections. These stagnant freshwater pools in cities tend to breed mosquitoes which spread dengue, chikungunya and other forms of vector-borne diseases which are particularly prone to occur in urban areas now. Even urban malaria is now becoming an increasing problem. The crowded communities in urban areas make them extremely vulnerable for a very rapid spread of infection. If you get a virus like H1N1 or H5N1 and if it enters the urban community it is likely to spread very rapidly through the respiratory route because people are crowded together. And while tuberculosis does occur everywhere, again, lack of adequate access to healthcare and living in crowded communities makes multidrug – resistant tuberculosis, a nightmare in urban areas. So infectious diseases are still a reality in urban areas. Even if you trace the history of public health, if you take what happened in London in the 19th century where John Snow discovered that the Broad Street epidemic of cholera was because of contamination of sewage into a water pump and by removing the handle of the water pump, they could control the cholera epidemic. Importance of having clean drinking water and sanitation and not having putrid garbage or unclean rivers as your environment, was clearly recognised by Europe and therefore the whole sanitarian movement transformed the living conditions and raised life expectancy and well-being in Europe. Now many of the low and middle income countries have not had the level of civic planning in cities that is required to ensure regular availability and access to clean drinking water, good hygiene and sanitation, as well as a relatively unpolluted air.

In addition, we find that there are a whole host of diseases, we call ‘non-communicable diseases’ like cardiovascular or heart diseases like diabetes, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases many of which are related to the urban living or the patterns of our lifestyle.

For example, poor diets which are rich in unhealthy fats, sugar and salt, a high consumption of ultra processed foods which are easier to obtain in a busy working day creates conditions for all of these diseases.

Over and above that, there is the big problem of physical inactivity partly because of the working conditions and partly because of the way cities are configured without adequate space or time, for pleasurable and safe physical activity. So physical inactivity and diet actually create most of the conditions for these chronic diseases and then you have problems of air pollution which again compound respiratory problems, create the conditions not only for cancers but also for heart attacks and stroke.

Then you have addictions to tobacco, whether it smoked or oral tobacco, substance abuse, alcohol; all of these are particularly prevalent in cities especially in slum areas and therefore, we find many of the low-income communities now vulnerable to chronic diseases despite their relative poverty.

In addition, we have other problems like mental illness because the poor with their subsistence living and struggle for reeking out an existence out of meagre incomes are also subjected to a lot of stress compounded by migration and the problems of migrant living.

At the same time the middle class and the rich also have the stresses of daily living and being caught in crowded traffic jams: all of that of course creates stress a chronic condition. And all of these can lead to mental illness and whether it’s depression or violence, including domestic violence- all of these are major problems that we encounter in urban environments.

We also have the problem of traffic accidents – quite often young people die or are severely disabled because of poor traffic regulation and road traffic injuries occurring in urban areas. About 52% of all deaths that occur in the age group of 15-29 are because of road traffic injuries and about 90% of them occur in low and middle income countries. Therefore, again poor urban planning leads to many avoidable health problems.

We are now seeing new challenges coming up. Climate change, for example, is raising temperatures all over the world and in many cities the temperatures are rising to such an extent that people are suffering the consequences in terms of heat strokes, heat deaths and of course a variety of other problems which are also fostered – like mosquitoes grow faster in warm environments and therefore again vector-borne diseases increase.

As cities grow, we must also recognise that they need to become much more resilient, they need to be resilient to Climate Change, they need to be resilient to natural disasters, we have seen floods hitting so many cities. Cities seem to even crumble with heavy rainfall and that has its own health consequences.

Diseases can spread rapidly in terms of natural disasters, mental health can get disturbed during natural disasters and services breakdown including access to health services breaks down when hospitals are disabled or healthcare providers are stranded during natural disasters.

resilient and climate resilient cities?” – is going to be one of the future challenges that we have to address.

One of the problems of course, is, that health ervices too are not appropriately distributed or are accessible in urban areas. Many times we feel that urban areas are going to have more of health professionals, more doctors, more nurses etc, so, ‘why on earth our health services not going to be adequately available?’ but there was the huge maldistribution in urban areas. The poor are unable to access good quality health services because of differential concentration of health professionals as well as financial barriers to access of good health services. Quite often they depend upon informal healthcare providers who are not qualified ranging from quacks to poorly trained healthcare providers and many times their health suffers as a result of poor management of their health problems and the contrary is also true that they do seek treatment for minor ailments too in large hospitals which makes the hospitals overcrowded that’s because primary care services are not well organised in health services. And if they do seek healthcare, they often get impoverished in the absence of universal health coverage. So one of the things that’s missing in many of the low and middle income countries is financial protection apart from quality of health care. If they actually are going to become poorer, or get crushed into poverty further because of unaffordable healthcare then that itself is a cause of huge health inequity. And organising urban health services to provide assured access, quality as well as affordability especially in the slum and low-income communities is absolutely critical but at the same time we ought to ensure that there is greater coordination between city planning and health planning.

Whether it is housing for everybody including low-income housing, whether it is safe cycling lanes, safe pedestrian pathways, well-lit streets where people can walk without fear of crime or falling, the risk of falling into potholes, clean and green community spaces where they can exercise, public transportation which are likely to be available and promote active living – all of these are going to be important elements of city planning. Unless you have a good land-use mix, street connectivity, look at residential density as an element of promoting active living, prevention of crime so that people can actually exercise safely; all of these are going to be coming into in city planning and if this is not paid attention to, then health will suffer.

Therefore what we need now, is a much greater coordination between urban planning which is traditionally in other sectors outside of health, and health planning. Then we also need a greater integration of health services, unless that happens we’ll have vertical programs functioning in silo, then we need  to promote greater access to disadvantaged communities both in terms of physical access as well as financial affordability and also provide greater education so that they know what kind of services need to be accessed to increase the demand generation from the poorer sections of the people who need those health services. We also need to bring in urban health-related awareness into health professional training. A large number of healthcare providers and public health professionals are still not familiar with some of the special features of urban health planning, they’re still rooted in terms of looking at traditional health care models and traditional public health systems. So even professional education of health professionals and healthcare providers needs to be transformed but most important, we also need to make sure that urban local bodies and administrators, municipal authorities- all of them become much more alive to the need of protecting urban health whether it is food safety or whether it is clean water and sanitation or whether it is ensuring urban primary care services.

Unless urban local governance becomes more responsible, as well as more accountable we are not going to see urban health in a good shape for years to come. But cities also provide the solution – because the sheer size of the cities and there are urban aggregation as well as their access to technologies including information technology makes it easier to do things on scale. We can actually build water and sanitation services to scale, we can build health services to scale and integrate all of them in a manner that we can actually ensure both healthy living as well as appropriate and affordable healthcare. So with Smart City Planning we can actually build-in much better health and make sure that urban health becomes a living reality for every person living in a city or a town, at every stage of his or her life. But that’s the way to go and that’s the way we must ensure that as an enlightened community, we make sure that things happen at different levels, but in an integrated way to make that a concrete reality.

Museologia Social e Urbanismo XXII

Human rights and justice

The concept of Human Rights and Human Development are intrinsically linked and in this particular chapter, we’re going to look at how it impacts life in the city. To be able to take you through this short journey, I want to say a little bit about what Human Rights are, what the conceptual underpinnings are.

I want to refer to a very fundamental document called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. I want to then, from that perspective identify a set of Rights and I want to highlight the socio-economic dimension that has its fundamental to understanding how life in the city works, how it ties into Human Rights and how it impinges on Human Development. Much of the content in this particular chapter will focus on material that’s relevant to Goal 16 on ‘building just institutions’ but also of course in looking at Goal 11 on ‘Sustainable Cities’. So when we think about Human Rights itself, the fundamental aspect to bear in mind, is that this is a series of concepts that are designed to promote the inherent dignity and worth of every individual.

It’s really important to understand that these are inherent dignities i.e., they are not dignities that are earned in any way, they are dignities by virtue of being human and a fundamental aspect to that is, it’s based on the equal inherent dignity and worth of every individual; not just individuals we like, not just individuals we think deserve it but every individual, irrespective of who they may be and where they are.

This concept is fundamental to understanding development, primarily because if we understand what sustainability means, we need to understand that as a sustainable future that includes everybody irrespective of gender, ethnicity, caste, class or any other distinguishing feature.

Now, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights actually set out this vision and in setting out this vision, it brought together states from all around the world to express this in what has become a very famous and foundational document called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At the time it was passed in 1948 the world was just emerging from the Second World War, the United Nations had still been formed and of course vast parts of the globe was still under colonial rule but, in articulating that vision it was decided that if we wanted to prevent World War III and the kinds of atrocities that had become normal in that particular period, the only way to do it was in building a society where every single individual’s rights were respected.

In articulating those rights the Universal Declaration for Human Rights talked about what can broadly be defined as five types of Rights: so we have Civil Rights, we have Political Rights, we have Economic Rights, we have Social Rights and we have Cultural Rights. The Universal Declaration for Human Rights deemed these rights to be ‘indivisible’ that means you could not divide them, that you had to look at all of the rights in conjunction with each other to be able to achieve that goal of creating societies where equality was valued.

