DEVELOPMENT IN CONTEXT CHALLENGES AND SUSTAINABLE URBAN STRATEGIES
CARMEN MENDOZA | MBONGENI NGULUBE | ANA G. CAÃ‘IZARES
AUTHORS Mbongeni Ngulube
Gunther Jürgen Stoll
EDITORS Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura ESARQ (UIC) Carmen Mendoza Arroyo, PhD Mbongeni Ngulube, MSc Ana G. Cañizares
COVER AND GRAPHIC DESIGN Mídori www.midoristudio.net
PRINTED BY MAP IMPRESORES GRAFMAN S.L. First Edition January 2011 © each article is original work and remains the copyright of the author © this collection and editorial rights to: Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura ESARQ (UIC) Inmaculada 22, 08017 Barcelona, Spain T: +34 932 541 827 www.uic.es
ISBN: 978-84-939888-9-0 DEPOSITO LEGAL: XXXXXXXXXX
DEVELOPMENT IN CONTEXT CHALLENGES AND SUSTAINABLE URBAN STRATEGIES
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: The editors would like to thank everyone who took part in making this book possible, from the master program’s staff and all the alumni of 2010 and 2012 who contributed their time and thoughts with their submissions, to the graphic designer who brought the words, pictures and pages to life. We especially thank those whose articles appear in this book, for their hard work and patience throughout the editing and revision process from start to finish. Finally, we would like to thank the Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura ESARQ-UIC, for supporting our master program (MSc of International Cooperation Sustainable Emergency Architecture) in publishing this second volume, preceded by Reflections on Development & Cooperation in 2011. We look forward to bringing you our 3rd volume in the near future and thank all our readers and followers for your support. www.masteremergencyarchitecture.com facebook.com/sustainableemergencyarchitecture twitter.com/MA_IntlCoop
ABOUT THE EDITORS: Carmen Mendoza-Arroyo is associate professor and Head of the Urban Design and Planning Department; Co-director of the Master of International Cooperation Sustainable Emergency Architecture at ESARQ-UIC. Her research is focused on the socio-spatial regeneration of neighborhoods and informal settlements. In this field she has developed plans and projects and published articles, chapters, and co-edited books. She is co-principal of the firm DAC Arquitectura, Rehabilitació i Urbanisme SLP in Barcelona, in charge of Planning and Urban Design projects. Mbongeni Ngulube is a doctoral researcher at the Institute for Anthropological Research in Africa based at Leuven University, Belgium – he is the Academic Coordinator of the advanced masters in Cultures and Development Studies (CADES). He is a Mundus Urbano Scholar under the EU’s Excellency Program and lectures at universities in Germany, Spain and France. He is the Policy Director at The Global Native, a development research charity based in Leeds, United Kingdom. Ana Cañizares is an editor and communications officer specialised in architecture and design based in Barcelona. She has edited numerous print publications, written for magazines like FRAME, curated content online, and also manages the communication and social media accounts for various clients, including the Master of International Cooperation Sustainable Emergency architecture at ESARQ-UIC.
Introduction Development in Context; Concretising the Un-definable? Mbongeni Ngulube Social System Capture From Subaltern Urbanism to Power? Mbongeni Ngulube Urban Upgrading Searching for Sustainable Socio-spatial Solutions Carmen Mendoza-Arroyo
Social Infrastructure as a Base for Urban Regeneration In Favor of Identity and Cohesion in Socially Fragmented Neighbourhoods Raquel Colacios-Parra
The Need for Culturally-based Strategies in Post-conflict/ Disaster Resettlement The case of Dadaab, Kenya Elaine Morales
Human Settlement Upgrading Upscaling Participatory Approaches Gunther JĂźrgen Stoll Re-thinking the challenges of cooperation Integrated stakeholder participation Nazanin Mehregan Violence reduction strategies in Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town: A comparative approach Silvia Aldana To Walk or Not to Walk? Reclaiming the Pedestrian Space Reena Tiwari Taking advantage of cultural tourism in developing countries Pere Vall-Casas Native-to-place design collaboration Nathaniel Corum
INTRODUCTION: Development in Context; Concretising the Undefinable?
Mbongeni Ngulube1 Mbongeni Ngulube is a doctoral researcher at the Institute for Anthropological Research in Africa based at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. He is the policy director at The Global Native, a development research charity based in Leeds, United Kingdom. Email email@example.com
Upon completion of this volume, it became clear that while the following contributions are very different, they also remain very similar in their ideological approach (for lack of a better term). In summing up this work I find that the book title is a means of concretely grasping, through various aspects, a complex and intangible subject: development. Through these arguments, development itself is revealed in absolute terms, where it ironically breaks down and stops being development in the discursive sense (hereon expressed in italics to differentiate it from what I will call concrete development, which this book addresses). The book argues that while development remains an elusive thing, its associated practices, rituals and institutions constitute real experiences that positively and negatively affect innumerable communities around the globe. Although it has been called an “anti-politics machine” (Ferguson, 1990), it is precisely in the political aspect that the idea of development ends and reality begins. Here I refer to politics in the wider sense, not simply electoral or governmental, but the politics of “governmentality” (Foucault, 1991) when overlapped with popular politics, or “the politics of the governed” (Chatterjee, 10
2004). This way, the book moves away from the discourse of development, to observe concrete development in the only form it can be acted upon, that is, in context. From this perspective, the book contributes a collection of refreshingly solution-oriented critical debates to a discipline facing theoretical impasse. A troubled definition Development is widely discussed and often taken for granted. Views of what it is or should be and how it is to come about are as numerous as there are voices to sound opinion. Rist (2008) takes issue with development’s various definitive formats (including disciplinary categorisations) and draws attention to the misnomer of most definitions of development, which he calls “pseudo-definitions”. For example, development can be defined as “a process which enables human beings to realize their potential, build selfconﬁdence, and lead lives of dignity and fulﬁlment” (Nyerere, 1968) or “the process to enlarge the range of people’s choices’” (Sen, 1999); while few would disagree, these do not define development; rather they are “the way in which one person (or set of per-
sons) pictures the ideal conditions of social existence [and as such] we can at once conclude that [development] exists nowhere and probably never will’ (Rist, 2008). Further, post-development authorship sees development as a knowledge discourse imposed on the poor to exercise power (Escobar, 1995), and nothing more; it merely denotes a direction of travel, not a destination. Here we can liken the idea of development to justice. Derrida (1992) puts forward a similar argument from which I will highlight three points. (i) Justice is not the law. The law is a structural means to achieve justice, but justice is the idea that compels us to constantly strive to improve the law. In essence, justice does not exist; it is an ideal for which we strive through the law. (ii) We speak of enforcing the law which reveals a “literal allusion to the force that comes from within [the law]” (Derrida, 1992). This “enforceability is not an exterior or secondary possibility… it is essentially the force [or power] implied in the concept of … law” (ibid). (iii) We can therefore conclude that the “law is always an authorised force justified in applying itself” (Derrida, 1992) by the idea of justice, yet justice itself is never reached. In other words, the law is simply an exercise of power in the name of an ideal - of justice. If we take this further, we see that justice does not try, convict, imprison or execute people; it is the law that does these things. So while we all dream of justice, what we actually experience are laws, both good and bad, which we debate and fight over every day. And so is the case with development. It is not development, the lack thereof, or underdevelopment that sends millions into poverty: it is power constellations (what I previously referred to as politics) acting to enforce development which create both good and bad conditions, and it is these conditions that exist concretely and are experienced only in their contexts. So, to merely discuss development, as many practitioners do, is to be trapped in the mystical world of ideals, which can
be debated ad infinitum without ever making a difference in reality. Therefore, it was not underdevelopment that made the Kenyan Gikuyu poor: it was the loss of his land that came about through power and dispossession (Kenyatta, 1965). This is concrete reality, and not development. These are political struggles which every contributor to this book recognises to varying degrees. It is for this reason that each of them was compelled to demonstrate their argument through very diverse, culture-specific or ‘place’ located perspectives; concrete issues that we abstractly cluster under the rubric of development. In this sense, this volume transcends development and pulls it down to earth, highlighting real political struggles upon which meaningful action can be rallied for change, and thereby making concrete what we cannot define.
