Retooling 'Cities for Life': New approaches to urban infrastructure and service provision

The development of "Cities for Life" requires infrastructure to bring life's fundamentals to the community: water, sanitation, housing, transportation, energy. Historically, stark inequities in access to these basics have divided cities, leaving informal communities marginalized and their residents struggling to survive. What would an equity-driven approach to urban infrastructure development look like? Who should participate and what part should they play in order to bring about a sustainable approach that will deliver the desired results in terms of inclusiveness as well as delivery of services? How can players of various types — from government agencies to profit-driven vendors, from grassroots community organizations to academics and urban planners — complement one another and coordinate their contributions to produce a coherent, effective whole? How might new technologies and service models transform the array of possible infrastructure solutions? This discussion will examine all these elements and explore ways of integrating them into an urban infrastructure matrix that delivers the goods while serving the goals of justice, inclusion, and urban sustainability.

Conversation hosted in partnership with UN-HABITAT and the Ford Foundation in conjunction with WUF 7.

Click on the pictures to see each panelist's perspective below.

Clarisse Cunha Linke Nithya Raman John Taylor Charlton Ziervogel Wura Ladipo-Ajayi Tariq Toffa


Clarisse Cunha Linke

Clarisse Cunha Linke — Country Director at the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy


An equity-driven approach that targets transportation would advance pro-poor sustainable transportation integrated with transit-oriented development and affordable housing. Worldwide, transport policy and planning inadequately target the needs of the poor, while the majority of public resources are dedicated to transport investments like highways that cater to the desires of the car-owning minority. Coupled with the shortage of affordable, quality transport is the pervasive trend to locate affordable housing on inexpensive land in the urban outskirts — far from reliable transit, economic opportunity, and critical services, all while driving urban sprawl. As a result, poverty is concentrated and isolated in spatial pockets disconnected from the broader metropolitan economy, where residents suffer not only low income and low opportunity, but also high transport costs.

Transportation system improvements like Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), when integrated with comprehensive spatial planning and affordable housing policy can significantly improve the lives of the urban poor by reducing the two most critical household costs: housing and transportation. By reducing these costs, families can save money and invest it in home ownership, education, or other intergenerational household assets that are proven to alleviate poverty.

All relevant actors need to take place in the planning process (assessments, implementation, monitoring and evaluation): government, developers, community organizations, academics, and most important, the beneficiaries themselves. An equity-driven approach increases participation of beneficiaries through a re-balance of power structures, and not only as an instrument to achieve legitimation of interests. The outcome is to make informal, marginalized communities to take control of their lives and realize their capabilities.

New technologies and service models can transform infrastructure solutions, provided there is clear definition of quality and performance, with proper tools such as standards and proven methodologies.

Clarisse Cunha Linke is a Brazilian with thirteen years experience in social policy, planning and implementation in Brazil, Mozambique and Namibia. She holds an MSc in Social Policy, NGO and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she was the winner of the "Titmuss Examination Prize". She also holds a MBE in NGO and Civil Society from the Institute of Economics, Rio de Janeiro Federal University, Brazil. From 2006-2011, Clarisse was one of the Bicycling Empowerment Network Namibia (BEN Namibia) directors, where she played a key role in the expansion of BEN Namibia’s activities, helping it develop the biggest community-based enterprise bicycle distribution network in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2010 she was the winner of the Ashoka Changemakers Challenge "Women, Tools and Technology". Clarisse joined ITDP Brazil in January 2012.



Very fruitful discussion, in such a variety of urban infrastructure and services. I agree with Nithya Raman in the sense that I also see a lot of interested public servants putting effort on improving urban conditions and better provision of services in the Brazilian context, but the barriers are huge. To me the lack of political will, in cases of change of party in power on the local levels, is one of the most critical ones. Some improvement projects are disregarded once a new mayor is in charge, because they are too much related with the public image of the former mayor. In Sao Paulo this happens with Masterplans, mobility projects, local housing policies; most of the services and infrastructure that rely on the annual budgets to be implemented. How can we retool urban politics in the local level, to better assure service provision?