However, the problem became that immediately in it’s aftermath we got into East-West debates and laissez-faire politics where states in the West believed much along the lines of economics based on Adam Smith, that ultimately the state needed to only provide enough room for enterprise to flourish and that somehow economic, social and cultural rights would be sorted out by the market. This was already at odds with the vision of many developing countries who argued that the Right to Food for instance was far more important than the Right to Vote.

The fact is you can’t prioritise one over the other, you need to have them all together, functioning in a robust manner to be able to create and construct the kind of societies we aspire for. Now in the context of how Human Rights had developed itself, the vast majority of it developed through the ambit of Law; so the idea is that you articulate a Right of some kind, you enshrine it in Law, you put into documents and then lawyers can argue those documents in front of a court of law.

Now there’s a fundamental problem with this model: it assumes people have access to lawyers, it assumes people know what their Rights are. And as we know from inequality across the world that actually one of the biggest problems of being unequal is not knowing that you actually have a Right to be equal and that you actually have a right and a redress for the violations that you face.

So this has been a challenge that has really dogged the world of Human Rights, even organisations like Amnesty International for instance always emphasised Civil and Political Rights and didn’t emphasise enough Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In the context of Sustainable Development Goals, we have a chance once again now, to reknit those concepts together: there’s far greater emphasis these days in any case on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights but to be able to knit them together into a whole narrative that worries about the entirety of the human condition, is the only way of understanding how we can build societies that believe in the inherent equal dignity and worth of every individual.

This agenda comes to the fore in cities. Cities have often been considered to be the places, the central places that will generate wealth and that will move societies forward, but in fact what we see in the reality of many cities is a great disparity and emerging inequalities. In a famous city of London for instance, if you are trying to get a tube they often say ‘Mind the Gap’ tbecause there’s a gap between the Tube and the platform, that gap is more like a chasm.

You have,you have an aspiration of equality, you have Rights in books that talk about these equalities but there’s a chasm between how you can get from where you are, to where you want to be; and you see that chasm dramatically in cities, you see it in the way communities that are further away from sites of power are excluded from power, you see it in the way that they have no access to institutions, you see it in differential health conditions, you see it in differential educational conditions and the inevitable impact is you see it in employment and unemployment. So what we often see in the context of cities and Human Development and Human Rights is that particular groups tend to be further away from the wealth generating capacities of cities. These groups are usually definable based on gender; women are never in the same parameter in terms of any of these indicators as men are. You see dramatically in terms of ethnicity, you see it dramatically in terms of religion and all of these identifying tags are then used to differentiate the haves from the have-nots. It’s much more stark in cities, because in cities you get now increasingly the great big wealthy compound right beside the slum.

Now in a situation like that, we need to just think of, think of this pragmatically: if you are building and if you have a fantastic, great, big glass house you don’t want to put it in a slum, because if you put in the slum you’re going to have to invest a lot of money protecting your investment from the rest of the slum. And I’m going to take you back to to even ancient Greece which is celebrated so much and had a photograph of that original Athenian democracy, imagine you could see it in some shape or form, you would find that all the individuals there had two things in common: they were all rich, landowners and they were all men. And essentially their first quest in making law was, to make law to protect their wealth from that of others. So actually law has been used historically as an instrument of the powerful, framed by the powerful, to protect the interests of the powerful and that challenge then sits very uneasily against the equality agenda. And in cities which are often the places where these ideas get generated you live with that contradiction far more than you can, if you are further away from a central place where people agglomerate. The real challenge that we face then in terms of cities, is how do we ensure that cities are allowed the space to generate the wealth for the rest of society, that cities are the engines, the power houses to be able to create that wealth – but how do we also ensure that, that wealth creation process involves people, because if you create wealth without creating employment, you’re not really going to solve the problem because then the wealth has to be used to give handouts and again there’s a lot of disparaging comments made about the extent to which people live on handouts. People don’t particularly want to live on handouts, they want to participate fully and robustly in every element of society and they want to do that irrespective of their gender and irrespective of their caste or class or ethnicity or any other factor or facet that you can imagine to differentiate them. And that’s the real challenge: being able to create enough wherewithal, for enterprise to flourish while doing so in providing enough for the people who are involved in the creation, distribution and reorientation of that enterprise.

So at the very least, Human Rights are fundamental to cities in ensuring adequate health systems, adequate educational systems and adequate criminal justice mechanisms to provide the order that exists there. A central part then to moving this particular agenda forward is to look at the institutions that are charged with creating this kind of an environment. If we look at the institutions as currently exists across the world, you will find that they are largely homogeneous and they’re largely male dominated. And that in itself is a problem. That means that you have institutions that are run from a particular caste, or class, or gendered perspective claiming to create the conditions for the rest of society. So instead of a society that’s firing on all its cylinders, benefiting from all its diversity, benefiting from all its richness, benefiting from all its experiences, you have by and large the 1% who are creating and generating the mechanisms allegedly for the  99%. Even if this 1% were the most fair, liberal-minded individuals there is inevitably a bias in how they construct these services, inevitably a bias in how they value human life.

The consequence is stark. And you see that in the differential treatment available for patients based on their ethnicity, gender, class, religion or any other element, you see that in educational attainments. So you often find that people from particular backgrounds somehow tend to end up in the best universities, they somehow tend to end up in the best businesses, they somehow tend to end up creating clubs and those clubs promote the interests of the people in that club. Does it sound familiar?

Perhaps back to the Athenian democracy there? So we cities need to understand that despite the rhetoric of Human Rights and despite the rhetoric of Human Development, we still remain a long way, further away from the aspiration of equality that we commence this journey from and actually we remain closer to the idea that cities like Athenian democracy were created by the powerful, for the interest of the powerful, to promote those interests and make sure that those interests are sustained.

Essentially what lies at the heart of this is a very 18th-19th century idea that somehow, if I have more you need to have less and actually none of human history bears that out. What we do see is that Human Development is not a finite pie that has to be carved among you and your friends. That actually getting a greater number of people to construct that particular pie is much more likely to end up generating the kind of wealth that can flow across boundaries.

This is not advocacy by the way for equality per se in every rung. We need to understand that essentially equality as a concept is about equal opportunities, and the extent to which people can chart their life trajectories irrespective of who they are. That’s the principle here. We don’t want to say, for instance, have a situation where you say ‘Well I want to be a brain surgeon – Why are you preventing me from being a brain surgeon?’ You can’t say ‘I haven’t done medicine therefore I can’t be a brain surgeon.’ That’s not discriminatory, that’s acceptable because we understand that we want our brain surgeons to be well-trained and we want the brain surgeon in front of us to be the best possible brain surgeon – because after all they’re going to be operating on our brain. What we don’t want necessarily is that that brain surgeon job or profession is only restricted to people who come from  1% of society. That’s a problem.

How do we know that the 1% has all the talent possible to solve all the possible problems that exist? And increasingly we seem to rely on the 1% to solve the problems of the 99% and then we are surprised when the 99% have an objection to it. The way forward is to understand the extent to which Equality and Human Rights can be knitted in to development, and cities are the best possible petri-dish to try this because in a city you have people who are committed to a place, and in that commitment to a place, you can then commence and make real – this idea of creating a system which protects the inherent dignity and worth of every individual. If we do that, we will have taken a giant step towards Human Development, if we do that we will have taken a giant step towards ensuring that our cities are safe and sustainable

Museologia Social e Urbanismo XXI

Capital markets and investments

  1. Why is the gap in inequality increasing in cities?
  2. What perpetuates wealth accumulation, and can better policy and regulatory framework affect this for long term equity?

This is what our cities increasingly look like in many parts of the world. The disparity between the urban rich and the poor is large and growing. How can we envision and bring into being a more equal world? Today we will explore how wealth is created in cities, the roots of inequality and examples of how we can reach out to a more equal and just future.

Cities are epicentres of production, employment and economic opportunity. Savings and value addition from the economic activities as diverse as agriculture and mining, fishing and forestry flow too, and are reinvested in cities. Largely urban based activities like manufacturing, higher education and services like real estate, finance and IT further concentrate savings and wealth creation in urban areas.

This often leads to a virtuous cycle of increased urban output and savings leading to a further concentration of prosperity, income and savings in urban areas and the further growth of urban wealth. Cities reflect in na exaggerated manner, global wealth and income disparities.

As an example, India is a low middle income country with the largest population of poor people in the world over 200 million but in 2015, it’s 48 billionaires collectively had a Net worth of 11% of its 2 trillion dollar GDP. Over half these billionaires live in Mumbai. In 2015 the 421 billionaires in the United States which had a population of over 320 million had a Net worth of 10% of the 18 trillion US economy. New York is home to close to 20% of these billionaires. Other cities that hosted billionaires in 2015 include Moscow – 68, Hong Kong – 64, San Francisco – 26 and Sao Paulo – 25. So we see the cities are the first choice of residence for the very wealthy, but they are not the only inhabitants of cities, even the most prosperous ones.

Many urban residents are poor and vulnerable. Both rich and poor people are necessary for cities to function and to be productive. The poor are drawn to cities as sites of social and livelihood opportunity. For as long as we can look back, urban poverty has tended to cluster along with prosperity, wealth and often opulence in  cities. The urban poor face various forms of social exclusion that often reduces the access to the very resources that they need to improve their living conditions: work, education, affordable healthcare, safe housing and basic services, in short, the universal entitlements promised by the SDGs. This is why the commitment to a universal goal of Reducing inequality ‘Goal 10’ and enabling Gender equality ‘Goal 5’ and ensuring that no person is left behind has so much transformatory potential.

