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Urban Development programmes Urban Development : Funding proposals by various stakeholders
UN tool will map 'science of cities' as rapid urbanization emerges as force in sustainable development
9 June 2016 – With the urban growth boom driving trends that will affect all aspects of sustainable development, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) is set to release today details of a new scientific tool that measures the rate of global urbanization, its characteristics, and the potential effect of urban sprawl on the quality of life for city dwellers.
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Urban Development Problems
Urban development is the planning and process by which metropolitan areas grow. Problems in urban development usually address topics such as city planning, urban decay, the effect of urban development on ecosystems, the sociological consequences of urban development and economic problems relating to all of these factors. By studying these issues, researchers seek to better understand the conditions under which cities prosper and suggests policies by which positive urban development can occur.

As population growth occurs, the need for housing increases. This can have a variety of effects on developing urban communities. In particular, it can result in urban sprawl, which occurs when urban areas begin to spread out and overrun undeveloped or rural communities. Additionally, if population grows in a city that has a large disparity in wealth, unequal living conditions tend to arise and as a result, poorer individuals are often forced to move into slums or other areas where housing conditions are substandard.

Urban sprawl occurs when urban or suburban areas with lower population densities overrun rural areas. Urban planners point out that areas characterized by sprawl make minimal use of land and are usually lacking in public transportation. Urban sprawl also tends to result in troubling environmental issues because those who live in suburbs tend to produce more pollution. Also, urban sprawl can threaten or virtually destroy natural ecosystems.

Urban decay is when an urban area falls into disorder and disrepair, and is usually accompanied by growing levels of unemployment, poverty, crime and political marginalization. It is also usually characterized by depopulation, abandoned or condemned buildings, and poor access to social services. Urban planners usually seek to offset urban decay through gentrification, whereby wealthier citizens are urged to buy property and invest in poorer neighborhoods under the assumption that it will help improve conditions for all in the area. However, some gentrification efforts have been criticized for running poorer people out of the area.

As cities grow and gaps in wealth disparity widen, economic problems arise. One such issue is the separation of the wealthy and the poor in urban areas as a result of unequal access to economic opportunities, resulting in the creation of slums. Slums are usually characterized by slack economic activity and a lack of opportunity for residents. When wealthier people and business move out of such areas because of declining property values, it exacerbates the problems within slums, often trapping residents in a cycle of poverty. Policies that promote commercial development within slums can help to alleviate these problems.

Sanitation is a big issue for all urban areas because having lots of people living in close proximity can lead to the spread of disease. Additionally, crime levels can rise along with population density. To combat these, public services such as street sweeping or garbage collection are the most common and basic things implemented, along with heightened police presence. Steps that are often taken include improving education throughout urban areas, which helps push down crime levels and promotes simple personal sanitation measures.
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Key issues and trends

Rapid urban population growth. In 2008, more than half of the world human population, 3.3 billion people, lived in urban areas. By 2030, this is expected to balloon to almost 5 billion. Most of this growth will be in developing countries. The urban population of Africa and Asia is expected to double between 2000 and 2030 (UNFPA, 2007).

Rise of megacities. Urban centers are increasing in size and number. At the beginning of the last century, there were only 11 megacities in the world with populations of more than 1 million each. By 2030, UN predicts that there will be more than 500 cities in the world with populations of more than 1 million each; more than half of these cities will be in Asia. In addition, the peri-urban areas in many big cities are rapidly expanding.

High urban poverty level. Asia's poor represent about 70% of the world's poor-nearly one in three Asians is poor. Almost 25% of Asia's urban population is poor, and the rate is increasing, as there is a continuous influx of poor people into cities.

Inadequate basic services. Large number of Asian cities cannot adequately provide urban basic services to the increasing number of urban residents. Less than half of the cities population is covered by water supply. A number of cities do not have efficient systems of solid waste collection. Majority of the cities in developing countries do not have sewerage system connections, and sanitary landfill facilities.

Environmental degradation. With an increasing population density, especially in slums areas, environmental and health problems are rising. In addition to mitigating air and noise pollution and controlling wastes, managing the consumption of non-renewable resources have become more serious concerns.

Key challenges

Sustaining urban areas as engines of growth. Cities are focal points for economic activities, and engines of economic growth. They are centers of excellence for education, health care, culture, technological innovation, entrepreneurship, social services, government administration, and communications with the world. They create opportunities for jobs, employment and livelihood. They are as well focal points for rural hinterlands to alleviate rural poverty.

