Safe cities and urban inclusion

August 2014 — One of the top priorities for building inclusive cities, safety still remains a big challenge in the Global South. Public spaces, work places, and roads are all places of potential danger, and political issues such as militarization and police corruption also result in insecurity. In these contexts, women and children are especially vulnerable.

This month's discussion focuses on solutions to safety-related issues such as crime, police corruption, militarization, perceived insecurity, child sexual abuse, road dangers, gender violence, street harassment, and even food insecurity. Read on to learn more about approaches to creating safe and inclusive cities, and then share your thoughts in the comments below.

مشكلات أمنية تواجهها المرأة المصرية في شوارع القاهرة

Cairo, 22 August 2014 — إن مشكلة التحرش بالنساء في مصر أضحت ظاهرة ذات معدلات كبيرة، حيث أفادت 99 بالمائة من نساء مصر بتعرضهن للتحرش الجنسي وسوء المعاملة في الشارع. وظهرت بضع مبادرات من المجتمع المدني مثل عملية ضد التحرش الجنسي وهاراس ماب (خريطة التحرش) وتحرير بودي غارد، فضلا عن عدة منظمات غير حكومية مثل المركز المصري لحقوق المرأة والمبادرة المصرية للحقوق الشخصية والتي أخذت على عاتقها القيام ببعض الوسائل لحماية المرأة في الشوارع والذود عن حقوقها. إقرء المزيد

Mengarusutamakan anak dalam proses pembangunan

Surabaya, 21 Agustus 2014 — Anak kerap dianggap sebagai minoritas yang tidak memiliki suara dalam pembangunan akibatnya mereka selalu ditinggalkan dalam proses perencanaan. Namun Surabaya yang telah berkomitmen menerapkan Kota Layak Anak menggunakan Forum Anak sebagai media memperoleh aspirasi anak untuk diteruskan kepada pemerintah. Baca lebih lanjut.

Usar la tecnología para salvar vidas

Caracas, 20 agosto 2014 — El Municipio de Sucre en Caracas ha introducido proyectos innovadores para reducir las tasas de homicidios en un 40 por ciento, en los últimos cuatro años. Su último proyecto utiliza geo referencia de datos para realizar un levantamiento de los puntos calientes de homicidio e implementar un patrullaje localizado para prevenir la delincuencia. Leer más.

Educación y medidas policiales para combatir la violencia en Cali

Cali, 19 agosto 2014 — Las tasas de homicidios han crecido ligeramente desde el año 2010. Para revertir esta tendencia la Alcaldía de Cali ha adoptado una serie de medidas que incluye operaciones policiales convencionales y control de las armas con medidas educativas destinadas a los jóvenes de las comunas que más sufren el azote de la violencia. Leer más.

Gated and ungated communities in the World Design Capital

Cape Town, 18 August 2014 — Notwithstanding the global similarities among gated settlements, there are also many nuanced local realities. For affluent households, gated communities may result from fear of crime, privatization or exclusivism; but within segregated areas affected by poverty there is conversely also the desire to open up to wider linkages. Gated and ‘ungated’ communities reveal that notions of safety, sustainment of life, and inclusiveness can translate very differently in different contexts. See more.

Women's safety in a culture of impunity and gender policing

Delhi, 15 August 2014 — How might one tackle the issue of gender discrimination and violence in an impunitive context? The article talks about a whole panoply of things that need to change in Delhi to create a safe city for women. See more.

Make room for pedestrians on India's roads

Bangalore, 14 August 2014 — A recent study rated Bangalore as having some of the most errant drivers in the country. The bad road behavior mixed with poor roads and lack of footpaths has put residents at risk of injury and death. Ashoka Changemakers took notice of the need for improved road safety in India and launched an online, crowd-sourced ideas competition. The winner has the potential for widespread appeal across the country. See more.

Securing daily transportation and road use

Lagos, 13 August 2014 — Enhanced security efforts in Lagos are creating a safer city for residents. Initiatives like a security trust fund made up of various security agencies, and recent traffic laws created to improve safety in Lagos are gradually impacting road safety and general well-being for Lagos commuters. See more.

Kemitraan Polisi dan Masyarakat untuk keamanan

Jakarta, 12 Agustus 2014 — Beberapa tahun terakhir Kepolisian menempati rangkin teratas untuk institusi paling korup. Reformasi di institusi kepolisian telah berjalan namun hasil belum maksimal. Meski demikian, dalam prosesnya telah terbentuk Balai Kemitraan Polisi dan Masyarakat (BKPM) dan Forum Kemitraan Polisi dan Masyarakat (FKPM) yang merupakan hasil kerjasama Polri dan JICA sebagai upaya peningkatan partisipasi masyarakat dalam memantau kinerja polisi serta mendekatkan polisi kepada masyarakat. Baca lebih lanjut.