Many contemporary cities tend to concentrate wealth and poverty in particular areas through spatial segregation, exclusive planning and limiting access to public goods and services. Across many low and middle-income countries, cities are home to large and expanding informal settlements, shrinking public and green spaces, expanding footprints of gated communities and exclusionary comercial spaces. An extreme case of this was the Apartheid state of South Africa which before 1994 excluded the majority of its population from employment, residence, education and dignity by segregating neighbourhoods, facilities and cities. But similar processes are at work in the everyday-life of cities across the world.

Further, land allocation and ownership in cities tends to discriminate against the poor leading to the creation of informal settlements which are then exposed to forced evictions and displacements. Such processes destroy the limited assets that poor and vulnerable people have put together with great difficulty over the years and worsen urban inequality.

In South Africa’s most important economic province Gauteng, for example, nearly two decades after the end of apartheid, spatial inequality and multi-dimensional poverty have not declined much, with the peripheral townships still continuing to be marginal.

Research on Bangalore in India shows similar trends of the concentration of poverty and inequality.

This is in spite of an IT-led economic boom that almost doubled the city’s population in less than a generation. This can be seen in this 2015 map of Bangalore that shows both informal settlements in the heart of the city and poor peripheral areas that do not have access to the infrastructure and connectivity of richer neighbourhoods.

Conventional economic theory encourage such trends, many of which are now shown to be incorrect and inappropriate in a world committed to the SDGs. The economist Simon Kuznets, hypothesised in the 1950s based on the rapid growth of the US economy and the investor behaviour of the wealthy that as a country’s per capita income rises, inequality would first rise and then decline. This led to the common development policy prescription of encouraging rapid economic growth in spite of increasing inequality and the consequent destabilisation that it brings using the analogy that a rising tide would eventually lift all boats.

Thomas Piketty, recently showed in his much cited book ‘Capital’ that Kuznets misread the facts and by extension, that the implicit public policy of letting inequality rise to be addressed by economic growth was a misplaced policy position. Piketty’s analysis is based on a long reading of economic history that shows that the rate of return on capital is higher than the rate of return on economic growth.

This implies that people who hold wealth typically financial and physical assets will tend to get more wealthy overtime than those who derive the income from employment, education or natural resources. The exception in current high income countries was the period between 1930 and 1975, due  to the Great Depression and a World War that destroyed much of the wealth of the elites. Unequal wealth distribution and urban poverty causes social and economic and hence, political instability.

This is especially observed in highly unequal urban areas like Hong Kong which has seen a decline in its quality of life and an increase in inequality over the 2000s alongwith a massive increase in the wealth of the super-rich. One of the provocations behind Hong Kong’s 2014 Umbrella movement was popular concern about income disparity and high housing prices.

Similarly, parts of the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement was led by students calling for the reform of the economic system and reducing inequality in cities following the 2008 financial crisis. cause for urban concern. Social exclusion and discrimination based on race, on gender, ethnicity and caste are common in many parts of the world and are inter-twined with questions of class and economic inequality. The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement for racial justice in the workplace and everyday life spread rapidly across cities in the United States in response to racial profiling and brutality which are closely related to access to livelihoods and economic opportunity in inner-city and black neighbourhoods.

How does one address the challenge of rising inequality and cities, and its consequent impact on all the other SDGs?

First, we need to recognise that urban inequality defines our cities, especially in low and middle income countries where cities are magnets for growth and jobs, but also reflect disparities in economic and living conditions of their residence.

Second, we need to raise the floor for the most poor and vulnerable in the city, to meet the universal goals of the SDGs. Especially access to employment, safe housing and basic services, sustainable and affordable transportation. Participation in the city economy on more equal terms with access to services, credit and information on pricing and markets, will help the poor earn more and potentially decrease income and wealth gaps.

Third, we need a universal social security system or safety net that really leaves no one behind. Children, women, the elderly, the differently-abled and excluded social groups. A range of methods can be used to do this. Brazil’s Bolsa Familia program is reported to have helped over 1.7 million households, move out of poverty and reduce Brazil’s high GINI coefficients.

This was done via direct income transfers to poor households, if their children went to school and participated in public health initiatives. Unemployment benefits, subsidised housing, public health and education programs are other ways of ensuring that the minimum needs of the urban poor are met.

Fourth, we need to enable markets and tenure systems to work for poor people and not exclude or displace them. Here again, multiple Latin-american initiatives, including Brazil’s Statute of the Cities, help provide the space for the regulation of real estate markets, enabling greater access and social control.

Fifth, we need to address taxation and intergovernmental fiscal arrangements, to strengthen local governments that are more responsive to local needs. Progressive taxation systems are needed – that enable the wealthier sections of the population to fund a larger share of public expenditure and investment.

Sixth, we need affirmative action to break the nexus between social exclusion and economic stratification on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, caste and ability grounds. To enable access to entitlements like education and healthcare and access to public services and finally, to enable employment and equal compensation.

In summary, what have we learned?

One – Cities concentrate economic and social opportunity. This often leads to a virtuous cycle of increased output and savings, leading to a concentration of prosperity and savings, and further growth of urban wealth.

Two – Cities, individuals and enterprises that control this economic activity through ownership and knowledge, tend to accumulate more and more of this wealth.

Three – the world is highly unequal in terms of both wealth and income and this trend is unfortunately growing. The largest inequalities are often seen within cities which concentrate wealth and poverty through spatial segregation, limiting access to public goods and services, or through lack or denial of entitlements, or poorly regulated markets.

Four – ownership of financial and physical assets by elites enable a steady accumulation of wealth and consequente exclusion of others, sometimes leading to social, economic and political instability.

Fifth – inequality can and has been successfully addressed in some parts of the world, for a time. But one has to first acknowledge its existence as a challenge, and then addresses it through safety nets, public services, urban planning and regulation and progressive taxation.

More equitable and inclusive cities are possible, and are in fact essential, if we are to achieve the SDGs

Museologia Social e Urbanismo XX

Ethics of wealth and inequality

  1. How can we re-imagine the constraints on national boundaries and mobility of people, particularly in the context of internationally accepted human rights?

I think liberals should pause on the idea that lots and lots of immigration is always good. This is modern capitalism: (it) wants money to move about, people to move about. Migrants lose. I mean they’re brave people, always. They want to have a better life but they lose a lot. Their granny isn’t there, their mom isn’t there, their not speaking their language. So imagining that a world of massive people moving about is the best possible world is not right. Now, of course, if anyone’s fleeing from trouble they must be cared for – but I think we should aspire to develop the world more evenly, so everyone has got a fair chance in their own vicinity, and then people move about out of curiosity and learning for each other, so, I think this pretence that big movement of people is freedom, is liberation, is the best possible way of organising the world, is not right but that’s been the liberal assumption and what’s happened in Britain is that the the people who’ve got nothing for the last 20 years out of globalisation as their stable jobs went to the communities, they’re objecting to immigration because they think at least wages going down, pressure on the schools and the health services: that’s not an unreasonable set of things to say and a lot of people who come and work and they’re great workers in Britain would much prefer to have that job at home.

So I think we should look again and open up this question. We must never, ever indulge any xenofobia of any kind and once people have arrived in any country they must be treated with respect and equality, but the idea that capital can roam across the world and rip people out of their roots and encourage them to go elsewhere, I think that needs looking at again. I think in the poorer parts of the world, people really resent this – “Oh! I’ve come here to help you, here is my charity!” People want better chances in life but they don’t like that patronising approach. So it’s got to be much more about justice, fairness for everybody, security for all of us. The way we get that is to have sustainable fairness across the world. So getting a just solution in Syria, is of course, the right thing for Syrian people but it’s actually the right thing for all of us.

And people who have a few chances in life, having a better chance in life is very important but there’s lots of excluded people in the so-called rich countries. We’ve got quotes from sort of Piketty and how is the wealth distributed and who pays tax and let’s stop having this race till the bottom of that taxation, we’re going to have a certain amount of taxation, in order to have decent public services, in order to have a civilised world and countries – but then on the other hand isn’t all about handouts, it’s also about opportunities to work, opportunities to be educated, opportunities to have skills, opportunities to have a productive life. So, I think we need to work at the reduction of inequality, not just the old-fashioned taxation and so on but the the kind of education and skill training that enables people who at the moment don’t have the chance to have a job that gives them any kind of decent income and so on is all part of it. And I think if you look at countries in Western Europe, World War? We had the 1930s, and all that unemployment, the swing to fascism and right-wing ideas and it wasn’t just in Germany, I mean in Germany, we’ve got Hitler but that kind of fascismo was going on right across Europe in the conditions of lots of unemployment and exclusion and after the war, shattered countries with no money commit to full employment in the welfare state and a massive advances in the quality of society.

Well, we need that kind of mood again but worldwide because that’s been eroded now to a more unequal and because it’s quite a cheap welfare state if everyone has a decent job. It’s when you marginalize lots of people and they either can’t work or own work that’s so low paid that is not enough to keep their family, so the state subsidises them to keep them going; that’s when the welfare state’s expensive. So, we need a kind of post-45 mood. And, we can do it. Now, the SDGs is a chance to lift the world up and say ‘come on!’and instead of all these grumpy, demoralised fed up people, everyone could get excited again and think – Yes! We can move forward, we can make the world sustainable and fairer and I think it would be people worldwide would get excited and hopeful, which is what we need.

