Social Cohesion and Equity

March 24, 2017

This discussion is now closed. Thank you for your participation.

Moderators:

  • Joseph D'Cruz Global Task Team Lead, Urbanization; Asia-Pacific Team Leader, Inclusive Growth, UNDP
  • David Martineau Associate Policy Officer, Multilateral Processes Division, International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Social Cohesion and Equity

This discussion is now closed. Thank you for your participation.

Question 1.  What can cities do to promote social cohesion, inclusion and equity? What practical approaches or solutions have you encountered that have helped make cities more inclusive and cohesive for all their populations?

Welcome to the urban dialogue on Social Cohesion and Equity – Livable Cities. The online discussions for this dialogue took place from July 6-31, 2015. The discussions are now closed. Participants were invited to share comments, perspectives, and feedback on the discussion summary for a one-week commentary period ending on August 24, 2015.

In each thematic discussion, individuals and organizations had the chance to discuss major ideas and outcomes of the Habitat III Issue Papers, elaborated by the United Nations Task Team on HIII. These dialogues provide a platform for all voices to be heard. Your valued contribution and participation in these dialogues enriched the ongoing Habitat III participatory process on emerging thinking related to sustainable urban development. In addition, final contributions to the discussion summaries helped identify key knowledge and policy options, while evaluating how these options might be deployed in the context of the New Urban Agenda.

Click here to review the summary outcome and comment
Recent Activity in this Space
Benjamin Dard Urban Planner / Advisor for Accessibility from Canada
Thu, July 23, 2015 at 01.56 pm

Hi everyone,

I would like to highlitght the importance of Universal Design as a key to build Cities for All. There is an urgent need for planning and building for diversity in recognition of the rights of persons with disabilities. A city accessible to persons with disabilities is one accessible to all. 

Building inclusive cities is about including those who are excluded. Barriers to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in urban environments encompass a range of interrelated physical, social, economic and attitudinal factors. A quick look at cities and towns around the world shows a challenging picture faced by persons with disabilities. They face considerable discrimination regarding mobility and accessing urban infrastructures and services (i.e. housing, clean water, education, employment, health services), which not only results in exclusion but fewer opportunities for employment, education or political participation, thus maintaining the status of poverty. 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability and 80% of that 15% are living in low-income countries. (World report on disability, WHO, 2011).

Here are examples of barriers that discriminate towards persons with disabilities in the city:

  • Access to land rights is often restricted for persons with disabilities.
  • Housing opportunities are limited due to design and construction being inaccessible and there is often a lack of accessible and adequate information on housing options.
  • Economic disadvantage of persons with disabilities (affecting general affordability and ability to secure financing).
  • Negative attitudes of actors involved in the process of building, selling, and allocating housing towards persons with disabilities.
  • Lack of access to public transportation and the increased use of individual motorised transport are also examples of the pervasive barriers to mobility that contribute significantly to the social and physical isolation of persons with disabilities. For example, in unformal settlements, Haiti, the majority of daily trips are made on foot, mostly on hazardous walkways that are uneven and narrow under normal conditions and become impassable or completely disappear under rain or erosion.
  • Lack of participation in the decision-making and voting processes that eventually influence the future of their communities is restricted due to the lack of access to information (i.e. accessibility of voting sites and ballots).
  •  In a disaster setting, persons with disabilities and the elderly are affected by the same lack of preparation and planning, the same lack of access to lack of access to early warning systems, transportation, and barrier-free housing and public buildings. In the Japan earthquake and subsequent tsunami of 2011, the death toll of persons living with disabilities was double that of persons without disabilities.
The reality is that designing for the needs of disabled people has never been a significant feature of the development process, nor of urban design theories and practices. Defensive architecture and environments automatically excludes persons with disabilities and others people with reduced mobility from participating fully in everyday life. 
The participation of persons with disabilities would provide a more holistic approach to design accessibility ‘for all’ while remaining sensitive to customised adaptations, such as installing tactile guide systems on pedestrian routes to enhance mobility and safety of persons with visual impairments. The pursuit of inclusive design is an opportunity to create more equitable solutions to urban traffic and improve the walkability of a city in a way that benefits everyone.Barrier-free spaces are an important contribution to safety in the event of disasters and emergencies.
Not only do barrier-free environments promote access to public buildings and information, but they also reduce everyone’s exposure to risk in the event of a disaster (for example, creating wide escape routes, covering open manholes, and removing tripping hazards on roads and footpaths; posting written and pictorial routes to assembly points). It is also necessary to ensure the gender perspective is mainstreamed when designing, developing and executing urban planning policies for public and private facilities, based on accessibility, independence, sociability and habitability criteria. Taking into account that women in different cultures have diverse roles and responsibilities their involvement in planning is crucial. Women and girls with disabilities have equally to be consulted as they often face additional barriers and discrimination if markets, public transport and safety are not considered. The built environment and urban design must be planned in accordance with civil safety standards to enable citizens to circulate on foot safely, while ensuring that those at greater risk of violence and abuse (such as women, girls and boys, older people and persons with disabilities) feel safe and protected.
Other forms of human settlements like refugee camps or displaced persons camps are also ideal for the implementation of universal design principles. They are essentially “new-born cities”. Camps are usually set up on a grid plan due to time constraints, the need for simplicity, and with the general idea that the camp itself will be temporary. With refugees spending an average of 17 years in what was to be a temporary camp, a strong argument for the inclusion of universal design principles in camp construction can be made. Incorporating accessibility creates barrier-free access to pathways and community facilities (i.e. health centres, public spaces, schools and religious centres, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities in the camp. This reduces risk and uncertainty of all residents and improves household autonomy by developing readily accessible spaces, places and services of everyday life.
My apologies for this long post but I believe once accessibility becomes part of your environmental awareness, it becomes obvious and natural to design for everyone. Accessibility is not a favour to a target group. It should remain one of the core values of the architect, the designer, and the developer who offer services and products to the general population.
Ben
Joseph D’CRUZ – Discussion Moderator from
Fri, July 24, 2015 at 08.32 am

Dear Benjamin,

I really enjoyed your post, which brought out a number of important dimensions.  One was the issue of ‘defensive architecture’.  (For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, there was an article in the Guardian last year that describes how local authorities and building owners use a range of measures to deter the homeless, youth or other ‘unwanted’ groups from using public facilities or congregating in public spaces.)  

Your point about how these actions discriminate against people with disabilities (and the aged, pregnant women, etc.) is an important one.  What do other people think about measures like these?  Are they a valid way for property managers and local authorities to control behaviours, reduce crime etc. or are they just another barrier to inclusion for the poor and the disadvantaged?

David Martineau from
Thu, July 23, 2015 at 03.43 pm

Dear Benjamin,
Thank you for this very clear and exhaustive contribution on the need for cities that take into consideration people with disabilities.
 You are right by saying that a conversation on inclusive cities must recognize the rights and needs of persons with disabilities.
As you also mentioned, we should pay particular attention to the special needs of disabled women.
Your final point on refugee and IDP camps is also an important one to keep in mind.     
Habitat-III will be a good opportunity to discuss these issues. 

Chiko Doctoral Researcher from United Kingdom
Wed, July 29, 2015 at 05.03 pm

It is a great to see that consideration for diverse groups has been highlighted in this discussion. I would like to add that older persons are an important group to consider. As far as the demographic tranisitions go, population ageing is a major issue deserving of more attention than it is receiving in urban development and planning. Older persons continue to be sidestepped as valuable citizens in society despite the fact that more older people will be concentrated in cities in the future, especially in developing nations. Ageing is also symbiotic with disability and ties into what has already been stated about persons with disabilities. The design and development of cities for persons with diverse abilities is not only inclusive but beneficial for all people. The development of age-friendly cities should be a priority. The WHO age-friendly framework is a good starting point. However, there is limited evidence of how successful this framework is in low resource settings and more complex cities. We need more governments assessing the age-friendliness of cities, the physical and social environment.

Joan writer
Wed, July 8, 2015 at 09.59 pm

Creating public spaces where residents of the community can not only feel safe but also valued is an excellent way that cities can promote social cohesion, inclusion and equity.  It doesn’t have to be a grand space or huge public park. 

For example, in the Harlem borough of New York, the city and community members have invested in creating small public gardens and children’s play areas that are open to all during day. I noticed that some of the Children’s play areas are situated between two apartment buildings and serve two very important purposes:

 1. They keep the kids in a safe environment to run freely and play without being in the street where there is traffic (bikers, cars parking, buses, delivery trucks etc.)

2.  Parents feel calm knowing that their children are playing in a designated area close to their buildings.  In cramped apartment buildings, one notices that children often play inside the apartment lobby or in the apartment hallways where residents are walking, lugging groceries or moving furniture.  By creating an outdoor play area between buildings (or even behind one), kids have a space to run freely without obstructing the foot traffic inside the apartment, which ultimately makes for happy parents and even happier neighbors!

It’s a rather small step – but I notice that it’s brought a sense of inclusion and community to Harlem because all residents have access to these spaces. 

Joseph D’CRUZ – Discussion Moderator from
Thu, July 9, 2015 at 04.03 am

Dear Joan,
Thanks for that insight. You are right that promoting inclusion and cohesion needs smart, small actions as well as big plans and programmes. Providing a safe space for children to play together is a powerful way to encourage households to interact and forge bonds across cultures, languages and backgrounds.
Jaime Lerner, the legendary (former) Mayor of Curitiba refers to these small actions as “Urban Acupuncture”. In a book with the same title he said; “However, sometimes, a simple, focused intervention can create new energy, demonstrating the possibilities of a space in a way that motivates others to engage with their community.”
What other small actions like these have colleagues seen that have had significant impact? Which ones did you find most exciting and catalytic?

Climate Change Centre Reading
Wed, August 12, 2015 at 09.58 pm
Climate Change Centre Reading
Sun, August 2, 2015 at 10.44 pm
All, this might catch some interest, 31 July 2015 a magic date! #Climate21 +++
#FutureofPlaces #COP21 #Habitat3 #NewUrbanAgenda #PublicSpace #WUC #TheFutureWeWant #TheCityWeNeed #UrbanSDG #UrbanAction #UrbanThinkers #Youngplacemakers #ClimateAction
Planet We are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations;
Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts* 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning 13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning 13.a Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible 13.b Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities * Acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change.

Vision 7. In these Goals and targets, we are setting out a supremely ambitious and transformational vision. We envisage a world free of poverty, hunger, disease and want, where all life can thrive. We envisage a world free of fear and violence. A world with universal literacy. A world with equitable and universal access to quality education at all levels, to health care and social protection, where physical, mental and social well-being are assured. A world where human rights relating to safe drinking water and sanitation are promoted and realised, with improved hygiene; and where food is sufficient, safe, affordable and nutritious. A world where human habitats are safe, resilient and sustainable and where there is universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy.
Cheers
/Carl
CCCRdg
Alice Junqueira Independent consultant and youth expert from Brazil
Sat, August 1, 2015 at 01.14 pm

Dear all,

I think one of the most underrated discussion when it comes to inclusive cities is what inclusiviness mean.

In this sense, the discussion should stress that inclsiviness is not only about including the excluded, because if you include the excluded to a pre-defined model for society that they did not take part in the construction of, it is not truly inclusiveness.

Inclusiveness surely must be including the excluded to the existing opportunities and infrastructure availabe, but also it must mean leaving space for the co-creation of the city we want and the co-existence of different perspectives and ways of living.

Rodrigo Schoeller de Moraes from Brazil
Sat, August 1, 2015 at 01.35 am

Dear Colleagues ,

To facilitate access , I am attaching the two main files mentioned in my previous suggestion :

1- What development do we want?

2- Lecture Values, Systemic Planning, and Management and Public Ministry,

I hope that the documents, which are public domain, can contribute in some way.

Rodrigo Schoeller de Moraes,

Public Prosecutor,

Manager Strategic Projects of the Public Prosecutors Office/Public Ministry. 

E-mail: rsmoraes@mp.rs.gov.br

rodrigoschoeller.blogspot.com.br

Phones:         

                + 55 51 9628-4254      

                + 55 51 3295-1050    

Rodrigo Schoeller de Moraes from Brazil
Sat, August 1, 2015 at 01.32 am

Dear Colleagues ,

To facilitate access , I am attaching the two main files mentioned in my previous suggestion :

1- What development do we want?

2- Lecture Values, Systemic Planning, and Management and Public Ministry,

I hope that the documents, which are public domain, can contribute in some way.

Rodrigo Schoeller de Moraes,

Public Prosecutor,

Manager Strategic Projects of the Public Prosecutors Office/Public Ministry. 

E-mail: rsmoraes@mp.rs.gov.br

rodrigoschoeller.blogspot.com.br

Phones:         

                + 55 51 9628-4254      

                + 55 51 3295-1050    

knut post habitat II activist from Germany
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 09.35 pm

The ad-hoc working group on Habitat III in the German NGO Forum Envoronment abd Devlopment misses policy proposals to stop and revert growing social inequalities which are the main reasons for urban poverty and social exclusion, for autocratic governance and insecurity, for unsustainable urban growth and transformations, for real estate speculation and economic instability.

See tha statement at

http://www.forumue.de/statement-of-the-german-forum-on-environment-development-on-habitat-iii-2/

The talk on “inclusive cities” or “social cohesion” cannot replace the struggle for more equality. The rich of course have an interest to “include” the poor, the workers somewhere in their cities. Who else would serve them? But that does not mean that the poor have a good life. Also brutal exploitation can be “social cohesion”. The notion on “equitable human settlements” in Habitat II was better. But is wasn’t enough.You cannot speak about equitable cities without speaking about the “1 %”. We must speak about justice and more equality within cities, but also between cities and regions.