Challenges and sustainable urban strategies The book features a collection of articles written by former students and current faculty members of the Master of International Cooperation Sustainable Emergency Architecture at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya. The scholar contributions lend structure and perspective to the collection and also serve to frame and support the contributions of the alumni. The volume takes a broadly ethnographic view of the urban poor through discussions on urbanism, and though it explores larger ideas like sustainable development, it does so in reference to specific issues placed in their localities. It is only through this exercise in contextualisation that development becomes a lived reality with potential solutions as these articles testify. The strength of contextualisation is partially exemplified by the fact that despite the absence of communication between contributors, each article contains three elements. They speak from a specific cultural perspective in support of the subaltern approach in each case; they base their work on real cases
within a specified context on the ground; and they aim to marry, or stitch together two concepts or approaches that often appear as contradicting notions and that have previously been regarded as mutually exclusive. In the first article, rather than laying out a general theory of development, my aim is to undress its components in order to reveal how power is hidden and wielded in the production of poverty. I argue that through a perversion of these power lines—that is, playing the formal market against the informal— it is possible to restrain structural poverty through social system capture, produced through what I have called guerrilla capitalism. The cases in Thailand and Zimbabwe presented in the article demonstrate this possible third way of approaching the poverty dilemma. From a planning perspective, Mendoza explores socio-spatial solutions for sustainable upgrading projects in Latin America. Citing the case of Colombia, her approach is to stitch together both top-down and bottom-up approaches to informal settlement regeneration. She highlights that although local actors, embedded in a strong community partnership, are the custodians of the projects, structural issues, such as tenure security and regularization of informal settlements, remain governmental concerns subject to topdown decision-making. However, in concert with locally based strategies which combine poverty alleviation and urban improvement, these approaches can enhance a holistic and sustainable social development. Following suit, Colacios speaks from Sant Cosme, a neighborhood along the periphery of El Prat de Llobregat in Barcelona, to address urban renewal and planning of fragmented neighbourhoods through social infrastructure. Her approach is to stitch together the social, or what she calls the “relational” realm of the city, with the physical realm, thereby encouraging identity and place in urban regeneration projects. She further suggests a two-phased methodological approach towards making use of this intan12
gible layer to activate the concrete physical geography of the city. In the first of the four alumni articles, Morales focuses on the developmental potential of refugees, arguing against traditional policies of encampment, which in reality turn these settlements into no more than human zoos. The case of the Dadaab camp for Somalian refugees in Kenya is typical of this approach. Morales argues that the implementation of policies formed at the level of international law are relegated by national political concerns in Kenya, leading to mutually unproductive, protracted scenarios. This is costly to both the Kenyan State and the refugees, whom she argues could contribute to the development of Kenya and the refugees themselves if participatory, culturally-based strategies for post-conflict or disaster resettlement were employed. Along the same lines, Stoll takes this concern further. Basing his argument on the Mongolian case of the community-led Ger Area upgrading in Ulaanbaatar City, he argues for a structural, legal and institutional framework for participatory scaling-up approaches. Since political leaders fear losing power through participatory decision-making, development actors usually work outside the legal operational frameworks. Stoll aims to stitch together structural and institutional intervention with project-centred participatory approaches in a twopronged approach operating at both levels. Going into further detail, Mehregan rethinks the challenges of cooperation and offers a practical how-to on making participatory projects work. Her concern is that long-term upgrading and post-disaster reconstruction projects require the input of various local stakeholders as well as external experts. However, economic and social loss can occur through overlap and inefficient project coordination resulting from structural and institutional differences. Through the case of Villa Rosa in Haiti, she demonstrates how participatory cooperation approaches are critical for project success. Focusing on the
participation of the community, whom she considers to be the main stakeholder, she stitches together the level of community control and the intensity of their involvement as a measure of authentic participation, which can contribute to long-term efficiency. Aldana looks deeper into informal community security, contrasting two very different cases in their approach to reducing urban violence. By analysing current projects in Khayelitsha, Cape Town and the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, she reveals that one is a typical, almost militant, top-down approach, while the other is a bottom-up, community-oriented approach, resulting in two different long-term outlooks. She concludes by juxtaposing the two, and like Mendoza, suggests stitching together top-down and bottom-up approaches in recognition of varying contexts, though she proves the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of one over the other for long-term sustainability. The book concludes with three more articles from our scholars. Tiwari questions whether ‘to walk or not to walk’ in reference to public transport in India’s bustling cities. Contrary to big cities in Australia or the United States, for example, which struggle with and cite the components required for walkability, Indian cities struggle with retaining these Transit Oriented Developments. She observes how good urban infrastructure for walking is implemented in Indian cities with little impact on public safety, which she argues will remain absent until social change occurs. Her advice to planning practice is to promote “user-centric and socio-cultural awareness” that can stitch together newly installed infrastructure with the cultural promotion of new user rituals through community participation. Likewise, in Tsum Valley, Nepal, Vall is concerned with the duality between retaining local identity against the demands of the global market in the process of taking advantage of cultural tourism in developing countries. He sees culture as the social, economic and environmental order; as such, the idea
of sustainable development must be reinterpreted and interrogated in context from a socio-cultural perspective. While he outlines the economic value pull of cultural tourism, he argues through the case study how the sacred local identity must take precedence over pure economic gain. Motivated by a deep cultural sentiment, this community responded to the invasion of a standardized device for poverty alleviation with an alternative community-based development model. In the closing chapter, we consider all of the above in a case that straddles both the intangible and the concrete as a strategy for sustainable development. It has often been argued that poor communities are endowed with sustainable practices, and Corum pushes this further and argues that while many are concerned with urban poverty and the city, solutions may well reside in the rural and peri-urban communities that serve cities. He argues that native-to-place thinking can stitch together the wealth of knowledge of indigenous communities with cutting edge technology through participatory design workshops. Such collaborations have the potential to fuse native-to-place knowledge with the best design-producing and game-changing architectural work that is fully integrated with site specifics and community amenities. These contributions validate the need to ‘concretise the undefinable’ through contextualisation, in ways that reveal what is really at stake in development; that is, “whether human beings can act, collectively, to improve their lot, or whether they must once again accept that it is ineluctably determined by forces – nowadays ‘world market forces’ - over which they have, in general, little or no control” (Leys, 2008). Ultimately, this volume provides multiple strategies at various levels for addressing, or at least moving the debate forward, regarding actual political and concrete gains as opposed to yet another discursive lament on the failings of that illusive thing called development. Bulawayo 2014.
Bibliography Chatterjee, P. (2004). The Politics of the Governed: Reflections on Popular Politics in Most of the World. New York: Columbia University Press. Cornell, D., Rosenfeld, M., & Carlson, D. G. (1992). Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice. New York: Routledge. Derrida, J. (1992). Force of Law: The “Mystical” Foundation of Authority. In D. Cornell, M. Rosenfeld, & D. G. Carlson (Eds.), Desconstruction and the Possibility of Justice (pp. 3-67). New York: Routledge. Escobar, A. (1995). Encountering Development: The making and unmaking of the Third World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Ferguson, J. (1990). The Anti-Politics Machine: “Development” Depoliticization and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho. New York: Cambridge University Press. Foucault, M. (1991). Governmentality. In G. Burchell, C. Gordon , & P. Miller (Eds.), The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality (pp. 87-104). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Gramsci, A. (1971). Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci. Norfolk: Biddles Limited. Heywood, A. (2011). Global Politics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Kenyatta, J. (1965). Facing Mount Kenya: The Tribal Life of the Gikuyu. London: Mercury Books. Leys, C. (2008). The Rise and Fall of Development Theory. In M. Edelman, & A. Haugerud (Eds.), The Anthropology of Development and Globalization: From Classical Political Economy to Contemporary Neoliberalism (pp. 109-125). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. Ngulube, M. (2011). Development and the Dependency Cycle: The [re]production of poverty in SubSaharan Africa. In C. Mendoza Arroyo, M. Ngulube, & R. Colacios Parra (Eds.), Reflections on Development and Cooperation (pp. 19-32). Barcelona: Universitat Internacional de Catalunya. Nyerere, J. (1968). Freedom and Socialism. Dar Es Salaam: Oxford University Press. Rist, G. (2008). The History of Development: From Western Origins to Global Faith. London: Zed Books. Scott, J. (1985). Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. Connecticut: Brevis Press. Sen, A. (1999). Development As Freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
feet’ on the ground in search for practicable solutions to the development quagmi-
Is a Zimbabwean doctoral researcher at the Institute for Anthropological Research in Africa based at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium – where he coordinates the advanced masters in Cultures and Development Studies (CADES). He is a Mundus Urbano Scholar under the EU’s Excellency Program and lectures at universities in Germany, Spain and France. He is the Policy Director at The Global Native, a development research charity based in Leeds, United Kingdom. Ngulube has a background in Urban Design, and holds three masters in Architecture, Housing and Urban Development. His research in ‘Social and Development’ Anthropology is focused on the effects of the diaspora and social movements on development theory and practice. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
re. Finally, I am inspired by the seminal works of Arturo Escobar, Tania Murray Li, Susan George and Saskia Sassen, who undress the power structures in and behind development, that unless those structures change, poverty will persist.
What specific project(s) has brought you the most valuable learning experience?
Despite experience on large projects, the various housing, ‘slum upgrade’, and
‘hostel eradication’ projects in Johannesburg have brought me the most valuable
lessons. Most notably was an upgrade project in the ‘slum’ community of Alexandra Township, Johannesburg, where walk up flats were constructed via collective family subsidies with great difficulty. Some months after completion, we dis-
covered that the bulk of those families had sold their homes and returned to the
slum. Through this frustration I initially questioned the flawed logic of the poor, until it occurred that perhaps it is my expectations that should be questioned – my contribution to this volume speaks to this particular experience.
What are the key obstacles/difficulties of urban upgrading (or your specific field of work)?
How did you become involved in the field of development/sustainability?
I consider the practice of development upgrades particularly flawed when ‘impo-
field of housing and on large scale urban upgrade projects in South Africa, even-
to a set of preconceived goals with a fixed route. Yet the communities, and those
in this field that led me to question some basic principles in urbanism through
power relations that undermine the evolution and success of most upgrade pro-
experiences guided my academic research through the Mundus Urbano master
which I address here, is how can these power relations be restored for better
My background is in architecture and urban design, for eight years I worked in the
sed’ on communities through ‘projects’ that attempts to ‘pin down’ communities
tually through my own practice, MNA architects. It was the high project failure
same experts, do not develop in such linear fashion, essentially it is the skewed
housing and slum upgrade projects and later, to critique development itself. These
jects, be it knowledge, political or financial power. Therefore the key question,
programme and currently in my doctoral research in development anthropology.
the lens of those communities I had sought to ‘upgrade’ in the past.
In your opinion, what changes and practices are needed to dramatically im-
Who have been your mentors throughout the years or people whose work you
It is not enough to simply say ‘power relations’ are problematic, but most develo-
My first mentor was Dr. Jacqueline Polvora who showed me that development and
impose their ideas and their ‘help’. Meanwhile, the poor resist by ‘dragging their
most notably ‘the team’ composed of myself, Carmen Mendoza and Raquel Cola-
their ‘clients’, and that their knowledge and skills can be brought to serve tho-
The Global Native, a development research charity established by Na Ncube and
equal partnership in upgrade and general development projects has the potential
This body of work aims to understand and recast the idea of development through
prove the efforts and impact of development projects?
pment experts view the communities as powerless entities upon whom they can
‘upgrades’ are not synonymous. Since then I have worked with great academics,
feet’, contributing to project failure. Practitioners must realize that the poor are
cios who are both featured in this volume; we have published together in the past.
se communities in the same way an architect will design for a rich client. That
Sifike Bosch in the UK has been my ‘laboratory/incubator’ and kept my ‘research
to dramatically change the outcomes for better.
Mbongeni Ngulube | 17
Social System Capture: From Subaltern Urbanism to Power?
By Mbongeni Ngulube
This paper attempts, within limited space, to demonstrate poverty as a symptom of ‘power (im) balance’, and argues in the context of urbanism that to address poverty means addressing the structural power relations that cause it. The concept of poverty is fluid, it includes rural farmers of China, African-Americans in the Bronx, slum dwellers in Mumbai, refugees in the Middle-East and labourers in Mozambique’s sugar plantations – they are all considered poor and suffer material lack. However, they are not poor in the same way, what they have in common is that they occupy the lowest levels of their respective societies. They have been called the bottom billion (Collier, 2007) in the global ‘pecking order’, the weak (Scott, 1985) in the context of power and the subaltern (Gramsci, 1971) as a dominated class. Therefore those we call ‘the poor’ are really ‘the oppressed’ in various ways - politically, physically and mostly economically; this paper will focus on the latter. Here the concept of poverty breaks down since it homogenises the ‘oppressed’ and unhinges them from the cause(s) of their oppression thereby concealing the structure(s) of poverty by highlighting only its symptoms (what they lack); the paper therefore will employ the term subaltern interchangeably with poverty to highlight this causality.