Olatawura Ladipo-Ajayi's picture

I completely agree, there is a need to retool regulations. One finds that the policies and rules governing regulation sometimes make it tricky as pointed out by Nithya and the ability to provide services is hindered. In Lagos for instance the independent power plants have to reroute anything generated above 25MW back to the national grid to be circulated despite the city not having met its energy needs. Surely the excess can go into better service provision. There are definitely some barriers to city officials providing basic services that are beyond their capacity to curb alone and working to reform such might very well be the most effective approach.

New approaches to infrastructure of service delivery require one element to ensure impact and this is involving the end users, the inclusive participation of all relevant public stakeholders. Its importance of this cannot be overemphasized. This participation however comes in different forms be it in public private partnerships as is being required in Lagos to move energy supply forward and build power generation plants or in sourcing for best methods and sourcing data from the general public about service provisions as noted by John, this is the best way to address priority needs.

Common to most statement pieces above is the idea of informal settlements, its planning and how this takes a toll on income. It also came up in the last conversation, but I wonder what the stand is on whether relocation really might be the best idea in some cases, given that transport systems such as the BRT exist which provide affordable transit. In such a situation, would relocation be considered an improved and inclusive outcome?

One of the areas of reform that need be looked at carefully is institutional coordination between government agencies. There's often a serious lack of communication and coordination between government agencies, even to the extent of sharing data and maps, and this seriously hinders efforts to bring services to populations in an effective manner. While government interest may exist to improve services I think this is a stumbling block that needs be surmounted. To do so incentives should be examined and coordinating mechanisms introduced, as well as other creative reforms.

One of the things that I'm interested in is how citizens can be pro-active about this, without having to wait for bureaucratic reforms, what is their role? Perhaps by using information, new technology, social media and other means of mobilizing en masse they can pressure for change, and even help identify the bottlenecks and hurdles that government and service providers have to resolve.

New approaches, such as crowd-sourced data gathering of citizen complaints about water supply, that can indicate leaks, poor water quality, or lack of service, help indicate to the public and providers what is going on in real time. This is where citizen power can make a difference (in as much as they're helping find the problem). Improving service provision is not just a problem to be solved by government or service providers, but many other stakeholders too.

María Fernanda Carvallo's picture

I totally agree that the division of the public administration is an obstacle to the delivery of public services, due that the authorities that have influence in a same territory are responsible for different areas. In this sense, in Mexico, the federal government launched the strategy "Cruzada contra el Hambre" in order to coordinate the efforts and the faculties of each authority to deliver public services in array of eradicating extreme poverty, it works with the public policies and programmes that actually exists but the impact is achieved due the coordination of actions that influence the localities in different areas: health, nutrition, education and social security.

Wura, I guess it depends on how relocation happens. In Brazil, many relocated families are supposed to resettle in the new social housing developments that are being delivered throughout the country. In Rio, in particular, many families have been relocated to 50, 70, sometimes 80 km from their original place. Even if the developments are within a specific radius of mass transit (BRT or train), it is still about 1-2 hours commuting time in each direction!

Jorge Bela's picture

Indeed, as Nithya and Eliana point out, often grandiose or well intentioned initiatives either lack a plan altogether or have one that is not realistic. "How to get there" is a question too often neglected. To the financial, technical and human resources constraints we need to add other often not taken into consideration, as political constraints, like term limits. Without overcoming all these problems, it is impossible to get "there." An the only way to do this is through realistic planning and strong skills.

Como Nithya y Eliana sugieren, muchas veces proyectos ambiciosos o carecen de plan o tienen uno poco realista. A los retos financieros, técnicos y de recursos humanos hay que añadir otros menos obvios, como los políticos, siendo la limitación de mandatos uno de los mas obvios. Sin superar estos retos no se pueden conseguir los objetivos, y la única forma de hacerlo es con planes realistas y una gran dosis de habilidad política y técnica.

Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing is a action-policy-research network that seeks to improve the status of the working poor in the informal economy, especially women. We've published briefs and working papers on unique approaches to service delivery for the working poor. A particularly salient brief is Shalini Sinha's "Supporting Women Home-Based Workers: The Approach of the Self-Employed Womens, Association in India," which demonstrates how the Self Employed Women's Association in India has approached inadequate shelter, electricity, and finance issues for its members, along with providing access to housing finance and slum upgrading. This brief — and others — can be found on WIEGO's site here:

I am 100% in support of the triggered attempts to development and infrastructure. Just to construe it in a rather basic perspective, I think its very much important to indicate the substance of the matters in question in such a way that people, also in effect of their hierarchy based positions, intervene in strategic forces to achieve efficient reconstructional bases. In this way, everyone, whether in government or the private sector, in all dimensions will be receptive towards a common accomplishment of what we, unified, want to see as a complete achievement so as to claim that as we commit ourselves to improvements, reconstruction and development efforts, our future destiny is together even if the case may be that we come from diverse starting points.

To reach a soluble outcome to make informal, marginalized communities take control of their lives and realize their capabilities, one of the most important concerns are that the people must have the assurance that they have compulsive and and electrified support from their patrons (so to say), so that if needs such as service delivery, intergenerational household, education, and so on, are delayed by their governments, than they can attend to them with their self-assured capacities up to a certain extent, putting pressure on and at the same time, making it easier for government and other state or community officials to effectively intervene, seeing that they are exposed to other patrons from distinctive communities.

It is very important to delve into the topic on the table and dissect it properly to capture the various parts of it. In the case of Accra, all that was shared in the various city centres applied directly or indirectly. Leadership and responsibility is one thing that is below expectation in the case of Accra. The leaders mostly politicise everything and use foul reasons to justify even things that need to be tackled for productivity, service and safety. For example, Accra for the past 25 years have been experiencing load scheduling of light all through the city at least twice every year. Industries and homes need to find alternative power otherwise they will close down or live in darkness until it is their turn to have light. One cannot overemphasise the place of energy in development and service provision. For over 25 years, leaders and governments have come and go, but none of them took the issue by dint of iron to resolve it till now. As I write at the moment, there is no light in my University, thanks to a generator in my department. Leaders do not empathise with the people they claim to serve, rather they give flimsy excuses to why gas is not flowing and that Nigeria stopped the West Africa Gas flow and all others.

The question is, when will the leaders take full responsibility and empathise with the people and ensure their needs to productivity and livelihoods are properly catered for. The argument is not to say that governments have solution to every problem, but rather the provision of a conducive environment to citizens to ensure they contribute their quota to development. It is very painful to sit on top of all the sources of energy and still cry for energy. Research showed that only 11% of Ghana's water is in use. What are we doing with the 89%?, The rays from the sun, the wind from the coast, the urban population and biogas what are the leaders doing to bridge these gaps with all these resources at their disposal? The answer is leadership responsibility and empathy.
Ghana and for that matter, Africa must ARISE!!!

Olatawura Ladipo-Ajayi's picture

In the issue of responsibility every sector should be held accountable, as Don mentioned, its should be a collective and participatory effort where private citizen make contributions towards planning be it through crowd sourcing for challenges and service concerns or in project funding and feedback while the government provides an environment that is conducive to such participation and developing the political will to be responsible leaders. I will concede however that the bulk of responsibility lies with the authorities, but power is with the people. We can demand better planning and structuring and assist in the process, I believe this is where civil society comes as well. Despite this we often forget the political aspects, constraints and limitations. Lagos attempted to install solar panels, this was killed at the federal level, just an instance of politics hindering responsible governance.

Recurring is the use of technology for participation. While this often works, the method needs to consider who has access to the type of technology required, who has the capacity to utilize it and is there capacity for it to be thoroughly effective. What we know is development planning needs to factor in everything, political constraints, public participation, private investment, long-term impact and sustainability for it to be truly inclusive, the question always remains what is the best course of action. I believe this differs from city to city.

Eliana Barbosa, you make a very relevant point which relates to the decision making process being limited by the administration timeframe, leading to lack of continuity. It is almost impossible to have robust policies if every 4 (sometimes 8) years they will be completely changed in name of "party branding". I think civil society plays an important role in this scenario, in the sense of keeping the memory and some coherence in between administrations. With all the failures of the Statute of the Cities enforcement (many cities do not even have their Masterplans...), it is important to recognize that it puts in place a framework with mechanisms that society can trigger, from the basic public audiences — which I personally don't think are that effective — to complaints filled to the City Council and/or Prosecutors, the possibility of submitting a proposal of law to the legislative, and the right to take actions in court. Not to say this is all that easy and obvious - of course it is very complex, but the understanding about mechanisms of participation is crucial for an effective civil society, that does not have its actions limited by parties' dispute.

