The book to be published by ADB (August, 2016) explains the phenomenon of increasing housing informality as expressed in an array of urban village types in the Pacific Region. The book examines how we perceive and address the needs of those urban residents who live in some form of urban village/informal settlement, and often in hardship and poverty. It is the latter urban residents who are least able to access the basic human rights of adequate land, housing, and associated services and infrastructure in contemporary towns and cities of the Pacific. The book draws the link to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (SDG number 11) which is focused on better-managed urbanization outcomes: “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” With the first indicator for SDG 11 aiming to “by 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums,” this report is an important reminder of the urban challenges ahead in the Pacific, as well as the need for all to collectively contribute to global efforts to reduce and end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. The book refers to the importance of the work to the “New Urban Agenda” to be adopted at Habitat3.
This ADB Pacific Series publication sits within the context of better understanding rising urbanization in Pacific towns and cities, with a specific focus on one of the major outcomes of the informal urbanization process, namely, urban villages. The latter term in the Pacific context encompasses settlement forms that have emerged and continue to transform through processes of informality, such as native villages, informal settlements, squatter settlements, unplanned settlements and the like. In this setting, the term urban village has become a “catch all” phrase for many settlements created informally (and formally), but what does the term urban village really mean and how has it changed over time and why? What are the common attributes of the Pacific urban villages that make them unique and challenging in terms of development assistance? Urban villages have now become a permanent feature of the Pacific urbanization process and present many environmental, social, planning and management issues. It is estimated approximately one million Pacific urban dwellers live in poor-quality housing with inadequate provision for basic services in settlements known as ‘urban villages’. As a general observation, these settlement forms are neglected and ignored (often by law) by the formal planning system and have become problematic. As well, urban villages and the people who live in them are often stereotyped with negative associations in the processes of city growth. This ADB knowledge publication seeks to add to the important debate in the Pacific context on understanding and explaining what is an urban village including understanding their complexity at national and regional level. The ADB publication presents key actions that ADB Pacific member countries and territories, development partners and policy makers need to consider as part of urban and national development plans when rethinking how to conceptualize the ongoing phenomena of urban villages, whilst achieving a more equitable distribution of the benefits of urbanization.
Download Publication https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/201291/pacific-urban-villages.pdf