Managing urban growth. The rapid rate of urbanization needs to be effectively managed to ensure that the potential economic and social development arising from urbanization are optimized to reduce poverty, improve the quality of life and protect the environment.

Bridging supply and demand gap on infrastructure services. There exists an enormous gap between demand for infrastructure services and capacity to finance urban development. In 2004, conservative estimates suggested about $250 million per year in infrastructure investments would be needed to support urban growth over the next 25 years.

Strengthening urban management capacity. Capacity of cities to manage urban growth and development, including preparedness to respond to disasters, needs to be strengthened. Project-based approaches with short time horizon adopted in some cities are unsustainable and did not effectively address long-term goals.

Decentralizing urban administration. Many governments have decentralized responsibilities to local governments. This gives local governments more strategic role in planning and decision-making in urban development. However, funding may not have always matched with devolved functions. Decentralization also requires collaboration between the central and local governments.

Responding to globalization. Globalization has thrust cities into new frontiers making it more imperative for cities to be globally competitive.

Key approaches in addressing urban issues and challenges

Stakeholder partnerships. Cities partner with private sector, other cities, and organizations to exchange information, build capacities, expand resources and enhance revenues, and implement improvements in urban management.

Formulation of city development strategies. Several cities across the region have formulated development strategies based on long-term visions and an analysis of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Cities recognized the essential link and complementarity between national development policies and city development strategies.

Inter-local cooperation. There is a growing appreciation for the linkages between rural and urban areas, particularly in terms of inter-local cooperation in the face of the emergence of city-regions or multi-modal metropolitan areas. City-regions are becoming the foci for integrated urban development, which is blurring the traditional distinction between "rural" and "urban".

Cities as ecosystems. With the increasing interest in sustainable urban development, cities are now being viewed as living ecosystems wherein a balance is sought among social, economic and environmental concerns. Related to these specific approaches to energy efficiency, disaster mitigation, as well as resource and cultural heritage conservation, are being developed.

City leaders as economic managers. City leaders have shifted from a purely political orientation to an entrepreneurial and economic management approach. Some cities have initiated successful experiments in innovative techniques adapted from the private business sector, such as asset management.
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Urban development - global solutions
The ways cities around the globe can make themselves smarter are as varied and multi-layered as the different sizes and shapes of the world's urban areas.

Cities face different problems. For one it might be dealing with transport, or crime, while for another sustainability, or streamlining public service provision and access to technology for all, might be important. There is no one-size-fits-all model.

What is good for one part of the UK might not be good for another; what works in Europe may not translate to the Americas. Making an existing urban area – London or New York, say – smarter is a very different prospect from starting afresh on a greenfield site.

"Everyone seems to have a different model of what constitutes a smarter city, depending on whether you are talking about sustainability or intelligent use of technology," says Dave Fitch, project manager at Edinburgh Napier University for the EU Smart Cities project, which is aimed at improving the development and delivery of joined-up e-services in a series of northern European municipalities including Norfolk and Edinburgh. "We have colleagues in Belgium who have listed 10 different models – for tourism, business, citizens etc," says Fitch.

Improving life for all

The places that do best in terms of smart-city innovation show a desire – shared by leaders, town planners, utility companies, the providers of public services and reinforced by demand and involvement from citizens – to make things work better with the aim of creating an improved life for all.

"It's about people at the leading edge having a vision of what they are going to do,'' adds Fitch.

"There needs to be a commitment to use technology to improve services – there needs to be a political vision."

The level of ambition and nature of the issues being tackled varies enormously. In Glasgow, for instance, the principal emphasis is on energy providers and local government coming together to provide a more environmentally sustainable city. The aim is to dramatically reduce energy usage while not sacrificing economic growth or social welfare.

In Greater Manchester – about four times bigger than Glasgow – the focus is on better unification for an area of 2.6 million people and 10 different local authorities. The aim is to achieve "efficiency through collaboration" by streamlining structures that deal with health, economic regeneration, public services, planning, transportation and governance; taking advantage, wherever possible, of the latest technologies.

But in the West Midlands, which has a similar size and number of different authorities, there is less appetite for a "Greater Birmingham", leaving the main city to pursue its own agenda for a digital Birmingham, promoting "greater connectivity" with its citizens. This includes access to online databases on public consultation exercises and a TV channel giving details of local authority services and realtime bus services.

The Centre for Cities thinktank believes that larger city regions like Manchester are the ideal size to achieve smart policies. Such areas are felt to be in a better position than, say, London – which is too big, and has too many competing layers – or smaller towns, which lack human and financial resources and have different problems and priorities.