Dear Clarisse, I'm a believer!

I strongly believe that the Statute of Cities enacted change. Especially when dealing with smaller cities which never had a Masterplan before they were obliged to. Urban policy is being discussed in all spheres, not only in the wider centralities. Yet there is still a lot to improve, both in participation models and policy continuity. I see the complaints filed so far (in the case of Sao Paulo, as I mentioned in the previous comment) politically manipulated.

How to avoid that?

I don't think the answer is in our current system.

Mayors are not penalized whenever they don't implement approved plans. If they do nothing, nothing happens (neither to them, or the party). It is not considered "Improbidade Administrativa".

The implementation of the masterplans should be linked to the annual budget. There should be an evaluation mechanism, with pre-defined parameters. There should be a lot of other things that aren't (yet).

Civil Society can act by legal means, but I feel our society is also politically divided (not to mention spatially, economically, etc). So these instruments, whenever used by civil society, sometimes represent loss not gains. This is what I have been seeing in Sao Paulo for the past years.

There is an interesting example in a small city in Sao Paulo called Tupã, in which the participation process of the Masterplan gathered different people, which formed an association afterwards. With the elections, there was a political shift and the association (Associação Amigos da Natureza) filed a complaint, stating that the new mayor was not following what was decided. But this is a single case among several in which Civil Society is not cohesive enough. Tupã has 70.000 inhabitants. Sao Paulo 11 million. The Plano Diretor is the main policy tool for both. Participation is done practically the same way in both. Civil Society can "control" the representative power and file complaints the same in both, but we are talking of two very distinct worlds. Tools should also be different.

Yet, as I said. I'm a believer.

Jorge Bela's picture

Muchos de los artículos de esta semana apuntan a la necesidad de abrir espacios de participación a los beneficiarios en las fases de planeación de los grandes proyectos de infraestructura. Clarisse y John nos recuerdan como las nuevas tecnologías pueden servir para ayudar a resolver problemas muy antiguos. Sin embargo, me gustaría insistir una vez mas en la necesidad de tener un plan a largo plazo. Las inauguraciones de proyectos de infraestructura son un gran aliciente para los políticos, pero el mantenimiento de dichas infraestructuras tiene un interés político generalmente menor. Por esto vemos grandes proyectos quedando pequeños y funcionando mal. El Transmilenio es el ejemplo perfecto de este problema: ha pasado de ser un modelo para la región a estar al borde del colapso por falta de ampliación y mantenimiento. Como usuario, conozco bien el problema.

Por último Tariq nos recuerda que las infraestructuras bien planeadas y ejecutadas tienen un fuerte componente social: ayudan a romper las barreras físicas e intangibles que dividen nuestras ciudades de una forma tan profunda. Este importante punto es frecuentemente olvidado, por eso me alegro de que Tariq lo haya mencionado.

Many of the articles this week point out at the need to involve the beneficiaries in the planning process, and Clarisse and John remind us how technology can help in finding new solutions to old, intractable problems. I, nevertheless, would like to once again insist in the need to have a long term plan. The opening ceremonies of costly infrastructure projects are very appealing to governments, but the upkeep of these same projects is not so interesting for them. Thus we see how great projects decay and become obsolete. The Transmilenio system in Bogotá is the perfect example: once a model, now teeters at the brink of collapse (I am a user, so I know first hand). Finally, Tariq points out that the building of useful infrastructure has a clear positive social impact, breaking phisical and invisible barriers that so profoundly divide the cities that we cover in this network . This very important point is often forgotten, and I am glad Tariq did bring it up.

