Posts Tagged ‘urban poor’


06 Aug 2013

Slums and Service Delivery for the Urban Poor

Photo by Roberto Rocco

Photo by Roberto Rocco

 

Co-authored by Jill Finlayson

 

Whether due to resource constraints, capacity constraints, lack of urban planning and management or lack of political will, many cities struggle to keep up with the increasing demand of an exploding urban population. Judy Baker, a Lead Economist from the World Bank Institute’s Urban Practice, recently hosted a conversation on the World Banks’ Striking Poverty site about slums and service delivery to the urban poor. The discussion showcased innovative approaches to inclusive development, data and planning tools and informal value chains.

For Sheela Patel, Chair of Slum/Shack Dwellers International, the most important aspect of transforming the poverty agenda is engaging the poor in the design and execution of the “transformation we seek to develop from the outside.” Her organization, SDI, is a “laboratory for creating that critical local, national, and international voice of the urban poor to engage with their mayors, politicians, technical professionals, city and state administrations, and global development agencies.” Patel explains that the capacity to engage, to co-create and co-produce is lacking in all those actors, including the urban poor. In building this capacity, Patel explains, “no one stakeholder can produce transformation, yet change in one stakeholder can bring about change in others.”

3 million of São Paulo’s 11 million inhabitants live in irregular settlements or slums, and 80 percent of the Brazilian population lives in cities, according to Tereza Herling, Municipal Ad-Secretary of Urban Development, City of São Paulo. To face this growing challenge, the Municipal Housing Secretary developed HABISP , a comprehensive housing information system used to prioritize investments and projects in slum upgrading programs. About 3,000 irregular settlements and slums are mapped in the system, along with information on infrastructure, risk areas and socioeconomic and health conditions. This data was used to prepare the Municipal Housing Plan, which was then discussed and refined with residents’ participation.

Because housing in many cities is too meager to serve the large numbers in need, it tends to be appropriated by better-off groups, leaving “encroaching on land and building housing incrementally as the only option,” Sheela explains. Consequently, “informal settlements are places where private investment has long outrun public infrastructure,” according to Melanie Walker, Deputy Director for Special Initiatives at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Informal but sophisticated value chains have sprung up, and small operators provide water, electricity, solid waste collection and even sanitation. Because these services are essential, slum dwellers must buy them, “even though they are unpredictable, of dubious quality and expensive.”

As Sheela emphasized, community engagement is an essential first step toward improving service delivery in slums. Melanie elaborates: “This is more than demand aggregation; it is business-model creation. Community members become service providers, protectors, repairers, conservers, and even innovators.” In Dhaka, a group called Waste Concern, uses a decentralized solid waste management process. “Remarkably, this works economically” says Walker. “Collectors, sorters, vendors and processors get paid for their efforts and working conditions improve. Cities get cleaner. Landfills get smaller.”

This concept was reinforced by other contributors who provided more than a dozen examples of innovative, inclusive programs including: CLIFF, bridging housing gaps, LabourNet, bridging the transition from informal to formal employment and Change by Design, bridging the communication gap between planners and residents.

Engaging slum dwellers in both planning and implementing solutions improves outcomes for residents and for the city. Yet significant challenges to scaling the capacity to co-create remain.

Visit URB.im for ten memorable quotes from the Striking Poverty conversation to see the range of issues shared around the need for data, opportunities for public-private partnerships, the issue of trust, scalability (and why few of the existing good ideas go to scale), ICT for giving the poor a voice and what should be next for the Millennium Development Goals.

 

*This article is sent by URB.im

URB.im is the global online network “for just and inclusive cities,” connects practitioners, urban planners and policy makers in the Global South to establish an international community of practice. They share best practices to scale working solutions to the problem of urban poverty. An initiative of the Ford Foundation, it is managed by San Francisco-based Dallant Networks and currently covers ten cities: Mumbai, Bangalore, Jakarta, Dhaka, Cairo, Lagos, Nairobi, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

 

 

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11 Jul 2013

Floating Schools and Green Mortgages: Constructions to Help the Urban Poor

 

 resource: NLE (http://www.nleworks.com)

resource: NLE (http://www.nleworks.com)

 

As slums, schools, and homes are designed and built in cities across the developing world, the urban poor are making use of new and innovative approaches to construction. A key element is sustainability: many of these approaches make better use of local materials, use energy and water more efficiently, and reduce waste and pollution. But sustainability is not the only prerequisite for success. Community input and collective decision-making, for instance, contribute to more favorable outcomes. Can these techniques be used successfully in other cities? Read on to see examples of innovative approaches to construction in Lagos, Nairobi, Mumbai, Mexico City, and Rio de Janeiro — then discuss the scalability of these approaches on urb.im , the platform for just and inclusive cities.