Segurança no Rio de Janeiro — o caso das UPPS

Rio de Janeiro, 11 agosto 2014 — O recente programa da Secretaria de Segurança Pública do Rio de Janeiro que deu origem às Unidades de Polícia Pacificadora instaladas em seus territórios informais trouxe novamente foco para as questões de segurança pública da cidade. Apesar de muito contestado, o programa marca definitivamente a presença do Estado nesses territórios há muito renegados. Leia mais.

Rebuilding social capital for safety

Dar es Salaam, 8 August 2014 — Upon exploring Dar es Salaam's Safer Cities Programme, discussion switches from physical planning to emphasize the need to build social capital — trust, networks, and a dialogue amongst urban dwellers. Resources are required to create spaces where complaints can be made, and cases listened to. See more.

At-work kindergartens: the first step out of the poverty trap

Ho Chi Minh City, 7 August 2014 — Three consecutive child rape and harassment incidents have recently taken place in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City's hotspot for child harassment. Such incidents start a cycle of sexual exploitation and poverty for female migrant workers. To help their female employees, a few employers have come up with a promising initiative: at-work kindergartens. See more.

Mapeando los delitos para entender la divergencia entre inseguridad y percepción de inseguridad

Bogotá, 6 agosto 2014 — Aunque las cifras oficiales muestran un acusado descenso en las tasas de delitos en Bogotá, la percepción de inseguridad está aumentando. Esto se debe en parte al aumento de los delitos de alto impacto, como el robo violento de celulares, que rara vez son denunciados. Herramientas sociales pueden ayudar a presentar una imagen más precisa de la situación real de los delitos en Bogotá. Leer más.

Breaking the silence on child sexual abuse in India

Mumbai, 5 August 2014 — Shocking statistics reveal that nearly half of all Indian children have been sexually abused. The issue has only recently been addressed on a national level. Mumbai-based NGO Arpan was one of the first and now has one of the largest programs in the world working to eliminate sexual abuse against children. See more.

Seguridad vecinal

Mexico D.F., 4 agosto 2014 — En la Ciudad de México la calidad de vida de los habitantes se ve afectada por los índices de criminalidad. En este sentido, el Movimiento Pro-vecino y el gobierno local y federal previenen el delito y fomentan la construcción de capital social por medio de campañas y un sistema de seguridad vecinal para la protección de los derechos de los habitantes. Leer más.

More food, less violence?

Lilongwe, 1 August 2014 — Does hunger cause crime? Experience from Lilongwe suggests that it does, and that improving urban food security can reduce crime — including gender-based violence — during Malawi's "hunger months." To make this happen, the Lilongwe Urban Poor People's Network wants to tell the city's poor about the benefits of permaculture. See more.


Join the discussion for this month's topic in the comments below.

Inclusive planning and housing

July 2014 — Millions of poor people in cities of the Global South live in informal settlements with low-quality living conditions, due in large part to the lack of affordable and adequate housing. Policies are needed to regulate, support, and provide incentives for the development of affordable housing in both the private and the public sectors. In addition, such housing must be inclusive by design, so that the urban poor are integrated into local communities rather than being marginalized by income and class.

Follow this topic here during the month of July to see and discuss reports from the 23 cities in the network about efforts by governments, NGOs, and communities to make inclusive housing a reality — and please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Housing initiatives for workers in the growing ready-made garments sector

Dhaka, 29 July 2014 — In order to address the problem of housing for ready-made garment workers who frequently relocate to Dhaka from more suburban or rural areas, several NGOs are creating hostels and other housing initiatives to raise the quality of life for this expanding population. See more.

تأمين سكن للفقراء في القاهرة...هل هناك مخرج للأزمة؟

Cairo, 28 July 2014 — عندما نتحدث عن أزمة سكن الفقراء، فإن مشروع أشوكا الوطن العربي ساهم في حل تلك الأزمة إلى حد ما في مدينة القاهرة عن طريق استحداث منصة تمد المستفيدين بخدمات البناء والمواد السكنية والقروض الصغيرة في إطار مشروع المؤسسة -"منزل للجميع" إقرء المزيد

Tantangan pengembangan rumah susun bagi masyarakat berpenghasilan rendah

Jakarta, 27 Juli 2014 — Pemerintah Jakarta bertanggung jawab dalam penyediaan rumah susun bagi masyarakat miskin perkotaan. Tantangan utamanya adalah bagaimana menggandeng pihak developer dan pada saaat yang sama memberikan sanksi bagi mereka yang melangar. Penegakan hukum dan partisipasi aktif masyarakat dalam proses pembangunan membantu transparansi dan akuntabilitas kegiatan pembangunan. Baca lebih lanjut.