In the UK, Peterborough has ambitious plans to become the country's most environmentally conscious city through almost every aspect of local government, particularly in terms of managing its physical growth, while Southampton is one of many cities developing its own version of London's Oyster card, for use on all types of public transport.

Some way to go

Other areas have some way to go. Four selected British cities – Cardiff, Aberdeen, Leicester and Portsmouth – came only halfway up a table of 70 smaller European cities ranked for their "smartness" in transport, the environment, the economy, governance and quality of life. The list was topped by Luxembourg.

Elsewhere in Europe, Malta is trialling the first large-scale attempt at smart metering, in order to achieve much closer realtime monitoring of its water and electricity consumption. Meanwhile, plans are afoot to transform farmland outside Paredes in northern Portugal into Europe's first smart city, with networking embedded into 100,000 homes, buildings and infrastructure.

Sharing information

At Paredes, designated a project of national importance by the Portuguese government, sensors embedded into the 17.5 sq km site will mean "realtime information can be shared quickly to facilitate decision-making on everything from traffic management to crime prevention". The £10bn project is forecast to create 3,000 technology jobs.

But the £14bn Masdar City project in Abu Dhabi is perhaps the grandest smart city project currently underway, significant because the developers are using new technology to create the world's first zero-carbon, zero-waste city.

The 6 sq km city will incorporate sustainable technologies as part of its design and will house research facilities, businesses and institutions active in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability. Cars will also be banned and all transport in the city will be by public transit systems.

The city has been designed by British architect Norman Foster, who says it will "question conventional urban wisdom at a fundamental level". Perhaps it will become the model smart city for the future.

Northern star Glasgow

Glasgow is on course to become one of Europe's most sustainable cities over the next decade.

The city's huge potential for reducing carbon emissions was discovered by an "unprecedented" partnership between the commercial and public sectors, who joined forces to work on improving Glasgow's energy efficiency.

A key part of the project will be the creation of the UK's largest district heating system. New underground pipes will supply heat from a mix of low-carbon sources, including: energy from the city's waste; biogas from sewage; combined heat and power systems; and waste heat, captured through heat exchangers, from companies such as breweries, bakeries and IT businesses.

This joined-up use of the city's low-carbon energy resources will produce a 9% decrease in carbon emissions, as well as reducing heating costs for low-income households.

Among the other aims of the plan, costing between £1.5bn and £2bn in public and private-sector money, is planting trees in vacant spaces to absorb carbon, and the creation of wind turbine areas. Vehicles will be encouraged to run on biofuels or electricity. The initiative aims to deliver a 30% decrease in carbon emissions by 2020.

Richard Bellingham, senior research fellow in energy policy at the University of Strathclyde, says: "We've taken a strategic look at Glasgow – seeing it as a whole, rather than in pockets. Rather than making one building sustainable, or focusing on one low-carbon technology, by taking a holistic approach we are able to identify how organisations can help each other, and how different technologies can support each other."

Sandy Gillon, head of transport and environment for Glasgow city council, says: "the scheme not only benefits Glasgow environmentally, it will benefit the city's people, bringing in a whole raft of social opportunities as it attracts investment and jobs are created."
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Action Aid India

Empowering the Urban poor in Bengaluru, Karnataka
Bengaluru Urban is undoubtedly one of the most advanced districts of Karnataka, if not India. It is the showpiece of India’s Information Technology industry with hi-tech office complexes, exclusive shopping malls and entertainment facilities that rival the best in the country. However, poverty lurks just behind the glass facade, especially in the city’s densely populated squatter settlements which house the urban poor, where even basic civic facilities such as housing, water, roads, etc are very poor or not available. The district also has one of the lowest sex ratios in the state, at just 908 women per 1,000 men.

Bridge Network comprises 13 NGOs — APSA, BOSCO, CURDS, DJT, GILGAL, GRACE, IPDP, JPT, MSSS, OSS, SVKT, TRUST, VNK — and was formed in July 2006 with the support of ActionAid India. The Network’s focus is on creating and empowering leaders of the urban poor and homeless who will voice injustice and work to ensure their rights and dignity.

To this end, several issue-based local groups have been formed such as the Land Rights Groups, Samanvaya Women’s Groups, Sneha Milana (adolescent girls’ collective) and Kanasu Children’s Group. It is these groups that decide on initiatives to be taken up by the Network.

In 2011, the issues taken up for focus were eviction in the name of development, water crisis, failure to utilise the 22.75% of all project funds reserved by the Bangalore municipal corporation for welfare schemes for schedule castes/tribes and other backward classes, difficulties in accessing Public Distribution System and primary healthcare, problems faced by women and children in relocated slums, lack of quality education and infrastructure in government schools, violence against women and so on.