Museologia Social e Urbanismo XIX

Chapter 3. Migration, mobility and urban-rural continuum

  1. What are the various reasons that make people migrate?
  2. What are the current gaps in the international, national and urban imaginations regarding migration, that affect the policy directions?

Sustainable cities require prosperous rural areas with sustainable agriculture and protected terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems to thrive. Since cities are only capable of producing a small proportion of the ecological services that they need like food, water and clean air, their symbiotic relationship with the regions in which they are situated is critical for sustainability. Cities also provide economic, education and health, cultural and social opportunities for people who live in the countryside. Flows of goods, services and money between urban and rural areas are important contributors to rural livelihood security and prosperity.

Why is city living different from life in rural areas? First, how do countries define rural and the urban? You may be surprised to learn that there is no formal, common definition of the rural and the urban across the world. Most countries use their own definitions of the urban that is often a combination of population size, population density and occupational characteristics. These definitions are often fluid and some countries have become less or more urban simply by changing their definitions.

Second, urban and rural areas in many countries have different administrative systems, population registration processes are different, legal structures and very often laws are different, government taxation rules and entitlements are different. In some countries, people who live in rural áreas and have agricultural incomes are not taxed, in others, rural residents have to be registered and receive limited or no social security which is a privilege of urban citizens. In yet other contexts, villages receive rural development entitlements not on offer to their urban counterparts.

Third, there is a perceived difference in the quality of life in rural and urban areas. Many people believe that villages have a better quality of life because they’re cleaner, less congested and in greater proximity to nature. Yet these perceptions are not always true. In most cases, urban areas are more prosperous and offer better public services than rural areas. Much of the economic vibrancy of cities is what attracts migrants in the first place.

The opportunity for social mobility is also an important differentiator especially, in highly stratified societies where cities allow gender, ethnic and caste identities to be blurred.

All of these factors make for a very different living experience in cities and rural areas, in many cases encouraged by policy choices. A classic case is China’s Hukou or Household Registration System which for decades officially discouraged migrants from moving from rural areas to its more prosperous eastern coastal cities. Large metropolitan regions such as Shenzhen and Shanghai attracted workers from all across China. Healthcare, education and even housing was made difficult for rural migrants to access in urban areas, even if they had a job, largely to prevent mass migration and the overcrowding of cities.

But effectively, this national policy created a significant disparity between rural and urban areas, especially after the ‘iron rice bowl’ was broken in the 1990s, while urban citizens continued to get a range of entitlements. Changes are now being brought about in the system to make it less exclusionary. Such inequities are unsustainable, hence SDG 11 speaks of sustainable cities and human settlements linking urban and rural areas together across the continuum and as part of a system of places that are interconnected, share resources and provide a scaffolding for people and communities to move in search of new opportunities and aspirations. Na important question for us to consider is – ‘How important is migration in the context of cities and how does it affect both the cities and the regions that they’re located in?’ The movement of people from rural to urban areas is not a new phenomena. Migration is as old as human civilisation itself. People choose to move for environmental, political, economic and socio-cultural reasons.

Rural to urban migration is just one of the three drivers of urbanisation, accounting for about 25% of urban population growth. The other factors are natural population increases and the reclassification of rural áreas into urban ones. Young people are 40% more likely than older people to move from rural to urban areas or across urban areas.

They are a range of pull and push factors that influence migration dynamics. Pull factors include urban opportunities that attract mostly young, better-educated, enterprising people because of the prospects of jobs and better income as well as access to better health and education services and improved quality of life. Push factors include war and conflict as seen in Syria, famine and drought and extreme weather conditions as seen in the Sahel. Climate Change is anticipated to become a significant driver of involuntary migration in many parts of the world over the next few decades. Other push factors include rural economic distress, as in the United States during the Great Depression of the 1930s and poverty or poor living conditions in Northern Europe in the late 19th century that brought migrants to the Americas.

There are four major forms of migration within a country: Rural to Rural migration, which is the most common form of migration in many parts of the world, especially, as people move their location of residence economic opportunity; Rural to Urban migration- the most dramatic was 117 million Chinese moving from rural to urban areas to seek better employment opportunities between 2000 and 2010; Urban to Urban migration as people move from smaller to larger cities in search of opportunity and sometimes in the reverse direction as they retire or in search of better environments; Urban to Rural migration, which happens in cases of serious urban unrests or economic breakdown- a classic case is a nine-month long Mumbai mill workers strike in the 1980s which led to the shift of striking workers back to villages from which they had come from. But there are complex and counter-intuitive dynamics that underlie urban-rural migration. In the 1960s, the new post-colonial Kenyan government tried to address unemployment in Nairobi, by establishing an agreement with public and private employers to increase employment in exchange for a wage freeze by workers. In practice, rather surprisingly, urban unemployment increased rather than decreased. Harris and Todaro, demonstrated through their theoretical model that the rate of rural to urban migration is a function of the rural-urban wage differential and the ratio of jobs to jobseekers. While urban wages are usually higher than rural wages, urban incomes maybe less than rural incomes because not everyone can find work that they’re looking for in cities.

People will only migrate from the countryside to cities if their real income in the city is more than their income in the countryside. How do cities cope with migration? According to the World Migration Report 2015, the biggest challenge for urban governance is a need to ensure adequate infrastructure and service delivery to diverse and growing populations. This requires new and innovative policy approaches that recognise urban diversity as positive, and take an inclusive approach to all segments of society.

Migration and how it’s governed is thus at the frontline of urban planning and sustainable development and yet we have several instances where this is far from being accomplished. An example is Operation ‘Move the Rubbish’, a cleanup campaign in 2005 led by the President of Zimbabwe. Shanty towns on the outskirts of the capital Harare were demolished. Over 700,000 residents were displaced and at least 2.4 million people were indirectly affected. According to the government, the campaign was to improve Harare as it cleaned up illegal housing and informal employment while also reducing the risk of disease. In effect this only accelerated involuntary migration.

Parte B

Let us now turn to the issue of International migration. In 2015 the number of international migrants worldwide, that is, people residing in a country other than their country of birth was the highest ever-recorded at 244 million.

Close to 1 in 5 migrants in the world live in the top 20 largest cities according to the World Migration Report 2015. International migrants makeup over a third of the total population of cities like Sydney, Auckland, Singapore and London. At least 1 in 4 residents of Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris is foreign-born. The first point to note here, is that millions of people move in difficult circumstances even though migration is often subject to serious barriers. This is in a world, that encourages the mobility of capital and technology but not of people. 2015 saw the highest levels of force displacement globally, recorded since the Second World War with a dramatic increase in the number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people, across many regions of the world from Africa to the Middle East and South Asia. The second point to note is, that most of these migrants move to cities in other countries since they offer better  opportunities for work, social services and the chance to connect and cluster with their own ethnic groups.

Let’s look at a few examples: migration from Mexico to the United States has both positive and negative effects for both countries. In many cases, Mexican migrants take on menial jobs for lower pay in US cities providing them wages higher than in Mexico but effectively subsidising and supporting wealthier US enterprises and citizens. As economic growth slowed in the United States and unemployment soared, politicians have used migration as a tensions. Mexico has a significant agricultural economy. Many migrants come from rural backgrounds leaving a shortage of farmers in rural areas. The financial remittances sent by international migrants back to their families in origin countries amounted to na estimated 600 billion dollars in 2015, over two-thirds of which was sent to developing countries. The biggest source of foreign exchange in the Philippines is remittances from international migrant workers. In 2012, the country received 23 billion dollars of remittances largely from Saudi Arabia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Migration can also be forced – within a country or between them because of war, civil strife or extreme poverty, lack of employment opportunities or even development or disaster-linked displacement. Most forced displacement globally, still occurs within national boundaries with an estimated 38 million people internally displaced by conflict and violence at the end of 2014: from Iraq to South Sudan, from Syria to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria. National governments like France and the United Kingdom have adopted strong policies of immigrant assimilation, they encourage migrants to adapt to the customs, attitudes and culture of their host country often leading to other forms of identity conflict. Yet there are many examples of successful integration: In 1907, the Brazilian and Japanese governments signed a treaty allowing Japanese migration to Brazil, many people of Japanese origin centered in neighbourhoods near the centre of the Sao Paulo.

Since then, an influx of Korean and Chinese migrants contributed to the East Asian charm of these neighbourhoods. As more immigrant populations moved in, so did the neighbourhood’s commercial worth. These neighbourhoods are now popular among tourists and are na integral part of Paulista culture.

Museologia social e Urbanismo XVIII

2. Employment, labor markets and informality

  1. Why is there a disproportionate representation on women in the informal economy, what are the particular vulnerabilities that arise from that?

I’m Renana Jhabvala, and I represent the Self-Employed Women’s Association and that stands for SEWA. Self-Employed Women’s Association is actually a trade union of women in the informal economy.