The market at the bottom of the housing pyramid

Bangalore, 25 July 2014 — Like many Indian cities, Bangalore is in dire need of new housing options to meet the needs of its working poor. With an increasing ability to pay and new financing approaches available, families residing in slums have the means to pay for better conditions, yet few alternatives exist. Ramesh Ramanathan launched an affordable housing initiative to fill this growing gap, but found many unexpected barriers along the way. See more.

Ciudad Verde: riesgos de los macro proyectos en Bogotá

Bogotá, 24 julio 2014 — Los macro proyectos se concibieron como una forma de aliviar los problemas de vivienda entre las familias con menos recursos. Las economías de escala y el marco regulatorio que facilitaba su construcción eran señalados como sus ventajas. La falta se servicios públicos y de infraestructura están plagando su implementación. Leer más.

Novo Plano Diretor de São Paulo: a necessidade de aumentar a qualidade de vida de todos os cidadãos

São Paulo, 23 julho 2014 — São Paulo está no processo de aprovação do seu novo Plano Diretor Estratégico, que irá determinar as novas diretrizes urbanísticas da cidade até 2030. O plano tem como principal proposta equalizar o acesso a oportunidades na cidade e o desafio de reduzir o déficit habitacional de 700 mil moradias. Leia mais.

See all posts for July and join the discussion on inclusive planning and housing.

Join the discussion for this month's topic!


AIKMM INDIA's picture

Preliminary Comments from Informal Waste Workers Regarding Municipal Solid Waste Management Manual DRAFT 2014
Dr. Ramakant, MoUD
& Mr. Ramesh Nair, GIZ
Maulana Azad Rd, Rajpath
Road Area, Central Secretariat
New Delhi – 110 001 From:
Shashi Bhushan
All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh (AIKMM)
No. 260, Pocket-E, Mayur Vihar, Phase-II
New Delhi – 110 091

Dear Sirs,

The All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh (AIKMM) has received the draft of the new Solid Waste Management Manual from the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), and we write this letter to offer some preliminary comments. Firstly, we commend your office for releasing a drafted manual that acknowledges the informal economy and the important roles it plays in reducing costs, helping the environment, generating livelihoods, and bringing valuable expertise to the table with regard to municipal solid waste management. Likewise we were pleased to note an emphasis on decentralized waste management, segregation at the source, and integration of the informal economy in your draft. Compared to the 2000 Manual this is a much more enlightened document.

However, we fundamentally disagree with the approach your ministry has taken to the inclusion of key stakeholders in the drafting of this document. We encourage you to refer to our first letter (titled “Initial Response of Informal Waste Workers to Municipal Solid Waste Management Manual DRAFT 2014”) for a more complete explanation of our grievances. It is offensive, inappropriate, and downright unconstitutional for AIKMM to have been entirely excluded from the drafting process of this document, as we have been asked only to submit recommended revisions to a draft that is all but complete. This approach reveals that MoUD has valued the inputs and priorities of internationally owned enterprises over the needs of its citizens thus far.
In a hope to contribute some constructive suggestions to the drafting process of this Manual, however late, AIKMM submits two attachments. The first is a list of nine preliminary comments directed at particular sections of the DRAFT Manual. The second attachment (titled “Systemic Model for discussion”) offers a basic model for decentralized waste management that we hope might inform the MoUD Manual.

We look forward to working together in the future to address the fundamental problem of stakeholder exclusion from the MoUD drafting process in a way that meets the following demands of our organization:

1. Central legislation should be immediately enacted to mandate that state and local governments guarantee livelihoods, social security, space, and welfare services for waste collectors.
2. Waste collectors’ work should be officially recognized. Workers should be granted legal status, issued government IDs, and granted authorized access to waste.
3. In every neighborhood, waste collectors should be given space to sort waste and prepare compost.
4. The exclusive rights for door-to-door collection of waste from housing clusters and neighborhoods should be assigned to informal-sector waste workers. Private sector companies should be kept out of door-to-door waste collection.
5. States should establish provisions to manage recycling units at the community level, and sanitary landfills at the district level.
6. All current and proposed waste-to-energy incineration projects should be abandoned, and the rights of informal-sector workers to access waste should be restored, with immediate effect.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Nora Lindstrom's picture

Hi Tam,

Really interesting initiatives by the two factories. I’m curious though whether there is something ‘special’ about these two companies – from my experience in Cambodia, owners of sweatshops are generally not particularly concerned with the welfare of their workers. Or perhaps this is a sign of Vietnam rising up on the sweatshop ladder? It was also interesting to read that parents (mothers I most usually I presume) take their kids with them when they migrate to HCMC for work. Again in Cambodia, it seemed more common for children to be left in the home province under the care of grand-parents or other relatives.