Typical courtyard and vernacular architecture of Pom Mahakan. 18
In large cities, produced through industrialisation, population growth and associated rural urban migration, the poor are represented by the iconic dwellings of slums and tenements, the
‘landscapes of poverty’ that make up a ‘planet of slums’ (Davis, 2007). This geographical shift brought conflict and challenges prominently portrayed in housing as a frontier of collision between classes. Since urbanism can be understood as ‘concrete sociality’ or the physical evidence of social production, organisation, class structure and power relations; housing is the site where people concretely claim parts of the city and demonstrate their place in the socioeconomic order. Much scholarship has been dedicated to understand and remedy these landscapes that take various forms from the favela of Brazil where land is illegally squatted and incrementally developed; to South Africa’s hostels and slums which were governmentally sanctioned as part of Apartheid’s ‘separate development’. For example, single sex hostels were an efficient way to pack and control black labour necessary for economic growth but not social development, an unsightly but necessary part of economics, a place to store away ‘surplus humanity’ (Davis, 2007). After Apartheid, families flooded the hostels transforming them into a type of ‘hybrid slum landscape’ though serving the same purpose. In response, ‘slum eradication’ programmes through various techniques are still the basic approach to these landscapes despite the quagmire of how to do away with slums; such as upgrades and formalisation.
Mbongeni Ngulube | 19
Although developers have experimented with many policies to develop slums, these interventions mostly addressed only the ‘symptom’ through State and recently NGO and aid models. However, post-development theory argues that this managerial development is itself a knowledge discourse imposed on the poor (subaltern) to exercise power (Escobar, 1995), and if this structure remains, poverty will persist. George (2014) argues that “no level of human suffering in and of itself will ever cause policy to change. It’s not starvation, poverty and suffering that moves policy makers, it is only a change in the balance of power”. The symptoms of poverty (scarcity and lack) are produced systematically through the market which incentivises the maintenance of a cheap labour source to maximise profit. Therefore poverty to the subaltern, is not a lack of things, it is a loss – of power to provide for their basic needs, and must therefore be addressed through justice (to change oppressive power relations) and not charity which only aids in coping with oppression; but (how) can the poor garner or wield power to change their circumstances? Fig 1. Typical single sext hostel in Johannesburg built with little social space.
Fig 2. Families begin squatting around hostel buildings creating a type of ‘hybrid slum landscape’.
Power is an equally vague concept, Nye (2005) likens it to love “easier to experience than to define or measure”; power is to social science what energy is to physics (Eriksen, 2001). Some basic categories include ‘power as capability’, as an attribute or possession (Heywood, 2011), the ability to cause others to act in a way they would not have chosen, such as force or finance. But power can also be relational, or ‘soft power’ coined by Nye in the 1980s referring to the ability to influence rather than coerce. In general, power is not ‘total’, or ‘absolute’ and in this sense while the subaltern is oppressed, (s)he is not powerless – so then, in what way(s) can the subaltern exercise power, particularly towards concrete life improvement? It is often said that the poor have power in numbers, that they can ‘show force’ through riots, revolution and demonstration, and these acts can bring structural change but they do not guarantee ‘change for better’, but a ‘soft power’ approach, in this case ‘informal power’, could be employed with different results. While slums are viewed as undesirable landscapes and have been the subject of intervention for eradication and more recently through upgrade, they still persist – this in itself is power. In acknowledgement, the concept of Subaltern Urbanism, ‘undertakes the theorization of the megacity and
Fig 3. Location of Pom Mahakan in the historic centre of Bangkok.
its subaltern spaces and subaltern classes... Writing against apocalyptic and dystopian narratives of the slum, subaltern urbanism provides accounts of the slum as a terrain of habitation, livelihood, self-organization and politics” (Roy, 2011). In the face of the formal market, which is argued to have brought untold damage and poverty (George, 2014), these ‘landscapes of poverty’ have evolved as an answer to the abrasive nature of the capital market. While multitudes are used as cheap labour for economic growth, they do not benefit from it, therefore slums are the answer to living on the socioeconomic periphery. There are countless definitions of what slums are, but what slums do is far more critical to understand – since they provide a space of repose for the poor. Slums are not unhinged from the market economy, but are not exactly run by it either. They produce a form of ‘guerrilla capitalism’ - whereby the subaltern selects when and to what extent to expose themselves to the market through the informal (as opposed to illegal) market. They are sites of economic resistance, a space to negotiate formal power through informal means and they reinvent economics. This is why they persist. Even against the backdrop of bulldozers and flying bullets, establishing a ‘slum’ should be understood as no less than a revolutionary (f)act. So far, the paper demonstrates power in slums; but negotiating social change could also be rethought along these lines of power – in essence, power to capture the systemic causes of poverty. What I have provisionally termed ‘Social System Capture’, is an approach that utilises the ‘soft’, ‘relational’ or ‘informal’ power of the poor to address social change through systemic capture.
Mbongeni Ngulube | 21
Bibliography Collier, P. (2007). The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It. New York: Oxford University Press. Davis, M. (2007). Planet of Slums. London: Verso. Eriksen, T. H. (2001). Small Places, Large Issues. London: Pluto Press.
Fig 4. Pom Mahakan residents meeting and organisation.
Fig 5. Street view of typical Pom Mahakan architecture.
For example, the community of Pom (Fort) Mahakan in Bangkok is composed of about 300 families living on a quarter of a hectare facing the historical Paan Fa pier and bridge where the city had planned a public park. They faced eviction for a decade and resisted through protest, litigation and public appeal. In the process they evolved a wellthought-out land sharing plan (Herzfeld, 2003) which included maintenance of cultural activities such as dance, a kick-boxing school, crafts and food stalls (ibid) to no avail. At this time the city had launched a heritage programme sanctioned by the king, which recast Bangkok as a ‘heritage centre’, adding more reason for the eviction. In partnership with scholars and activists, the residents responded by ‘labelling’ their community as a heritage location, showcasing authentic vernacular architecture and lifestyle, and thus effectively ‘capturing’ the very discourse meant for their eviction. In this way they pervert the discourse for their own ends without reinventing the structure. Such ‘systemic capture’, in this case, of gentrification, which is only “the sharp point of a big wedge” (Herzfeld, 2010), can be modelled in other systemic forms such as the financial sector, to shift power to the subaltern without necessarily reinventing the infrastructure.
say a factory, and acquires cheap labour to maximise profit, in the process draining the labourers. TMG replaces the board with a community of relatively poor migrants in diaspora who invest through a symbiotic relationship, in similarly poor farmers in Zimbabwe; this way, the ‘structure’ of capitalism is reworked for the benefit of both poor communities and sidesteps ‘big-business’. While Harvey (1991) and like minded scholars argue for a reconstitution of society “in such a way that poverty would be impossible” (Žižek, 2009), this paper seeks only to suggest a means to durably restrain and contest systemic poverty inherent in the global capitalist system.
To this end, The Global Native, through Turning Matabeleland Green and Enaleni Shares, is doing just that. The business and finance sectors are structured to disadvantage the poor through skewed labour trade and wage suppression, what Harvey (2010) calls “the internal contradictions of capital accumulation”. In a typical cycle, a wealthy board invests in a means of production, 22
Escobar, A. (1995). Encountering Development: The making and unmaking of the Third World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. George, S. (2014). Then and Now, Food Security in the Past Four Decades. Food Sovereignty: A Critical Dialogue. The Hague: Institute of Social Sciences. Gramsci, A. (1971). Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci. Norfolk: Biddles Limited. Harvey, D. (1991). The Condition of Postmodernity. Cambidge: Blackwell. Herzfeld, M. (2003). Pom Mahakan: Humanity and Order in the Historic Centre of Bangkok. Thailand Human Rights Journal, 1, 101-119. Herzfeld, M. (2006). Spatial Clensing: Monumental Vacuity and the Idea of the West. Journal of Material Culture, 11(1/2), 127-149. Herzfeld, M. (2010). Engagement, Gentrification, and the Neoliberal Hijacking of History. Current Anthropology, Vol. 51(No. S2), S259-S267. Heywood, A. (2011). Global Politics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Ngulube, M. (2011). Development and the Dependency Cycle: The [re]production of poverty in SubSaharan Africa. In C. Mendoza Arroyo, M. Ngulube, & R. Colacios Parra (Eds.), Reflections on Development and Cooperation (pp. 19-32). Barcelona: Universitat Internacional de Catalunya. Ngulube, M. (2014, April 27). Then and Now; the Shifting ‘Poverty Battleground’. Retrieved from The Global Native: http://theglobalnative.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/now-and-then-the-shifting-poverty-battleground/ Roy, A. (2011). Slumdog Cities: Rethinking Subaltern Urbanism. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Volume 35.2, 223–238. Scott, J. (1985). Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. Connecticut: Brevis Press. World Bank. (2011). Rural transformation and late developing countries in a globalizing world : a comparative analysis of rural change. World Bank. Retrieved from http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/ default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2013/05/27/000356161_20130527113731/Rendered/PDF/77 9720ESW0v10P0lStruc0ExecSum0Final.pdf Žižek, S. (2009). First as Tragedy the as Farce. London: Verso.
Fig 7. Pom Mahakan community facility for mixed use purposes.
Mbongeni Ngulube | 23
it to other contexts. Our of this group, I am particularly influenced by the work
Is an Architect with a PhD in Architecture from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. She is an associate professor and a member of the ESARQ Urban Design and Planning Centre (LAU), and the school’s Assistant Director of Internationalization. As co-director of the Erasmus Mundus Master’s Degree Programme in International Cooperation and Sustainable Emergency Architecture, she combines teaching with research on the physical and social regeneration of degraded neighborhoods in the Metropolitan Region of Barcelona and informal settlements in South America. She is co-founder of the firm DAC Arquitectura in Barcelona, specialized in developing urban projects and the design of open spaces and social facilities.
of Manuel de Solà-Morales and Antonio Font. However, I always find that my
greatest inspiration is Jane Jacobs. Her lessons on urbanism, society and social
equality seem more contemporary than ever: “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” J.Jacobs . Life and Death of Great American Cities.
What specific project(s) has brought you the most valuable learning experience?
All projects I’ve participated in which involve community participation, specifically those in developing contexts; they make us question our role as architects
and urbanists, understanding it as being facilitators for the community’s needs, in order to achieve a sustainable outcome. In this sense community organiza-
tions have offered me huge knowledge on the incredible force of social ties and identity in place-making and urban regeneration. In particular the greatest
learning experience has been developing work on informal settlements in Latin America, and recently in India.
What are the key obstacles/difficulties of urban upgrading (or your specific How did you become involved in the field of development/sustainability?
field of work)?
evolves through my practice at architecture and urbanism firm (DACarquitec-
tools and spatial frameworks that acknowledge the value of the ‘subaltern urba-
spatial projects in neighborhoods with urban and social deficits in the Metropo-
in many cases to the lack of policies that incorporate a holistic approach to urban
denominated ‘Neighbourhood Act.’ The methodology has been adapted to infor-
to the urban singularities and space production of informality, making it diffi-
projects in informal settlements in Latin America. This line of work is nurtured
tenure, accessibility, and social housing.
