Global Urban Development Magazine


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Current Issue Contents:

Economic Strategy

Eliminating Poverty


World's Urban Systems

Environmental Challenge

 Housing Reconstruction in Southeastern Europe

Local and Global 

Transportation in Bogota

People & Community Assets

Where the Sidewalks End

Urban Informal Sector in Nigeria

Gender Equality

Grassroots Women's Leadership

Urban Heritage

 Cities and Insurrections

Urban Heritage in Singapore

Globalization and Urban Heritage

About the Authors

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Published by
Global Urban Development

Executive Editor:
Dr. Marc A. Weiss

Managing Editor:
Nancy Sedmak-Weiss

Volume 1                    Issue 1                    May 2005


Eliminating Poverty Through Market-Based Social Entrepreneurship
Muhammad Yunus

I have chosen to discuss the most daring of all Millennium Development Goals — halving poverty by 2015. I have chosen it for two reasons. First, this is the most courageous goal mankind ever set for itself. For the last two decades I have been talking about creating a world free from poverty. I talk about it not because it is unjust to have a world with poverty, which is, of course, true. I talk about it simply because I am totally convinced from my experience of working with poor people that they can get themselves out of poverty if we give them the same or similar opportunities we give to others. The poor themselves can create a poverty-free world — all we have to do is to free them from the chains that we have put around them. more


Teamwork: Why Metropolitan Economic Strategy is the Key to Generating Sustainable Prosperity and Quality of Life for the World
Marc A. Weiss

The most important geographic units of economic activity in the world today, other than the nation-state itself, are urban regions.  All across the world, in every country, more than half of the national income is generated by urban areas.  Indeed, these percentages range from an average of 55% in low-income developing countries, all the way up to an average of 85% in high-income developed countries.  What is all the more striking about these statistics is that in every case the percentage of national income generated by urban areas exceeds the percentage share of the national population that is urbanized.  In the case of the low-income developing countries where urban areas account for an average of 55% of the national income, the urban share of the population averages 32%.  In middle-income countries, the urban share of national income averages 73%, whereas the urban share of the population averages 50%.  For high-income countries, the average urban contribution to national income is 85%, yet the urban proportion of the national population is 79%.  This shows that the greater the level of urbanization in a nation the higher is its level of prosperity, and conversely, the more prosperous a country is, the more urbanized it is at the same time. more


The World’s Urban Systems: A European Perspective
Sir Peter Hall

This article suggests that there are two alternative ways of looking at cities and world urban systems, both valid, which need to be combined. Then it looks at the performance of the European urban system in the last quarter century. From this, starting from the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP), it proposes some lines of policy, with particular reference to the recent enlargement of the European Union. more




Recent Housing Resettlement and Reconstruction in Southeastern Europe
Emiel A. Wegelin

The Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe (SP) has undertaken several initiatives in which housing figures prominently. One of these is the Social Cohesion Initiative, where housing in the region is looked at from the viewpoint of structural socio-economic development and urban regeneration in the aftermath of the political and military conflicts in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s.  more

Local and Global: The Role of Local Government in a Sustainable World
Kaarin Taipale

Only 10 years ago, to talk about “the foreign policy of a city” might have almost amounted to treason. That is solely the responsibility of nation states, would have been the angry reply. But the world has moved on, and today many metropolises have deputy mayors in charge solely of international affairs — Paris and Sao Paolo are prime examples. In Europe, many cities, not only capitals, and not only major cities of the European Union, but active cities and regions, have their own office, or “embassy”, in Brussels. Cities want to be seen and heard; they also want to be close to the funding mechanisms of the EU. Municipal international cooperation is not just “twinning” or, for instance, the “city-to-city cooperation” that originated in the cold war years between West European and Soviet cities. Cities form regional and global networks in order to learn from each other, to work together, even when they compete with each other. Networking also multiplies their purchasing power on the international markets. Diplomacy and foreign policy have become local-level activities as well. Maybe — despite the competition among cities — it is only defense that remains within the competence of the national sphere. That said, even issues such as security, conflict resolution, and crime prevention, which earlier were typically considered national affairs, are today also pressing local issues. more

The Transformation of Bogota, Colombia, 1995-2000: Investing in Citizenship and Urban Mobility
Ricardo Montezuma

This article addresses the transformation of Bogota in recent years, concentrating on urban mobility. Despite the deep economic crisis and violence that Colombia continues to experience, the spatial, social, political, and economic structure of its capital city has undergone important changes. The first part presents the work of the administration of Mayor Antanas Mockus, who promoted a culture of citizenship. This resulted in a concentration on the analysis and understanding of problems and programs that made citizens reflect on the importance of changing their attitude and behavior in the urban setting. The second part deals with the administration of Mayor Enrique Penalosa, which was characterized by a high rate of investment and the rapid completion of an important number of infrastructure projects. These projects challenged the traditional city model. The last section offers considerations regarding the future of urban mobility, transport, and public space. more