In Lagos , Makoko Slum — where many houses are built on stilts over the polluted, dark waters of the waterfront and lagoon — is perceived as a development blight and hurdle to the city’s development. To counter this perception, and to adapt innovatively to challenging circumstances, an urban planning firm has designed a prototype school to float on Makoko’s waters. The school, currently under construction, employs modern green principles that coincide with local inspirations and the community’s own methods for adapting to their environment.

 

In Nairobi, old construction methods were combined with new designs to build a school in the city’s slum. The primary school was built in a low-cost, eco-friendly way, and as a collaborative effort between slum residents and architect volunteers. Instead of using increasingly popular — but expensive and polluting — industrial construction materials, the team employed a traditional rammed-earth construction method, using cheap and environmentally friendly, readily available resources.

 

The Indian government’s plan for turning Mumbai  into a “world-class city” ignores 60 percent of the population who live in informal settlements. Instead of ignoring them, some programs help these slum residents improve their homes, by providing them with ready-mix concrete, which is of higher quality than concrete mixed on site, and technical assistance to enhance construction laborers’ skill sets. And instead of slum rehab schemes involving resettlement, organizations advocate for a multi-faceted approach including the rationalization of building codes.

 

The Mexican  federal government has developed a housing policy called the Green Mortgage (Hipoteca Verde), which promotes sustainability through a credit model initiative: it’s a technology package that consists of increasing the amount of credit needed to acquire housing, in order to use energy-efficient technologies to reduce water and energy consumption. Higher mortgage payments are compensated for by lower energy and water costs. These technology solutions — such as solar heaters, energy-saving lamps, water-saving valves, thermal insulation and high efficiency air conditioners — result in up to 48 percent savings on energy consumption. Not only does this program lower a household’s energy expenditure and reduce pollution, it also fosters a culture of saving, and protects citizens’ access to housing.

 

Rede Sarah Hospital in Rio

Rede Sarah Hospital in Rio

 

The Rede Sarah Hospital in Rio de Janeiro, is a recent example of a design-oriented public building recognized not only for its impressive design, but also for the high-quality rehabilitation and physiotherapeutic services it provides, free of charge. The construction has abundant open-air spaces that take advantage of the city’s good weather and promote outdoor therapies and workouts. The special aluminum materials used in several parts of the building contribute to improving ventilation, and the structure also allows for plenty of natural light to stream through the building, all of which is uncommon in hospitals.

As these examples show, thoughtful construction is possible, affordable, and can make a difference when it comes to the urban poor’s schools, homes, and hospitals. Join us on urb.im, the global community for just and inclusive cities, to read more on this topic and to add to the conversation.

 

*This article is sent by URB.im

URB.im is the global online network “for just and inclusive cities,” connects practitioners, urban planners and policy makers in the Global South to establish an international community of practice. They share best practices to scale working solutions to the problem of urban poverty. An initiative of the Ford Foundation, it is managed by San Francisco-based Dallant Networks and currently covers ten cities: Mumbai, Bangalore, Jakarta, Dhaka, Cairo, Lagos, Nairobi, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

 

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25 Jun 2013

Four Innovative Ways Mobile Phones Are Saving the Lives of the Urban Poor: Examples from Nairobi, Mumbai, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro

 

 

foto oleh Urb.im

foto oleh Urb.im

 

In the developing world, mobile phones are both ubiquitous and relatively affordable. They are also a good investment, according to the Indian Institute of Management, facilitating communication with employers and helping users to network for employment. But mobile phones are also being put to work in more innovative ways that magnify their impact on the lives of the urban poor. Here are four examples of how mobile phones are making a difference  in Nairobi, Mumbai, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro.