Cooperation Sustainable Emergency Architecture at ESARQ-UIC.
In your opinion, what changes and practices are needed to dramatically im-
Who have been your mentors throughout the years or people whose work
In the field of urban development, the important challenge for architects and
My mentors have been the group of architect-urbanists who led the ETSAB-UPC
lely based on physical strategies, and seeking to confer recognition to the ‘spaces
Catalunya) urban laboratory during the early ‘90s. Their methodological ap-
nizations as partners of the regenerative process. The sustainability of an urban
gical and systemic standpoint have influenced my work and led me to reinterpret
place-based values and making them part of the process.
My link to the field of urban development and sustainable regenerative strategies
One of the main obstacles of urban upgrading is the lack of specific planning
tura, Rehabilitació i Urbanisme S.L.P). During many years we developed socio-
nism’ that exists in informal settlements. The formal-informal divide is linked
litan Region of Barcelona as part of the Catalan Regional Governments initiative
issues. Planning tools are mostly based on the ‘formal ‘ urban processes oblivious
mal contexts combining a top-down, bottom-up approach for urban regenerative
cult to generate alternative strategies to face the great problems of secure land
by academic and research projects developed through the Master of International
prove the efforts and impact of development projects?
urbanists lies in contesting the dominant narratives on informal regeneration so-
(Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona- Universitat Politècnica de
of poverty and forms of popular agency’ (Roy, 2011), by incorporating their orga-
proach based on public space, project-led urban interventions with a morpholo-
development project relies on acknowledging the existing strong community
Carmen Mendoza-Arroyo | 25
Urban upgrading: searching for sustainable socio-spatial solutions By Carmen Mendoza-Arroyo
The reflections on how to attain sustainable urban development in contemporary cities is increasingly linked to the fact that we are reaching a peak of urbanization in which half the world’s population reside in urban areas. This expansion however lacks equity and formality in most developing countries and therefore calls for discussions on development priorities when starting an urban regenerative intervention. Particularly focused on informal settlement regeneration, these priorities must include new locally based strategies which combine poverty alleviation and urban improvement in order to enhance a holistic and sustainable social development. This article briefly delves into current trends of physical upgrading in Latin America, which search for a holistic approach by incorporating community partnerships, in order to surpass the merely physical aspects of upgrading as land-use, transport and infrastructure provision. It is necessary to combine these with existing social networks made up of spaces of identity, social relations and cultural activities in order to reach sustainable solutions. All cities embody a mix of formal and informal processes, therefore, the scope of the urban interventions must include solutions that are appropriate for defining the overlap between physical spaces and logics that exist in the informal city. These informal settlements are not conceived in a systemic set of established parts, therefore the ‘assem26
bled connections’ between them is dynamic and in constant change. This paper argues that the multiscalar connections and the formal / informal framework in which these connections occur should be incorporated into the urban assemblages of spontaneous spaces for social practices enhancing their production of urban space (Mendoza-Arroyo, 2011). The potential of this approach is that ‘assemblage is largely about territorialisation and in urban terms it can be usefully seen as partially synonymous with ‘place’ (Dovey, 2012:364). Therefore, we sustain that a key criteria for upgrading is incorporating the informal places of social interaction to the physical upgrading process for, whatever ‘sense of place’ may mean in the informal/ formal linkage, it is the everyday life experiences that make them potent and visible (Mendoza-Arroyo, 2013). With this in mind, this paper focuses on some examples of informal upgrading in Latin America, which intend to bridge the gap between the physical and social aspects of informality.
TOWARDS A SOCIO-SPATIALLY INTEGRATED URBAN UPGRADING From a planning standpoint, in most informal settlements in Latin America, there is a predominance of private areas over public spaces because the pattern of each settlement is determined by housing needs and topography without preCarmen Mendoza-Arroyo | 27
designed street layouts. As far back as the early 1980’s, various countries of the region have been developing slum upgrading, regularization, and legalization programs for informal settlements. In many cases, these strategies have been implemented with the help of political decentralization consisting of giving constitutionally protected autonomy to the local governments, having the effect of alternative regularization strategies that differ from the traditional evictions and resettlement policies. As an example of regularization strategies, Peru has been the leading practitioner of titling programs since 1996 through the Commission for the Formalization of Informal Property (COFOPRI), accomplishing the distribution of nearly 1,600,000 freehold titles between 1996 and 2006. However, land regularization alone does not promote socio-spatially integrated urban betterment or a sustainable solution. On the other hand, upgrading programs in Brazil such as Favela-Barrio and Morar Legal in Río de Janeiro address security of tenure, but incorporate socio-spatial integration, to jointly guarantee the permanence of existing communities. Particularly, they introduce the role of ‘sensitive 28
urban design projects in identifying and strengthening formal-informal articulations’ (Hernandez; Kellet and Allen 2010 :15). The Favela-Barrio program draws on traditional creative urban design approaches and by doing so, introduces a new generation of urban social policies which incorporate spatial strategies and design, as indivisible tools to slum upgrading. In this sense we believe it is closer to achieving the socio-spatial link necessary for its sustainability. With this same approach, as of 2004, the Urban Integral Plans (Planes de Mejora Integral de Barrios) (UIP) in Medellin, Colombia contribute to the socio-spatial integration of informal settlements with innovative design and transport solutions accompanied by the configuration of the engagement between community and city authorities through a structured and comprehensive approach. To accomplish this holistic approach, and furthermore their development, the Urban Development Enterprise (UDE) was created as an urban development agency decentralized from Medellin’s municipality. The UDE became a valuable tool, in charge of designing the plans, and developing the urban projects in prioritized Carmen Mendoza-Arroyo | 29
References Dovey K (2012) Informal urbanism and complex adaptive assemblage. International Development Planning Review 34 (4): 340-367. Hernandez F, Kellet, P and Allen L (eds.) (2010) Rethinking the informal city: critical perspectives from Latin America. Berghahn Books. Mendoza-Arroyo C. (2011) Reflections on urban design as a tool to reinforce identity: building civic networks in informal settlements. In Mendoza C Ngulube M and Colacios R (eds.) Reflections on Development and Cooperation. Barcelona: ESARQ –UIC, pp. 107-116. Mendoza-Arroyo C. (2013) “Socio-Spatial Assemblages: The Backbone of Informal Settlement Regeneration”. In: Chiodelli F., De Carli B., Falletti M., Scavuzzo L., (Eds) Cities to Be Tamed? Spatial Investigations Across the Urban South, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK, pp. 90-114.
Fotos. Example of interventions of the Planes de Mejora Integral de Barrios (UIP) in Medellin, Colombia Foto. C.Mendoza
areas, enhancing a good coordination between all local public entities. The interconnection of housing programs, open space and infrastructural interventions focused in a particular sector increased the level of cross-institutional coordination. Likewise, the importance of community involvement in project development allowed sustainable regeneration to occur. Therefore, the UIP experience took a step towards a coherent approach through “top-down formal planning tools” with “bottom-up community engagement” in the process of project development.
patory inputs. Despite these examples, in general there is still a strong need for methodological reflections on socio-spatial approaches that advocate for regularization by upgrading the existing social infrastructure and acknowledging strong community place-based values. There are still many problematic aspects to upgrading, such as incorporating holistic partnership approaches, improving tenure security, and linking these strategies to economic sustainability. In many cases, as we suggest, socio-spatial upgrading can lead the way to other mechanisms of regularization and most of all help maintain the social values that make informality unique.
An important challenge for architects and planners who work in the global south is to look for alternatives to the dominant narratives on informal regeneration solely based on physical traditional planning strategies. As the examples briefly described show, this seems to be a time for exploring and strengthening knowledge and methodologies in accordance to informal urbanism’s physical and social singularities related to principles of strategic urban design. The methodologies of Brazil and Colombia show a way to adapt top-down tools and design strategies and combine them with bottom-up partici30
Carmen Mendoza-Arroyo | 31
Raquel Colacios (Granollers, Barcelona, 1978) graduated an Architect and obtained her masters at ESARQ-UIC.Â She is a lecturer of undergraduate and post-graduate studies at ESARQ-UIC and Program Coordinator of the Master of International Cooperation in Sustainable Emergency Architecture. Her research is focused on the recognition and reinterpretation of the social infrastructure layer through a sociospatial methodological approach as part of the urban design process. Her current focus is on relocation processes, specifically how they affect the loss of identity and the mechanisms used by communities generate urbanity in those contexts. She is co-founder together with Ivan Llach tof he firm Taab6 Architects in Barcelona.
Who have been your mentors throughout the years or people whose work you admire? Professory Kelly Shannon, as a student. I also admire the work of local collectives of architects and urban planners (such as La Col, Straddle 3, Raons PĂşbliques here in Spain) that aim to connect people to urbanism in the search for more participative methods of designing their city.
What specific project(s) has brought you the most valuable learning experience? All the projects or processes I have been involved in have been a valuable learning experience.What are the key obstacles/difficulties of urban upgrading (or your specific field of work)? The fast-paced change and growth of cities makes you feel like you are always one step behind when intervening or developing upgrading processes.
How did you become involved in the field of development/sustainability? The ESARQ School of Architecture of the UIC (Universitat Internacional de Cata-
In your opinion, what changes and practices are needed to dramatically improve the efforts and impact of development projects?
lunya) where I studied Architecture has always had a really strong social focus
Precisely because of that constant change, I feel there needs to be a better con-
and incorporated Cooperation subjects in its courses. During my studies, I realized
nection between academia and practice. While academia is a slower engine fu-
how urbanism and architecture can have a real impact on the field of development
eled by research, practice provides an immediate answer to immediate needs; if
and sustainability. In particular, it was a project and visit to Vietnam with Profes-
these two domains are better connected, they can benefit from each other so that
sor Kelly Shannon that changed my way of understanding urbanism, and how it
practice can learn from academic research and provide better solutions, and aca-
can influence and reflect how people live if we take cultural and lifestyle aspects
demia can produce research based on real-world practices.
into account when shaping a city.
Raquel Colacios | 33
Social Infrastructure as a base for Urban Regeneration In favor of identity and cohesion in socially fragmented neighborhoods.