We have yearly membership, last year we were 1.7 million, hopefully this year 2 women together for their rights but we also realise that development is equally if not more important, and so we have helped women to have their own companies, their own cooperatives, we have our own bank and I think we must have sponsored by now, over 105 cooperatives or companies. All my life, I’ve worked with, for, on behalf of women in the informal economy and that is what I’d like today’s lesson to be about.

Let’s start with the SDGs. As part of implementation of these SDGs, the UN, in fact, the Secretary-General in the UN had set up has set up a panel; it’s called the Secretary General’s UN High-level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. This is the first time that at that level women’s economic empowerment as opposed to reproductive rights, education, violence that women are recognised as economic actors and that very much fits in with the SDGs. The panel has submitted its first report, here you can see the cover of the report. It was launched at the UN General Assembly this year in 2016 and I’m showing, I’d like to show yo  u this particular diagram which sort of represents a summary of all the things that this panel says. Now in the diagram, if you’re looking at it now, you can see that work, women’s work is divided into four types Informal work, Formal sector employees, Agriculture and Women-owned enterprises.

Informal work and Agriculture: these two are by large, by far the largest number of women work there, employees the largest number, some are self-employed, some are wage employed, some are contract, all types of work both in agriculture and in informal work. However, if we look at urban áreas then we see that informal work is by far the predominant. Now, let’s go back to this diagram: the seven primary drivers of women’s economic empowerment. I’m going to go through it with you only because this is the direction and then it’s very broad, obviously, urban,rural, every country and so on and then how does it apply to our country, our urban workers, our urban informal workers and I’d like to give you some examples. So, first of all, is Adverse norms and role models: We all know girls are not allowed to the houses, girls are married off early, girls are allowed to study up to a certain point and not after. Legal protection: there’s all kinds of legal protection, I’ll come to that for our country.

Recognising, reducing and redistributing unpaid work and care: now a lot of girls and women are not able to work, are not able to work productively because they have to do care work in the houses but also a lot of women work productively like domestic workers, in care work. Then this one, which I think is perhaps the most important is: Building assets and assets means property but assets today are also financial assets and digital assets. And the others are: Changing corporate culture, Improving public sector practices and Strengthening visibility, collective voice and representation. If you cannot voice your issues and if you cannot epresent your issues, then there is very little likelihood your issues will change. So, this is sort of, for me a very central point. Let me now come to India and what we have been seeing.

The largest or a very large number of women are what is called home-based workers. It fits in with the social norms: women are not allowed out of the houses, women have to do care work and therefore they try to do productive work within the homes. Here you can see some examples of women doing home-work. Now, if you ask the women what’s the best thing about doing home-work, they’ll say that it’s in the home and they can do other duties but what’s the worst thing is because it’s in the home they are not able to be productive, get skills, get finance. So, they always work at very low skill levels and very little earnings. What is very interesting about these home-based workers is that they’re linked-in with the market.

Some of them are self-employed, a lot of them, very interestingly, are linked-in with global supply chains. If you actually look at what they’re making, it leads into a very long chain with the big companies, big multinational companies like GAP, Monsoon or Ikea or Walmart or many, many others. So these home-based workers are often the very last chain of a global supply chain.

What can we do? And I’d like to give you some solutions. Now these women in the global supply chain, in the urban areas, where do they live? They live in a slum areas where they don’t have toilets, they don’t have access to water; so their productivity is obviously very low. They can’t raise their productivity, they don’t even have access to markets. Perhaps, if they did they could become self-employed and earn more.

What are some of the solutions? First is, to recognise that the home is often the workplace – it’s not just a dwelling-place, it’s also the workplace and especially for women and so when you improve slums, you’re also improving productivity, you’re also increasing employment and you’re also contributing to a global supply chain. So improvement of slums is not just about increasing people’s happiness, bettering the living conditions but it’s also about increasing our own GDP, increasing earnings and linking us in with the international markets.

In SEWA, this is something we have been doing, we have our own organisation called Mahila Housing Trust (MHT) and this Trust has helped women in, I think it would be over a lakh (1,00,00) families actually improve the dwelling through loans, through better and more safer housing, through better lighting and especially through better toilets, as you can see.

I’d also like to point to a new venture which is quite innovative, which is that many of these women don’t have access to loans for housing because their houses are not considered mortgageable. So, we have started a new venture called SEWA Grih Rin: SEWA housing finance company which actually lends loans to informal sector women even if their houses are not mortgageable. They are securitised but not mortgaged. Another solution is something that we have tried which is bringing women together and dealing directly with the multinationals, so that all the cuts that are made by the contractors and the steps in-between go to the actual producer and through that we find we have just, for many years, of course, for last 6-7 years we have this company called Ruaab and through it women have doubled and now almost tripled, their own earnings by directly supplying to the international market.

The second one, I want to tell you about is: the street vendors. Street vendors are not considered a real part of our economy, they’re driven away but public spaces are often used by street vendors and others to generate not only their own livelihoods but to also deliver na important service.

SEWA has been organising the street vendors, bringing them together, raising their voices and we now have a law which protects street vendors, which gives them a space in the city.

Unfortunately, that law has not yet been implemented in many cities, and so I would urge you and if you would like to look at different cities and see what is happening with the street vendors, I would urge you to look at the law, is it being implemented and if it is to be implemented, what kind of urban planning would we need, where street vendors can come in the morning and leave in the evening or have night markets or have temporary markets? There are many solutions which can be worked out for street vendors which will really protect employment.

Domestic workers, you know, they come to our houses, they do our work, and they go back again but they have very little access to improving their skills, they earn very little and they have no social protection. So, if they’re ill, they miss a day’s work and they have to spend. There are lots of issues around domestic workers, I would urge you to find out more.

The one thing I would like to point to, which is: the daughters of the domestic workers, the street vendors, the home-based workers, the informal sector: What is their future? Will they become street vendors and domestic workers? And SEWA has been trying, has been educating these girls – helping them to get into school, helping them to graduate and that’s not enough, you know. Girls who graduate from government schools find it very difficult to get into the labour force, so they need skills but they need a lot of confidence and you know a very important area which we have discovered and didn’t even know that it’s something that can be done is, you remember, I was talking to you about property: Digital property, the internet and all kinds of applications are a huge source of information which these young girls don’t have. Once, it’s either they cannot get on or if it at all exists it’s mediated through their brothers, their fathers and so on.

And we find that direct digital information is a sort of power for them, what we’re calling empowerment. So that’s a whole area of these young girls who are being educated – how do we get them into the workforce, how do we make them productive for the country and for us.

Just a small figure: the McKinsey Global Institute did a study and they found that if women were fully participant in the workforce as men are, then the GDP of the world would rise by 26%. So, from the economic point of view too, it’s important to get women into the workforce and especially in the urban workforce where the women’s participation rate is very low due to the fact that all those factors that I told you.

Finally, I think the only thing that will really change is for those women’s voices to be heard, for them to come together. I told you about our cooperative, I told you about our bank, I told you about our housing finance company and the way that we were able to change their own infrastructure was, they come together and they talked to the municipality. So, collective voice, a woman’s own empowerment by getting together, I think that’s the most important thing if we want to go towards change.

Museologia social e Urbanismo XVII

How can we make cities productive and reduce inequality at the same time?

Focuses on the theme of “productive” cities which although is not part of the formal SDG 11 statement, but it is an inevitable counter of the existing inequality in cities. We start the module with Aromar talking us through the what makes cities loci of production, and the forms of employment that exist in different parts of the world. Renana will lead us into the role of women in informal economy, followed by a case study on Self-Employed Women Association, India. Aromar then will also bring light to another critical phenomenon of migration, who migrates and why and what are the gaps in urban provisions and governance for them. Clare then reflects briefly on our current global debates around international migration and refugee crisis. Aromar then closes the module again with an overview of how wealth and inequality manifests itself in cities and how can these gaps be reduced[1] [2].

Cities are loci of production

  1. What enables cities to become centers of production, and yet reproduce and accentuate the inequality gaps?
  2. What are the ways in which inequality can be reduced, and cities can flourish?
  3. What are the implications of over-consumption in cities across spatial and temporal dimensions?

In this session, we will examine how cities are sites of production driven by economies of scope and scale, how they are transforming in the early 21st century with changes in the urban metabolism and economy, new technology and innovation.

We will also understand how to address social and environmental challenges that emerge from the growth of urbanisation and the transition towards sustainable production and consumption patterns.

Since the late 19th century, and the Industrial Revolution, cities have been primary centres of production of both goods and services across the world. Since the late 20th century as more than half of the global economy has come from urban areas, cities have also become primary centres of consumption and in some cases, over-consumption and associated debt which is starting to challenge not only national economies, but also the local and global environment. A key question for us is “Why is this production concentrated in cities?

The availability of infrastructure and basic services, access to finance and markets, lower transportation and transaction costs, better living and working conditions, the presence of government institutions, other enterprises, centres of education, knowledge and innovation – all of these spur urban productivity in almost all parts of the world and this leads people and enterprises to cluster in cities, making them more productive than villages.

This positive feedback loop where production concentrates along centres of demand or consumption is driven by economies of scale, opportunities for competitive pricing and positive externalities. The action of one enterprise, let’s say an IT firm or a market for agriculture produce in the limited confines of a city creates demands for other goods, computers, transportation, building and insurance services in the same location. As innovation, research and development, access to finance and more recently the creative economy become important drivers of economic activity, cities that are more attractive become increasingly successful and competitive. These activities drive the demand for jobs and with higher wages expand urban markets. This creates a positive spiral of production and consumption and greater concentration of enterprises, talent and creativity in networks of cities across the world.