NCD Alliance
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 09.27 pm

This response is submitted by the NCD Alliance, a global network of 2,000 civil society organisations in 170 countries working towards a world free of preventable suffering and death from non-communicable diseases (NCDs):

The NCD Alliance is grateful for the opportunity to participate in these urban dialogues. Social cohesion, inclusion and equality are at the very roots of the social determinants of health, and promotion of these qualities has a positive bearing on health. At the same time, NCDs exacerbate inequalities, and thus proper prevention and control of NCDs serve as investments to promote social wellbeing.

Detailed comments on Issue Paper 1 on inclusivity are attached.

Huairou Commission
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 08.26 pm

Dear Colleagues,

Here the Huairou Commission’s consolidated responses on Social Cohesion and Equity.

Habitat International Coalition – Housing and Land Rights Network
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 07.14 pm

Dear H3 Dialoguers:

We draw your attention to the Habitat International Coalition (HIC) compilation of inputs to the Issue Papers. It includes an over view and a discussion of each theme and its Issue Paper. HIC looks forward to continuing the discussion toward Habitat III.

Joseph Schechla

coordinator

Habitat International Coalition – Houing and Land Rights Network

Habitat International Coalition – Housing and Land Rights Network
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 07.13 pm

Dear H3 Dialoguers:

We draw your attention to the Habitat International Coalition (HIC) compilation of inputs to the Issue Papers. It includes an over view and a discussion of each theme and its Issue Paper. HIC looks forward to continuing the discussion toward Habitat III.

Joseph Schechla

coordinator

Habitat International Coalition – Houing and Land Rights Network

Nelson Saule Júnior Lawyer , Gereral Coordinator from Brazil
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 06.06 pm

 I am member of the Global Platform for the Right to theCity emerged from the initiative of several organizations working on the theme around the world towards a new paradigm for urban  development, more inclusive and democratic like ActionAid; Avina Foundation ;); Cities Alliance; Global Fund for theCities Development (FMDV); Ford Foundation;BrazilianNational Urban Reform Forum); Habitat forHumanity; Habitat International Coalition (HIC); International Alliance of Inhabitants;Pólis Institute;Shack Slum Dwellers International (SDI);Committee on Social Inclusion, ParticipatoryDemocracy and Human Rights (UCGLU);WIEGO – Women in Informal Employment:Globalizing and Organizing.

We defend the inclusion of the right to the city in the new Urban Global Agenda with a new paradigm for building democratic, justies , and inclusive cities. the Righr to the city must be a fundamental key for all issue paper in special 

Inclusive cities, Migration and refugges in urban areas, Safer Cities, Urban Culture and Heritage, Urban Rules and Legislation and Urban Governance


We understand  the right to the city  like opposed to the current model of urban development, in which prevails a neoliberal logic that benefits the economic interests of the minority groups. This logic allows the commercialization of the urban land, the gentrification of traditional and popular neighborhoods, the privatization of collective spaces and the use of public funds to promote major infrastructure, with the consequent marginalization, criminalization and expulsion of large sectors of the population. All of this undermining the development of decentralized, inclusive and sustainable cities that ensure job opportunities, health, education, leisure and culture in its different neighborhoods.

For the implementations the right to the city to build just, democratic and sustainable cities in necessary to adopt the next principles: the social function of land /property and the city; democratic management of the territory; the right to produce the habitat and economy for life (not for accumulation, speculation and profit); responsible and sustainable management of common (natural, energy, historic and cultural) assets; and equal enjoyment of public spaces and community facilities.

The right to the city also includes the need of a framework for the decentralization of public administration (office, technical ability, resources) and an active role of local authorities, ensuring democratic and participatory mechanisms in decision-making processes.

Key Drivers – The Implementation the Right to the City

Another important premise is to understand the city as a cultural diverse and rich collective space that belongs to all its inhabitants, and understood as the city, town, suburb, municipality or village institutionally organized as a local government unit (Municipal or Metropolitan), and that includes the urban, rural or semi-rural areas of its territory.

The compliance with the principles of the social functions of the city and the property assumes a city where its inhabitants participate in order to ensure an equitable use of goods, services and opportunities offered  by the city in the distribution of its territory. A city that prioritizes the public interest collectively defined, ensuring a socially just and environmentally balanced use of urban and rural territory.

The right to the city as a collective right is not restricted to the respect, protection and to ensure individual human rights at the local level. As a new collective right, it reflects a territorial, integral and  human rights concept already legislated (and corresponding to obligations of the authorities in their different Government levels). 

It is important to also consider as a strategic component of the right to the city the strengthening of local authorities through the political and financial decentralization. The city as a local government unit must have the institutional capacity to decide and choose their own authorities, access to public resources, decentralization of power, autonomy and self-management programs  and public projects named as the city rights.


Alice Junqueira Independent consultant and youth expert from Brazil
Sat, August 1, 2015 at 01.23 pm

I totally endorse your comment Nelson, the Right to the City should be a premise and is the base to reach a Social Cohesion, Equity, and Livable Cities.

Nicole Bohrer Program Associate from United States
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 05.59 pm

Dear all, please find attached responses to issue papers 1,2,3,4 – with a particular focus on gender – from members of the Huairou Commission Network.

Justin Mortensen Director, Urban Strategy Initiative from United States
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 05.44 pm

While this paper focuses on economic equalities, we feel like there is inadequate mention of equity across the socio-economic groups. Slum populations may vary among themselves by economic status. It is important to ensure equitable services to all groups. Often reaching the most deprived (that final 10-25%) is particularly challenging and likely expensive. Realizing the rights of all to universal access to quality basic services – The section should not only include age-responsive services but also socioeconomic status- responsive interventions to achieve desired coverage.

In addition, the paper should include data on women’s health indicators, such as, disparities in skilled attendance at delivery among urban and rural population and among urban rich and urban poor population groups.

Rodrigo Schoeller de Moraes from Brazil
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 04.12 pm

Esteemed Colleagues:

I am a public prosecutor and manager of strategic projects of the Public Ministry/Public Prosecutor’s Office in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

               In Brazil, the Public Ministry/Public Prosecutor’s Office has very broad constitutional powers, prioritizing, and often fostering, cooperation networks, in order to serve, not only the consequences of society’s problems, but also the causes.

In the search for effectiveness, sustainability, equity and peace, internal and external, and taking into account the causes of the growing disregard for nature and dignity (own and others) are systemic, ie, arising from interdependent relationships between various components of Environment, believed to be important for the development of the methodology of Systemic Planning and Management action (PGS). 

This is because this method allows, from the focus priority chosen and emphasizing the family context, vision, and resource integration, multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary. Focus priority can be established, for example, in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in the thematic topics for the New Urban Agenda (social cohesion and equity, urban frameworks, spatial development, urban economy and urban ecology and environment), and, more specifically, in a flooding, in the construction of a hydroelectric plant, in the health of vulnerable populations, (native Brazilians, homeless people, people affected by ecological catastrophes), in the improvement in the quality of life of the population of certain slum and etc.. Thus, one can establish what to do, and who, where and when / why and how to map and integrate all these components. Therefore, it is important to be perceived a common mission, to be implemented with the assistance of the physiological, psychological (safety, belonging and self-esteem) and self-fulfillment, generating commensurate impacts on the three pillars of sustainability (economic, social – health, education, citizenship and security – and the environment) and through cooperation networks. Thus, public effects are produced by adding value to sustainable activities.


            This common mission, envisioned as public purpose, requires and favors the formation of cooperation networks for systemic action, allowing the integration of the three sectors (public, private and civil society) and the whole community. This context favors democracy, participatory and representative, providing Harmonic and Sustainable Development (DHS), the consciousness of unity and survival of all living beings.

Increasingly, it requires the cooperation of every part. However, sometimes, when making planning and management of public policy, we do not see the importance of integration, too, with the Justice System. In case of ineffectiveness of public policy (often due to a linear actuation – not realizing the interconnections), the Justice System undoubtedly will intervene, directly affecting the course of development that we want (something that can be evidenced by example, the “judicialization of health”). In the state of Rio Grande do Sul, the state judiciary fostered Systemic Planning and Management action in all municipalities. In Brazil, the National Judicial Forum for Monitoring and Resolution of demands in Health Care and the National Health Forum under the National Council of the Public Ministry are giving support for Systemic Planning and Management action.

The Systemic Planning and Management action has achieved many positive results. Therefore, we are building, with the National Confederation of Municipalities, the document: Systemic Planning and Management action focusing on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and HABITAT III. HOW implement the ODS in the local community and in the context of the HABITAT III

We believe that this document can contribute to implementation of ODS and for the preparation of New Urban agenda. The document will be available at the following address: rodrigoschoeller.blogspot.com.br, in early September (including an English version).

            Further information can be obtained in the following materials – at the same address and:

1- What development do we want? – (an English version can be found on the link)

quedesenvolvimentoqueremos.webnode.com/news/que-desenvolvimento-queremos-/

2- A Map On The Way  (an English version can be found on the link)

rodrigoschoeller.blogspot.com.br/2012/01/um-mapa-no-caminho-map-on-way-english.html

3-  Lecture Values, Systemic Planning, and Management and Public Ministry

rodrigoschoeller.blogspot.com.br/2010/10/pgs-lecture-values-systemic-planning.html

4- Lecture at the World Conference about Development of Cities

rodrigoschoeller.blogspot.com.br/2010/10/pgs-lecture-at-world-conference-about_26.html

5-  La Gestion and PGS

rodrigoschoeller.blogspot.com.br/2010/10/pgs-la-gestion-e-pgs_26.html

6-  Primer on PGS action focusing on Health, 2015 version.

pgsistemicos.blogspot.com.br/2013/01/otimizacao-da-rede-de-fornecimento-de.html

I hope that the documents, which are public domain, can contribute in some way.

Rodrigo Schoeller de Moraes,

Public Prosecutor,

Manager Strategic Projects of the Public Prosecutors Office/Public Ministry. 

E-mail: rsmoraes@mp.rs.gov.br

rodrigoschoeller.blogspot.com.br

Phones:         

                + 55 51 9628-4254      

                + 55 51 3295-1050    

ICOMOS
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 04.09 pm
Greetings to the fellow participants in the Urban Dialogues discussion on Social Cohesion and Equity!   Firstly, many thanks to Joseph D’Cruz and David Martineau for co-moderating this discussion, as well as to the other contributors, whose submissions have been both stimulating and worthwhile.
  

I am making this submission on behalf of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).  ICOMOS is an international, NGO that focuses on cultural heritage.  We are pleased to have this opportunity to participate in this discussion on “What can cities do to promote social cohesion, inclusion and equity?” and to contribute to the eventual adoption of the New Urban Agenda.  This Dialogue is particularly important for its potential to help align the proposed UN Sustainable Developments Goals with the outcomes of Habitat III.   The current draft of SDG Goal 11 includes Target 11.4, which calls for:

making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by strengthening efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.”

As the only Urban Dialogue that expressly recognizing the critical linkage between cultural heritage and urban matters, which is explicit in the SDGs, this Dialogue takes on special significance.  That being said, we agree with the comments of the Committee on Culture of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), that the role culture and heritage in sustainable development is multi-sectoral.  As such, culture and heritage needs to be accounted for in all the Habitat III thematic areas and Urban Dialogues. 

For over 50 years, ICOMOS has promoted the conservation, enhancement and use of monuments, buildings, ensembles of buildings and sites.  Our comments today are informed by a series of ICOMOS initiatives and actions over many years in order to promote a development process that incorporates tangible and intangible cultural heritage as a vital aspect of sustainability, and gives a human face to development. Of particular note is the ICOMOS conference held at Moscow and Suzdal in Russia (1978), one of the sub-themes of which was “Historical Monuments as a Support to Economic and Social Development.” The scientific symposium entitled “No Past, No Future” held in Italy and one in Mexico in 1999 on “The Wise Use of Heritage” further explored the subject. The work and reports of ICOMOS meetings in Nara, Japan (1997), Xi’an, China (2005) and Quebec, Canada (2008) helped to develop the heritage concepts of ‘authenticity’, ‘context’ and ‘spirit of place’. The Valletta Position Paper on Historic Cities and Sustainable Urban Development Policies adopted by the ICOMOS International Committee on Historic Towns and Villages (CIVVIH) in 2010 is a key text.

In order to explore how cultural heritage can promote social cohesion, inclusion and equity (and indeed, more broadly, the rationale for including a heritage target in the Urban SDG), the idea of “heritage” must be understood in its broader, modern sense.  The term should not be exclusively associated with “extraordinary” sites such as Historic Monuments or World Heritage sites – even though such sites retain their exceptional iconic status – but rather to all cultural landscapes, historic cities, and sites of memory.  Moreover, contemporary practice (ratified by ICOMOS at its Madrid General Assembly more than a decade ago) extends the concept of heritage beyond “tangible heritage,” to the intangible dimensions of heritage as well. This means the entirety of the capital of knowledge derived from the development and experience of human practices, and from the spatial, social and cultural constructions linked to it.  In a word, “memory.”  

Thusly conceived, heritage has both an instrumental value (touristic, industrial, commercial) but also an inherent or intrinsic value that is not linked to the existing use/needs/functions but that is of interest for future generations as it reflects the accumulation and incorporation of past information and knowledge. 

One of the most comprehensive efforts to address the role of cultural heritage in development to date is the ICOMOS Symposium entitled “Heritage, a driver of development” held in Paris in 2011. This meeting was held in anticipation of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (the Rio+20 Conference) and attended by nearly 1,200 heritage experts from over 100 countries.  The aim of this meeting was to measure the effects of globalization (and, where applicable, de-industrialization) on communities and heritage; to identify the actions needed not only to protect heritage, but also to ensure that its use, its promotion and enhancement, and its economic, social and cultural value are harnessed to the benefit of local communities and visitors; and to assess the ability of heritage and its inherent values to inspire and to build tomorrow’s societies, curbing the negative effects of globalization.

