Cities

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How a generation of young leaders is emerging from India's slums

On a recent Sunday afternoon in the tightly packed slum of Narela at the edge of Delhi, a group of children sat on a bright green rug amid broken tiles, bricks and bits of wood, engrossed in an animated discussion about their neighborhood. Hens and goats roamed around. Older women in the traditional Indian sari sauntered past. Plastic buckets, used to fetch water from the nearby standpost, lay stacked in a corner. A small child shrieked, trying to clamber aboard a push-cart. The children, roughly between the ages of 7 to 16, talked of the need for toilets, clean water, parks and street lights. The weekly meeting of their child club, known as Mannat, was in progress. Read more.

Change agents emerge from Mumbai's red light district

Mumbai, 6 February 2015 — Programs that work with marginalized groups around the city focus mainly on providing education or skills training. Robin Chaurasiya, founder of an NGO called Kranti in Mumbai, says that this is especially true among the programs to help daughters of sex workers. Most girls are given cooking, cleaning, or jewelry-making skills; Chaurasiya believes the young women could do so much more, and thus, Kranti. The organization sees young women as revolutionaries and helps build them into leaders of social change. See more.

New technologies for the differently abled

Mumbai, 14 January 2015 — Statistics show that the number of disabled in India is on the rise, particularly in urban areas. Increasingly toxic living conditions in slums put these populations at higher risk. Mumbai-based Barrier Break has been experimenting with creative technologies to assist disabled people. The question is — can the technology be made affordable enough for those who are in greatest need? See more.

Expanding skills-training access through microloans

Mumbai, 18 December 2014 — India has the largest youth population in the world — a hundred million more young people than China. To harness the energy and potential of this up-and-coming workforce, India has invested heavily in skills training. However, in order to truly make these trainings available to a highly socio-economically diverse population, better access to educational-style loans for skills training is essential. See more.

What does the future hold for Mumbai's Eastern Waterfront?

Mumbai, 3 November 2014 — Mumbai's Eastern Waterfront — a fading dockyard area — has huge potential to be a lively area of activity for all Mumbaikers. Its 1,800 acres have largely been left out of city plans, but since a highway has reconnected that area to the central business district, new plans have emerged. Will it be transformed into a much-needed public space or area for affordable housing? Or will developers get hold of it and make the city's coastline into malls and megastores? See more.

Putting Mumbai's skywalks to use

Mumbai, 17 October 2014 — Has a "war on the car" begun in cities such as Helsinki and Madrid? That's hardly the case in India, where pedestrians have been pushed off the streets. Elevated skywalks now dot the Mumbai skyline, and while they do allow walkers to cross heavily trafficked intersections and clogged roadways more easily, many say they are underused due to safety and accessibility issues. Embarq has proposed a six-point plan to bring them back into use — a plan that doesn't reprioritize the pedestrian on the street, but at the very least makes the city's large-scale investment more usable. See more.

Lighting up the urban poor

Mumbai, 8 September 2014 — A simple light bulb can be a game-changer in low-income households. Studying and work can continue on past dark, providing the grounds for more income and potentially a different future. The energy issue is not one only of rural areas. Many of India's urban slums continue to exist in darkness or are forced to pay high prices for power. What is needed to catalyze energy access for all? Mumbai has been testing answers. See more.

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.

Planning for a more inclusive city

Mumbai, 10 July 2014 — What would an alternative future for Mumbai look like? For the first time in India's economic capital — and perhaps in the country — the people themselves have drafted a vision for their city. Standing in opposition to the current trajectory, the People's Vision turns top-down planning on its head. See more.

Innovations in incremental housing finance take hold despite an adverse policy environment

"Housing for All" in India focusing on the poor will remain a key electoral mandate for successive government irrespective of party affiliations. The only expectation with the upcoming national elections in India later this year 2014 is for a change in policy perspective to truly facilitate housing for the poor. There are workable and scalable housing solutions abound and the policy makers need only look at field practices to design policy that is flexible and accommodates these innovations rather than stifling them. Read more.