Where the Sidewalks End: How the Poor Combat Poverty Daily
Molly O'Meara Sheehan

The United Nations estimates that somewhere between 835 million and 1 billion people now live in some type of slum, whether in a kampung in Indonesia, a favela in Brazil, a gecekondu in Turkey, or a katchi abadi in Pakistan. The population of slum dwellers in some of the world's largest cities — Mumbai (Bombay), Bogota, and Cairo, for example — now outnumbers the population of people living in formal housing. Slum residents in Nairobi are also learning from their counterparts around world, loosely organized by Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI). The group was founded in 1996 when the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights joined forces with the South African Homeless People's Federation. Today, the group boasts members from Argentina, Cambodia, Colombia, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Namibia, Nepal, the Philippines, South Africa, Swaziland, Thailand, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. “A lot of what we do in Nairobi” says Pamoja Trust's Jack Makau, “has been tried out in other cities by the SDI network.” more

The Urban Informal Sector in Nigeria: Towards Economic Development, Environmental Health, and Social Harmony
Geoffrey I. Nwaka

The article explains how the informal sector has evolved in Nigeria over the last 50 years; the extent to which government policies and programs have facilitated or constrained the sector, and how informal sector enterprises and settlements can be upgraded and progressively integrated into the urban development mainstream. Part of this article presents historical material on the range and changing patterns of informal sector activities in a cross section of Nigerian towns and cities, to illustrate the policy biases against the sector in the colonial and early independence periods. But the main emphasis is on the contemporary challenges of the informal city,  from its rapid expansion during the “oil boom” period of the 1970s to the economic crisis and adjustments of the 1980s and 1990s, which weakened the employment and law enforcement capacity of the state, and therefore encouraged a high level of informalization of  economic activities.  As a result, the distinction between the formal and informal spheres of activity became increasingly blurred. more


Global Grassroots Strategies for Women's Community Leadership
Monika Jaeckel

The Grassroots Women’s International Academies (GWIA) were designed and initiated by members of the Mother Centers International Network for Empowerment (MINE) and conducted in cooperation with Groots International (Grassroots Organizations Organizing Together in Sisterhood) and the Huairou Commission. GWIA is a truly global methodology to secure the rich knowledge of grassroots women’s groups worldwide and to make it visible to mainstream partners. Groups contributing to GWIA come from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, and North America. more


Cities and Insurrections
Eric J. Hobsbawm

The subject of this article is how the structure of cities has affected popular movements of this sort, and conversely, what effect the fear of such movements has had on urban structure. The first point is of much more general significance than the second. Popular riot, insurrection, or demonstration is an almost universal urban phenomenon, and as we now know, it occurs even today in the affluent megalopolis of the developed world. On the other hand the fear of such riot is intermittent. It may be taken for granted as a fact of urban existence, as in most pre-industrial cities, or as the kind of unrest which periodically flares up and subsides without producing any major effect on the structure of power. It may be underestimated, because there have not been any riots or insurrections for a long time, or because there are institutional alternatives to them, such as systems of local government by popular election. There are, after all, few continuously riotous cities. Even Palermo, which probably holds the European record with 12 insurrections between 1512 and 1866, has had very long periods when its populace was relatively quiet. On the other hand, once the authorities decide to alter the urban structure because of political nervousness, the results are likely to be substantial and lasting, like the boulevards of Paris. more

Strengthening Urban Heritage in Singapore: Building Economic Competitiveness and Civic Identity
Belinda Yuen

The aim of this article is to explore the notion of cultural heritage from the perspective of Singapore. As a city-state with the goal of becoming a world-class city, Singapore has increasingly included conservation of its urban fabric as an important part of its strategic planning. In the most recent 2001 review of its long-term Concept Plan, a new focus on place-identity is introduced, with the focus on developing Singapore into ‘a dynamic, distinctive, and delightful city’. Its search is for identity in familiar places as manifested in the diversity of the city-state’s multi-ethnic people and cultures. The task of achieving this objective is not restricted to planners but presented as an opportunity to engage a wide range of stakeholders in communities. The public is invited to share and discuss ideas and possibilities of how cultural heritage assets in their neighborhoods can be enhanced and retained. Empirically, this community planning process offers enormous opportunities to take stock and reveal the heritage assets in neighborhoods that define the collective memory, or in the words of local poet Koh Buck Song  ‘are gifts to a lived memory’. It is the local milieu which is fundamental in people's everyday lives. Singapore's neighborhoods are vital in offering new bases for city ‘branding’ and place-identity in the global urban world. From a theoretical perspective, Singapore’s community engagement emphasizes heritage issues as part of the public agenda and integrates participatory conservation programs within the planning process, adding empirical substance to the broader theoretical discourse on how public policy helps shape landscapes and their meanings. more

Globalization, Urban Heritage, and the 21st Century Economy
Donovan D. Rypkema

If cities are to succeed in the challenge of economic globalization they will have to be competitive not only with other cities in their nation or region, but worldwide. However, their success will be measured not just by their ability to foster economic globalization, but equally in their ability to mitigate cultural globalization. In both cases a city’s historic built environment will play a central role. more





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