 

Mobile phones are being used to reduce India’s high infant mortality rate. A new initiative, the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA), gives expecting and new mothers access to vital and often life-saving information using mobile phones. Subscribers receive weekly health messages and reminders through text messages or voice; the audio option is essential given that 35 percent of women in India are illiterate. The messages include everything from proper nutrition, breastfeeding, vaccinations and referrals to local health resources. The service also incorporates “insights and delightful details alongside health messages, sending mothers week by week messages that tell her how her baby is growing.” Through these adaptable messages, MAMA has reached over 20 million mothers.

 

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, an initiative called Wikimapa  aims to enable young people from Rio’s low-income areas to map interesting sites and relevant activities in their neighborhoods. The maps can be accessed via a web browser or using a mobile application that incorporates GPS to allow for detailed mapping. The project’s goal is to promote greater knowledge and understanding of the culture and history of Rio’s poorest neighborhoods. It also cultivates a positive sense of identity among favela residents, who might not know the historical details of their community’s past, nor what resources, events and activities are available to them.

 

One out of every two people in the world who sends money over a mobile phone is Kenyan, and 70 percent of Kenyans have an M-PESA account. M-PESA is a mobile phone money transfer system  that allows users to easily deposit, transfer and withdraw money at any M-PESA kiosk through the use of SMS technology. Not only is M-PESA the most successful money-moving service in the world, it has also morphed into the main banking system for the urban poor, who lack access to mainstream banks. By making cash mobile, this technology can be used for paying bills, groceries, school fees and rent, and for sending money home (which is especially important for Kenyans). In addition, running an M-PESA agency is an excellent entrepreneurial opportunity; some agents now earn a higher monthly income than lawyers or doctors. Finally, the M-PESA system has succeeded in limiting muggings and robberies in Nairobi, because few people walk around with large amounts of money in their pocket when they can have it in their phone instead.

 

Mobile banking has contributed to financial inclusion for the most marginalized populations in Mexico City as well. One bank, Grupo Financiero Banorte, has implemented mobile banking through phone applications and through SMS in order to attract customers who lack access to formal banking channels. However, challenges remain due to limited device support for the application and the high cost of text messages. Accion International, in partnership with Compartamos Banco, the largest micro-finance bank in Latin America, has developed a technology platform based on mobile devices to provide low-income populations with access to banking services, remittances and savings.

As these four examples show, mobile technology can be a development tool for reducing marginalization, improving health indicators, and creating a sense of community. Join us on URB.im, the global community for just and inclusive cities, to read more on this topic and to join the conversation.

 

*This article is sent by URB.im

URB.im is the global online network “for just and inclusive cities,” connects practitioners, urban planners and policy makers in the Global South to establish an international community of practice. They share best practices to scale working solutions to the problem of urban poverty. An initiative of the Ford Foundation, it is managed by San Francisco-based Dallant Networks and currently covers ten cities: Mumbai, Bangalore, Jakarta, Dhaka, Cairo, Lagos, Nairobi, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

 

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18 Jun 2013

Powering Change for the Urban Poor: ‘Devils’ and Coin-Operated Electricity for Slum Dwellers

 

picture by URB.im

picture by URB.im

 

Seventy-nine percent of people living in developing countries don’t have access to electricity. Of those who do, many acquire it illegally, leading to financial, legal and safety issues. Sustainable, plentiful and affordable energy is a global issue, but it reaches even greater importance in the developing world, where the question of affordability is critical. Programs working on energy in the context of informal urban communities often offer ways to provide electricity in slums, or focus on giving the poor incentives to obtain power legally. Read on for six examples from Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Lagos, Nairobi, Mumbai and Jakarta.

In Mumbai, many slum areas have access to electricity, but the illegal connections come through middlemen who charge exorbitant rates, leaving many in the dark for many hours of the day. A group of college students heard about a simple, affordable lighting solution being experimented with in other parts of the world and decided to test it in Mumbai’s slums. The idea is to take 1.5 liter plastic bottles, fill them with water and bleach and then seal the container with glue to secure the elements inside. The students then hoist the bottles from a hole they drill in shack rooftops so that the bottle is half inside and half outside. The principles of refraction of light allow sunlight, as it passes through the bottle, to illuminate the inside of the houses. As long as the sun is out — in Mumbai, nearly the entire year — the homes will have full days of free light. While this solution is not the full answer to electrification in slums, this innovative approach is quick, low-cost, and environmentally friendly.

