World Urban Campaign
Practical Action signs up to World Urban Campaign
Practical Action has recently signed up as a member of the World Urban Campaign, an initiative of UN-Habitat.
Theo Schilderman, Head of our Access to Infrastructure Services programme, is a member of the campaign steering committee.
Urban growth, and the slums that often accompany it, are usually seen as problems. A common reaction is to try to eradicate slums.
But urban growth in the developing world is a reality. 95% of the world’s population growth between 2000 and 2030 will be in the towns and cities of the developing world. Poverty is becoming increasingly urbanised, and most city governments will be ill-equipped to meet the needs of their growing future.
We believe we need to focus on the positive, and on the potential for what can be achieved with the right policies and practices. We believe there needs to be greater attention given to urban poverty, and community-driven solutions that are possible.
The key message of the WUC is the need for creative, resilient, sustainable cities and communities.
Successful urban development in poor countries needs to be:
- Creative – for Practical Action we recognise the need for innovative technologies and approaches for addressing the needs of urban slum dwellers, and for finding creative ways of sharing the best of what has already been tried.
- Sustainable – at Practical Action we want to create lasting change for poor people, and to work in ways which conserve valuable natural resources and produce a better environment
- Resilient – at Practical Action we are aware of the risks poor people face, and the ways in which these are made more severe by a changing climate. Communities and Local Authorities need to find ways of adapting.
The WUC has agreed a set of principles for sustainable urbanisation. These are close to Practical Action’s own vision and values. They are:
- accessible and pro-poor land, infrastructure, services, mobility and housing;
- socially inclusive, gender sensitive, healthy and safe development;
- environmentally sound, resilient and carbon-efficient built environment;
- participatory planning and decision-making processes;
- vibrant and competitive local economies promoting decent work and livelihoods;
- assurance of non-discrimination and equitable rights to the city; and
- empowering cities and communities to plan for and effectively manage adversity and change.