The meeting resulted in a doctrinal text in heritage known as the “Declaration of Paris on Heritage as a Driver of Development” (the “Paris Declaration”). It begins from the premises that heritage is a fragile, crucial and non-renewable resource that must be conserved for the benefit of current and future generations.  It follows that heritage – with its value for identity, and as a repository of historical, cultural and social memory, preserved through its authenticity, integrity and ‘sense of place’ – forms a crucial aspect of the development process.  The Symposium concluded that the key roles heritage has to play in the context of sustainable development relate to social cohesion, well-being, creativity, economic appeal, and promoting understanding between communities.  The International Congress “Culture: Key to Sustainable Development” convened by UNESCO in Hangzhou (China) in 2013 was a foundational event in these discussions. 

The proceedings of the Hangzhou Conference and the Paris Declaration reflect the prominent place that cultural heritage and historic preservation stakeholders have for many years assigned to the intersection of heritage and social cohesion, equity, and livability of cities. The Habitat III Issue Paper on “Urban Culture and Heritage provides another valuable contribution to these questions and to other issues around culture, heritage, and urban sustainability.   At the same time, ICOMOS has identified a number of issues which may require further attention and we look forward to the opportunity to present these matters as the Habitat III agenda elaboration process continues.  Other comments and examples provided in this urban dialogue so far point in the same direction.

The half-decade since the Rio+20 Conference, the Hangzhou Conference and the Paris Declaration have yielded an enormous diversity of practical approaches and solutions designed to leverage heritage in service of making cities more inclusive and cohesive for all their populations.  From these, the following conclusions can be drawn:

  • Heritage has the power to strengthen communities where citizens associate the historic environment with a shared identity, attachment to place and everyday life, including people who are minorities, disadvantaged or socially excluded.
  • Traditional settlements, with their lasting cultural identity and socio-economic traditions, raise the awareness and pride of citizens in local history and culture no matter where they originate or how they may be adapted.                  
  • The mix of public and private spaces found in traditional settlements engenders social cohesiveness and interaction by providing common spaces for diverse groups to interact.
  • Historic cities are by nature functionally and socially mixed, supporting a wide range of complementary activities, and embody multiple cultural values. Historic cities were vibrant, convivial, inspiring and have proved to be supremely adaptable to incremental and harmonious change.
  • People are at the heart of heritage conservation policies and projects. Emphasis that ownership of heritage strengthens the social fabric and enhances social well-being.
  • Public spaces that may be historic parks or plazas be in historic parts of towns, or adjacent to historic monuments provide opportunities for continuity of use and significance while supporting new ones. These public spaces offer something meaningful and attractive to the citizens to get involved in the city culture and to participate in public activities among diverse members of the community.
  • Historic towns, districts, and the historic parts of the cities are valuable for their uniqueness and sense of place. They help to attract tourism, employment and local investment, fostering the sustainable development of the city. They also engender curiosity and in so doing, build an understanding and acceptance of others’ values, history and traditions.
A recurring theme in these matters in the need for human scale.  This concern is sometimes confused with a rejection of density.  Traditional settlement patterns and historic cities, however, often yield among the densest settlement patterns.  The notion of human scale relates more to the existence of multiple relationships and bonds between people and between people and natural; human capital that stimulates cooperative/synergistic capacity and thus new value creation. De-industrialization in some places, rapid urbanization in others, combined with globalization, can lead to a culture that is indifferent to long-term sustainability and to the common interest. This occurs when urbanization is allowed to be destructive to local ecologies, natural resources including land and water bodies, and cultural resources including built heritage, building crafts, traditional knowledge and creative industries. In the urban context, this crisis can be referred to as the “de-humanizing” city.  It is fueled by planning that is alternatingly autocratic and anarchic, and development patterns that promote social and spatial segregation and social fragmentation. This social fragmentation fundamentally contradicts the project of the city, that is the project of human beings living together.

Cultural heritage has a formative role in overcoming this culture of narrow self-interest, indifferent to relationships and inter-dependencies, to the sense of the whole.  Instead, cultural heritage is a particular example of common good. It evokes the community that takes care, manages and valorizes its common good, stimulating sense of co-belonging, cooperation, collaboration, and synergies and thus self-organization, self-governance and self-government. In the community, coordination of actions and cooperation is implemented concretely.  Many best practices show the creation of a specific community in/for managing a cultural asset (implementing the perspective of the “heritage community” in the parlance of the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society). The community is characterized by relationships and bonds, because values, meanings and sense are recognized and shared. A data base of Good/Best Practices produces empirical evidence about the role of the cultural heritage for contributing to living together, which is to say human development.

The vital role of Culture and Cultural Heritage is promoting equity should also be stressed.  Some examples include:

  • Occupations related to cultural heritage, cultural practices, and creativity provide a valuable source of income, dignity, and livelihood.
  • Culture based livelihoods have the potential for small and micro enterprises empowering local communities and contributing to poverty alleviation.
  • Enables people to draw on and build on local and knowledge for their livelihoods and problem solving rather than privileging external education and knowledge alone. They offer a diversity of solutions to a wide range of problems.
In the words of the organizers of the ICOMOS Paris Symposium, global society has been evolving very quickly. It has witnessed in-depth changes.  Globalization engenders physical, economic, social disequilibria, as well as deep, violent reactions of rejection.  This results in a “need for heritage,” revelatory of a society and of communities who are looking for themselves. This soul-searching is not about going backwards, expressing nostalgia and retrograde proposals or becoming inward-looking. What we are talking about is finding again this capital of experience accumulated generation after generation and transmitted patiently, ordering the balanced organization of territories, the dialogue between cities and countryside, the careful management of natural resources, the art of building and protecting oneself from the climate and nature while organizing human societies, the art of living, and of living collectively.

Cultural heritage of cities builds sense of belonging and of identity of local communities, and it promotes social cohesion, inclusion and equity. The conservation of cultural heritage and traditional settlement patterns is a key element for inclusive economic and social development and poverty alleviation, for improving the livability and sustainability of urban areas, as well as for the new development of surrounding areas. We can and must conserve our common heritage as human beings and pass them on the future generations not as museum relics but as living changing models of adaptability. We must recognize and celebrate places whose identity is the unique result of its characteristics—the geography, the climate, their materials and their habits. This is the bedrock of sustainability.

Cardiff University
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 04.05 pm

Dear all

This has been a very rich dialogue and has been wide-ranging in covering aspects of social inclusion.  From my research perspective livelhoods are key, as without access to decent work people are dispossessed in an urban setting.  Many cities are now accommodating a ‘youth bulge’, but young people or working age need jobs to gain a foothold in urban life.

We’ve had an interesting discussion about the home as a place of work and the rich economies of low-income settlements, but public space is also key, both as a setting for social inclusion in multi-cultural cities and as a place of work.  It is in public space that we celebrate the festivals and ceremonies that create the patina of urban life, but public space can also be a site of exclusion, for example for women with fears of safety, for young people who have nowhere to play, and for undocumented migrants who have no stake in the city.  Public space is also a place of work for street vendors and others who face frequent harassment and evictions. Social inclusion will depend on imaginative partnerships between communities and their local governments to re-envisage the way in which we manage the public realm to ensure safety and inclusion for all.

Misereor
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 03.10 pm

MISEREOR is the German Catholic development agency supporting local partners world-wide since 1958. As one of the active participants at the Habitat I conference in Vancouver in 1976, and at the Habitat II conference in Istanbul in 1996, MISEREOR has been constantly engaged in the promotion of the right to housing and of sustainable settlement development. This includes advocacy against evictions, reminding states of their obligations to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights to housing, water, sanitation, etc., and supporting urban grass-root networks and local initiatives demanding access to land, security of tenure, housing and access to services.

Social Cohesion and Equity / Inclusive Cities

We asked ourselves where in the 22 issue papers crucial social and economic problems we deal with are adequately addressed: poverty and inequality, homelessness and insecurity of tenure, discrimination and social exclusion, expropriation and evictions which increasingly happen in cities. The paper on inclusive cities compiles various aspects, like urban poverty and inequality in general, and addresses the needs of specific target groups. Yes, specific vulnerable target groups deserve specific policies and support. However, to limit inclusion to specific vulnerable groups could be misleading. Inclusive Cities, we are convinced, should be inclusive beyond the aspects of non-discrimination of specific target groups. From our point of view, it would be important that the HABITAT III process highlights and addresses urban poverty and inequality by pointing out what cities and their administrations can actively do/ decide to minimize the growing gap between poor populations groups and upper and middle classes. In socio-economic heterogeneous areas like cities, inclusion should specifically address how-low-income-households could compete on the market to make their living. Further, what is the role of local administrations in concrete policies addressing poverty and inequality, tenure security, homelessness or evictions in their cities? What can a city do to reduce social inequalities (high urban Gini coefficients) in favour of a more balanced income and property distribution? The reality of self-built settlements – may we call them informal settlements, people’s settlements or “slums” – are a symptom of socio-economic gaps which are physically separating cheap available labour force from middle class and elites. These settlements accommodate people who are forced to offer cheap labour which benefits enterprises and factories (low production costs) and which benefits middle classes and elites with cheap service as well. More often than not, people living in informal settlements are threatened by forced evictions, at the same time there is no alternative affordable housing space available to them. The practice of forced evictions and the destruction of people’s settlements are not compatible with inclusion and equity. What do cities do to overcome these discrepancies of their urban societies?

We are convinced that public and social housing, social control of urban land use, the use of public space as a common, and the public provision of basic services could be viable instruments, to reduce growing social inequalities in cities and societies. Inclusion and cohesion should be enhanced with policies and instruments addressing the above mentioned with an explicit pro-poor perspective.

The reality of urban poverty and the specific role of cities to create conditions to overcome poverty and inequality require specific attention during Habitat III debates and documents.

Misereor
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 03.10 pm

MISEREOR is the German Catholic development agency supporting local partners world-wide since 1958. As one of the active participants at the Habitat I conference in Vancouver in 1976, and at the Habitat II conference in Istanbul in 1996, MISEREOR has been constantly engaged in the promotion of the right to housing and of sustainable settlement development. This includes advocacy against evictions, reminding states of their obligations to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights to housing, water, sanitation, etc., and supporting urban grass-root networks and local initiatives demanding access to land, security of tenure, housing and access to services.

Social Cohesion and Equity / Inclusive Cities

We asked ourselves where in the 22 issue papers crucial social and economic problems we deal with are adequately addressed: poverty and inequality, homelessness and insecurity of tenure, discrimination and social exclusion, expropriation and evictions which increasingly happen in cities. The paper on inclusive cities compiles various aspects, like urban poverty and inequality in general, and addresses the needs of specific target groups. Yes, specific vulnerable target groups deserve specific policies and support. However, to limit inclusion to specific vulnerable groups could be misleading. Inclusive Cities, we are convinced, should be inclusive beyond the aspects of non-discrimination of specific target groups. From our point of view, it would be important that the HABITAT III process highlights and addresses urban poverty and inequality by pointing out what cities and their administrations can actively do/ decide to minimize the growing gap between poor populations groups and upper and middle classes. In socio-economic heterogeneous areas like cities, inclusion should specifically address how-low-income-households could compete on the market to make their living. Further, what is the role of local administrations in concrete policies addressing poverty and inequality, tenure security, homelessness or evictions in their cities? What can a city do to reduce social inequalities (high urban Gini coefficients) in favour of a more balanced income and property distribution? The reality of self-built settlements – may we call them informal settlements, people’s settlements or “slums” – are a symptom of socio-economic gaps which are physically separating cheap available labour force from middle class and elites. These settlements accommodate people who are forced to offer cheap labour which benefits enterprises and factories (low production costs) and which benefits middle classes and elites with cheap service as well. More often than not, people living in informal settlements are threatened by forced evictions, at the same time there is no alternative affordable housing space available to them. The practice of forced evictions and the destruction of people’s settlements are not compatible with inclusion and equity. What do cities do to overcome these discrepancies of their urban societies?

We are convinced that public and social housing, social control of urban land use, the use of public space as a common, and the public provision of basic services could be viable instruments, to reduce growing social inequalities in cities and societies. Inclusion and cohesion should be enhanced with policies and instruments addressing the above mentioned with an explicit pro-poor perspective.

The reality of urban poverty and the specific role of cities to create conditions to overcome poverty and inequality require specific attention during Habitat III debates and documents.

Climate Change Centre Reading
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 03.25 pm

Comments, OVERVIEW Issue Paper 1, 6, 11 and 17
Youth conclusions and inclusion and resilience in the New Urban Agenda based on three years project with placemaking and climate change coverage. Why?  The youth is our future and their need for protective shelter in a changing climate, first and foremost. This requires multidisciplinary climate action across multilevel jurisdictional boundaries…

Dear the Habitat III Secretariat, 
Sponsor, Support and Share this International call for a Monthly Car-Free Work-Day Planet proposal.
Let´s make this a global #AirQuality reality!

Thank you for organising Habitat III and UrbanDialouges

Cheeers
/Carl
CCCRdg 

Jose Siri Epidemiologist; urban health from Malaysia
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 01.19 pm

Dear all,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the issue papers in the Social Inclusion and Equity policy area. My institute, the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health, is particularly interested in the health aspects of urbanization and global development. Here, as in the other policy areas, we feel there is an opportunity for a greater emphasis on health as both fundamental outcome and driver of development—especially given that health has not itself been prioritized as a Policy Area.