In Jakarta, street vendors use illegal and dangerous electricity connections when working at night. The state electricity company is piloting a new program where street vendors can buy small, affordable amounts of electricity through a coin-operated device. For 1,000 Indonesian Rupiah (about USD $0.10), consumers receive 900 watts of power for 30 minutes. When they run out, they can insert another coin, like using a pay phone. Although the program is in its beginning phases, it holds much promise in encouraging street vendors to use safe and legal electricity connections.

Energy theft is a huge issue in Mexico City, resulting in losses of nine billion pesos a year. Electricity is stolen and re-sold by informal electricity merchandisers, known as diablitos, or “devils.” The state electricity department has launched a project to disconnect illegal electrical installations, and replace them with regular power outlets. However, the diablitos are resisting this transition to paying the full commercial rate, and have been reconnecting illegally. The federal government runs another program that gives households living in poverty 50 pesos (about USD $4) every two months to pay for electricity bills. Although this program is not intended for commercial activity, it is an example of an initiative that could support and encourage the diablitos in their regularization process.

Rio de Janeiro has achieved good coverage of basic services, but the next big challenges include affordability, and incentivizing low-income families to “go legal” and pay for their services. The federal government recently launched a subsidy to offer low-income families discounted electricity bills. Families earning up to half of the monthly minimum wage are eligible for a discount ranging from 10 to 65 percent of their bill, depending on their level of consumption. Around 150,000 families already benefit from this subsidy, but there are an estimated 250,000 more eligible families who do not. Progress remains to be made, but Rio is well on its way to expanding affordable electricity and reducing illegal connections.

Lagos’ power outages are widespread and consistent, prompting the launch of a new waste-to-energy initiative. Waste is stored and then heated; the heat boils the water, which powers a turbine that in turn produces electricity. This initiative produces clean energy with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, supports the recycling of waste and provides an energy alternative instead of consistent shortages.

Another sustainable alternative exists in Nairobi: a small enterprise has pioneered the technique of converting discarded or unusable charcoal waste into fuel briquettes from raw materials sourced from local dealers and retailers. However, as they are made from recycled materials, they are inevitably more expensive than those made from unlicensed charcoal. Unless the government forces compliance with environmental laws, it will be impossible to make them cheap enough for domestic consumption at the lower end of the market.

Water and bleach. Coin-operated devices. Government subsidies. Waste-to-energy initiatives. Do you know of other ways to deliver electricity to the urban poor? Have you heard of other solutions? Please join the conversation about energy and informality on URB.im, the global community for just and inclusive cities.

 

*This article is sent by URB.im

URB.im is the global online network “for just and inclusive cities,” connects practitioners, urban planners and policy makers in the Global South to establish an international community of practice. They share best practices to scale working solutions to the problem of urban poverty. An initiative of the Ford Foundation, it is managed by San Francisco-based Dallant Networks and currently covers ten cities: Mumbai, Bangalore, Jakarta, Dhaka, Cairo, Lagos, Nairobi, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

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16 Nov 2009

Quick Guides and posters on housing the urban poor

Bahasa versions of the Quick Guides and posters on housing the urban poor now free to DOWNLOAD!

Responding to requests from various pro-poor housing actors in Indonesia, ESCAP has translated the 7 Quick Guides for policy makers on housing the urban poor and the 7 related posters into Bahasa and has made them available for free downloading HERE.

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30 Jul 2009

On Provisional Publics and Intersections: Remaking District Life in North Jakarta

by Abdoumaliq Simone

Introduction

     For residents of cities, a simple question remains at the heart of their engagement with the city: what can people do together and under what circumstances? What is it that people do with each other when what they do isn’t quite competition, collaboration, conflict, possession or dispossession?  From this question stem the critical dimensions of urban policy in terms of who residents have to deal with, talk to, be intruded upon or intruding; who does space belong to, who has access to what kinds of space for what purposes?  As soon as these considerations are opened up then a wide range of political, administrative and technical consideration about how cities are run also become more contestable and specific. 

See complete article (50 pages) in:

On Provisional Publics and Intersections: Remaking District Life in North Jakarta.

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09 Jul 2009

Stren Kali, Surabaya: Contoh untuk Jakarta

Oleh Yuli Kusworo.