As a result of the Network’s initiatives, some hitherto unrecognized areas have been designated as slums, which has helped their residents avail of benefits of housing schemes under Rajiv Awas Yojana and Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. Proposed next is a computer database of the urban homeless in Bangalore. Bridge Network will also work to modify the proposed Below Poverty Line criteria under which most poor families stand to lose their BPL cards.

The Network also works with city vendors to help them assert their rights; and will help them create a union of city vendors. Group discussions with sections of the urban poor and field visits to the rural hinterlands will be conducted to build awareness of the provisions and utilities of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

A study was conducted in 31 government schools to ascertain the quality of education, infrastructure, student-teacher ratio, etc which was leading to high dropout rates. This year, 13 of these schools will be upgraded to model schools by improving their infrastructure, and ensuring community participation in monitoring committee meetings. Also, monitoring committees have been set up in five primary health centres.

For the rights of Urban Poor in Mumbai
Thousands migrate to Mumbai every year in search of a livelihood. In the city, they work in the unorganized sector, many on construction sites, as rag-pickers or as domestic help. Unable to afford a home, they live in the open, on railway platforms, public gardens, bus stands, footpaths and religious places.

Many of them have been forcibly evicted from their native habitat and so lack official identity papers or residential proof. This makes them vulnerable to harassment by local officials, the police, and political parties.

There are four laws — two enacted by the Central government and two by the state — regulating labourers in the unorganized sector, especially construction. However none of these has been implemented entirely in spirit or letter. For instance, the Maharashtra government notified the Construction Workers Act (1996) but without any representation from construction wo


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Bodh Shiksha Samiti-Jaipur

Janbodh – Urban Education Programme
The Janbodh programme was initiated with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Oct 21, 2005 between the Government of Rajasthan (GoR) and Bodh. It evolved from the experiences and learnings of Janshala (the Government of India – UN Agencies Primary Education Programme). Janbodh is a part of the state government’s multistakeholder partnership forum - Rajasthan Education Initiative (REI).

The five-year programme aimed at contributing to the state initiatives of universalisation of education. There was an emphasis on enhancing understanding of urban educational deprivation in Jaipur city and informing policy and practices accordingly. Programme partners include local communities, various departments/agencies of GoR (especially Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan or SSA, Rajasthan Education Department), Aga Khan Foundation, American India Foundation, Unicef, ITC Ltd, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and Bodh. Many other individuals and civil society agencies have also played a significant role in the programme.

Notable initiatives in the first phase (2005-2008) included revitalising 60 government schools (erstwhile Janshalas - these had begun as community schools under the Janshala programme), placement of teachers, joint survey and related activities for out of school children, capacity building initiatives for government and Bodh teachers etc. Six urban bodhshalas (seen as Resource Schools) constitute another key part of the programme. Significantly, urban deprived children’s education component was recognised in the state SSA plans. Official sanction was given for building temporary structures for schools in unauthorised slums. This strategy has also been recognised in the SSA plans.

In its second phase (2008-2010), the programme contributed immensely to the development of SSA’s Jaipur Million City Plus Plan (2009-2010). In fact, Janbodh was seen as an integral part of the Jaipur Plan Bodh’s engagement was part of its larger mandate as Technical Support Group for the state SSA’s urban component.

The following key areas of action were identified for Janbodh

  • Establishing common community schools with the support of civil society where educational facilities are not available
  • Developing schools as integrated learning centres with inclusion of preparatory (for children 4-6 years) and ungraded learning groups (for aminstreaming out of school children)
  • Strengthening joint academic support, planning and monitoring teams at state, district, block, cluster and school levels
  • Capacity building and quality enrichment initiatives that are continuous, rigorous and cater to specific needs
  • Janbodh will be working directly in 20 clusters covering approximately 200 deprived localities in Jaipur city. These clusters have a high proportion of deprived and minority population. The programme will also be working in three other clusters where children live and work in brick kiln sites. In each of these clusters, select government schools are being developed as Cluster Resource Schools. These will then provide necessary support to other government schools in their areas. In another 23 clusters, Bodh will support the government’s Cluster Resource Centre Facilitators in planning and monitoring processes.

The academic support, planning, monitoring and management initiatves will be co-ordinated by Urban Resource Centre (URC) to be established at Bodh Parisar, Jaipur. The team at the centre will include both Bodh and government representatives. Bodh’s Central Research and Resource Centre will continue to extend necessary academic and technical support through the URC and otherwise.


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