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There is a widespread recognition that narrowly focused sectoral urban interventions tend to fail. Sectoral interventions are particularly likely to fail in the urban context because of the inter-relationship between consumption and production of goods and services.
Cities across Africa are growing at an astonishing rate. All 20 of Africa’s fastest growing cities have experienced average growth rates of more than 6% over the last decade.
We caught up with IIED’s David Dodman to hear his thoughts on the urban agenda at COP26, what can be done at the city level to create large-scale impact, and what he hopes to see at COP27 in Egypt next year.
Too often, the daily reality of African cities is characterised by the failure of systems to offer basic services. Take affordable transport or high-quality healthcare, for example – or by how the poor integration of systems leads to failures of both performance and accountability to users.
In the last few decades, the metropolis of Ghana’s capital city, Accra, has grown rapidly, sprawling into neighbouring districts.
A political settlement can be defined as an agreement or common understanding among powerful groups within a society about the basic rules or institutions of the political and economic game. Such institutions provide opportunities for those groups to acquire a minimally acceptable level of benefits, thereby preventing a descent into all-out warfare.
More than 1 billion people around the world currently lack access to adequate and affordable housing – a figure expected to triple by 2030. During this period, climate-related threats to the lives and livelihoods of urban residents are projected to increase, with decisions made around the location, design and construction of housing set to profoundly shape our collective future.
Mainstream urban development interventions in Africa have often been designed through a primarily sectoral and technical lens. But there is abundant evidence that they are also intimately related to questions of power and politics, and that effective solutions must take into account the complex interrelations and interactions between urban processes and systems.
Shack/Slum Dwellers International is a network of slum/shack dweller organisations federated in cities in the global South, pioneering innovation in the field of community-driven slum upgrading. Over the past 20 years, SDI has built a global slum dweller movement spanning approximately 32 countries. The movement brings together more than 1 million slum dweller households into savings groups that prioritise the central participation of women, building trust and collective capacity.
All cities are complex, dynamic, political systems. But with a fast-growing, young urban population, Africa’s cities in particular present a whole host of unique and critical challenges. The African Cities Research Consortium is seeking to address these challenges by bringing together community organisations, local government and agencies, along with other kinds of urban reformers. Our goal is both to co-produce knowledge and evidence, and to turn this into meaningful action.
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