There are two broad processes that drive this: First, Economies of Scale or Agglomeration and the Second, Economies of Scope. Urban systems tend to experience significant economies of scale, especially, around the provision of economic and social services such as potable water and sanitation, comercial energy, transportation, health and education. The cost of provision of these services reduces dramatically as the size and density of population of an urban area increases. This tends to bring down the cost of living, production and consumption in towns and cities.

But as cities grow very large, economies of agglomeration tend to slow, and sometimes stop because of the negative externalities of urban sprawl, declining environmental quality and the concentration of urban risk.

Economies of Scope is about making different but compatible products in a way that distinct goods can be produced without additional inputs. This has become more important with the growth of the internet and connectivity in both manufacturing and the services sectors and especially in network societies.

Multifunctional flexible spaces such as large wholesale markets for everything – from agricultural produce to electronics, in Asia are a powerful reminder of this. The close proximity of enterprises, creative activity and their dense inter-connectivity enables rapid gains in productivity.

For example, in Dharavi, Asia’s largest informal settlement, which is home to tens of thousands of informal enterprises, they share the same supply chains and credit services. This is often true even among competing enterprises in the same industry in the same city.

Detroit became the world’s Auto-capital in the 20th century because Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, all clustered there. This brought large numbers of skilled workers to multiple factories in the city making it cheap and easy for suppliers to transport and distribute motor parts and sub-assemblies across Detroit. But this unfortunately rarely lasts forever, especially if the productive base of the city is tied to one industry. The decline of the American Automobile Industry in the 1990s triggered a contraction of Detroit’s urban economy, many parts of the city were abandoned and finally in 2013 the city filed for bankruptcy.

The clustering of banks and financial institutions in a few global financial centres like New York, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore and Frankfurt also reflects a similar process. The productivity gains that we see from innovation clusters like in the Silicon Valley, Cambridge and the Tsukuba Science city near Tokyo speak to the impact of economies of scope, deployment of new technologies, innovation and the power of knowledge-networks in cities.

Over many waves of globalisation, networks of different sets of cities have driven and dominated the world economy. This map shows a network of world cities of the 16th century tied to the old Silk Road and the Indian Ocean trade routes.

This next map shows a late 20th century economic network dominated by cities, trade and financial flows between the largest industrial economies. The clustering of cities and patterns of exchange are changing rapidly in the early 21st century.

This reflects shifts in the global economy as it moves from Europe and North America towards Asia and the global South. This view of night lights from space is a powerful visual exposition of this change. But even in the early 21st century, a few cities and urban regions tend to concentrate a disproportionate share of value-added. Just 100 of India’s cities are estimated to produce 40% of its economic output, the rest come from 7800 urban centres and 640,000 villages.

Contrary to the popular perception that mega cities of 10 million and above, are the drivers of the world economy, the reality is, that almost half the world economy and much of its economic growth comes from mid-sized cities of between half a million to about 10 million. This is where the battle for the SDGs will be fought and won.

The rapid growth of urban production since the mid – 20th century has had its consequences. In a bid to improve productivity of labour and capital, enterprises have engaged in competition to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. While these productivity gains signal innovation and efficiency, they can also impose severe economic, social and environmental costs.

For example, labour concentrated in and around Mexico city is much cheaper than that in the United States. Over 1.5 million children and teenagers between the ages of 5-17, are reportedly employed in garment factories near Mexico city that produce a mind-numbing item-a-minute for export to the United States. While this does provide productive employment and considerable value addition to the enterprises involved in export to the United States, the impact on human health, safety and inequality are often extreme.

The electronics industry in Nigeria has grown dramatically over the last few decades. Lagos, Africa’s largest city is also one of the largest e-waste dump sites in the world. This leads to severe water and air pollution putting the health of large numbers of people as well as the planet at risk.

These dis-economies of scale limit the expansion of cities and regions through a process of participative planning, appropriate policies and incentives, cities can define the appropriate spatial scale, density, urban form and connectivity that can enable sustainability: this will enable a holistic implementation of the SDGs in urban areas and their surrounding regions. Cities like Vancouver or Melbourne have attempted to do this through their long-term planning and sustainable development processes.

Cities now host half or more of the global population. City-dwellers typically have higher incomes and expenditures than most people who live in the countryside, hence, urban consumption will typically be higher than rural consumption. The challenge is to ensure that it satisfies two requirements: First, that it meets the needs of everyone and leaves nobody behind and Second, that it does not harm the environment.

The metabolismo of cities, by which I mean the flow of people, money, goods and services is increasingly becoming the metabolism of the world. How we transform this will determine how we achieve the SDGs. Cities and citizens of the 21st century can establish a new trend in which they are both producers and consumers. This has significant implications for urban and city design: it signals a shift from na earlier imagination in which production and consumption was separated and cities were zoned to segregate places of work from places of residence.

This implies in sustainable cities, a shift to more mixed-use, moderate to high density urban fabric and a more sustainable economy and urban metabolism. A classic example is a growth of rooftop solar PV electricity that is growing not only in high-income but also in middle-income countries. Each building can now become a centre for decentralised energy production. During electricity is produced that is required in the building, it can be sold electronically to the power grid or stored locally. The presumer that is, the producer and the consumer, is billed only for the net amount of electricity that’s drawn from the grid, deducting what they produced. Germany now meets significant proportions of its energy demand from rooftop solar power. To make cities more sustainable, urban resource flows need to be transformed from being linear to circular where there is effectively no waste production.

The waste of one process becomes a feed for the next as has been practiced by waste-pickers in many cities of the global South. Metals and other materials such as glass and paper can be separated at source and recycled multiple times.

Cradle-to-cradle production and consumption systems are starting to become mainstream in high-income economies: these need to be adapted and incentivised more broadly in other parts of the world.

The threat of climate change will require a transition away from the use of non-renewable resources like fossil energy and fóssil groundwater to renewable resources like photo-voltaic and wind energy, recycling and re-using surface and rechargeable groundwater.

In some parts of the world, this may mean embracing a steady state urban economy, in others, it will imply na aggressive transition to a productive, green and circular economy in cities.

What’ve we learned from the session?

People and enterprises are drawn to cities because of dramatic increases in economic productivity and opportunities that come from the economies of scope and scale.

The growth of over-consumption, sprawl and excessive city-size creates serious social and environmental externalities and impact, that first reduces and then negates these gains.

Addressing the urban SDGs in a holistic manner can reduce the concentration of environmental externalities and risks in cities. Citizens and cities have to be both producers and consumers in the 21st century as we initiate a shift towards a productive, green and circular economy.



Museologia Social e Urbanismo XVI

. Safety and Violence in cities

Lecturer: Professor of Law, Dean of the School of Law, Middlesex University, London + Adjunct Professor of Law, Irish Centre for Human Rights, Galway, Ireland

Discussion prompts:

  1. Is the city unsafe for all, or is it a few who are more vulnerable? Give examples of cases where attempts have been made and cities have been made safer places to live in for all?
  2. How does the failure of law and order lead to violence in cities and in what forms?

In understanding the concept of Safety and Violence, there’s an analogy I want to draw in what law tries to achieve. Let’s talk about Justice on the one hand, and Order on the other. And law has always tried to straddle this particular divide between Justice and Order. So on the one hand, Law is nothing more than a series of rules guaranteed, or seeking to guarantee, that there is an ordered society. So that gives you the Order.

Justice is quite a different aspect altogether. Justice requires you to go deeper to understand the extent to which everybody within that particular society, can benefit from certain elements within it. And this straddle between Order and Justice has been a constant battle, and unfortunately Law has always, always come down on the side of Order.

There’s a famous writer – in 1973 he wrote a book called ‘Cultural Forces in World Politics’; his name was Ali Mazrui, he was a Kenyan and Ali Mazrui talked about – he said something like … the Prince of Peace resides at the United Nations, and he was trying to argue, that actually we seem to have chosen a Christian version of how Order and Justice marry each other. So he said for instance, in Christianity, you talk about Justice in the future in heaven – here we need Order, Peace and Order and he said – Well in some other religions he talked about Islam, I don’t necessarily agree with everything that he says, but he said ‘Well in Islam, sometimes there’s a predominance of thinking about Justice and Order’. So they are diferente weights that people give these particular concepts and it’s hard to understand where you fit, in that spectrum; between on the one hand creating a society that’s ordered, on the other hand ensuring that the order is not just order but a ‘just Order’ that is an Order with Justice at the heart of it.

Cities give you a landscape to examine that concept against, because cities on the one hand, will function well if they’re ordered, if everything works as it should, if there’s a good health system, if there’s a good traffic system, if the sanitation works, if businesses feel comfortable in investing there. So you need Order to run the city, but what about Justice?

How important is Justice in the agenda of cities? Now Justice for me in that particular concept, would be to understand a city where all the inhabitants there, have access equally to those mechanisms you’ve created. So the challenge is not just to stop at Order, but to ensure that the order we create is a ‘just Order’ and for me if you can create that ‘just Order’ in a city, then you’re moving a great way towards generating the Safety, and the Freedom from Violence that you want to. We need to also understand that Violence is not just physical aggression, but that Violence contains a range of diferente spectrums, all of which somehow contribute to people being unsafe, and as a consequence, contribute to insecurities.

