Thursday, 16 April 2015 14:31

Resilience of cities in the Global South

Resilience of cities is the theme of the latest issue of the French publication of Villes en Développement edited by my old friend Marcel Belliot. As the preface notes, resilience is now central to "approaches and strategies of governments partnering urban development and of funders." It brings a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to understanding and managing urban development. There are articles about simulation of crises and responses to an earthquake disaster in Lima; efforts by Algiers to adapt to the consequences of climate change; emergency responses in South Sudan, a country particularly fragile and vulnerable to the risk of flooding; and how the French Development Agency (AFD) is bolstering the resilience of vulnerable neighbourhoods in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 24 April 2012.

Scenario planning tools are increasingly being used in North America as means of community engagement. The state of the art is reviewed in a new publication that attracted attention at the recent American Planning Association conference in Los Angeles. The development of web-based GIS and mobile phone technologies opens the prospect of a rapid emergence of new techniques that could fundamentally change the way we do planning.

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This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 20 February 2012.

In June the Rio +20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development will be held. Few will place much confidence in the capacity of national governments to drive forward an inclusive and environmental agenda for the world, as happened at Rio in 1992. Rather, the leaders of change today more and more seem to be the mayors of cities in Latin America. For example, Mexico City is at the forefront of planning and implementing strategies for environmental improvement and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

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This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 13 February 2012.

Last week’s forced departure of the President of The Maldives has brought global attention to this small country. It is one of 29 small island developing states (SIDS) listed by the UN Commission on Trade and Development, though there is no official definition of a SIDS. These small countries face a range of sustainable development challenges, as I discussed in a recent article in Small States Digest. For example, many have to deal with debt and economic volatility, a particular problem for countries economically dependent on the export of a few natural resources. Energy dependency, HIV/AIDS and youth unemployment can be added to the list. While there has been some recognition of the threats from climate change to small islands, the urban growth dimension of all these issues has attracted little attention, yet is critical to the future of these places.

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Thursday, 09 April 2015 15:58

Cities and Climate Change

This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 7 December 2011.

We are facing a “deadly collision between urbanization and climate change”. This is the warning given in the 2011 Global Report on Human Settlements published by UN-Habitat. It comes at a time when expectation is rock bottom that governments will achieve a positive outcome at the climate summit in Durban. The UN-Habitat report recognises that many local authorities are implementing adaptation and mitigation measures. However, it says that climate change is still seen as a “marginal issue” by most policy makers. Furthermore, the connections between urbanisation and climate change are often overlooked, though they are crucially important.

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This blog was first posted on the Planning resource website on 21 November 2011.

“From 1 January 2012 all of Australia’s capital cities will have in place planning systems to guide their futures, and it is these plans that will inform the Federal Government’s infrastructure funding. In this way, our essential social and economic infrastructure will all be funded in a coordinated way that best serves the needs and priorities of the nation.” With these words, Anthony Albanese, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport introduced the 2011 State of Australian Cities report. This explicit connection between the state of the cities, plans and investment in infrastructure sets a marker that other countries could learn from.

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This blog was first posted on the Planning resource website on 15 August 2011.

The recently published report of the State of South Africa’s Cities makes extensive use of the concept of “resilience”. This is a theme that I discussed in a previous blog a couple of months back. However, as far as I know, the South Africans are the first to use it as a building block for a major national report. Thus “Towards Resilient Cities: Reflections on the first decade of a democratic and transformed local government in South Africa 2001-2011” is interesting both for its use of the concept and for what it has to tell us about what is happening in South Africa. In addition, it comes at a time when work is being progressed by the Commonwealth Association of Planners and others on a Commonwealth Urban Agenda and a Commonwealth set of urban indicators.

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Thursday, 09 April 2015 12:15

Making Cities and Regions More Resilient

This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 16 May 2011.

This is an exciting time. There is a new confidence in economic geography and regional science. We are seeing the emergence of a set of concepts and propositions that have strong and direct implications for policy makers and practitioners. One of these is the notion of urban and regional resilience. It has been described as a “steering model” for urban and regional development. It offers some pointers for planners and regeneration and economic development professionals.

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This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 23 March 2011.

I am one of Europe’s growing cohort of old age pensioners. In 31 European countries, even if life expectancy does not improve, the population aged 65+ would increase by 40 per cent to 2050. If life expectancy continues to grow, the number of persons aged 65+ will leap by between 87 and 111 per cent. However, with out-migration and low birth rates, many of Europe’s regions face the prospect of a population that is both ageing and reducing in numbers. Unless things change, 60% of European regions will experience population decline up to 2050. Demography is a key factor in the development and planning of cities and region: what are Europe’s prospects and what are the implications?

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