Too often, health in development is discussed solely as a function of access to health services. While the importance of an effective and accessible health sector is beyond doubt, this perspective downplays the multidimensional nature of health and its interactions with other urban processes. In the context of inclusivity and equity, this means that not only should all citizens have access to health services, but the design and management of cities should be such that they offer the opportunity to all to enjoy the highest possible standards of health. Moreover, it’s worth noting that health, itself, is one of the factors best able to motivate policy action—a lever that is at times overlooked in discussions of other important development objectives.

A few specific comments and suggestions:

–          The paper on social cohesion and equity rightly mentions the linkages between inequity and health for poor women, migrants and slum dwellers; a broader discussion of the increasingly strong evidence of the effects of inequality on a wide variety of population health outcomes would be welcome. Inequality can have profound effects on mental health, to take one of many examples. The paper might also discuss the role of ill health in limiting opportunities and therefore exacerbating inequalities—a feedback loop with important consequences for cities.

–          The paper on migration refers to a number of hazards and obstacles faced by migrants and refugees which certainly affect their health, but the only concrete mention of health is with respect to health services—a paragraph that draws some of the other challenges together from a health perspective would be useful. Similarly, some discussion of the hazards faced by migrants during migration would be appropriate.

–          The text on safer cities is admirably broad, addressing the multi-dimensionality of safety issues and calling for cross-sectoral, community-based, transdisciplinary solutions that include urban design and planning—this perspective would be welcome across the board.

–          The issue paper on urban culture and heritage does not mention health—this is missed opportunity to recognize the critical role cultural factors play in influencing—and ideally promoting—health.  For example, food cultures are a determining factor in the global epidemic of obesity and overweight, which has tremendous health, economic, environmental and social consequences in urban areas. More generally, culture influences health-seeking (and risky) behavior, community cohesion and resilience, attitudes toward sustainability, innovation and lifestyle change, the availability of health-promoting information and the extent to which it’s valued, and other important health-related phenomena.

The dialogue web page poses the question: “What can cities do to promote social cohesion, inclusion and equity?” Taking an approach to urban development that focuses on health as first among many important objectives would go a long way.

CISDP-UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 10.16 am

As the UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights, which gathers 90 Local Governments, we work to articulate a common voice for cities in United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) on the issues of social inclusion, participatory democracy, human rights, and the right to the city, as well as advise local governments on the design of public policies regarding such topics.  

We have been working for ten years together with civil society and the academic sector, to foster local social inclusion policies, participatory democracy, human rights and right to the city through advocacy, exchange of experiences, knowledge production and networking.  We have also edited some political documents such as For a World of Inclusive Cities and Social Inclusion and Participatory Democracy, which could be a contribution to the definition of the New Global Agenda. 

We believe that, when talking about promoting social cohesion, inclusion and equity is important to use an approach focused on the concept of The Right to City, understood as the equitable usufruct of cities within the principles of sustainability, equality, solidarity and social justice. Mainly because this is the broad concept which embraces the whole set of basic rights for all inhabitants, and which consists in a transversal approach that, in the end, touches all the main issues found in our contemporary cities. The Right to the City, for all purposes, is the socio-spatialisation of the collective well-being in a city. It is not only the right to access cities’ services and infrastructure, but also about empowering citizens and promoting a bottom-up approach, where all groups, regardless of their gender, race, religion or social status, have access to the decision making processes and policies that affect their everyday lives.

Many cities have committed to this approach in their governance guidelines creating the basis for social inclusion by placing people at the center of their policies, and developing a shared commitment between all local stakeholders to achieve civil, political, social, economic and environmental rights for all. Cities such as Saint Denis, in the periphery of Paris (European Charter for the Safeguarding of Human Rights in the City), Mexico City (Mexico City Charter for the Right to the City, 2010), and Gwangju, South Korea (Gwangju’s Principles for Human Rights Cities, 2012) have initiatives that exemplify this process. The city of Bogotá is also working in their “Route of Human Rights in the City” (Ruta de Derechos – Bogotá Humana), using the approach of Rights to stimulate Social Inclusion and Social Cohesion. In Bogotá, that approach resulted in the reduction of multidimensional poverty from 12,1%, in 2010, to 8,7%, in 2013.  These cities are heading towards innovative methods, where development is intrinsically attached to the welfare of the population in short and long term perspectives.

We would also like to highlight the Inclusive Cities Observatory, where it is possible to find more than sixty experiences of public policies focused on social inclusion of different groups such as youth, women, migrants, informal workers, among others. It is a rich source of good practices, which shows how Local Governments, when politically committed, are crucial actors to fight exclusion. These examples are vital to understand that implementing real mechanisms to share local wealth are not just idealistic perspectives, even nowadays when it is so common to see initiatives focused on attracting capital to cities in a competitive global market.

In that context, it is important to highlight the importance of the Global Charter-Agenda for Human Rights in the City. The document, adopted in 2011 by UCLG, works as a tool for local governments to apply its principles, with all basic rights covered, explained, analyzed and divided into 12 main points:

  1. Right to the City;
  2. Right to Participatory Democracy;
  3. Right to Civic Peace and Safety in the City;
  4. Right of Women and Men to Equality;
  5. Right of Children;
  6. Right to Accessible Public Spaces;
  7. Freedom of Conscience and Religion, Opinion and Information;
  8. Right to Peaceful Meeting, Association and to Form a Trade Union;
  9. Cultural Rights;
  10. Right to Housing and Domicile;
  11. Right to Water and Food;
  12. Right to Sustainable Urban Development

The Charter also suggests short and mid-term Action Plans, which work as concrete recommendations on how to apply each concept in its target context.

Finally, we think that social inclusion through the Right to the City should be a cross-cutting approach in the whole Habitat III Agenda, and that mean to work on:

–      Cities where the full exercise of human rights is guaranteed for all inhabitants;

–      Democratic, transparent, and participatory cities based on citizens’ empowerment;

–      Cities as common goods for all inhabitants, where human rights  take precedence over the process of privatization, of speculation which inevitably lead to the exclusion of the majority of the population, and where the rehabilitation of historic centers do not result in their gentrification;

–      Sustainable cities which maintain a balanced and respectful relationship with the surrounding rural area and its natural resources;

–      Cities whose economies aim to ensure their inhabitants’ well-being, and rely on endogenous and sustainable local economic developments and resources without seeking to attract international investments first;

–      Multicultural and welcoming cities highlighting the wealth of migrants;

–      Cities where public space is accessible to all and recognized as necessary for the freedom of expression, and the various uses of the city;

–      Cities where cultural rights are guaranteed as key for social inclusion.

The Committee also highlights the importance of promoting the exchange of experiences and knowledge between cities and citizens, so we can fight together against exclusion and create a worldwide environment where cohesion and equity are a responsibility of all. Thus, citizens, civil society organizations and governments must work in a cooperative way towards a better world.

For more information, please access our statement and recommendations on the Inclusive Cities Issue Paper

International Music Council
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 08.00 am

Dear all,

Thanks for launching this discussion on social cohesion and equity, I was very interested in reading all your contributions from all over the world.

I am writing on behalf of the International Music Council (IMC), the world’s largest network of organisations and institutions working in the field of music. The IMC has joined forces with other global cultural networks to advocate the role of culture as a driver and facilitator of sustainable development.

We have analysed the recent issue paper on “Urban Culture and Heritage” and would like to share with you our response – which you can also find attached to this message -. We welcome the fact that an issue paper on this topic is part of the UNHabitat discussions as we believe that it is indeed important for global agendas, as well as for regional, national and local strategies to consider cultural aspects when discussing sustainable development.

When talking about social cohesion and equity, the relation between culture and education should deserve our full attention. Formal and non-formal education need to be integrated into the concept of cultural diversity.  We also strongly believe that arts education has its place in the school curricula as it conveys key principles of mutual respect and tolerance.

We look forward to further exchanges.

Kind regards,

Diandra Jinadasa

World Vision International
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 07.35 am

Upon hearing this opportunity to contribute to the urban dialogues, World Vision International’s Centre for Expertise in Urban Programming invited some of the organisation’s thematic experts to respond to the issue papers and dialogue questions. This response represents the amalgamation of multiple individuals’ feedback.

Firstly, in view of previous comments within this Urban Dialogue, World Vision would like to affirm the need for safe places for children as raised by Joan (Wed July 8th, 9.59pm). Many children are living in overcrowded spaces in cities of the developing world where streets are contaminated with garbage and dangerous waste. They are exposed to gang violence and lack safe spaces to play, including adequate street lighting. Children need places where they can learn and refine essential social and communication skills and places of play and exploration, which is critical for child development.  As stated by Joseph D’Cruz (Thurs July 9th, 4.03am) child focused public spaces also are effective in developing cohesion amongst adults from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.  World Vision strongly supports the need for child friendly spaces to be intentionally invested into the cities of the future. 

World Vision also affirms the comments by Actions for Children’s Environments (Wed July 29th, 11:11) who clearly articulated the links between children living in poverty, issues of insecure land tenure and exposure to urban health risks. World Vision supports the principle of investing into community engagement on social development in urban contexts, involving the community in infrastructure and slum upgrading, working across disciplines to improve land tenure security, and to ensure that community social capital and community friendly and child friendly spaces are created whenever possible.

As a child rights focused organisation, World Vision believes that cohesive and equitable cities must take into account a child-rights approach. This means two things: 1) strengthening the capacities of duty bearers to understand and fulfil children’s rights, and 2) empowering children and young people to advocate for and claim their rights to these duty bearers.

We have seen children’s voices used powerfully to change policy and gain political support. Two brief examples are:

1) Surabaya, Indonesia – “The underlying issue is that our voices are not being heard. We need to have our voices heard”– This was the clear message from the children of Pegirian, location of World Vision’s urban pilot project in Surabaya, Indonesia. The project aimed to contribute towards the development of pro-child policies in Surabaya through the promotion of child voice and participation in the urban context. At the village level, World Vision worked with children’s groups to support their ability to express their opinions and contribute to the development of Pegirian as active citizens. At the city level, World Vision worked with the Municipal coordinating body for Community Planning to implement a Child Friendly City Framework and develop pro-child policies in Surabaya.

2) Dhaka, Bangladesh – In April 2015 in the lead up to the Dhaka City Corporation Mayoral elections, World Vision Bangladesh facilitated a question and answer forum between the candidates for the position of mayor for Dhaka North and Dhaka South City Corporations, hosted by a prominent TV personality. The forum was broadcast twice on national TV. This forum gave children from the informal communities of Dhaka to share their thoughts, needs and questions with the mayoral candidate and seek their commitment to improving the conditions and equity for the younger generation in Dhaka.

In summary, World Vision seeks to contribute to the equity and social cohesion of the urban centres where we are working. The recognition of children’s rights, the inclusion of children’s voices and needs in discussions and decision making processes, and the provision of safe spaces where children can learn, develop and grow in a healthy and stable environment are essential for improving the social cohesion, inclusion and equity in urban contexts.

Chantier de l’économie sociale
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 03.37 pm

Dear all,

I would like to add some thoughts about a practical – and strategical – approach for governments of cities to be more inclusif, equitable and promote social cohesion, and this is collaboration with the social economy organisations in their territories

Indeed,  all  over  the  world,  innovative  practices  of  the  social economy  help meet people’s basic needs and ensure the quality of life of cities’ inhabitants, due to the fact that these organisations are created in the community and for the community. There are several areas of collaboration regarding the the development of more inclusive cities: housing (for example, through housing cooperatives), social cohesion and employment (for example, social integration companies, recognition of the informal economy), local development (for example, through the implementation of short chain supply social enterprises), offer of community based local services (for exemple, culture centres, nurseries…).

Sharing this approach, the  Global  Social  Economy  Forum  (GSEF)  is  an  international  association  of  local  governments  and  civil  society actors  dedicated to  the development of  the social and solidarity economy (SSE).  Emerging  from a first  conference that took place in 2013 in Seoul, it was formally constituted as an international association in 2014 during a second forum, in South Corea as well.

The next edition of this big conference, the  Global Social Economy Forum  –  GSEF2016,  will be held in Montreal in September  2016 and will have precisely as main theme the collaboration between local governments and the social and solidarity economy (SSE) for the development of cities. In particular, GSEF2016 will showcase practices that create jobs, ensure a quality of life, contribute to social cohesion and support the smart and sustainable development in cities.  It is expected that  more than 2,000 participants from local governments, SSE organizations, the private  sector  and  the  civil  society  around  the  world  will  attend. 

The organizers of the event are the City of Montreal and the Chantier de l’économie sociale, and as I’m myself part of the organisation committee of GSEF2016, I invite you all to contact me for any further information.

Finally, I would like to know if the social economy has been brought up in the discussions going on to build the draft of the New Urban Agenda to be presented in HabitatIII. Any leads?

Thanks,

Laura Espiau

David Martineau from
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 04.11 pm

Dear Laura,
Thank you very much for your contribution.
It will indeed be very interesting to follow the Global Social Economy Forum in Montreal.
You are right by pointing out that social economy can contribute to making our cities more inclusive and cohesive.
I would like to hear a bit more on this issue.
Can you perhaps give us more examples of this relationship between inclusion and social economy?
Are there any cities that have adopted such projects?

Laura Espiau Guarner from
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 09.05 pm

Dear David,

We understand the social economy as collectively run enterprises, namely cooperatives and enterprising non-profits, which aim to prioritize community welfare rather than simply maximize financial returns. These kinds of initiatives exist all over the world, but oftentimes are identified using different terminology: community economic development initiatives, community wealth building, social enterprises, etc.

According to this definition, the social economy is deeply rooted in its community (it’s created by the community, for the community) to identify and address their needs and aspirations, oftentimes cohesion issues specific to its territory (namely cities), and thereby can contribute to making them more inclusive economically, socially, culturally, technologically, etc.