The current debate in many states, in many societies, in many cities is ‘Oh! this threat of terrorism!’ Let me just put that in a perspective – If people feel that they don’t have a stake in society, if they feel their voices are not going to be understood and included, they have nothing to gain in that society. They are no longer stakeholders. That means they can blow things up, they can damage things, they can throw things at it. If on the other hand you are a stakeholder, and you feel that you can somehow address the societal problems that either you as an individual face or your community faces, well then you might decide that somehow blowing things up isn’t the best option and that maybe you need to negotiate, and maybe you need to engage in conversation. This challenge is acute in cities. It’s particularly acute, because you have conglomerations of people from diferente ethnicities, different religious backgrounds, who come there to the great place on the hill to try and make their money, to try and ensure that they have a sustainable lifestyle. What happens when they fail? What happens when particular groups somehow don’t make it? Why do they not make it? In India for instance, in British colonial India when the British were looking at Adivasis (Tribals), what we know as Adivasis now – they had a piece of legislation in 1871 called the Criminal Tribes Act. Just think about this – Criminal Tribes Act – that meant that entire swathes of populations, were deemed as criminals before they had committed a crime. They were criminal tribes – Why?

Well, because was one of the individuals may have been caught committing a crime, does that make the entire tribe, a criminal tribe? Now this isn’t some kind of anti-colonial rhetoric – the Indian government in 1952 has something called the Habitual Offenders Act – very similar, so you have this idea that somehow there are criminal classes, and then there’s the rest of society. when you interrogate that idea a little bit further, you realise that these tags don’t fit. These tags are ways in which you exclude particular population, keep them far removed from sites of power and then insist that the scraps that they are thrown should be enough for them too – to play the game, as we want them to play it.

That is a fundamental problem. It’s a fundamental problem, because it does not build security for them, it builds security for us. And the consequence of building security for us – we need to understand, in a shared crowded space like a city, is security for me necessarily involves security for my neighbour. I can’t be walking around in a security-bubble if my neighbour’s feeling insecure. Because my neighbour’s insecurity is going to impact me in dramatic terms, because of the proximity they feel to me, and because of the physical way in which we co-live in cities; that person’s insecurity is going to impact me, if their way of dealing with their insecurity is to use violence, that violence is going to impact me. We don’t live in bubbles in cities. I know there are many attempts to do that. There are many gated communities, all over all the cities in the world; those gates are only effective as long as you police them effectively. The problem with policing them effectively is there are always more creative ways to avoid that particular policing. So we have a choice here. We either understand how we can create inclusive societies that benefit all, or we decide for whatever tag you want to use. You decide these people are somehow ‘x’, these people are terrorists, these people are habitual offenders, these people are criminals, these people are thieves; we can build that narrative for ourselves, we can try and build walls to keep those people out, they will find a way of getting in. There is no way you can physically win that particular security battle.

You’ve got to try something else. If you’re trying to put a nail into a wall, and you keep hammering it harder and harder and you decide – ‘Oh, well you know that’s not going in, I need a bigger hammer and you bring the biggest hammer you want to, and you keep hammering it and it’s still not going in, we need to pause and ask ourselves whether that in fact is a nail or perhaps its a screw!

Perhaps it needs a screwdriver! We need to think about some different tools than the simple tools that we have, where we collectively tag people as ‘X’ and then we collectively put in place mechanisms that would try to deal with them, that sweep everybody up in that particular mechanism, that collectively punish everyone and then resort to excluding them from any potential solutions of the future. This is at the heart of the city’s agenda, and getting it right is the only way in which we can move towards safe and sustainable cities. If you look at our criminal justice institutions, and again I would like you to examine the Minority Rights Forum[1] that took place, the Eighth Minority Rights Forum that you will see a webcast of, if you decide to look at in this link – if you look at that particular forum you will see stories from across the world. The basic fact is Minorities, Ethnic communities Linguistic groups, Women are under-represented in the institutions, but very often especially for Minorities over-represented as inmates. So you have here a problem by which Minorities are being tagged as criminals, sometimes because they may have committed criminal acts, often because of the bias of the institution who has nobody from that community there. So you then have swathes of people who appear to be criminals and other swathes of people, who appear to be policemen or policewomen.

Policeman usually. And that’s a problem, because there is no empathy between the criminal justice institution and the so-called criminals. Very often, many of those so-called criminals, we later find are under-trials with no case to answer, very often we find that even if they had a case to answer, the punishment often of waiting for their trial for long periods of time, criminalises them. So this is to say that the mechanisms we have within cities and the criminal justice mechanism is just one of those. The criminal justice mechanism does not make our societies safer – it actually makes them more violent. If that is a problem, we need to assess that problema with an objective, calm mind put our prejudices aside and start trying to solve the problem, and move towards ways in which we can engender and find fine mechanisms to address this. If it’s Safety and Freedom from Violence we are after that is an aspiration we can achieve, but to be able to achieve that aspiration, we have to get out-of-the-box that we often put other people in. And that is, in the cities is particularly acute, because you see that whichever city you look at prison conditions are often vile because society feels these are individuals who should not have any more stake, so they lock them up somewhere. Inevitably those criminal justice institutions, especially prisons are over-represented by people from one particular caste, one particular ethnic group, one particular religion – inevitably in that particular religion or in that particular setting in which they are left, they come together in common cause and the one cause they have, is they feel excluded. And they are left with plenty of time, with nothing to do and the impact is immediate. Instead of moving towards a society that creates gainful employment, that uses all the resources at it’s behest, that ensures that every single element that inhabits the small space in which we live, can actually benefit every individual, we don’t! We create wealth that benefits the few.

Inevitably that wealth that benefits the few, is then used as almost an instrument to avoid everybody else gaining from it. So inclusive is a word I would suggest is fundamental, to understanding how cities of the future should operate. That inclusivity has to engage with all communities. There’s a very famous criminologist who started his career at the institution I work in now in Middlesex University in London.

His name was Jock Young, and he looked quite a lot at riots that took place in cities like London, that were Afro- Caribbean – they were labelled as ‘Afro-Caribbean Riots’. And he said – ‘Oh! These black people are destroying the city there somehow undermining it’, and again not that dissimilar to my example on the Criminal Tribes Act, Habitual Offenders Act – if you tag people with a brush and tell them, that they are actually criminals and as a consequence of that exclude them – how do they participate in your inclusive society? How do they? How do they then sit with you at a boardroom? How do then sit with you within your institutions? How do they make decisions around budgets with you? How is it that you can do that? If we we have to understand that crime, a fundamental aspect of dealing with crime is to assume the presumption of innocence; everybody is innocent until proven guilty, beyond a shadow of doubt. We don’t have that principle very firmly rooted in our imaginations, we have it in our laws. But it’s not in our imaginations. In our imaginations we label people, and in cities we seem to do it very much more.

There was an aspiration at the start of globalisation – Thomas Frank, a very famous international lawyer talked about this phenomenon of Postmodern Tribalism the argument is – look, ‘Globalisation is going to bring all these communities together, we can benefit from the richness in the diversity, it will no longer matter what your gender is, what your religion is, what you eat at home, how you dress – we will just engage with each other as human beings; hopefully we will learn from each other, we might also dislike each other but we will keep those dislikes to ourselves, we will engage in a manner that’s fair.’ That dream lies shattered because in fact what happened in cities, is as these communities came together there was a greater insecurity that was framed, and people realise that – Oh well if I’m going to succeed, that means I need to succeed in competition with the other group that’s also trying to succeed, and that particular competition didn’t bring the best out of each, it was a race to the bottom. And in that particular race to the bottom, our criminal justice institutions played a big role because they used this kind of ethos, this lens, that suggested that some groups had a higher propensity to crime than others. As a consequence, you still see a bias, for instance across the world. Financial crimes do not get the same kind of punishment that other types of crimes get. Why is that? When we know that the current economic crisis starting from 2008, that has spanned now will span a decade and perhaps more?

How is it that the people who are responsible for the financial crimes that have given us this, don’t face the same kind of angst and same kind of – I guess- bias that somebody who steals a purse might feel? What is the logic behind that? Why is it that we feel justified in being able to treat the petty criminal who might be trying to feed her or his family? Why is it that we feel disdain towards them, and don’t feel disdain to the the crimes of the powerful – the financial times of the powerful, which have created systems that have prevented the extent to which societies can generate the kind of wealth that we all collectively rely on, to be able to have a sustainable future and a sustainable world.

I think that’s the challenge we face if we understand that particular challenge, and if we interpret that particular challenge in creating fairer institutions, we will then create the bulwark to be able to allow cities to be those well-generating, ideas- generating, progressive elements we need them to be, if we are going to understand a sustainable world for 2030 and beyond.


Museologia Social e Urbanismo XV

Inclusive development Inclusive urban development

Discussion prompts:

  1. What are the challenges faced in making cities inclusive?
  2. What are the current constraints to universal “right to the city”?

Hello my name is Eugenie Birch and I’ve been asked by SDSN to offer a few thoughts on Inclusive Urban Development.

Let’s approach this very complicated subject by asking a few key questions.