By Raquel Colacios
This article aims to emphasize the link between Social Infrastructure and the physical environment; how this can promote the activation of a “relational layer” in the city (or neighborhood), thus creating identity and social cohesion in contexts characterized by socio-spatial fragmentation. In such contexts, architects and planners must consider social infrastructure if physical interventions are to play an active role in the process of generating identity and sustainable solutions. Along this line, what sociologists refer to as Social Capital in their assertion that “social networks have value”, architects can employ such concepts to identify existing networks of relationships in order to design in a way that encourages these relationships. WHAT IS SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE? The concept of “Social Infrastructure” is defined as the network of human relationships which form the basis of our work and private lives … as members of our local communities (COOPER, 2007). It is this “relational layer” of the city that lends character to a place through the relationships between and among its inhabitants. It is relevant in contemporary cities because it defines the identity of a place, giving value to local components within a global context. Social infrastructure performs many community-building functions such as uniting neighbors and 34
neighborhoods, connecting with newcomers, providing assistance in times of need, and providing a forum for political discussion and process (COOPER, 2007). Social infrastructure typically includes assets that accommodate social services such as schools, universities, hospitals, but also can be a yoga class, a coffee shop etc… In order for a community to count on a nurtured network of human relationships, it is essential to have a physical space in which these opportunities can develop. As such, Social Infrastructure is a place-based concept. In this scenario, urban
planners and designers can play a crucial role by incorporating opportunities for social interaction into the design process to improve social conditions. By promoting public space with aesthetic, spatial, formal and mixed-use qualities, we facilitate relationships and increase security, extending its use to all members of a community, but it is essential to previously identify and map existing relationships, in order to design consequently. THE VALUE OF SOCIAL CAPITAL FOR URBAN REGENERATION IN SOCIALLY FRAGMENTED NEIGHBORHOODS In socially fragmented neighborhoods Social Infrastructure becomes extremely important when developing urban regeneration processes. This is the case of districts that due to economic, social and spatial factors, suffer processes of degradaRaquel Colacios | 35
tion with negative consequences such as lack of security and social fragmentation. An example of this can be found in the neighborhood of Sant Cosme along the periphery of El Prat de Llobregat (Barcelona), a public housing estate created in response to the wave of immigration that took place in Barcelona during the 1960’s. The “planned” neighborhood, an immediate development of housing blocks, presented serious deficiencies in the quality of construction, and an absence of services, facilities and public spaces. The lack of physical elements that promote social relations which sustain and maintain a nurtured network of human relationships resulted in feelings of insecurity and a lack of identity. When working on urban regeneration processes in this context, we can determine that the incorporation of physical elements that promote Social Infrastructure, is of great value if we aim to generate identity, security and social cohesion. As Jane Jacobs argued, security can be increased by achieving more eyes in the street, and in turn this can help to create a more visible urban identity. For that, planners and designers need specific tools for identifying and measuring the Social Infrastructure of a community. The generation of social connections can be positively activated by registering, measuring and reinterpreting the 36
existing mechanisms of social interaction before the design phase. Through this process we can spatially design our communities in response to this layer, incorporating spaces for social interaction and generating new ones in relation to those that already exist. (COLACIOS, 2011) A METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH Measuring Social Infrastructure requires an innovative analysis of the site that differ from traditional forms of mere physical intervention and analyses. Therefore, an analysis that allows us to delve into the reality of the place, combining elements of qualitative research from which to collect data on this intangible layer of the city, with the more traditional methods of reading the city physically. That combination enables us to diagnose the place from a socio-spatial perspective. The methodological proposal is based on two major phases: Phase 1, in which we denote “Living” and Phase 2, which we refer to as “sociospatial mapping”.
Raquel Colacios | 37
is to experience the place firsthand (a form of ethnography), living side by side to its lived space, using qualitative research methods such
as participant observation techniques. It is not understood as a linear process, but as a constant back and forth between the data collected through qualitative research with the physical analysis and vice versa. It is a process in which fieldwork plays an essential role, it is the framework within which specific activities are developed: Urban Tours, Urban Actions, Surveys, and Interactive maps that will allow us to collect the data from citizens, and at the same time allows us to establish a direct relationship with the community and not just the site. This methodological approach will provide us with data which links the physical and social inputs, between the tangible and intangible, and which must be re-interpreted in a socio-spatial analysis that responds to needs, concerns, habits and the potential(s) of the site and its inhabitants. Phase two: the mapping of the socio-spatial reality. We believe that Mapping is a valuable re-interpretative tool that allows us to visualize intangible aspects in addition, and directly relates them to the physical dimension. Mapping allows for an understanding of the place as a complex system of physical and social processes. By visua-
lizing these interrelations we anticipate future interventions. Mapping becomes an instrumental function for designers and planners to see certain possibilities in the complexity and contradiction of what already exists, and also to actualize that potential. (CORNER, 1999; SHANNON, 2004) Social Infrastructure is a complex layer of the city in which urban planners and designers can positively intervene in order to gain social cohesion, security and identity. Due to its inherent physical and social nature, there is a need to innovative methods that are able to read and re-interpret it. Through a process that combines bottom up approaches with more traditional physical reading, we can seek to achieve an interpretation that can be a way to provide a solid base in processes of urban regeneration in socially fragmented contexts. We can conclude that it is possible to diagnose and re-interpret the Social Infrastructure of a place even though it is an intangible layer; it can be read as another layer of a place and so be incorporated as a preliminary step to the design and proposal phase. In doing so, the design phase can create new possibilities for integration and regeneration that acknowledge and promote the relational layer of the city.
Bibliography BLANCO, I. (2005). Políticas de regeneración urbana en Barcelona: distintos modelos en una misma ciudad. X Congreso Internacional del CLAD sobre la Reforma del Estado y de la Administración pública. Santiago de Chile. COLACIOS, R. (2011). The Socio-Spatial Infrastructure as a base for intervention in socially fragmented neighborhoods, the case of Sant Cosme. Barcelona: Master Thesis. COOPER, M. (2007). Social Framework: Planning for a civic society-Investing in Social Infrastructure to Develop Social capital. In D. C. SOULE, Remaking American Communities, a reference guide to urban sprawl (pp. 103-126). Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London. CORNER, J. (1999). The agency of Mapping: Speculation, Critique and Invention. In D. Crosgove, Mappings (pp. 211-252). London: Reaktion Books. HAYDEN, D. (1997). The Power of Place. Urban landscapes as Public History. Cambridge, Massachusetts. London, England: The MIT Press. JACOBS, J. (2011). Muerte y Vida de las Grandes Ciudades (The Death and Life of Great American Cities). Madrid: Capitán Swing Libros. KOLB, D. (2008). Sprawling places. University of Georgia Press. MENDOZA, C. (2011). Reflections on urban design as a tool to reinforce identity: building civic networks in informal settlements. In C. MENDOZA, M. NGULUBE, & R. COLACIOS, Reflections on Development and Cooperation (p. 107-188). Barcelona: Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura ESARQ (UIC). NEL·LO, O. (2008). Contra la segregación urbana y por la cohesión social: la Ley de Barrios de Cataluña. Ciudades en (re)construcción: necesidades sociales, transformación y mejora de barrios, 233-253. NOGUÉ, J. (2010). Paisatge, territori i societat civil. Valencia: 3i4 eddicions. PUTNAM, R. (2000). Bowling Alone: The collapse and revival of American Community. New York: Simon and Schuster. SHANNON, K. (2004). Rhetorics & realities, Adressing Landscape Urbanism, Three cities in Vietnam (Doctoral Thesis). Leuven: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. SODUPE, M. (2004). Urbanisme i barris en dificultats. Barcelona: Fundació Carles Pi i Sunyer d’estudis Autonòmics i Locals. TALEN, E. (2008). Design for diversity. Exploring socially mixed neighborhoods. Oxford: Architectural Press.
Raquel Colacios | 39
The need for culturally-based strategies in post-conflict/ disaster resettlement: the case of Dadaab, Kenya By Elaine Morales
Over the course of history, human beings have often settled according to the availability of resources, but displacement however, may not be a voluntary choice. The displacement of communities and individuals is often an inevitable part of the aftermath of natural disasters, conflicts and development processes that is becoming more frequent due to climate-change, increased violence and a rapid urbanization process. There are 15.4 million refugees in the world and another 27.5 million internally displaced persons (IDP’s) (See Figure 1); as established by Interna-
tional Law (1951 Convention and 1967 Optional Protocol) refugees must not be forced back to the countries they have fled. Under the principle of non-refoulement, refugees are protected from being returned to a country where their lives or liberty are at risk. This legal responsibility, and the growing rate and magnitude of displacement has led the international community and national governments to apply fixed and traditional policies, such as transition camps and low-standard subsidized housing that improve the situation on a short-term basis but fail to respond to the particular needs of each plight. These recurrent policies tend to be imposed strategies and ignore the cultural background of the displaced population, having a negative effect on their socio-cultural behaviour and often resulting in protracted situations that diminish their resilience capacity 40
and ability to recuperate their ‘typical way of life’. The debate on States responsibility and protection over refugees is still a highly discussed topic especially in developing countries. This article, however, will focus on the analysis of the current response guidelines to forced displacement. With a specific look to the case of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, it suggests that a culturallybased approach, guiding all the planning stages of settlement and incorporating strategies which respect and build on the cultural singularities of the inhabitants, can enhance sustainable and cohesive interventions.
TRADITIONAL APPROACHES TO DISPLACEMENT AND THE CASE OF DADAAB The traditional approach to displacement consists of establishing strict encampment policies that deny freedom of movement, condition the rights of residence in camps, and restrict livelihood opportunities (Forced Migration Review, 2011). This approach is still being applied globally after more than 60 years of unsuccessful interventions and changing patterns of displacement. The majority of states and national authorities implement these policies to solve the influx of refugees to their country as a risk-reduction strategy and to prevent internal conflict or chaos during the emergency phase. These types of interventions, Elaine Morales | 41
Overview of Dadaab’s Camps as for January 2012. UN-
HCR, Refugees in the Horn of Africa: Somali Displacement Crisis. Information Portal.
Map of Africa, compiled by the author. Kenya in yellow receive thousands of refugees from neighbor countries every year. UNHCR statistical snapshot, 2012.
however, have created protracted scenarios that transform aid into a ball and chain for these vulnerable populations that become dependent on assistance and remain unprepared to return to their normal lives after a long-drawn-out plight.
job. In 20 years I’ve never left the camp, I have no identity documents, and I feel like a prisoner.”