Examples of this are “adapted enterprises” which aim to create permanent jobs for handicapped people rather than the maximization of economic profit (for example thanks to the Catalan dairy producerLa Fageda,the ratio of unemployment among people suffering mental illnesses or handicaps in its region, La Garrotxa, is near to zero) or “worker integration enterprises” which offer on-the-job training and social support to marginalized people (immigrants, ex-convicts, recovering addicts, etc) in order to help them reintegrate the labour market. Somesocial economy organizations, such as Regional Development Cooperativesin Québec, will also in some cases support the development of enterprises by these groups, ensuring in this way that they have their place in the community and enabling a more inclusive territorial development. Other social economy enterprises take care of the technological education of the population and make sure that participatory governance is really accessible to everyone (like the Montreal based enterprise Open Northdoes).  Another example is the social economy enterprises created by workers in the informal economy in order to ensure decent working conditions and to obtain recognition for the economic, social and environmental impact of their activities. This is the case of many of the coops ofwaste management workers in Latin America(you can check for examplethe waste managementprogram initiated by a group of residents and structured around a third sector organization,Ciudad Saludable, in collaboration with the localgovernment in Cerro el Pino, a hillside slum in Lima, Peru), the network ofparents-run daycare services in Quebec or the homecare workers networks such as Homenet Southeast Asia. Housing cooperatives, community land trusts, coop retirement homes, etc. are also fundamental to preserving the social mixity of communities and allowing longtime residents to enjoy theirquality of life there, as are social economy enterprises that ensure local services such as coop groceries, community theaters, etc.

Government acknowledgement of the broader social, economic and environmental impact of these initiatives and their particular needs is often critical to ensure their development.  This has certainly been the case in Quebec where the government adopted a framework law to recognize and support the contribution of these enterprises and in Montreal where the government adopted a five-year partnership agreement with local social Economy actors. Other cities or regions recognized for their support to the social economy are the city and region of Seoul in South Corea, the state of Salvador de Bahia in Brazil, the city of Gotheborg in Sweden, the city of Medellin in Colombia, the city of Addis Abeba in Ethiopia… to name but a few.

If you are interested in learning more about public policies recognizing and supporting the social and solidarity economy, you may also visit www.reliess.org,an initiative of the Chantier that tracks these issues (in addition of course of joining us for the2016 Global Social Economy Forumin September 2016 in Montreal!).

Laura Espiau Guarner

Chargée de projet

Global Social Economy Forum

laura.espiau@chantier.qc.ca

T. 514-899-9916 # 413

Skype: lauraespiau

www.chantier.qc.ca

De :Envoyé : 30 juillet 2015 12:16
À : Laura Espiau Guarner
Objet : [Habitat III] David Martineau commented on the Discussion “Dialogue on Social Cohesion and Equity “

You can post a r

ANIRBAN CHOUDHURY Civil Engineer Urban Planner from India
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 06.59 am

WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND OUR RESIDENTS NOT IN TERMS OF JUST DEMOGRAPHIC NUMBERS . We need to undertake Urban Morphology Studies for a planned future

I am a resident of bangalore, India since 2005. The city of Bangalore is slowly losing its scale, character and ability to maintain a sense of continuity of fundamental values and security to exist in a good living environment. The city has failed to maintain settlement character due to reduced harmony between the built environment and the people, necessary for a balanced community of the various socio-economic groups. Co-operation within, lack of fraternity & tolerance has reduced self-help process within community. 

The city is in need of a framework within which there will be an opportunity for incremental physical development, within existing legal, economical and organizational framework.

We are in the TAKEOFF STAGE of SMART CITY CHALLENGE BASED INITIATIVE of Government of India, that is going to mature and integrate with the URBAN SYSTEM of Bangalore. In the IMMEDIATE FUTURE, running concurrently with preparation of Stategy Plans, there would be a need to undertake Urban Morphology [1]  Studies through extended participation of citizens, using IoT / IoE apps, analytics including game theory.

The objective of URBAN MORPHOLOGY STUDIESshould include study the urban pattern (fractals), density and factors that help in the formation and sustenance of multiple community based neighborhood of 30000 populations. The outcome of the study will be identification of homogeneous multiple community neighborhoods within the urbanized areas of the city. For each neighborhood, there will be Value and Lifestyle based segmentation [2] (VALS) of the population. Based on the VALS, inadequacy of the social -economic – cultural infrastructure of the neighborhood would help to quantify quality of life. 

Neighborhood strategies to improve quality of life (includes effect of population growth within a particular VALS and scenario of migration from one VALS to another due to change in aspiration) needs to be prepared to also comply with  social -economic – cultural infrastructure norms of National Building Code 2005.

NOTES

[1]          URBAN MORPHOLOGY is the study of the form of human settlements and the process of their formation and transformation. The study seeks to understand the spatial structure and character of a metropolitan area, city, town or village by examining the patterns of its component parts and the process of its development.

This can involve the analysis of physical structures at different scales as well as patterns of movement, land use, ownership or control and occupation. Typically, analysis of physical form focuses on street pattern, lot (or, in theUK, plot) pattern and building pattern, sometimes referred to collectively as urban grain. Analysis of specific settlements is undertaken using cartographic sources and the process of development evolves from comparison of historic maps.

Special attention is given to how the physical form of a city changes over time and to how different cities compare to each other. Another significant part of this subfield deals with the study of the social forms which are expressed in the physical layout of a city, and, conversely, how physical form produces or reproduces various social forms.

Urban morphology is the study of urban tissue, or fabric, as a means of discerning the environmental level normally associated with urban design. Tissue comprises coherent neighborhood morphology (open spaces, building) and functions (human activity). Neighborhood exhibit recognizable patterns in the ordering of buildings, spaces and functions (themes), within which variation reinforced an organizing set of principles. This approach

challenges the common perception of unplanned environments as chaotic or vaguely organic through understanding the structures and processes embedded in urbanization. Complexity science has provided further explanations showing how urban structures emerge from

the uncoordinated action of multiple individuals in highly regular ways. Amongst other things this is associated with permanent energy and material flows to maintain these structures

[2]           Segmentation models based on Demographics, Geo-demographics, SEC data & Benefits and usage are inadequate in their description & analysis of a person since they generate only isolated fragments. Values And Lifestyles segmentation based on lifestyle characteristics and values provide a rich view of the market and a more lifelike portrait of the consumer.

Value refers to a single belief that transcends any particular object, in contrast to an attitude, which refers to beliefs regarding a specific object or situation.  Values are more stable and occupy a more central position in a person’s cognitive system, are determinants of attitudes, behavior and provide a stable and inner oriented understanding of consumers. Values within a system refer to a wide array of individual beliefs, hopes, desires, aspirations, prejudices etc. Values provide potentially powerful explanations of human behavior as they serve as standards or criteria of conduct; they tend to be limited in number & are remarkably consistent over time. The value construct is used to segment the population into homogenous groups of individuals who share a common value system.

Lifestyle is a distinctive mode of living, deals with everyday behavior oriented facets of people as well as their feelings, attitudes, interests & opinions. It embodies the patterns that develop and emerge from the dynamics of living in a society.

Value and Lifestyle segmentation unlike traditional segmentation begins with people instead of products and classifies them into different types, each characterized by a unique style of living – it then determines how marketing factors fit into their lives. This perspective provides a three-dimensional view of the target consumer.

Fasiha Farrukh contributor from Pakistan
Wed, July 29, 2015 at 10.46 pm

To make any city worth living for its citizens, it is very crucial that it is fulfilling all the basic necessities of a human life. Basic education, health, access to the clean water, good food, having employment, decent housing, clean enviornment, justice, law and order, etc are the very first thing that make things easier for the citizens.

There are different areas of living in any city, where living standards vary. It is no discrimination if someone is living as per their income, status or working norms. The discrimination or sense of inequality arises when you see that the citizens of the same city are not getting basic needs of living.

The above mentioned areas are the ones which must be provided to the citizens and to ensure their availabilty, we need an active and viable city government. the one, that would take care of all the basic necessities of all the tax payers and even of those who are living in poverty or who are jobless.

It is necesarry to ask your citizens that what do they wish to see in an ideal government and in which areas the government is lacking. Where the government is involving private sectors in meeting the goals, on the other hand, they must include the common people as well that they could wake up the sense of responsibility and will give hand to those who are less privilegde.

I live in a developing country, where the civic sense is almost zero and it can only be provided to the people by educating them through little efforts. Like, by making law strict for throwing trash on streets or spitting on teh streets, we can get a step closer towards cleanliness of environment. The strict regulations must be implemented over the government departments who have been provided the grants for development works. Unfortunately, in developing countries, the corruption is at its peak which do not let any deaprtment or work fairly and it turns countries into more deteriorating situation. In result, the issues gets hiked and the living standard of the people gets lower.

To overcome all these issues, the cities first have to ensure about implementing all the development projects without any loophole and along with that, the law and order need to be adjusted so that the citizens could get awareness regarding civic sense & understand their responsibility.

Action for Children’s Environments
Wed, July 29, 2015 at 11.11 am

The issues of children (and not just youth) in urban poverty should find more space in this section. 

Many urban children will grow up in poverty, living in the informal settlements across the developing world. This is clear from some of the statistics. However what needs to be included more strongly is the impact of falling into poverty in childhood which can last a lifetime as rarely does a child get a second chance at an education or a healthy start in life. Child poverty threatens not only the individual child, but is likely to be passed on to future generations, entrenching and even exacerbating inequality in society. Further urban children growing up in poverty often remain invisible, not only uncounted but also unaccounted for, and unreached by any basic services. Poor urban children typically live without secure tenure and often greatly exposed to toxics and pollutants in risky sites. Children are also among the groups most at risk from disasters and the direct and indirect impacts of climate change. Moreover children growing up in urban informal settlements are typically confined to small overcrowded homes with little opportunity for exploration, play, recreation or physical activity.

The dominant narrative of slums sees them as sites of poverty and under development. yet when these same slums are replaced by high-rise apartments they negatively impact everyone and especially children. In a recent study of slum redevelopment under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) by Action for Children’s Environments in six Indian cities comparing the two predominant typologies of slum redevelopment housing (selective infill plotted incremental housing vs. total redevelopment of the site into apartment blocks), it was found that infill housing projects that included the community in planning, design and community mobilization for construction had better outcomes for children than the top-down total redevelopment projects. The two key lessons from international experiences of cities from Caracas and Sao Paulo to Bangkok and Manila struggling with large slum populations is that the only way to improve the lives of slum dwellers is to upgrade the quality of slum environments insitu by investing in drainage, roads, electricity, water and sanitation on one hand and expanding tenure security on the other. Bhan (2015) rightly captured the essence of such as approach, “When infrastructure improves, households invest. Incrementally, they improve their units. A slum becomes a neighborhood.” Building high-density, high-rise flats that are mostly culturally inappropriate, and resettling slum dwellers in under serviced peripheral land cannot be part of future solutions for housing for the urban poor in any city.

However most insitu slum upgrading only serve private interests and not community interests and no improvements are made community facilities or public places. As a result this strategy the character of slums do not typically transform significantly. 

In a recent comparative evaluation of two award winning JNNURM slum redevelopment projects in India this particular aspect of slum upgrading, the lack of focus on the public realm, was suggested as the main reason why children continue to struggle psychologically with their place identities in the upgraded slums. See attached paper for the case studies.



Ortiz, I., Daniels, L. M. & Engilbertsdóttir, S., 2012. Introduction. In: I. Ortiz, L. M. Daniels & S. Engilbertsdóttir, eds. Child Poverty and Inequality: New Perspectives. New York: United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Division of Policy and Practice, pp. 1-13.

David Martineau from
Wed, July 29, 2015 at 12.58 pm


Dear colleague,
Many thanks for highlighting the importance of taking the needs of children into consideration in this discussion on inclusion and social cohesion. You are absolutely right when you say that “rarely does a child get a second chance at an education or a healthy start in life”.
As for the main problem you describe, you mention that upgrading the quality of life in slums has better effects than a “top-down redevelopment project”.   I would be curious to hear more on this and to know what others think. Does anyone have other examples of this?

Do you have a link to the study you mentioned on slum redevelopment under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM)

Thank you!  

Action for Children’s Environments
Sat, August 1, 2015 at 01.55 am

Dear David,

 Here is the link to the six city study I mentioned earlier. http://www.acetrust.net/projects-01.php

The journal article based on this study that I uploaded with the last post actually clearly captures the impacts of insitu slum upgrading vs. total slum redevelopment on children. 

Sudeshna


Rodrigo Schoeller de Moraes from
Sat, August 1, 2015 at 03.19 am

Dear Sudeshna and David

For 10 years I worked in the Public Prosecutors Office/Public Ministry specialized in children. We gave priority to cooperation networks and have a lot of stuff about (I can send if interested).

Currently, work on the strategic management of the Public Prosecutors Office/Public Ministry, because of my experience with cooperation networks.

I believe the attached file can collaborate because it is a summary of our work over 10 years.

Regards,

Rodrigo Schoeller de Moraes,

Public Prosecutor,

Manager Strategic Projects of the Public Prosecutors Office/Public Ministry. 

E-mail: rsmoraes@mp.rs.gov.br

rodrigoschoeller.blogspot.com.br

Phones:         

                + 55 51 9628-4254      

                + 55 51 3295-1050    

HelpAge International
Wed, July 29, 2015 at 11.03 am

Ageing Cities

Despite listing ageing alongside pro poor, gender and youth on the website, the paper itself is almost entirely silent on the matter and fails to look in more depth at the specific ways in which the urban environment places barriers to the enjoyment of our full range of rights throughout our lives and into our older age.

Whilst rightly highlighting that as many as 60% of urban residents will be under the age of 18 by 2030, it fails to also mention that 24% of today’s urban residents are already aged over 50. The % of people aged over 60 living in urban areas has increased rapidly from 29% to 47% over the last 30 years with over 500 million already living in the world’s cities.