Gemma Todd's picture

Thank you for such a topical and much needed discussion, especially with regards to the sprawling nature of our city boundaries! A few of the contributors have already raised the importance of involving multiple stakeholders, promoting accountability and recognising the various barriers they face in implementing new plans for infrastructure and service provision. Much can be learnt through such collaborations, as information seems to be missing in many cases. However, I think what is vital is also defining what it is that we mean by 'equitable' and 'just'? The terms are often used now to highlight key concerns, however, the meaning behind it can often be blind-sighted. For example when looking at building cities for life does equity mean access to housing or rather access to the choice of where one habitats? Or in the case of electricity does equity and justice mean one is simply connected to power? In Tanzania they have been promoting the homes to transfer from using electrical meters to Luku's, the equivalent of electric top-up cards. Such an approach was promoted on the basis of providing improved flexibility for poor households and an effective means to monitor usage. However, the price of using an electrical top-up differs substantially, being more expensive and forcing households to turn on electricity only when it is fundamental. The luxury of electricity is by no means universal even once households become connected. Therefore on what grounds are they included? I think Felix's comment also is of interest – we need to understand who is using the services and what for? – as the environment and resources are frequently attached to economic values rather than social.

Additionally we need to be careful as to what the idea of 'justice' provokes local, national, regional and global actors to do and whether they are effective solutions. It can often be a cover up for alternative motives – such as forced relocation of the poor to the periphery. For example the issue over public transportation has recently been raised in Tanzania, both in small cities such as Mwanza and Dar es Salaam. In Mwanza, Daladala's (public buses) carried out strikes due to the road corruption and frequency of bribes demanded by local traffic officers. In Dar, the city has recently set selective banning on public transportation in the city centre with the implementation of the BRTP. As we attempt to change our conception of cities, recognising them as social entities and building them as sustainable spaces, I wonder whether we are creating a dual system? How invested are partners in actually meeting the needs of lower-income groups; groups where access, quality, and quantity of services is limited, as well as the market consumption ability? What does the plan solve and how can we begin to think about assessing the impact of the project implemented?

With new projects emerging and new technologies being used for mapping, we need to not only think about whom should be involved, but also how we can assess the level of justice, equality, and sustainability? What are we modelling?

I recently wrote a blog post for URBim on infrastructure and environmental justice – focusing on Dar es Salaam's recent banning and also what is needed for change. Please feel free to take a look and share any comments:

Olatawura Ladipo-Ajayi's picture

Gemma, I could not agree more with you.How one defines equity and inclusiveness determines the course of action. It is important the semantics are clearly understood, for some being included in the electricity grid is one more step closer to inclusiveness, fair billing becomes another step. Upgrading slum environment is one step toward social inclusion, land rights is another step...when viewed in gradation and from different perspectives, trends of various forms of inclusiveness begins to emerge and assessing impact to foster better planning for the next step becomes a necessity.

Very interesting discussion. Specifically interested in the initial statement, "Transportation system improvements like Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), when integrated with comprehensive spatial planning and affordable housing policy can significantly improve the lives of the urban poor by reducing the two most critical household costs: housing and transportation." — I fully agree, but the question is still how do achieve this?

A paper I have been writing on this topic (specifically from a land management perspective) eventually ended up at 3 conclusions — make it profitable, as has been the case in Hong Kong where the transit authority builds above the stations, thus financing the public transit upgrades through property development, and simultaneously creating high density above the station itself. Secondly, use the zoning scheme and the land use process to ensure that the location of areas where people work and commute to is safe and accessible to public transit users. For instance, why not have a provision in the zoning scheme that requires that every commercial development above a certain size has to provide a drop-off bay for minibus taxi's within 100m of the entrance of the building (as well as a pedestrian pathway)? Thirdly, if you have a spatial plan and zoning scheme that encourages a pro-poor, transit orientated urban form, enforce it! Planning and regulation is only valuable where individuals are aware of the threat of action against them should they choose not to comply. Note, this these suggestions only part of the solution (as this discussion has already stressed, aspects such as intergovernmental co-ordination, participation, etc. are all crucial to achieving this).

Stuart, you make interesting points. I guess the answer lies exactly on the integration of transportation and land use planning. I agree with your 3 conclusions: (1) make it profitable and apply land value capture mechanisms to finance further transit upgrades; (2) reform zoning instruments to promote dense, compact, mix use and transit-oriented city; and (3) enforcement.