“I’ve lived here since I was a child of one. Life in the camp isn’t bad, though you have to queue too long for food, which is of poor quality and never enough. The primary schools are overcrowded, the teachers are no good, and girls’ education is neglected. I wish I could move freely and get a
One of the most prominent forced displacement cases is the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya for Somali refugees. Since gaining its independence in the 1960’s, Somalia has been characterized as a fragile democratic state. Disputes within Kenyan and Ethiopian borders, political conflicts as the
Long-term refugee living in Dagahaley with her husband and two children, Dadaab: Shadows of Life, MSF, 2012
early nationalization of the economy, and natural disasters like extreme drought, caused the collapse of what was once the most prosperous country in Africa. Both Somali political actors and international actors have had an important role in producing and shaping displacement dynamics. The first ones related to the civil war that started between clans in the early 90’s for the control and power of the Somali territory and the second ones trying to dissipate the economic inequality and secure access to food for Somalis in their own country. Because of its location and relative stability, Kenya has become a magnet for displaced populations from neighbouring countries, especially from Somalia (See Figure 2). The work with refugees in the country goes back to the adoption of the 1951 Refugee Convention and its protocol. However in the last decades their work with refugees has been ruled by what is called the encampment refugee policy. Even though this policy has never been enforced by law; Kenya, with the cooperation of UNHCR, has used specific procedures to limit the number of refugees by denying humanitarian assistance to those who wish to live outside the camp and denying permission to those
who wish to move beyond the camp to other parts of the country. Many manuals of UNHCR and other organizations of concern propose camps as the last resort, but some documents of the same organizations and political partners contradict these recommendations, including Kenya’s Refugee Act. These transitional settlements (Corsellis and Vitale, 2005) are usually seen as the best way to provide all types of aid, including shelter, food and water, health assistance and education, in favour of the recovery of the displaced. However, refugee camps tend to transform into physically segregated sites usually located within conflict zones, harsh environments and adjacent to unstable international borders with low quality shelter, Dadaab Camps are no exception.
[Figure 4] Overview of Ifo Camp, 1992. Photo-
graph: TBolstad, UNHCR.
“When Somalis meet each other they don’t ask: Where are you from? Rather they ask: Whom are you from?” (Putnam & Noor, 1999). Even though the clan culture is still strong in the camps and it is noticed on how the families Elaine Morales | 43
Emergency Management Phases VS the reality of a Protracted Displacement Situation. Compiled by the Author.
are located within the camps, an individualistic culture (developed in part because of how aid is provided, and the self-help strategies each family needed to acquire) has destroyed the sense of community and well-being for the majority. As an example, James Kennedy (2008) describes a fire incident in the north of IFO camp. The fire approached rapidly to the residential blocks and humanitarian workers, while containing the fire, asked nearby refugees for help but they refused to assist without ensuring compensation. This example, together with the reports of family households re-selling the food ratio provided by UN World Food Program, the plastic sheeting provided by UNHCR, and the illegal removal and resell of materials from approximately 100 communal latrines, (Kennedy,2008), shows not only a lack of sense of community but a lack of the sense of belonging and community engagement in the camps. This is also revealed by the absence of refugee participation in the development of the camp and daily activities in it. From the development point of view, the shelter cluster has been limited in addressing Somali construction technologies and materials, and employing refugee labour which 44
would help to keep spatially the culture and traditions of refugees especially for the children and teenagers that are growing up in Dadaab Camps. Also, the restrictions to employment and mobility limit the options of the refugees to develop cope strategies and the desire of improving their conditions. There are exceptions were UNHCR, MSF, and NRC contract on temporary basis, refugees to train and improve their livelihood possibilities. For example, in the process of the design of IFO 2 NRC the organization in charge of shelter in the camps, conducted community meetings and walks around the site, and contracted refugees for the construction of the new shelters and services facilities. This strategy increased their sense of belonging and ownership for the beneficiaries, though this specific case helped only a small portion of the residents. The lack of culturally- based strategies can also be perceived in the built space. The encampment policy follows widely accepted guidelines that not only segregate refugees from the local community--with physical barriers- for example--but also neglect the diversity and singularity of every culture and even inhabitant. These general guidelines are based in functional conceptions and
an organismic model of man (Israel,1972) based on standardized low-cost models and a one-fitsall system. This model, used as a parameter for design, leads to an exclusive practice based on a generalized view of the end user that ignores the individual and qualitative characteristics of the built environment and human behaviour essential for the social and cultural wellbeing of a community. Confining human beings in such a static state often results in unprepared generations, misused resources and augmenting physical and economic insecurity (UNHCR, 2009). All of these are undesirable outcomes of the emergency management system (See figure 6). Usually, in humanitarian crises such as this one, the actors and stakeholders involved are responsible for the immediate response and the emergency phase during which they provide medical assistance, food distribution, shelter provision, security and safety. In extreme cases like that of Somali refugees, however humanitarian actors often find themselves prolonging their routine strategies for much longer than one year and the recovery phase is inevitably delayed. The strategies and guidelines applied during these humanitarian activities do not consider longterm solutions, yet they inadvertently define the future and development of the settlements and give way to longstanding consequences. By the time development actors are involved in forced displacement contexts these consequences are
already palpable. Under the premise of temporary solutions, humanitarian actors follow handbooks and guidelines without graphic specifications and local awareness for shelter distribution such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Handbook for Emergencies (see Table 1). The focus of these ‘design’ guidelines fulfils numeric minimum standards which assure quantitative spatial needs but overlook the consequences of preceding interventions or/and the previous and traditional settlements of the new inhabitants. Jon Lang (1987) explains how the authorities intervene with the general needs of the macro system (society, organizations, communities) ignoring the qualitative needs of the microsystems (groups, families and individuals) like the sense of identity, of territoriality, and the need to personalize the immediate environment. The repetition of this practice has disrupted some social processes, such as social interaction and attachment to place in the intervened communities. This is especially important in nomad and clan societies like the Somali, where their traditional practices move with them. In the case of refugees and IDPs the traditional response has been rural and camp based repressing contextual and cultural factors in the ‘design’ and construction of relocation settlements. Even though the Handbook for Emergencies Elaine Morales | 45
clearly states that ‘the social and cultural background of the refugees must be a primary consideration, and an important determinant of the
most appropriate type of site and shelter’ (UNHCR, 2007) and that also recommends a bottom up approach that starts with small groups of individuals, the tendency and the practice of standardized guidelines contradict these recommendations. When reading the last edition of this and other manuals, we realize they have improved in theory the processes of interventions based on the lessons learned from past experiences. However, the reality of refugee and IDP settlements is distant from what is suggested in the manuals. The guidelines propose a “one-fits-all” design that can be repeated indiscriminately in any place for any community type. Some of the numeric standards promoted in the planning and shelter section for camps are:
CAMP SETTLEMENTS CAPACITY STANDARDS. UNHCR HANDBOOK FOR EMERGENCIES, 2007 INDICATOR
< 30 sq. meters per person
< 3.5 sq. meters per person
Capacity per site 1 latrine 1 water tap 1 health center
< 20,000 persons Per 10 persons Per 100 persons Per 20,000
The ‘guidelines for response’ directed to the built environment should avoid the prescription of unique solutions for divergent contexts and experiences. Shelter and settlements assessments had been limited to a quantitative and positivistic approach, with ‘only casual recognition of the broader socio cultural and economic implications’ (Sipus, 2010). Humanitarian actors intend to approach forced displacement situations as a math problem in which some conventional standards can solve individual needs but the practice shows that it doesn’t. THE NEED FOR CULTURALLY-BASED STRATEGIES In recent years, organizations and national authorities have admittedly reported (UNHCR, 2009) that most operations dealing with refu46
gees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) last more than anticipated and that typical refugee camps are not socially or economically sustaina-
ble. This demonstrates an urgent need to repair planning mistakes and establish appropriate and realistic alternatives to the planning and design of refugee camps or internally displaced settlements. The lack of long-term considerations and culturally-based strategies in the ‘guidelines for response’ can leave scars in the socio-cultural well-being of the displaced. In addition, the dependency cycle triggered by focalized aid, aggravated by employment and mobility restrictions increases the vulnerability of beneficiaries at the cost of the country of asylum territory and resources. New strategies and approaches with a more flexible perspective have been applied in new developments, like UN-HABITAT’s work with IDP’s in Bossaso, Somalia , but there is still an attitude of abandonment toward existing protracted camps. In Dadaab’s Refugee Camps case, the government of Kenya is not willing to continue bearing the burden of the consequences of the conflict and emergency conditions of Somalia. The government has suggested forcing urban refugees into existing camps followed the process of returning refugees to Somalia to finally close the camps. The actual condition of Dadaab is the most critical after 24 years since its establishment. The famine of 2011 caused by the worst drought in 60 years combined with the sensitive political conditions between Kenya and Somalia forced Kenya to close the border and militarize the area. Since the registration of refugees stopped, due to overcrowding in the camps, an average of 10,000 refugees that arrived at the camp weekly had no choice but to settle outside the camp borders and depend on refugees inside Dadaab for help. Armed groups associated to Al Shabaab (Section of Jihadist Al-Qaeda in South Somalia) are influencing refugees already, security threats are a daily occurrence and the camp is now a particularly very insecure place to be. However the reality is divergent, Somalia is still more insecure and harsh for the refugees than Dadaab camps. To solve this precarious situation I believe the government of Kenya (being already responsible by law of the protection of refugees) should embrace
the presence of the Somali people as an asset for the economy towards the country’s progress. The traditional practice of encampment is a burden for both Kenya and the Refugees by creating an unproductive, protracted situation for both parties. The more time they remain out of Somalia, the more they adapt to their new context and prefer to stay. Even though I understand the government of Kenya may possibly continue with the traditional policies and practices due to threats to national security and fears of domestic political destabilization, dealing with Dadaab settlements through top-down approaches and imposed strategies is not suitable in the long-term. Bottom-up approaches that integrate culturallybased strategies instead, can be applied by assessing the existing refugee community and by considering it as a self-sufficient community where economic development comes from the resident’s effort not from the International Community or the Government. These development in-situ proposals should reconcile the current needs of the displaced with the community characteristics of the past. The needs of assessment should also document their physical way of life
from their country of origin and the changes and adaptive qualities they have developed as refugees throughout the years. The assessment should include interviews, questionnaires, field observation, and community meetings for example, where the refugees can express their input on how to develop the settlements and dwellings depending on their necessities and the capacities of the planning teams involved. Community engagement is a continual learning process and cannot be seen as only one stage of the process. After the discussion presented, this article concludes that the ‘guidelines for response’ mentioned above should be updated to consider the social dynamics between residents and their relation with the built environment. This can be done when dealing with forced displacement not only as a humanitarian issue but also a development one. Every displacement experience is particular, solutions should diverge from case to case as well and planners’ perspective should be included in all the guidelines. These guidelines should not try to prescribe what would be the right solution for a given problem, but to recommend more flexibility and the participation of the displaced in the postdisaster and post-conflict planning. Elaine Morales | 47
HOW DOES A CULTURALLY BASED APPROACH WOULD LOOK LIKE? A culturally based demonstration project can be
implemented in a forced displacement context to measure and calibrate the process and impact of the proposal. This approach should incorporate both humanitarian and development actors from the beginning and should sync with the current emergency management plans of the selected country. In the first stage all the actors including the displaced people should be involved in the planning of the response. A term-perm strategy can help to implement an immediate solution while planning on the long-term project. This long-term project needs to be defined not only by the planners and designers but also with the future residents. The project can be divided into three phases where the first phase, of emergency shelter for example, is part of a much bigger plan. When the first phase is implemented and the emergency is controlled, all the families and individuals are stable, then the second phase should start immediately. The second phase is characterized
by the participation of the displaced in the project and qualitative strategies. The response team should be divided into groups depending on the extent of the displacement. These teams need to document the residents’ input and translate the particular needs and suggestions into spatial solutions as much as possible. Considering the project as a permanent site, the proposal cannot focus only on the issue of housing but also on services and infrastructure needed for the amount of the displaced in each particular situation. There is always space to learn from past experiences, the reporting and assessment of the project comes in the third phase. The team should bring external actors to evaluate the reports of the different components of the program and document the successes and failures as guidelines and recommendations for future projects. A culturally and local based approach that includes community empowerment strategies will address broader issues that in the longterm and when considering the particularities of each displacement situation will achieve social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, obtained a Bachelor of Environmental Design, a Master of Architecture and an Urban Studies Certificate from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR); and a second Master on International Cooperation in Sustainable Emergency Architecture from the International University of Catalunya (UIC) in Barcelona, Spain. She has particular interest in community development in post-conflict and post-disaster contexts and how communities organize and design their own environments. Her research has focused mainly on forced displaced communities. Elaine worked as a research and needs assessment intern for the Risk Reduction and Rehabilitation branch of UN-HABITAT in Kenya and currently is working for bc WORKSHOP in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas as a community designer leading RAPIDO, a demonstration plan for a statewide rapid housing response after a natural disaster.
