Sanctuary in the city? Urban displacement and vulnerability

Simone Haysom

Little is known about how displaced people negotiate the urban environment, their relationships with host communities and governance institutions and their specific vulnerabilities as compared with other urban residents. This report collates the main findings of a two-year research project, which involved seven in-depth case studies – Nairobi, Kenya; Yei, South Sudan; Damascus, ...» more

Climate change, disaster risk and the urban poor: Cities building resilience for a changing world.

Judy Baker

High concentrations of people and economic assets, often in hazard-prone areas, means cities are vulnerable environments. The report analyses the vulnerabilities and risks of cities with a particular focus on the urban poor and the city's adaptive capacities. It explores how the urban poor are at risk from climate change and natural hazards, the role of basic services in ...» more

Cities and children: The challenge of urbanisation in Tanzania

Cities are becoming home to a growing proportion of Africa’s children. In Tanzania, already one in four lives in an urban centre – and many more will in coming years.  This study aims to provide policymakers and others with an understanding of the impact of current urbanisation trends on Tanzania’s urban poor, especially children. It suggests that cities provide an opportunity ...» more

Responding to Urban Disasters: Learning from Previous Relief and Recovery Operations

David Sanderson, Paul Knox-Clarke, Leah Campbell

The need for humanitarian response in urban areas is increasing with rapid urban growth, threats to cities from extreme weather and several other factors. However, urban areas present unique challenges in terms of complexity and scale with respect to humanitarian response. This is because many of the existing ways of working were originally developed to address rural crises, ...» more

Meeting the Urban Challenge: Adapting humanitarian efforts to an urban world

Ben Ramalingam, Paul Knox-Clarke

This report is based on the discussion held at the 27th Meeting of the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP) and on a review of recent literature on humanitarian responses to urban crises. The document discusses the humanitarian response to rapid urbanisation and identifies ways in which the humanitarian system could learn ...» more

Approaches to Conducting Political Economy Analysis in the Urban Water Sector

Seema Manghee, Alice Poole

This report provides guidance on conducting political economy analysis in the urban water sector, highlighting lessons from case studies. The cases span successful reforms, such as in Chile and Senegal; reforms where the results are still incomplete or have not been replicated, such as Ghana and Panama; and those where reforms are pending, such as Pakistan. The paper identifies ...» more

Pipe Dreams? The Governance of Urban Water Supply in Informal Settlements, New Delhi

Suneetha Dasappa Kacker, Anuradha Joshi

Based on fieldwork on urban water supply in New Delhi, this paper shows that while informal providers fill a gap left by the public utility, residents can remain captive consumers with limited ability to influence service quality or price.In this case, residents were successfully able to organise themselves to drive improvements to services through a gradual evolution of their ...» more

Meeting the Urban Challenge: Adapting Humanitarian Efforts to an Urban World

Ben Ramalingam, Paul Knox Clarke

This document provides an overview of current thinking and emerging good practice related to humani¬tarian action in an urban environment. It is based on the discussions held at the 27th Meeting of the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP) and on a review of recent literature on humanitarian responses to urban crises. It ...» more

Urbanisation and Growth

The proportion of a country’s population living in urban areas is highly correlated with its level of income. The correlation between urbanisation and economic growth in developing countries can be explained largely by the fact that economic development involves the transformation of a country from an agricultural economy to an industrial-service economy. Production of ...» more

Cities and climate change: Global report on human settlements 2011


In the context of rising urbanisation, climate change is presenting unique challenges that require greater understanding. Challenges range from the physical (increasing heat waves, higher sea levels), but also providing basic services. The impact will be particularly severe in low-elevation coastal zones, where many of the world’s largest cities are located. Despite this, most ...» more

Insurgency and spaces of active citizenship: the story of Western Cape anti-eviction campaign in South Africa

Farana Miraftab and Shana Wills

This article explores the practices, agency and vision of Western Cape Anti-eviction Campaign (AEC) members in their quest for social justice. It argues that global neoliberal policies involving privatisation of, and state withdrawal from, the provision of basic services have resulted in simultaneous and contradictory processes of exclusion and inclusion for the poor; at once ...» more

Capital, Capacities and Collaboration: the Multiple Roles of Community Savings in Addressing Urban Poverty

Diana Mitlin, David Satterthwaite, Sheridan Bartlett

Recent experiences demonstrate the significance of collective savings among low-income urban citizens in developing countries. Such practices have helped to raise incomes, consolidate and protect individual and collective assets, and reduce political exclusion. Some savings groups have evolved into substantive institutions. Not only can community savings initiatives trigger ...» more

Urbanisation and Governance

This paper identifies the main governance issues and trends related to urbanisation. It is based on a rapid review of the available literature and inputs from several experts in the field of governance and urbanisation. There is a growing consensus that issues relating to urbanisation cannot simply be tackled by monetary or technical interventions, but that new governance ...» more

Gangs, Urban Violence, and Security Interventions in Central America

Oliver Jütersonke, Robert Muggah, Dennis Rodgers

What is the nature of Central American gang violence and have attempts to reduce it been successful? Urban violence is a major preoccupation of policymakers, planners and development practitioners, but it is a complex phenomenon. This article argues that repressive first-generation approaches have tended to radicalise gangs and push them towards organised crime. Meanwhile, ...» more

Urban Governance for Adaptation: Assessing Climate Change Resilience in Ten Asian Cities

Thomas Tanner et al

How can climate-related impacts be managed in urban settings? What are the links between urban governance, climate adaptation, poverty reduction and sustainable development? This paper develops an analytical framework by combining governance literature with climate resilience assessments conducted in ten Asian cities. The climate-resilient urban governance assessment framework ...» more

Costs of Urbanisation

Half of the global population now lives in cities. Urban growth is occurring most rapidly in the developing world, where cities gain an average of 5 million residents every month (UN-HABITAT, 2008). Urbanisation processes have been prevalent in Asia and while they have raised living standards in many countries, they have also produced other economic, social and environmental ...» more

Who Governs Kabul? Explaining Urban Politics in a Post-War Capital City

Daniel Esser

Wars, particularly civil wars, are increasingly focused on cities. How can they best be tackled? This study, published by the Crisis States Research Centre, reviews the history of city politics in Kabul and the processes of governance that occur at different levels. Multi-layered conflicts in capital cities can concentrate political attention and overload urban development and ...» more

Reforming Urban Water Utilities in Western and Central Africa: Experiences with Public-Private Partnerships: Impact and Lessons Learned

Matar Fall et. al.

What has been the impact of public-private partnerships (PPPs) on urban water quality and access in Central and Western Africa? This report from the World Bank examines fifteen countries throughout the region, analysing different models and drawing out lessons learned. It concludes that public-private partnerships have had a positive impact on access, reliability, and cost of ...» more

Urbanisation and Urban Poverty in Bangladesh

Access to housing and security of tenure is a key issue for the urban poor of Bangladesh. Often they are forced to settle in informal settlements on marginal lands where they fall prey to mastaans, or middle men, who charge extortionate rents for land and services and often use coercive methods. These settlements often have little or no access to basic services such as water ...» more

Governance failure: rethinking the institutional dimensions of urban water supply to poor households

Karen Bakker, Michelle Kooy

This paper examines factors that explain the persistent failure of both public and private water supply system operators to achieve high rates of individual network connections to poor households in urban areas.Much of the recent literature has focused on the “ownership” versus “institutions” debate, and the relative merits of public versus private management of water supply ...» more