First, what is inclusive Urban Development? Can a single definition cover the topic? Does context matter?

Second, what cities have implemented inclusive Urban Development comprehensively and what cities have not?

And if so, what have been the ingredients of success in the cities that have implemented? If not, what have been the primary barriers? And the key question is how can success be replicated and barriers be overcome?

And finally what conceptual frameworks can guide successful inclusive Urban Development? What value systems? What visions can inform this approach?

Let’s go to the dictionary, to answer our first question. We’re going to take this phrase apart. Inclusive, usually means comprehensive or all-encompassing. Urban, obviously refers to cities and Development can have many meanings: growth, expansion, progress, improvement.

Now let’s put them together: Inclusive + Urban + Development. One definition might be – ‘Growth that allows all human beings to reach their highest potential in cities’ or another definition might be – ‘Improvements that encompass planning and building a better urban future for the next generation.’ You can see just from these two pieces that I’ve put together that this concept is a very broad concept and can mean many things to many people. That makes it a little bit difficult on one hand, to try to create substantive policies that will meet the ends, meet these definitions. On the other hand, we can take what definitions we want, keep them broad and go forward and that’s what we’re going to do today.

How many cities do we have? Well, some experts tell us we have more than 150,000 population or more, located throughout the world. However, of these cities 600 and only 600 produce 60% of the world’s GDP.

We hear the world, much talk about mega cities but actually they represent a very small proportion of the total population and the total number of cities. In actuality where we’re going to face the real problems is going to be in the small and medium-sized cities as they grow and expand in the future. But all cities are going to be facing three big problems:

The first one, is how they’re going to deal with climate change in a sustainable way. The second is, how they’re going to address issues of the environment, particularly of natural disasters and human-made disasters in the future? And lastly, how are they going to deal with inclusive development that will promote the reduction of inequality, the reduction of poverty for all citizens and that will meet the definition that we talked about earlier of Inclusive Urban Development.

When we talk about cities of the world we must remember not only do we have to distinguish among different sized cities and the different kinds of problems they have, but we also must distinguish among the cities of different levels of development. I’m going to lump together now a sort of the cities of the what we’ll call the Global North, the cities that are well-developed, have been developed for a century or so.

The kinds of issues that they are facing particularly around the common issues that we’re talking about of climate change, resilience and inequality are far different in terms of the details of how to address them than the cities of the Global South.

1) Many cities of the Global North have excess housing, excess areas, excess neighbourhoods that are not well populated, in fact, highly abandoned and this has occurred as those cities and their surrounds have grown outward and experienced dramatic urban sprawl, with growth rates that are higher than the growth rates of the population. We’re talking about issues of financing housing and other public services for those middle and lower-income groups, we’re talking about energy, we’re talking about ageing infrastructure, we’re talking about how we’re going to repair and build the infrastructure that’s needed in the next few years as these places exist. Remember, they’re not going to grow dramatically but they still have large populations that need to be accommodated and are still facing the three common issues.

Let’s now turn to the Global South. We’re talking about in some instances, yes, sprawl but we’re also talking about some very basic and minimal issues: We’re talking about populations moving into cities, into their cores, into their peripheral areas and living at the most minimum levels of existence, living without basic services. We’re talking about basic services, we’re talking about water, we’re talking about sewers, we’re talking about social services like schools, healthcare and so forth. In terms of the systems in these cities, we’re talking about the failure to provide adequate transportation, the failure to be able to control pollution and the failure to educate the young or to provide jobs for everyone.

So when we’re talking about Inclusive Urban Development, we need to take into consideration the context in which we are going to be operating. Let’s go to the second question:

2) What cities have implemented Inclusive Urban Development, comprehensively? I can’t think of any city that is a complete model for Inclusive Urban Development but I can think of cities that have begun to take this road and then have wonderful examples of projects or efforts that will contribute to this goal that we talked about when we define Inclusive Urban Development of providing a good life for all the residents in the city and for the future generations and we can also point the cities that are doing a very poor job at this as well.

So let’s take a little look at that: New York city, this is a city that’s growing, it’s economically prosperous but it’s suffering from huge issues of affordability for many of the basic services, particularly in providing housing for those who are in the middle and lower-income groups. So that’s one issue that is needed to be addressed and is beginning to be addressed and it’s current Mayor who has pledged to create over 200,000 units of affordable housing in the time of his administration. In the past the city has been successful in taking housing that was very abandoned in the 90s, in the 80s.

The city created a very important and innovative financing scheme and was able to take those units and bring them up to standard, just at the time when new populations were coming into the city and thus were accommodated by that new housing.

So, let’s turn to the Global South now and see what cities have been successful. Medellin,Colombia, well renowned for the success it had in instituting systems of Transportation, Social services, Housing and so forth to integrate peripheral informal settlements with the city itself. It was a comprehensive system and continues to be a comprehensive system of systems that is of delivery of public goods into the neighbourhoods that are so needy to make sure that this integration – economic and social integration of the people who are living informally were living at the periphery of the society.

If we move to the next picture we see an image of Ridwan Kamil, the Mayor of Bandung, Indonesia. I’ve chosen to put him here because I want to underline the fact that none of these things happen in terms of sustainable Urban Development unless there is vision and leadership at the top that’s informed by the local knowledge at the bottom, and other parties who can help contribute to the creation of Inclusive Sustainable Urban Development. And in this case Mayor Kamil has decided that the way to deal with the burgeoning growth of that city is to institute a master plan and implement that master plan in the next few years that will deal with some of the failing systems.

We can see two examples of non-inclusive Urban Development: you see pavement dwellers. This is certainly not the kind of shelter that we would expect to have. You see an example of disease that occurred and is continuing to occur in various places when we don’t have the proper sanitation and this instance is Ebola, in other instances it could be SARS, it could be any number of diseases that will come to places that do not practice sustainable Urban Development.

Now, there are few takeaways from this particular section: 1) There are major differences among different kinds and sizes of cities with regard to how they Development, yet, what they have in common is and approaches that are systemic, that involve planning, that are multi-sectoral and that are conceived of as projects that will take a long time but can be attacked incrementally as they go forward.

This brings us to our third question: What conceptual frameworks can guide

Inclusive Urban Development?

Again, when we’re talking about 4416 cities around the world, we can’t say that there is one form or one shape of leadership or one shape of governance that will be effective and so we need to find ways to provide leadership that is shared, that’ll build on consensus, that can break through the resistance to change, that might incorporate disruptive technologies but that will in the end result in commitment on part of all sectors of society to new paradigms of development. So, what is this going to take?

It’s going to take money, it’s going to take law, legislation, it’s going to take evidence-based research to show what might work and what might not work, it will take global pressure to push some societies in these directions and regrettably it may take conflict and violence.

Obviously we don’t want to move to this last piece. Obviously, we need to think about multi-scale solutions when we think about Inclusive Urban Development. We need to think of the kinds of activities that are appropriate at the national level, at the regional level, at the city level and the neighbourhood level, we need to think of new roles for urban researchers and professionals, for public and private decision makers and for community groups and citizens to work at each one of these levels. I want to take a little time out to think about what would happen with cities were planned as if women mattered?

We know that basically we would be talking about policies that would work on where women lived. Do they live in safe places? Do they have secure tenure?

Do they have housing that is near the jobs that they may have or their families may have? Is the shelter that they have durable? Is the shelter that they have supplied with the appropriate infrastructure? Does it have water, sanitation, open space? What social services are there? Are there health services? Are there education services? How safe is it for a woman to walk the streets to get to where she needs to be? And one could substitute any other vulnerable group in this list of things and this is not a comprehensive list.

It’s just a list to suggest the kinds of things we need to take into consideration when we’re thinking about special groups. We’ll now turn to the idea of what global opinion can do to promote Inclusive Urban Development. Global opinion can get behind policy frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals as was done in 2014 with the creation of the post-2015 framework.

Included in that list was the critical statement “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” and associated with that statement, were the elements that will do so: the physical elements that will do so. I focus and take time to underline this idea that we’re talking about spatial arrangements here. You can’t have prosperity, you can’t have solid environment, you can’t have equity if you don’t have people living in good housing that has basic services, if they don’t have efficient and accessible transportation, if the environment is not supportive of a healthy life, if they’re living in places that are not resistant to resilience, if the cultural, natural heritage is not protected, if public space is not created and if it’s not done with the vision and for that urban planning brings to this process of promoting Inclusive Urban Development. So we cannot underline the importance of global action, global opinion in supporting those nations in whatever decisions they make as to how they will implement Inclusive Urban Development.

So, we have looked at three key questions: What is Inclusive Urban Development? We decided that a single definition cannot cover the topic, that different places will define it as they need to because of the environment which they have, so context does matter. We have looked at whether cities have implemented Inclusive Urban Development comprehensively. Regrettably we can’t point to one but we can point to many cities that have begun to do so and when we looked at the ingredients of success, we saw that there was vision, there was leadership, there was participation at all levels, there was money, there was law, there was global opinion of what they were doing was right and hopefully, there was not violence.

And, finally, when we think about the conceptual frameworks that can guide successful Inclusive Urban Development, we know that each entity, each nation needs to have a value system and vision that will incorporate the ingredients that we have talked about the system’s housing, transportation, planning, environment, resilience to resistance and public space that will inform Inclusive Urban Development.