Brown, D., & Mansfield, K. (2009, September). Listening to the experiences of the long-term displaced. 15-17. Campbell, E., Crisp, J., & Kiragu, E. (2011). Navigating Nairobi: A review of the implementation of UNHCR’s urban refugee policy in Kenya’s Capital City. Geneva: UNHCR. Cock, M. D. (2011). Development Thinking & Community Involvement During Post Disaster Housing Reconstruction in Develop[ed/ing] countries: the case of Sri Lanka and New Orleans. Barcelona: Universitat de Catalunya. Corsellis, T., & Antonella Vitale. (2005). Transitional Settlement: Displaced Populations. Cambridge: University of Cambridge. Crisp, J. (1999). A state of insecurity L the political economy of violence in refugee populated areas of Kenya. Geneva: UNHCR: Evaluation and Policy Analysis Unit. IASC. (2010). Framework on Durable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons. Massachusetts: The Brookings Institution – University of Bern. Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. (2010). IDMC. Retrieved june 22, 2012,from http://www.internaldisplacement.org/ Israel, J. (1972). The Context of Social Psychology…. Complete this Kennedy, J. (2008). Structures for the Displaced: Service and Identity in Refugee Settlements. Berlageweg: International Forum on Urbanism. Lang, J. (1987). Creating Architectural Theory: The role of Behavioural Science in Environmental Design. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. Lindley, A. (2009, September). Crisis and Displacement in Somalia. Forced Displacement Review , 18-19. Loescher, G., & Milner, J. (2009, September). Understanding the Challenge. Forced Migration Review , 9-11. Long, K. (2011). Permanent Crisis? Unlocking the protracted displacement of refugees and internally displaced persons. Oxford: Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. Refugee Studies Centre. (2012). Refugee Studies Centre: Oxford Department of International Development. Retrieved from http://www.rsc.ox.ac.uk/ Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. (2010). Forced Migration Online. Retrieved june 2011, from FMO website: http://www.forcedmigration.org/ Sipus, M. E. (2010). An Assessment of Sphere Humanitarian Standards for Shelter and Settlement Planning in Kenya’s Dadaab Refugee Camps. Cincinnaty: Graduate School of the University of Cincinnati. Tempra, O. (2009). Bossaso: First Steps Towards Strategic Urban Planning. Nairobi: United Nations Human Settlements Program. UNHCR. (2009). Excom conclusion on protracted refugee situations. UNHCR. UNHCR. (2008). Global Trends: Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Returnees. UNHCR. UNHCR. (2007). Handbook for Emergencies. Geneva: UNHCR. UNHCR. (n.d.). UNHCR. Retrieved june 18, 2012, from Refugees in
Elaine Morales | 49
Human settlement upgrading: upscaling participatory approaches By Gunther Jürgen Stoll
Image 1. Ger - traditional nomadic dwelling structure used by new settlers arriving to Ulaanbaatar Source: By the author
While the world becomes urbanized, informal settlements and slums grow at an increasingly explosive rate. According to UN-HABITAT (2003) globally the number of people residing in slum areas is set to double by 2030 to about 2 billion – more than one in every 3 urbanites of a predicted total urban population of 5 billion. Sociospatially excluded from urban opportunities and deprived by what H. Lefebvre referred to as the “right to the city” the new-borns and newcomers of marginalized urban communities have little prospect to break the persistent cycle of poverty
that they are trapped in. With this spatial manifestation of urban growth and poverty, there is an imperative need to scale-up demand-responsive and inclusive solutions to fight urban poverty and socio-spatial exclusion in our cities. Throughout the past two decades a growing number of community-driven slum development programs and projects were launched to address this challenge; however only a few of them were designed to be scaled up with a long-term strategy for project expansion and replication. Given the political dimension of participatory approaches and the complexity of urban upgrading there is no “one fits all” solution. However, it is possible to identify some of the main challenges and key issues of upscaling and the strategic elements that are needed to bring participatory 50
slum upgrading from neighbourhood level interventions to a city or nation-wide scale. In this context the article emphasizes the role of governments and the need to incorporate participatory upgrading approaches into the legal and institutional frameworks for city planning. In particular the article suggest a two-pronged strategy: at policy level, it should gear towards mainstreaming participatory approaches into institutional frameworks, and on the project level, it aims to provide marginalized urban
communities with the opportunity [The availability of options for meaningful decisions and actions] and the capability [The ability to make meaningful choices and act on them or express them through institutions open to popular “voice”] (Helling, Serrano, & Warren, 2005, p. 6) to act collectively in the execution of upgrading programmes and participate in political spheres. The suggested approach is exemplified through a case study on a city-wide slum upgrading approach initiated by UN-HABITAT and the city of Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia which, since the beginning sought to improve urban governance through the adaption of a two-fold strategy, however without considering some of the key aspects which are decisive for achieving lasting institutional change and preparing an enabling environment for upscaling. Thereby the article strives to highlight Gunther Jürgen Stoll | 51
Image 2. Ulaanbaatar’s slums known as ger areas
some of the fundamental ingredients for improved formulation and execution of projects and programs that go beyond mere policy advocacy and the promotion of good governance; a term that emerged in 1980s from growing concerns of the international development community about low efficiency of the public sector and the low economic performance of less developed countries in the Global South. Core principles of good governance consist of transparency, participation and accountability. BACKGROUND The present emphasis on scaling up development initiatives has its origin in the 1980s, when NGOs increasingly emerged as development actors. As the engagement of NGOs in development activities were usually limited in scale and time, and varied widely in type, replicating and scaling up successful approaches became a central issue in the development debates, particularly when considering participatory and community engagement approaches. (Hartmann & Linn, 2007) As a consequence of failed past and present development efforts in achieving a significant im52
Image 3. Inner-city ger area in Ulaanbaatar
provement in the lives of slum dwellers, accompanied by a continuous growth in the number of slum inhabitants, the “matter of scale” has gained renewed prominence in connection with the discourse on how to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Confronted with the challenge to achieve a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020 the World Bank and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements emphasized the need to sharpen the focus of the international community on scaling up successful slum upgrading approaches; with the aim to “turn what works for 1,000 people into a successful program for 10,000, then 10 million, then 100 million” (Wolfensohn quoted in Davis and Iyer, 2002). In this context, Hartmann and Linn (2007) claim that addressing the challenge of meeting the MDGs means to increase the scale and timelines of successful projects, programmes and policies in order to enhance their impact on people’s living conditions in the long term. Hence, in its simplest form, scaling up can be understood as “expanding a given initiative to benefit a larger number of individuals” (Greene, 2010).
Since participatory development strategies are frequently at odds with institutional legal and operational frameworks of national and local governments, it will become crucial to link temporary and isolated participatory upgrading initiatives of external development actors to the institutional planning procedures and operational practice of governments for delivering urban infrastructure and services, in order to address this challenge (Mitlin & Thompson, 1995). However, as discussed by Helling et al. (2005), this will only be achievable if efforts of empowering beneficiary communities will be accompanied by a long-term strategy geared towards decentralisation of authority and resources from central to local government and the institutionalization of participatory planning culture at the local government level. CHALLENGES OF UPSCALING In her case study on squatter settlements upgrading in Thailand, Somsook Boonyabancha (2005) has highlighted the potential of participatory upgrading initiatives for setting a political and social change in city governance in motion by establishing a meaningful partnership between
marginalized communities and city authorities in the decision-making process of a city-wide upgrading programme. This political potential of participatory slum upgrading interventions has become increasingly important, as it opens the door for more sincere political willingness for decentralization, as well as for increased probability for project and programme expansion and replication by national and city governments. Notwithstanding the potential that participatory upgrading initiatives have for initiating structural changes in urban governance, the constraints for expanding successful small-scale initiatives often lie deeply rooted in the tradition of topdown policy making and centralised administrative logic of most developing countries, which leaves little opportunity for upscaling participatory processes. As Thomson et al (1996) and Piffero (2008) point out; this situation is often aggravated by the fear harboured by political leaders of losing their power through the adoption of participatory decision-making and community empowerment. In addition, the limited human and institutional Gunther Jürgen Stoll | 53
capacities and administrative procedures of local governments frequently restrict the introduction and expansion of innovative participatory
ment process aimed at providing space for lasting citizen participation in urban governance.
upgrading practice and planning methods. As a consequence, previously, development actors often operated outside the legal, institutional and operational frameworks of national and local governments, without a systematic long-term strategy to encourage governments to facilitate and apply bottom-up upgrading processes on a large scale.
Therefore, the two-pronged approach at policy level aims to, (a) improve urban governance through decentralization of power and transfer of resources from central to the local government, (b) institutionalize participatory strategies and methods as the mainstream process of urban upgrading and (c) build human, institutional and organizational capacities of governments.