I would add to that the need to focus on the pedestrian and cyclist:
- build a safe and complete pedestrian realm, make it active, vibrant, temperate and confortable (the majority of the poor walk daily!)
- build a safe and complete cycling network with parking and storage available (bicycling is the most affordable transport solution for shorter distances)
- build short, direct and varied walking and cycling routes that are shorter than motor vehicle routes

Priyanka Jain's picture

Two key points are skirted in this conversation. First is the barriers faced by policy analysts and government servants. Second is the lack of participation at the community level. It seems urban governance today is increasingly and essentially challenged by asymmetries of information on the side of every actor. City dwellers lack information on urban policy as much as urban governors lack valuable data on the city practices of the residents. Each has their own barriers as discussed by the panelists. This leads to a mis-expectation of externalities of the implementation of urban policy and thus, to an inherently sub-optimal urban governance.

I agree with John Taylor that introducing technology and new forms of community outreach and institutional partnerships are an important aspect of "retooling cities." I would add to it the need of participatory governance, first, by having all the data produced and used by city governance open–source and second, by adding a more democratic dynamic in the shaping of urban policy. It is also important to research and study how a community can self organize and self govern some aspects of urban infrastructure and service provision without the "temptations to free ride, shirk, or otherwise act opportunistically" (referring to study on self organization and self governance by Elinor Ostrom).

Tariq Toffa's picture

Thank you to everyone, both panelists & discussants, for a great discussion. All the analysis & recommendations seem to me to be really relevant & pertinent &, in fact, excellent.

With so many 'on-the-mark' points already made, I have a general, broad comment to add regarding a conversation on "Retooling Cities." Etymologically, the word "tool" refers to something that one 'prepares for use'. In a city-making context, it would imply understanding current conditions, & being able to prepare for future scenarios — What trajectories do we foresee & how can we plan for them; & how can we plan with sufficient flexibility to allow for what we cannot for the moment foresee?

As 'unscientific' as it may sound to some, this 'tooling'/preparing requires not only 'meeting the numbers', but it is also a work of imagination & creativity. New possibilities must be allowed to be imagined 'outside of the box'. Opening up new possibilities opens up others more, & none of this is possible within a 'problem-and-solution' method approach to cities (this applies to supplying power or building new transportation infrastructure, or to any other key issue). If only it could be so simple; but we are in unchartered territories with cities. They no longer resemble what we once knew as 'city'. We need not only the science & the numbers, we need ethics with creativity.

As for the provocative question of 're-tooling politics' to better serve the most in need in the city: Political will is of course a boon for any kind of development; while new signature projects of new city majors for visible short-term successes can be more problematic. Many projects are meant to be seen to be done by one political party only for their own one-up-man-ship; while a pro-active citizenry is essential to any functional democracy. All of this is politics. And at the risk of sounding overly flippant, politics is, well, political & perpetual. I don't have the answer for this one, other than saying that there must necessarily be a constant struggle for the just & the good.

Tariq Toffa
URB.im_Cape Town, Jhb Community Manager
University of Johannesburg, Architecture

Tariq — absolutely! I really like your point — more than numbers and methods, we need ethics, creativity. And I would also add a VISION. Our planning process are flawless, in my opinion, because we lack robust, creative, coherent and ethical visions for our cities. We rely too much on models, we believe too much that running models will bring the "correct" most of the cities' problems, or sort it all out. But it is necessary, urgent, to QUESTION the linear, Cartesian models, to make models interact with reality.

Interesantes todas las intervenciones. Cordial Saludo a todos y todas. La Ruta para tener Ciudades equitativas se obtiene al aplicar formulas que permitan equilibrio en la toma de decisiones y en la proyección para un Verdadero Desarrollo: Planeacion participativa, presupuestos participativos, descentralizacion administrativa. Planificacion al detalle con enfoque diferencial, respeto por la vocacion del territorio.