Nora Lindstrom's picture

Hi Jorge,

Promotion of open data and the development websites that allow city dwellers to contribute and comment on what’s going on in the city have been a very interesting development over the past decade. When it comes to mapping crime, however, it’s important to also look at the capacity of the police (and other relevant stakeholders) to address the issue. Many crime reports from a particular area could result in it be highlighted as crime-ridden and consequently suffer further unless there are adequate means and resources to take action in response to high reported crime rates. This is particularly a concern when using crowdsourced data; if a resident of a particular area is victim of a crime, his or her decision to report the crime may also depend on what can be gained (e.g. further crime vs crackdown), thus potentially skewing the data. (There are of course many other reasons crowdsourced data might be skewed too!) That said, I’m very curious to have a further look at the Ecocitizen World Map Project – thanks for sharing!


Carlin Carr's picture

Eliana, I was curious to read your article this week, because I often here Mumbai and Rio's informal settlements compared to each other, but it has always struck me that Rio's informal neighborhoods have been so much more widely associated with violence and crime. It's always surprising to me that Mumbai's crime rate is so low (domestic violence not included) given the vast inequalities in the city. In most cities, these "have"-"have not" gaps often incite deep frustrations among the disenfranchised, which often translate to violence. Unlike your example in Rio, I think this relative peace is a credit to the people and the systems and relations they form in spite of the police not necessarily because of them.

Rio's example of community policing is one that has resonated around the world, even in the U.S., where I'm from. It seems the key is to gain the trust of the local community, which often has a negative view of the police, and to have a regular, visable presence beyond just when a crime occurs. What I've heard is that community policing actually stresses prevention of crime and early intervention in developing criminality in youths by linking them to other organizations working on related issues--youth development, job growth, etc. I wonder if this network has been developed at all in Rio or if they have thought holistically like this.

Wura's picture

I found this months discussion very eclectic covering security issues across different sectors. I really found the security issues around children and child abuse very interesting. It is easy to tackle security challenges that occur openly but sexual abuse is more intimate and private. Quite often social and cultural factors also affect the willingness to addresses such issues and defining it is also a problem. Giving these factors, its great to see civil society and private enterprises picking up the slack where political will to do so may be lacking.

In Lagos, there has been legislation to address child abuse and sexual abuse. However, Carlin is very right when she mentions that the issue goes beyond creating a solution but in enforcing it and creating an environment where victims feel comfortable to seek for assistance and help. Enlightenment of what constitutes security threat to the vulnerable, children, women etc becomes a key component in ensuring their security.

María Fernanda Carvallo's picture

Gemma, I totally agree with you that building social capital is crucial for enhancing security in the cities. Through the reinforcement of trust and social relations within a neighborhood people must change their perception of insecurity and will feel social support in order to face insecurity. The case of Mexico City is similar with Dar es Salaam where people is interested in creating spaces of interaction in order to solve problems through the participation of people, however it seems that the success depends on the entailment with local authorities and their capacity to support victims and take actions. Is there any evaluation to the program that demonstrates the impact of making the city safer for its inhabitants?

Priyanka Jain's picture

The articles above show the various perspectives on urban safety and inclusion, from crime and homicides to sexual violence and pedestrian safety. One can clearly see that increasing trust between police and civilians is key in building social resiliency against crime. This is common through the case studies of pacifying police units in Rio de Janeiro, pro neighbor movement in Mexico, and PCPA in Jakarta. All of the case studies focus on increasing civilian participation and improving the relationship between the police and community to pacify crime.

The case study of Desármate, Medítele A Este Cuento in Cali and Maboneng Township Arts Experience in Cape Town shows how artistic unity and projects can become a tool for increasing awareness, changing perceptions, and opening gated communities to larger public. While, the use of technology such as hot spot theory and geo-referenced homicide data in Caracas, radio broadcasting in Lagos and Social GIS in Bogotá can increase the capacity of under-resourced police, bring more awareness as well as close the perception gap of crime in now safe neighborhoods.

The case study of NGO Arpan in Mumbai, NGO Jagori in Delhi, Child Decent City Award in Surabaya, safer cities program in Dar Es Salaam and migrant workers in Ho Chi Minh City show that its important to work with minority population to make our cities free of sexual violence and gender based discrimination. It is critical to take preventing measures empowering children and women with personal safety skills, strengthening community collectives and making our public spaces women and children friendly.

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