In order to ensure that the growth, development and management of our cities reflect this reality, it is vital that any efforts to deliver inclusive cities through the Habitat III framework explicitly recognises this reality and articulates the specific ways in which we can face inequality and exclusion based on our older age.

We must move beyond seeing older people as simply another vulnerable group – instead we need to understand the ageing process as one that will impact all of us, and that the heterogeneity of the ageing experience requires a range of responses to ensure that we enjoy the benefits of urbanisation, throughout our lives and into our older age.

In terms of specific suggestions:

  • The issue paper highlights important and interesting characteristics of urbanisation experienced by migrant labourers and women yet fails to discuss the barriers to the full enjoyment of our rights that the city can place in front of us as we grow older. Providing examples of the ways in which this can happen would be useful for ensuring the New Urban Agenda delivers truly inclusive cities.
  • The list of factors that drive exclusion in cities should be expanded to include discrimination against older age, both social and through failings in the built environment. We must recognise that many of our cities are currently designed and managed to privilege those with access to power and resources at the expense of those without.
  • Whilst correctly calling for a more balanced approach to the perception of migrants to reflect contemporary realities, the paper should also call for us to similarly challenge negative and damaging stereotypes around ageing and make a firm commitment to build physical and social urban environments that protect and promote our rights, including into our old age, instead of seeing older people as a separate group with homogenous needs.
  • As mentioned in the paper, this includes representative participation in democratic life and decision making at all levels and supporting people to project their voice and influence within the urban space.
  • The welcome call for improvements in urban design that support elderly populations should be strengthened to highlight the necessity of following universal design principles in the built environment to protect and promote our rights and enjoyment of the city throughout our lives including into our older age.
  • The call to promote universal age and gender responsive access to quality basic services must specifically mention the importance of this not only when we are young, but also as we become older.  
  • Around accountability, data should be sex and age disaggregated to ensure that city authorities and other stakeholders have the information necessary to respond to the realities of their ageing populations and ensure that service provision is appropriate for all.

More broadly, particularly as we tend to experience greater inequality, income insecurity and deteriorating health in our older age, I welcome the call for greater inclusion and participation, and particularly the reform of policies that measure success based on characteristics such as physical size or GDP instead of measures of more socially progressive resource allocation that would help protect and promote our rights within the urban environment, throughout our lives and into our older age. 

David Martineau from
Wed, July 29, 2015 at 03.03 pm

Thank you,
This complements very well Benjamin’s earlier contribution to this discussion.
One point that I find particularly interesting is your recommendation to go beyond simply including the elderly (or any other group for that matter) among a long list of vulnerable people. First, as you mentioned, it is important to understand and address the difficulties that these people face in the urban context. The urban environment often times presents barriers that preclude elderly people from fully enjoying the possibilities offered by the city. Second, it is important to recognize what elderly people bring to our cities. Elderly people are not only passive actors whose rights we need to protect, but also, by protecting their rights, we can enable them to become active agents in making our cities more inclusive. 

Benjamin Dard Urban Planner / Advisor for Accessibility from Canada
Wed, July 29, 2015 at 01.38 pm

I believe Universal design should a core principle that should be reflected in the different thematic areas (infrastructure, environment, tourism, etc.). Then, I also believe that different groups representatives of ageing population, persons with disabilities, women should come together in order to advocate more efficiently towards inclusion of universal design in policies and practices. It is about designing cities in recognition of human diversity and human rights. I think we all share the same observation : most of our cities are failing to offer accessible and inclusive environments to all of its residents. It would be critical that Habitat III recognizes that accessible and inclusive environments are benefiting all, ensuring everyone’s participation in everyday life.

Milen Emmanuel Migration Consultant
Wed, July 29, 2015 at 10.36 am

Whilst this question has many facets that need consideration, I will focus on stressing the gravitas of well-planned integration policies. The recent MIPEX Index for 2015 – which measures the integration policies of European countries- highlighted that in many destination countries, integration policies are far from ideal in helping to fully integrate migrants into society- a tenant crucial for fostering social cohesion, inclusion and equity.

Integration policies need to feature firmly on the agenda of local cities authorities and should be considered as a multi-dimensional policy area. As such those involved in implementing policies should come from a range of sectors: employers, employee groups, town planners, property developers, and civil society organisations to name a few.

 To be effective in integrating migrants fully into all spheres of life – from the economic to the social to the civil, integration polices should be specific to the needs and abilities of the individual and local community.  Thus, cities need to have the relevant powers devolved from national governments to set their own integration policies that are determined  amongst other factors by the local labour market’s needs,  the scale of migration within the city and also type of migrants.

 Cities would be wise to ensure that there are services in place for new arrivals that foster integration – from language courses, to assistance with employment, skills transfer, education, housing and health. These services need to be accessible to all, and where possible they need to be available despite legal migratory status.  Local service providers like schools and hospitals need to be supported and encouraged in working to identify the specific needs that migrant communities may have.

Finally, for too long the model of integration has been polarised by a debate between models of assimilation or multi–culturalism. The two need not be mutually exclusive, and cities have a unique opportunity to work on developing both at the local level by removing obstacles to civic participation, promoting cultural celebrations  that celebrate diversity and bring people together, and ensuring the benefits of living in the city are experienced by all. 

David Martineau from
Wed, July 29, 2015 at 12.26 pm


Many thanks Milen for this insightful and thought provoking contribution.

Indeed, as it was highlighted by many contributors in this discussion, cities can play a key role in the social and economic inclusion of new comers.  In order to create more inclusive and cohesive cities, city planners must consider the challenges and opportunities that stem from human mobility. As you pointed out, migrants can play their historical role of agents of development if the right conditions and the right policies are in place. This, of course, goes hand in hand with the protection of their human rights.

Could you think of any concrete examples of projects, programmes, or policies that have been put in place in a given city to achieve what you have described? 

David Martineau from
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 07.15 am

On migration and cities, there is a very interesting Canadian initiative I recently came accross that compiles good examples of projects to better integrate migrants in cities accross the world. I have no personal affiliation with this project, so I cannot explain in details where the idea came from. I simply thought it was very useful tool in the context of this discussion. 

 http://citiesofmigration.ca/good-ideas-in-integration/view-all-good-ideas/

Centro de Investigación de Política Pública y Territorio
Thu, July 23, 2015 at 10.09 pm

El 1 y 2 de julio, en Quito, y el 22 de julio en Guayaquil, se reunió la sociedad civil con cerca de 250 personas en total, para producir los documentos que se adjuntan a continuación, y que constituyen una base para la construcción de la Nueva Agenda Urbana. 

CITE 

María Magdalena Lacouture Fornelli psicologia social from Mexico
Wed, July 22, 2015 at 06.28 pm

Felicidades por considerar los temas sociales con la importancia que deben de tener en el contexto urbano.  Usualmente se trabaja para las ciudades sin considerar el aspecto social-humano; despues de todo, quienes habitan las ciudades son personas que viven y /o sufren la cotidianidad urbana.

2 Temas que considero  relacionados con la cohesión social son:  la mezcla social y las redes sociales. Una mezcla social mal integrada, promueve desencuentros y formación de ghettos.  Para éste aspecto hay que considerar en los desarrollos habitacionales, el ingreso.  Ingresos similares, genera ghettos  y dificultad en los procesos de desarrollo. Ingresos muy polarizados (si tomamos en cuenta el salario mínimo), no integra ni genera cohesión social.  En mi experiencia una diferencia de 2 puntos en el salario, integra efectivamete a la comunidad y promueve una adecuada cohesión social.

La cohesión hay que promoverla con actividades de participación social para  los diferentes sectores de la población : niños, adolescentes, adultos, mujeres, personas de la tercera edad.

Se debe de considerar un equipamiento urbano que lo haga posible: parques, centros comunitarios, áreas deportivas entre otros. Las actividades  que se generen en éstos equipamientos, promueven la apropiación del espacio, la identidad,  la cohesión social y en última instancia el arraigo.

Un aspecto importante que hay que promover  es la participación de la gente en los procesos de producción de programas y proyectos. Adecuadamente organizada, la participación social es una garantía de la adecuación y aceptación de proyectos y planes, y también de sus prioridades.

Gracias.

David Martineau “””Migration Policy Consultant, IOM”””
Thu, July 23, 2015 at 09.19 am

Estimada Maria Magdalena,
Muchísimas gracias por su contribución.
Ciertamente, es importante considerar la dimensión social en esta discusión sobre el futuro de nuestras ciudades. 
Como otros colegas dijeron, una mezcla social mal integrada puede constituir un problema  por la inclusión y cohesión social. ¿Cómo podemos asegurar que los diferentes grupos en la población cohabitan e interactúan? Usted ha identificado como determinantes los espacios comunes y la participación social.
¿Respectivo este último punto, como podemos incentivar la participación social en el contexto urbano? ¿Usted tiene ejemplos concretos? Finalmente, cuando usted dice “En mi experiencia una diferencia de 2 puntos en el salario, integra efectivamente a la comunidad y promueve una adecuada cohesión social”. ¿Puede describir esta experiencia? ¿Usted está pensando en una ciudad o un barrio en particular?

Ed Werna – Discussion Moderator from
Wed, July 22, 2015 at 08.19 am

For information on this topic, please check ALNAP’s webinar: 

http://www.alnap.org/webinar/17

Sonia Dias from
Wed, July 29, 2015 at 10.46 pm

Thanks to Edmundo for bringing in labour and livelihoods. I want to reflect on slum upgrading and livelihoods.

In my opinion we need to move from the prevalent view of slums only as product and mirror of uneven societies to the recognition of slums social diversity and auto protective alternative for the poor. This shift in thinking on slums requires slums upgrading programs to improve the living conditions of its dwellers. As many working poor work from their homes slum upgrading programs can also improve their working conditions. The data from Brazil is showing this clearly. The national household sample survey –PNAD (2010) had shown amazing figures on betterment of slum houses in the past 10 years. My professional life began in the 1980´s working in one of the first slum upgrading program in my city – Belo Horizonte – and I am a testimony of the improvements introduced in the shanty-town I worked back then which now statistics are showing clearly. Some of the urban infrastructure introduced back then were: community laundry, water supply, road paving, electricity, regular collection of household waste, crèches etc. These are very important improvements for residents and especially for those who work from home.

Home is a place of work for the working poor thus upgrading of informal settlements is key development. Let´s examine the role of basic infrastructure for home based workers (HBW). The Informal Economy Monitoring Study – IEMS ( IEMS Sector Report: Home-Based Workers.) carried out by WIEGO shows that basic infrastructure deficiencies hinder productivity. Unreliable urban services is a major problem for HBW. It is about time we acknowledge urban dwellers and informal workers the right to the city. Slum upgrading is key to social cohesion and equity.

Benjamin Dard Urban Planner / Advisor for Accessibility from Canada
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 11.54 am

I agree with Sonia and I would like to add that participatory planning is key to sustainable and inclusive cities. Participatory planning and decision-making are at the heart of the concept of an inclusive city. In this process, local government as well as local communities have a critical role to play. The key to a successful urban improvement project lies in the relationship with the community, as this relationship will guide the nature and quality of the urban project and its implementation. Tools to facilitate participation in dialogues at a local level have been developed to make the connection between community expectations and the requirements of town planning. Experiences in Haiti such as the Community Action Plan of Villa Rosa are good examples of collaborative work helping informal urban neighbourhoods to recover public spaces, sustainable housing, and circulation paths (http://openarchitecturenetwork.org/projects/villa_rosa_ipa). The principle of the strategy is that the communities themselves actively participate in the planning process (via focus group discussions, planning workshops, validation sessions, field visits and surveys), and ultimately improve their neighbourhoods in collaboration with local authorities with technical and financial assistance from international and local partners.

Community led planning approach may result in:

  1. An urban diagnosis that aims at identifying main issues and priorities that the community wants to address such as: improving mobility and safety, developing public spaces and green areas, collecting waste and preserving the ravines.
  2. A community action plan that aims to translate these priorities into actions through the design and the implementation of planning recommendations by the community itself such as wider and safer pathways or shaded public spaces with solar powered lighting for evening use, etc.
  3. The enhancement of social inclusion and community ownership thus creating an opportunity for marginalised groups to participate and for the community to make its own decisions.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Participatory planning approaches are numerous and they all emphasise the importance of citizen engagement in local urban development plans and processes in order to enable better governance and accountability. Participatory planning requires a good knowledge of the national and local context, the mechanisms, and the social rules that conditioned the spontaneous urbanisation of a specific area. Public spaces appear to be a key lever in order to initiate upgrading process in precarious neighborhoods. Recreating pedestrian networks is a key to mobility of slum dwellers. These improvements also add value to the neighborhood and in some cases gentrification processes may happen very fast. Now, the reality in Haiti shows that slums are growing very fast. Slum upgrading programs may be seen as a drop in the sea. The problem is when the government fails to provide decent housing to its population, slums are often seen as the only option.
Sonia Dias from
Wed, July 29, 2015 at 10.46 pm

Thanks to Edmundo for bringing in labour and livelihoods. I want to reflect on slum upgrading and livelihoods.

In my opinion we need to move from the prevalent view of slums only as product and mirror of uneven societies to the recognition of slums social diversity and auto protective alternative for the poor. This shift in thinking on slums requires slums upgrading programs to improve the living conditions of its dwellers. As many working poor work from their homes slum upgrading programs can also improve their working conditions. The data from Brazil is showing this clearly. The national household sample survey –PNAD (2010) had shown amazing figures on betterment of slum houses in the past 10 years. My professional life began in the 1980´s working in one of the first slum upgrading program in my city – Belo Horizonte – and I am a testimony of the improvements introduced in the shanty-town I worked back then which now statistics are showing clearly. Some of the urban infrastructure introduced back then were: community laundry, water supply, road paving, electricity, regular collection of household waste, crèches etc. These are very important improvements for residents and especially for those who work from home.