Pemerintah tidak pernah punya alternatif yang masuk akal. Karena itu, inisiatif masyarakat adalah satu-satunya solusi . Di Surabaya ada suatu inisiatif pendekatan permukiman lestari oleh masyarakat yang dapat dicontoh Jakarta.

Kampung hijau dengan pupuk organik hasil kompos

Kampung hijau dengan pupuk organik hasil kompos

Paguyuban Warga Stren Kali Surabaya (PWSKS) melawan ‘cap buruk’ yang selama ini ditujukan kepada mereka. Pada tahun 2002, berbekal semangat gotong royong dan kekuatan kebersamaan, warga mulai mengorganisasikan kampungnya, memperbaiki kualitas lingkungan kampungnya, melalui kearifan mereka sendiri, dan mengkampanyekannya ke media lokal dan nasional bahwa PWSKS adalah warga Kota yang baik dan peduli. Memang bukan pekerjaan mudah seperti menghapus  kesalahan tulis pada selembar kertas.

Melalui kelompok tabungan perempuan di masing-masing kampung, warga sepakat memilah sampah. Sampah plastik dan kertas dipilah dan dikumpulkan tiap hari Minggu. Sampah ditimbang dan dijual kepada pengumpul di sekitar kampung. Uang yang didapat dikumpulkan pada kelompok tabungan dan dijadikan dana cadangan renovasi kampung.

Kegiatan ini secara bergelombang menyebar ke seluruh kampung-kampung anggota PWSKS. Bahkan tak sedikit warga yang memungut sampah plastik yang mengapung di sungai dan mengumpulkannya melalui ibu-ibu. Ibu Kartika, warga Gunungsari mengatakan, ”Meskipun dana yang kami dapat dari penjualan sampah kertas dan plastik ini tidak besar, namun kami menjaga semangat yang sudah tumbuh agar tetap besar. Hanya dengan cara inilah pemerintah akan melihat, bahwa kami juga bisa berbuat untuk Kota Surabaya”.

Sampah organis yang berasal dari masing-masing rumah dicacah dan dimasukkan dalan sebuah keranjang ”ajaib” yang disebut Keranjang Takakura, dari nama pemciptanya, Prof. Takakura dari Jepang. Keranjang Takakura adalah salah satu cara pengomposan paling sederhana yang dilakukan pada lingkungan terkecil, yaitu rumah-tangga. Dengan paradigma baru ”memilah dan mengolah sendiri”, masing-masing rumah dan anggota keluarga akan sadar bahwa sampah bukan masalah.

Setiap 4-5 bulan sekali dilakukan panen bersama kompos, hasil dari Keranjang Takakura.

Sebagian hasilnya ditawarkan kepada Pemerintah Kota, yang saat ini sedang menggalakkan penghijauan kota. Sebagian lainnya digunakan untuk memupuk tanaman obat-obatan (TOGA, Tanaman Obat Keluarga) yang ditanam di lahan sempit di tepi jalan kampung masing-masing.

Akhirnya ’Sunan’ Jogokali bisa membuka mata para Anggota DPRD Propinsi Jawa Timur yang tergabung dalam Panitia Khusus (Pansus) Peraturan Daerah (Perda) Penataan Permukiman Stren Kali Surabaya. Pada 7 Oktober 2007, DPRD Propinsi Jawa Timur mengesahkan sebuah peraturan yang sangat partisipatif dan pro rakyat, yaitu Perda Nomor 9 Tahun 2007 tentang Penataan Permukiman Stren Kali Surabaya, yang intisarinya adalah warga diperbolehkan tetap tinggal di Permukiman Terbatas di Stren Kali, dengan melakukan penataan kampung.

Yuli Kusworo adalah Arsitek untuk Urban Poor Consortium (UPC) dan Paguyuban Warga Stren Kali Surabaya

jogo kalipenghijauan2penghijauan5

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04 Jul 2009

Public Transport Marginalisation and Impoverishment in Cilincing*

The study in Cilincing area, North Jakarta, showed the consequence of the absence of public transport service in urban area. There were a significant percentage of the residents using private motorised vehicles, particularly motorcycles, because they had no other choice. Besides consuming more energy and emitting more pollution, this mode could be more expensive.

(more…)

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