Un ejemplo de lo que no funciona por no tener en cuenta esta lógica, es la "planeacion de expertos" en el diseño y puesta en marcha de los "sistemas integrados de transporte masivo para las grandes ciudades y sus áreas metropolitanas" en Colombia. En la mayoría de los lugares el sistema colapso, no pudo iniciar o ha sido un rotundo fracaso. No se puede planificar sin tener en cuenta las características y particularidades de cada ciudad en particular. En muchas de nuestras ciudades se construye sin planificar, debido a la urgencia de entregar viviendas, por cumplir plazos establecidos por el gobierno en su afán de cubrir el déficit habitacional que existe. En el peor de los casos constructores con animo exclusivamente mercantilista construyen en zonas de riesgo, replican diseños de vivienda en cualquier región del pais, sin tener en cuenta aspectos como el clima, la identidad cultural y el paisaje urbano. Obras de infraestructura sin la calidad necesaria, puentes con galibo inferior al requerido, carreteras sin un diseño que garantice la mínimas condiciones de seguridad. Otro tema importante son las cada vez menores áreas verdes y su disminuida proporción porcentual respecto al numero de habitantes. Es mucho lo que hay que reglamentar en materia urbana en Colombia. Por otra parte no extiste en los planes de ordemaniento territorial en la mayoría de las ciudades una articulación armónica entre los Planes de Ordenamiento Territoriales con los Planes ambientales de manejo de cuencas hidricas, el respeto por las rondas hidricas y cuerpos de agua. De los asentamientos humanos en zonas de riesgo, la conurbacion que produce el irrefrenable crecimiento de cinturones habitacionales al rededor de las ciudades comentare en su oportunidad. Es dificil planificar ciudades en un entorno de conflicto, desplazamiento e impredecibles movimientos migratorios internos.

widya anggraini's picture

Thank you for the wrap up Tariq. You raised interesting statement on retooling politics. I just came from Papua, the very rich land and yet have the highest poverty rate in Indonesia. The use of technology is still minimum compare to cities in Java island who are more sophisticated just like in Solo with Solo Kota Kita. I really appreciate what John Taylor did with his team in Solo in bringing and introducing the technology that promote participation in development process. The case with big cities in Papua relies to the fact that most of economy run by non-Papua and make the native a stranger in their own land. Hence, I agree with what Tariq added on social function of infrastructure in order to include the marginalized group within the city.

In the case of participatory planning, I must agree with Nithya about how city planning agency has inadequate tools and skills to deliver such task. Participatory planning process in Indonesia is legalized already and should be implemented at all level of government including district, sub-district and village level. However, people are still apathy and little innovation is technology usage to apply participatory process as it is impossible to ask everyone to attend a public meeting because like in Java island number of adult citizen usually more than around 500.000 people. Representative is also another issue because many citizen are not affiliated in community groups. However, I agree on the need of good political will in solving urban problems. Many city mayor realize urban problems and know how to address it if they want to but often political and economic consideration hurts the poor and marginalized groups.

Me referiré a dos aspectos de este importante diálogo: los conceptos de participación y de equidad.

En Guayaquil, Ecuador, la ciudad donde vivo, alrededor del 96% de la población no pertenece a ninguna organización de base. Eso constituye un primer gran déficit par lograr la equidad e inclusión en la construcción de una ciudad de mayor sustentabilidad y sostenibilidad. Por eso, co-existen sin equidad, barrios periféricos excluidos (Monte Sinaí) y barrios exclusivos y excluyentes (Mocolí).

Por otro lado, a partir de la premisa que es la propia gente la que conquista su derecho de construir una ciudad equitativa, el segundo aspecto al que me refiero es la Participación Ciudadana y los Presupuestos Participativos. Es imposible alcanzar una dirección hacia el logro de la equidad sin una adecuada distribución de los siempre limitados recursos financieros, de tal manera que, cuando la gran mayoría de la población alcance el control del presupuesto de la ciudad, podrá resolver el orden de prioridades de esas inversiones, no antes. Ninguna recomendación de foro, congreso, evento de cualquier naturaleza, será tomada en consideración por parte de quienes dirigen la ciudad, si no existe un relevo político que sintonice con el sentir mayoritario.

La equidad, la participación, la distribución prioritaria de los dineros públicos, la estrategia de desarrollo de una ciudad, dependen del "modelo de desarrollo" económico y político que escojan los habitantes de cada urbe como parte de un sistema nacional de Buen Vivir.

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