Home is a place of work for the working poor thus upgrading of informal settlements is key development. Let´s examine the role of basic infrastructure for home based workers (HBW). The Informal Economy Monitoring Study – IEMS ( IEMS Sector Report: Home-Based Workers.) carried out by WIEGO shows that basic infrastructure deficiencies hinder productivity. Unreliable urban services is a major problem for HBW. It is about time we acknowledge urban dwellers and informal workers the right to the city. Slum upgrading is key to social cohesion and equity.

Ed Werna – Discussion Moderator from
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 12.28 pm

Dear Sonia, 

Your comments and suggestions are also very pertinent for the dialogue on the urban economy. I invite you to copy and paste your posting there, and / or to make another posting. Thanks, Edmundo 

David Martineau from
Wed, July 22, 2015 at 09.25 am

Thank you for sharing this webinar Ed. 
It is very enlightening on an issue that was not yet addressed in this discussion, namely urban crises. 

In relation to our discussion, I find the Q&A section particularly helpful. It highlights challenges for refugees and IDPs, especially women, to find decent work. Your colleague also mentions the lack of skills recognition, access to education and skills learning schemes.

In terms of solutions we can read that “to avoid discrimination and to provide opportunities for women, one approach is to develop sectors of the economy that women are more drawn to work in.” Can you give any examples of cities in which such solution was implemented, or of any other solutions that have been attempted to avoid discrimination in the labour market in such context?  

Also, more generally, can you elaborate a bit more on the challenges for cohesion and inclusion that stem from urban crises and potential solutions?


Dhirendra Krishna Project Director, Financial Review of National Rural Health Mission, Madhya Pradesh, India from India
Fri, July 17, 2015 at 09.56 am

ICT opens unprecedented opportunities for effective democratic participation by citizens. Technological advances should be used to disclose and disseminate information to citizens, aimed at promoting their involvement in resolving problems, that cannot be resolved without  citizen’s participation. Environment related issues, garbage disposal, conservation of electricity and water, and similar issues of urban management cannot be resolved without involving citizens. 

Sudhanshu Shekhar Singh Advisor Humanitarian Aid
Tue, July 14, 2015 at 08.33 pm

I am afraid, the unplanned and rapid growth of urban areas is not very conducive to promote social cohesion. In fact, the way cities are growing, are negatively impacting social cohabitation. If I take example from India, which still continues to be largely rulal, the social cohesion was much more prominent than what we see now in the rapid process of urbanisation.

I think, there are at least two-requisites to promote social cohesion, and they are 1) time, and 2) necessity. Most of the urban centres are facing extreme population pressure and the infrastructure is not able to cope with it. Cnsequentely, a significant percentage of time is lost of commuting to the work places. That leaves, little scope to have free time for social activities in teh neighbourhood. Secondly, the urban pattern is largely individualistic. The way, societies are changing, people do not necessarily need each other in order to meet daily needs. Interaction is no more a compulsion. This is why even in developing countries, social cohesion is fast decreasing.

So, what is the way out? I think, careful urban planning would put urban life at ease. This should be done sooner than later. Furthermore, development should be more devolved at peripheries, so that distress migration could be minimised to the maximum possible extent. 

Universidad Nacional de Rio Negro Argentina
Fri, July 17, 2015 at 01.35 pm

Estimados, He leido todas las intervenciones encontrandolas de relevancia e interes.

Desde mi formaciòn especifica, arquitecta, formada en Argentina y el doctorado en Italia, habiendo dado clases de proyecto urbano en Brasil, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Dinamarca Reino Unido, España e Italia, he relevado un aspecto que pocos hablan y que para mi es de suma importancia y es la siguiente: La Ciudad es el primer ambito de enseñanza, es decir que es el lugar por excelencia de la educacion civil.

Esto que no se dice es de suma importancia porque la ciudad es la construccion de un colectivo que construye, materializa la etica de su sociedad. La sociedad le da forma y la ciudad a su vez cosntruye al ciudadano que la habita.

Partiendo de este concepto, tenemos ciudades que en momentos de crecimiento a fines del siglo XX han entendido el papel crucial que tiene no solo a nivel economico, sino a nivel cultural y han invertido en la creación de espacios publicos, culturales , a diferentes escalas atendiendo la necesidad de inclusion, por ejemplo de inmigrantes de diferentes culturas, que normalmente pertenecen al sector informal de la economia y que ocupan espacios residuales dentro de la estructura urbana, sectores históricos degradados, bordes, periferias. El entender que esa poblacion debe incluirse a partir de entender la complejidad de la ciudad viene incluida a traves de la dignificacion de los espacios publicos como primer lugar de intercambio y construcción de valores compartidos. Este proceso de educacion que inicia en la calle, en las plazas continua luego en estructuras educativas formales y no formales donde se incorporan nuevos valores de convivencia y se generan otros nuevos compartidos.

Es de suma importancia entender que la forma material de la ciudad es el producto de una postura ideologica de la sociedad que la construye, asumiendo caracteristicas medievales cuando se cosntruye desde lo privado con la ausencia del estado como complice o ciudades inclusivas donde el estado construye junto con el privado entendiendo que la ciudad es una unidad no solo cultural sino un motor de desarrollo economico que beneficia a todos sus habitantes.

Ejemplos de esta postura son la Barcelona de las Olimpiadas (1992), la urbanizacion de fabelas en Sao Pablo como Paraisopolis (2007) .

David Martineau “Migration Policy Consultant, IOM”
Mon, July 20, 2015 at 08.48 am

Estimado colega,
Muchísimas gracias por su contribución.
Como ha mencionado, ciudades pueden ser lugares propicios para la educación social y la inclusión de populaciones marginalizadas (como puede ser el caso con migrantes, minoridades, y las facciones más pobres de la población). Sin embargo, estos lugares pueden también ser lugares de exclusión, pueden constituir barreras invisibles donde poblaciones con mismas características (origen, clase social, estatus migratorio, etc.) viven. ¿Cómo podemos asegurar que espacios urbanos vehiculen valores de inclusión y no hacen el contrario? 
Quizás usted puede elaborar sus ejemplos de Sao Paolo y Barcelona en su respuesta.

David Martineau Migration Policy Consultant, IOM
Wed, July 15, 2015 at 07.47 am

Thanks Sudhanshu  for this good description of a challenge many countries face or might face in the coming years.
I am curious to hear a bit more on the two final points you have made.
1- What exactly do you mean by careful planning? What concrete measures should be taken? Do you have any good examples to provide in this regard?
2- Can you expand a bit more on the issue of distress migration and on the solution you propose?

Sudhanshu Shekhar Singh Advisor Humanitarian Aid
Wed, July 15, 2015 at 09.07 am

Dear David

Thank you for going through my points and asking me to explain further. If we see the growth of urban centers, particularly in developing courtiers, then it is highly unsustainable, seriously challenging the quality of life. See the population density in the major urban centers of New Delhi, Manila, Bangkok, and Jakarta etc. The way people are migrating there, it is impossible for urban planners to come up with infrastructure which can cope with the needs of this huge population influx. So, while the city administration should continue to strive for best infrastructure to ease stress on the dwellers. the growth should also be scattered to satellite cities, so that migration could be diverted to other places, than being centered to a few. Manila houses more than 33% population of the Philippines and it has still not stopped. Can we really dream of a cohesive and qualitative life in such a scenario?

By distress migration, I meant migration of those people, who migrate out of compulsion, in order to survive, not necessarily for betterment of their life. We can take examples of rural areas and least developed countries like Nepal, where job opportunities are minimal. Both – skilled and unskilled workers find no avenues to keep them gainfully employed. Therefore, they become prey to exploitative migration system and in the clutches of traffickers to move to a place where their labor is not adequately rewarded. 

If such distress migration could be reduced through job creation, there will be reduced pressure over the unplanned urban growth. 

Tone Standal Vesterhus from
Tue, July 14, 2015 at 01.57 pm
Thanks for the response, David!The One Stop Youth Centre is a partnership between UN-Habitat and local governments, and utilizes an integrated approach to youth development by providing youth with safe spaces in urban settings where they can meet and access information and resources critical to youth-led development including peace building, research and policy development.
The Centres offer youth friendly services and contribute to their socio-economic development. The model recognizes that youth engagement and empowerment through training and capacity development is pertinent to addressing the challenges faced by young people such as employability. The centers provide skills training that contribute towards building a pool of skilled and employable young labour force. Some of the main areas of focus include programmes in arts and sports, employment generation, entrepreneurship, health services, and ICT. The main objectives of the centres are: To increase employment opportunities for youth through entrepreneurship and skills training linked to apprenticeships with local businesses and the housing industry.
The model is a good one because it has a holistic focus on youth needs and it recognizes that there are many aspects related to issues such as youth unemployment and poverty. It highlights the fact that creating jobs alone is not enough to cope with the diverse issues of urban youth, and neither is providing health services. It has an integrated approach that allows it to cope with a broad spectrum of youth related issues.
Tone Standal Vesterhus Youth delegate on urbanization from Norway
Mon, July 13, 2015 at 08.01 am

Hi,

Youth is one of the principle users of urban space, both due to their large demographic presence in cities an to their utilisation of public amenities and space. The public spaces of a city is the key to achieving equitable cities, and how they are planned, shaped and maintained is crucial to the level of inclusion, social cohesion and equity a city inhabits. 

 Perceived as a threat or challenge, youth often encounter numerous difficulties in accessing public spaces for their social, cultural and material development. Concerns over security and criminal gangs translate into the exclusion of urban youth, especially those from low-income and minority groups.Public space is not only a venue for recreation and social interaction. Urban public spaces are critical for youth to use for shelter, community innovation and entrepreneurship in support of economic development. As a means to this end, ensuring youth engagement in the design and governance of public spaces has been shown to foster community ownership and social cohesion, something which is a fundamental component to stable, prosperous and safe cities.

There is also a strong need for a focus on the aspects of being both young and a woman. The dual discrimination young women are likely victims of needs to be a focus for those involved in the planning and development of urban public space. 

An example of a model that can contribute towards creating urban public spaces that meets the needs of young people, is establishing youth centres that secures access to services in areas such as health and recreation, skills development and training. The UN-Habitat One Stop Youth Resource centre is such a structure, and a further implementation of this model in more cities will contribute positively towards catering to the need of young people. 

Taimur Khilji Jobs and Livelihoods Specialist at UNDP’s Regional Hub in Bangkok from Thailand
Thu, July 16, 2015 at 03.42 am

Thanks for touching upon the importance of public spaces as a means of social inclusion and equity. It is often a neglected dimension of development.

Male, the capital city of Maldives provides a good illustration, where the lack of public space not just for youth, but also for the public at large, is causing longer-term social problems. The absence of a commons in the capital city is in is in stark contrast to the unbounded luxury offered by island resorts just a few nautical miles away. The absence of a physical commons in Male has led the youth to find home in a virtual commons. Mobile phone penetration stood at a whopping 170% in 2012 and internet penetration has been increasing exponentially–not such a bad thing in and of itself, but it is indicative of the need to do something about creating physical commons’.

Three years ago I stumbled in on an exhibition/installation at the MoMA in New York, rehousing the American dream. It was quite refreshing to see old and new social issues being approached in entirely new ways.  The focus of the exhibition/installation was very much on the United States—the exhibition was launched when foreclosure rates had skyrocketed and remained high (and still continue to remain high). The exhibition showcased well-developed ideas to change the way we think about public housing and public space.  Many of the ideas are still very relevant and innovative and have applications beyond the borders of the united states. I encourage you to take a peek

David Martineau from
Thu, July 16, 2015 at 08.12 am

Dear Taimur,

Thank you very much for this enlightening contribution.
Indeed, social inclusion and equality are often neglected when speaking of urban space, even though these two concepts are essential to social cohesion.

This week’s discussion has stressed the importance to reflect on how to include youth, migrants, women, LGBT communities and disadvantaged populations. However, as you pointed out, there needs to be public spaces in the first place, to be able to reflect on their inclusiveness.

Finally, thank you for bringing the art component in this discussion.  I have also seen this exhibition a few years ago, and highly recommend having a look at the link you provided. It would be interesting to discuss further the role of culture and art in making cities more inclusive.  If anyone has more examples , please share them with us. 

David Martineau Migration Policy Consultant, IOM from Switzerland
Mon, July 13, 2015 at 12.49 pm

Hi Tone, 
Thank you very much for this contribution.
These are very good points. Cities must make efforts to better include urban youth. As you pointed out, this is particularly true in the case of young women and minorities. We could also expand your point to persons with disabilities, migrants, indigenous people, and other “vulnerable sections of the population who must be empowered” to quote the latest SDG draft outcome document. As you mention “youth often encounter numerous difficulties in accessing public spaces for their social, cultural and material development”. By taking into account their special needs, cities can enable them to become agents of development.  
Just a quick follow-up question: could you please expand a bit more on your recommendation to implement structures such as the UN-Habitat One Stop Youth Resource Centres in other cities. What makes this particular model so appealing

Saripalli Suryanarayana “””””””””””””””Iam a charted engineer,with 3 books,and 12 papers””””””””””””””” from India
Thu, July 9, 2015 at 05.16 pm

We have reaserch papers about Nairobi,and Mumbai.Many might have visited places like Delhi,or Cities of Africa,Arabian Gulf etc.The impotant factor is gender equality,and LGBT groups respect.But that apart it is also the heritage and culture of the migrant communities,whoose IPR,it is not dance and drama alone,are needed to be encoraged,and protected.

Theaters,stadiums,educational institutes needs planning in relation to the community development.They need to be planned in relation to employment,transport,Environment,Public health etc.Nothing is seperate and nothing can be left out.

Joseph D’CRUZ – Discussion Moderator from
Sat, July 11, 2015 at 02.05 am

Dear Saripalli,

Thanks for raising two important issues: gender equality and the importance of recognising and embracing the cultures and heritage of migrant communities as a way to promote inclusion and cohesion.  One of the issue papers drafted for Habitat III is on urban culture and heritage.  What do you think about the way the issue is described, and the way forward actions proposed?  Do you agree with them?  Are there other perspectives or ideas you can also propose?  All the ideas we share here will help shape the New Urban Agenda to be agreed in Octobe 2016.  We would welcome your inputs!

Jordi Balta Secretariat, Agenda 21 for culture, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
Fri, July 17, 2015 at 08.49 am

Dear Joseph, dear all,

I’ll use your invitation to comment on the Habitat III paper on “Urban Culture and Heritage” as a starting point for my contribution. First of all, thanks for launching this discussion on social cohesion and equity, as well as for the several contributions made so far, which I’ve found very interesting.

I am writing on behalf of the Committee on Culture of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), a global network of cities, local and regional governments. Since 2004, the Committee on Culture of UCLG has promoted a document called the Agenda 21 for culture, which provides guidance for local cultural policies concerned with sustainable development. Last March, we adopted a new document entitled “Culture 21 Actions”, which updates the Agenda 21 for culture and aims to enable local governments, civil society organisations and other stakeholders to self-evaluate existing policies, exchange experiences and adopt new measures, always connecting cultural aspects with other dimensions of sustainable development.

Several of the issues addressed thus far in the discussion, including the need for integrated approaches to local sustainable development (connecting economic development, social inclusion, environmental sustainability and cultural participation), the importance of public spaces, and the recognition of specific needs experienced by women, young people and communities with a migrant background, are addressed by both these documents, which I invite you to read.

We have also analysed the recent paper on “Urban Culture and Heritage” and have recently produced a short response this week. We welcome the fact that an issue paper on this topic is part of the discussions – indeed, it is important for global agendas, as well as for regional, national and local strategies to refer to cultural aspects when discussing sustainable development. At the same time, we have identified a number of issues which may require further attention. Among them is the need to further explore the relation between culture and education, including how cultural diversity should be integrated within formal and non-formal education and why arts education should be part of curricula. I believe some of the examples provided in this urban dialogue so far, including Citiscope’s article on new educational approaches in Berlin, point in the same direction.

I look forward to further exchanges.

Best wishes,

Jordi

David Martineau from
Fri, July 17, 2015 at 09.46 am

Dear Jordi,
Thank you for highlighting the importance of culture in making cities more cohesive and inclusive. The two documents that you referred to are indeed very enlightening in this regard. I would like to share this quote from the “Culture 21 Action” document.

Respecting and valuing diversity requires the integration of both multi-cultural strategies that recognize people with different cultural backgrounds who live together, and intercultural strategies that create bonds between them. Active participation in the creation and production of culture allows the creation and recreation of communities in which people can freely construct their individual selves. Special attention must be paid to the different realities of people of indigenous, minority, and migrant communities”

As a follow-up to your comment, do you have any concrete examples of projects or initiatives that were initiated by cities in this sense? What cultural measures can be taken in order to increase social cohesion, equality and inclusion? I would be curious to hear more.

Jordi Balta Secretariat, Agenda 21 for culture, “Secretariat, Agenda 21 for culture, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)”
Fri, July 17, 2015 at 11.53 am

Dear David, dear all,

Thanks for your reply. Yes, we can find examples of how cities are integrating culture in their sustainable development strategies, policies and programmes in order to enhance inclusion and cohesion, and how the recognition of diversity is an important aspect in this field.

The Secretariat of the Agenda 21 for culture has in recent years collected over 60 good practices from cities around the world wich are working around the nexus between culture and sustainable development. Among these, several focus in particular on issues related to intercultural relations (e.g. the World Music Centre in Aarhus; or the ‘Je suis…’ project in Vaudreuil-Dorion), whereas others address broader aspects connected to culture as a sphere providing for identity-building, the development of new capacities, mutual recognition and/or community strengthening (e.g. this project in disadvantaged neighbourhood in Bogotá; the Reemdogo Music Garden in Ouagadougou; or the cultural policies of the city of Medellín).

The potential of cultural aspects when fostering social inclusion and community cohesion has been addressed by several reports in recent decades. Useful references include the Use or Ornament report by François Matarasso (1997) and some of the examples contained in this collection of case studies published by the OAS some years ago, which address ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples and other disavantaged groups. As regards intercultural relations, the Council of Europe’s Intercultural Cities programme provides many interesting examples and approaches as well.

The issues raised by these examples may be related to some other of the comments made in our response to the issue paper on “Urban Culture and Heritage”, namely the importance of having accessible, decentralised and well-resourced cultural infrastructures within cities; and the need to further explore the relation between culture and well-being.

Best wishes,

Jordi

Magdi Amer Magdi Amer, “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””A writer, researcher,and educator”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
Wed, July 8, 2015 at 07.40 pm

I am going to talk about how to solve some of the problems that is very important to most of the 3rd world countries. Job opportunity is offered to people in these countries randomize. I have a lot of points to talk and I  have the solution .so I am going to take a long story short as follow:

First: lawlessness(unmanageableness)  governments with regard to employment through the  contention of those who are working in the public sector for those working in the private sector to the extent that the government employees are also being hired  in the private sector which leads to corruption in both sectors as well as for those who do not deserve post in the private sector on the job at the expense of others who really deserve and do not have  work permanently . on the other hand, this leads to the wasting of the rights of workers in the private sector as well as the absence of a real fair and effective mechanisms for the government to control both sectors to achieve social justice.

In my country (Egypt) a doctor can be a government employee working in a government hospital ; at the same time he has his own private clinic in which he transfers sick people from the government one to his own clinic .he makes money on the account of the patients and on the account of  the government hospital by offering very bad service which does not meet the needs of patients in addition to the bad service and ill-treatment makes the performance of the government hospital very bad one. Likewise, the Egyptian teacher who teaches at government schools offers bad service at schools, but at the same time offers good service at his private  teaching center.

This is one of the problems and there are more and more the solutions are so easy if there is a good will 

Joseph D’CRUZ – Discussion Moderator from
Thu, July 9, 2015 at 04.16 am

Dear Magdi, thanks for your insight.
It is indeed hard to promote inclusion when residents of a city feel that they do not have fair and equal access to jobs and opportunities. It is important that governments and government servants are seen to be serving the needs of their people rather than their own interests. How can residents of a city work together to address problems like this? In extreme cases these situations could lead to a breakdon of social cohesion – riots, protests and demonstrations. But how do we create ways for people to express their dissatisfaction and get solutions, without having to make such public protests?

Magdi Amer “””””””””””””””A writer, researcher,and educator”””””””””””””””
Thu, July 9, 2015 at 06.26 pm

Hello 

Joseph D’CRUZ

In my country and some other 3rd world countries people are not the same as Europe. People are here satisfied with the least of the non sufficient .It is not strange, especially, when people do not know either their rights or duties. This is why the people here are so beautiful to lead such a peaceful life with such mob and mess of laws and governments excutives.so, the problem is how to teach people their duties and rights and how to defend their rights peacefully. Also, there are some few steps can be followed and solve most of the problems.

! – the government should enforce the new standard laws of minimum and maximum wage for the people work in the public sector to ensure a good life and standard of living to people who work in the public sector.

2- to criminalize  and prohibit any of the public sector work to work in the private sector .this will help hire more people in the private sector who did not have a job ( for Egypt ..it will make more than 2 millions of work opportunity available )., this law should criminalize also hiring a public sector worker in the private sector ,( I mean punishment to the employer and the employees .The employer hires in his private sector an employee in the public sector .

3- If I am  a teacher , lawyer ,engineer ,doctor , accountant….etc and I have an office, clink as freelance  and I am working in the public sector .I should make my choice to keep one of them .if my choice is to keep the public sector the government  rent my clinic or centre …etc to hire some others of the private sector .

4- in my country most people who are unemployed are collage degree carriers. It is the policy that our government meant it. To degrade and humiliate college graduator’s .Jobs owners and workers most of them are of those who do not know how to write their names

To be continued

thanks

Joseph D’CRUZ – Discussion Moderator from
Sat, July 11, 2015 at 02.18 am

Hello Magdi,

The issues you raise are important, and are relevant across the country at the national level, not only within cities. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on things we can do to make cities more inclusive and equitable.

thank you for contributing!   

Joseph D’CRUZ – Discussion Moderator from
Wed, July 8, 2015 at 02.02 pm

Dear colleagues,

Welcome to the Urban Dialogues discussion on Social Cohesion and Equity!  

Cities have been growing rapidly all around the world, and particularly in developing countries.  As cities expand, how do they cater to the needs of all their population?  How do cities ensure that everyone who lives there feels a sense of belonging and that their voice, rights and needs are catered for?

Around the world, cities are discovering interesting and innovative ways to promote inclusion, and to ensure that all residents, new and old, feel a sense of belonging.  Melbourne, Australia prides itself on its history of welcoming migrants, and the City of Melbourne has a broad array of programmes to promote inclusion.  One small example is in the link below- bringing different communities together around their shared love for coffee!

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-11/coffee-festival-celebrates-melbour…

Shall we discuss this further over a cup?

jd

Joseph D’CRUZ – Discussion Moderator from
Sat, July 11, 2015 at 04.09 am

Dear colleagues,

Citiscope recently highlighted another great example of fostering inclusiveness and social cohesion at the local level, from Berlin in Germany.  It talks about the challenges facing immigrant communities in the suburb of Neukölln, and the initiative that was undertaken to improve the conditions and educational success of the local school, Campus Rütli.  It hightlighted for me how important it is to focus on basics such as education, and the need to bring a broad coalition of stakeholders together around one specific challenge or issue.  This links to Joan’s earlier observation on the investment in public gardens and children’s play areas in Brooklyn, and recognizing the heritage and culture of migrant communities as Saripalli noted.

The article can be found here

http://citiscope.org/story/2015/berlin-school-helps-immigrant-children-f…

Please check it out and let me know what you think!

Have a great weekend everyone;

jd

Joseph D’CRUZ – Discussion Moderator from
Wed, July 8, 2015 at 01.39 pm

Hello Pallavi,

Thanks for that interesting insight.  What is the name of this city? Is it Magarpatta? And what do you think were the most important things the farmer families did to make it sustainable in that way?  Looking forward to hearing more!

Pallavi Tak Teaching & Research
Thu, July 9, 2015 at 05.50 am

Dear Joseph,

It is Magarpatta. It will be immature on my part to firmly say as to what exactly makes Magarpatta sustainable. I am doing my PhD research on this case, hopefully will be able to conclude something in next few months.

But for a preliminary discussion – 

Magarpatta is based on a cooperative model, popularly known as model for ‘Inclusive Capitalism’; where farmers instead of being displaced from their native places pooled up their fragmented lands to build up this city of 430 acres. They became entrepreneurs and this was an FDI- Farmers’ Direct Investment. (Social and economic sustainability)

Secondly, it runs on Rent-model, where the commercial office buildings and SEZ areas are rented out and not sold to companies. This helps in maintenance of the township along with the one time maintenance taken from the house buyers. This adds to life-cycle enhancement in different ways. (economic sustainability)

Magarpatta takes care of its waste management, where waste segregation takes place at the door and then recycled on the campus. Rain water harvesting and recycling work on the water front, solar energy takes care of the total water heating of the township, green open area with rich flora add to environmental sustainability.

Based on concept of ‘walk to work, play, school and shop’ facilitates reduced carbon footprint as need for automobile gets naturally curbed. (environmental sustanability) Besides security and safety are central to the soul of the town and people feel safe and happy here especially the women and old. Neighbourhood design of the town also offers a platform for social interaction. (social sustaianability)

Though Magarpatta is not a foolproof model, but definitely a step towards urban sustainability. 

Joseph D’CRUZ – Discussion Moderator from
Sat, July 11, 2015 at 02.38 am

Dear Pallavi,

I don’t think we have any foolproof models for urban sustainability yet, just many steps in the right direction!  I like initiatives like Magarpatta because they demonstrate that we don’t need to wait for Governments, big corporations or urban planners to make our cities sustainable.  Groups of committed individuals like the Magarpatta farmer cooperative can make a real difference though self-driven initiatives like this.

You probably know from your PhD research that there is a rich history of experiments and examples of such sustainable cities.  One of the earliest I read about is Arcosanti, was was established in Arizona in the 1970s.  The model was much more commune-based, compared to the more business-friendly approach that Magarpatta seems to be taking.  That’s probably one of the reasons why Arcosanti never really grew very strongly.  It is still in existence, but there are questions now about its future.  There was an interesting article about it in the New York Times a few years ago which you might enjoy reading.

Other than Magarpatta, have you come across other interesting examples or experiences in your PhD research that you can share?

Pallavi Tak Teacher & Urban Researcher
Tue, July 7, 2015 at 09.29 am

I know of a curious case of urban development, this excited me so much that I decided to do a case study on this model for my PhD thesis. This model is of an FDI – Farmers’ Direct Investment. A group of 120 farmer families, pooled up their land pieces to provide a consolidated and uninterrupted urban canvas on 430 acres. Also these farmers transformed from sugarcane growers to real estate developers and planners, and this is how an integrated township came into existence. Based on principles of urban sustainability encompassing – social, economic and environmental aspects, this township is standing tall for over a decade now, withstanding the test of urban challenges. This amazing story is from Indian city, also known as ‘cultural capital’ of India. Moreover this township is a protoype for ideal urban development, and lays foundation for a stronger future of our cities.