Lastly, considerable constraints to upscaling participatory strategies derive from the legal status of most deprived urban areas in developing countries. According to Schübeler (1996), “…the fact that high proportions of the residents of informal residential areas do not possess legal title to their plot constitutes an important constraint to their participation. As service provision amounts to defect recognition of property rights, it is a step which the technical agencies responsible for housing and urban service provision are neither willing nor authorized to take.” (p.11-12)
And at the project level the strategy is to empower communities through, (a) recognising them as a legitimate part of the city, (b) their structural mobilization and organization and (c) capacitybuilding of community members. This two pronged approach is thus the most effective strategy, which allows isolated projects to be expanded or replicated on a large scale (see figure 1).
Considering the above mentioned potentials and constraints, gaining political support for decentralization and policy reform, including the willingness to transform informal settlements into officially recognized neighbourhoods, the citywide empowerment of marginalized communities and the building of human and institutional capacities, have become the greatest challenges in upscaling participatory upgrading strategies. FUNDAMENTALS OF UPSCALING As the increased scale of participatory projects and programmes emphasizes the role of the government and the need to connect isolated participatory upgrading initiatives of external development actors to the institutional planning procedures and operational practice of governments, the scalability of participatory upgrading processes mainly depends on three factors: (i) the institutional capacity and culture, (ii) the degree of national decentralization of power and resources to lower levels of governance, and (iii) a viable strategy to empower a large target population. Hence, it is imperative to empower marginalized communities not just in nonreplicable isolated local projects but in a long term develop54
Figure 1. Fundamentals for upscaling Source: By the author UPSCALING AT PROJECT LEVEL A large and growing majority in less developed countries lives and works informally. Due to the illegal nature of their living spaces and activities, and the incapability of governmental planning statutes to deal with informality, they are barely recognized in the provision and distribution of infrastructure and urban services. As the state has the power to determine the legal status of human settlements, the first step of empowering marginalized communities is to transform informal parts of the city into officially recogni-
zed neighbourhoods. This process is fundamental as it enables informal dwellers to become legal citizens with a right to organize and participate in decisions that shape their lives. Second, if participatory programmes are to be expanded, a well-defined strategy to mobilize and organize a large target population is crucial to ensure a broad-based representation of the target communities in the long term. This is particularly important in order to enable marginalized communities from different parts of the city to speak with a common voice when entering negotiations with the government on a city-wide level. Third, in order to enable the beneficiary communities to participate constructively and make meaningful choices during the upgrading process, the mobilization and organisation of the target communities needs to be accompanied by capacity building measures. In particular, this usually involves awareness raising and the training of beneficiary communities on the use of participatory methods and tools. In Mongolia, the Community-led Ger Area upgrading in Ulaanbaatar City Project (GUP), which was designed by UN-HABITAT to assist the Municipality of Ulaanbaatar in the realization of city-wide participatory upgrading strategy, has shown a viable approach to empower a large target population in five project areas of the capital city. The capability of the beneficiary communities to participate in the project implementation and act collectively as a community was built through a structural mobilization and organization of
the beneficiary households, in a hierarchical well-defined institutional structure. As figure 2 illustrates, this structured comprised of primary groups (representing 10-20 households living in physical proximity on the neighbourhood level) and community development councils (on the micro-district and sub-district level), with elected community representatives, representing the primary groups in the next higher level.
Figure 2. Social Mobilization and Community Organization Steps Source: Toolkit for Community Action Planning (UN-HABITAT Mongolia Office, 2010), edited by the author This establishment of an institutional structure, following a similar structure as the administrative breakdown of the city, has proven an effective way of guaranteeing a broad-based representation of a large target population. Throughout the project the 12,093 beneficiary households were organized into 206 Primary Groups, 47 community development councils on micro-district level and 5 community development councils on sub-district level, with the latter being legally registered as non-profit entities with their own bank accounts, and independent and accountable for their own operations (UN-Habitat Mongolia office, 2012). As the community mobilisation and organisation was considered to enable the beneficiary communities with the opportunity to fully engage Gunther Jürgen Stoll | 55
Image 4. Meeting of the Community Development Council
Image 5. Ger area land re-adjustment workshop with city authorities
during the entire project duration, guidance to the target population was provided through an ongoing learning process, which could ensure their gradual empowerment. Throughout the project, the workshop-based implementation strategy provided the scope for more than 100 workshops and training sessions, which equipped the beneficiary population with the necessary skills to carry out the project activities through a set of complementary participatory tools such as “Community Action Planning” (CAP - a workshop-based approach that enables communities to take a leading role in the planning and implementation of urban development projects.) and “Community Contracting” (Community Contracting is a systematic method that enables community organizations to enter into a contract for construction of small-scale projects identified by the community in the Community Action Plans). This process sensitised the residents in the 5 project areas to develop a common sense of community and enabled the target communities to take actions for the development of their own communities, based on 52 “Community Action Plans”, which were developed by the community development councils. (UN-Habitat Mongolia office, 2012)
employees in the relevant departments.
UPSCALING AT POLICY LEVEL Empowering communities to take a lead in the process of urban upgrading on a large scale is, 56
in itself, a demanding task. However, it will be ineffective in the long term unless participation is strengthened through institutionalized rights of participation in governmental spheres and decentralized government structures that provide space for lasting citizen participation at the local level once external development assistance has withdrawn. In other words, the effective upscaling of citizen participation needs the empowerment of the local authorities in order to improve the responsiveness of the government to local needs and better match public spending with priorities identified by the community. This can be best achieved by placing more power and resources at the lower levels of government. In other words, upscaling needs incentives to create support from the central government for decentralisation. Yet, local and regional governments cannot become the main facilitator and coordinator of participatory upgrading without the integration of participatory approaches and practices into the operational procedures, decision-making systems and organizational culture of already existing structures and operations of local governments. Therefore participatory strategies, procedures, methods and tools need to be institutionalized and embedded in legal and administrative frameworks, so that they become part of the institutional norm and culture that guide the action of government
Furthermore, as bottom up approaches are usually not the current practice of government agency staff, the introduction of a new approach demands capacity development measures aimed at developing the abilities of individuals and departments to carry out the new tasks. This includes not only awareness raising through exposure to real-life experiences and training on the application of participatory tools and methods, the management and administration of resources, communication, coordination and control mechanism but also specific measures aimed at changing values underlying organizational and staff behaviour related to work ethics and attitudes. As the GUP was, from the beginning, aimed at replication and extension in other parts of Ulaanbaatar, the promotion of improved urban governance was an integral part of the project activities. In an effort to influence policy and program reforms favouring citizen participation UN-Habitat continuously documented the key methods used for community empowerment and participatory planning, as well as the challenges, success factors and lessons learnt during distinct project phases. This documentation, comprising of numerous reports and toolkits, was used to advocate for policy reforms aimed
at citizen participation in urban governance and the integration of the project methodology into the institutional frameworks. At the same time the project management team conducted a number of meetings, conferences and workshops with city authorities, the Ministry of Road, Transport, Construction and Urban Development and other interest groups to share experiences and discuss strategies for a possible replication and scaling-up of the GUP model in other marginalized areas of the city. Even though the interest of the local government in the replication and expansion of the project towards the completion of the project has shown the partial success of these measures, their request for external technical assistance has also clearly indicated the deficiency of the project design. Without incentives for the government to institutionalize the project approach as the mainstream process for urban service and infrastructure delivery, and without direct project involvement and support of the government in building the necessary human, institutional and organizational capacities the project was not able to create the necessary pre-conditions for an aid-independent replication and extension of the project. CONCLUSIONS At the outset of this article it has been argued Gunther Jürgen Stoll | 57
that effective upscaling initiatives need to connect participatory approaches on project level to the institutional planning procedures and
operational practice of governments. To this end, the article highlighted some of the fundamental elements that are needed to take participatory upgrading approaches to scale. Even though the GUP prepared the ground for potential project replication through the adoption of a two-fold approach aimed on the policy level at improved urban governance and on the project level at empowering marginalized communities, the case study has shown that project design and formulation must go beyond mere policy advocacy and the promotion of good governance to achieve lasting institutional change. In this context the case study confirmed that project approaches aimed at upscaling participatory approaches need to go in tandem with a long-term strategy aimed at institutionalising participatory upgrading approaches into the legal and institutional frameworks for city planning from the early stages of project design, increased efforts to directly involve municipal key departments in project implementation and the support of the national government in building the necessary institutional and organizational frameworks. In other words, pro-
ject design needs to link elements of community empowerment with incentives for policy reform, promotion of decentralized governance structures
and related human, institutional and organizational capacity building. This can be best achieved by the incorporation of incentives for political leadership and commitment to initiate policy reforms and the integration of organizational, human and institutional capacity building elements in the formulation of programs. This in turn, needs to go along with the direct involvement of existing institutions at all levels with clearly assigned tasks in the planning, management, and implementation of upgrading activities on the ground. By adopting a two-fold approach that goes beyond policy advocacy and community empowerment and takes into account the demonstrated fundamentals of upscaling, including incentives for political leadership and commitment, direct project involvement of municipal key departments and institutional capacity building, it is hoped that it will be possible to give marginalized urban populations a voice not only in non-replicable projects but in the long-term development process of our cities.
Gunther Jürgen Stoll. Holding postgraduate degrees in Ur¬ban Development and International Cooperation (TU Darm¬stadt) and Sustainable Emergency Architecture (Universitat International de Catalunya), Gunther has focused his profes-sional activity and studies on slum development and com¬munity driven processes, while partnering with humanitarian organizations, international development organizations and UN agencies. Most recently he shifted his profes¬sional focus to Haiti where he worked for the Affordable Hou¬sing Institute on the implementation of pro-poor housing finance solutions until he joined the Urban Collaborative - a team of planners and architects that has been working on diverse slum upgrading and housing development projects in the country’s post-disaster context since 2011. Prior to this, he worked as an intern in UN-HABITAT’s Mongolia field office. This collaboration provided the basis for an in¬tensive case study analysis of the Community-Led Ger Area Upgrading Project in Ulaanbaatar and his contribution to this publication.
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Re-thinking the challenges of cooperation Integrated stakeholder participation: Contemplating Cooperation Methods through a Study of Participatory Upgrading in Port au Prince
By Nazanin Mehregan
In a world today where more than half of the population lives in cities and approximately 90% of urban growth takes place in developing countries, urban poverty is progressively increasing (The World Bank, 2011). Additionally, such an urbanization rate and its implications are coupled with the growing frequency of natural disasters, worsening the situation in countries of the South where these events account for high human and material losses. This further accentuates the vulnerability of the poor to hazards and risks as a consequence of under-development.
economic and social loss. This in turn can lead to inefficient projects which can in fact exacerbate vulnerabilities and poverty. Problems are mostly due to the negligence of cooperation among all actors including partners, local authorities and particularly the community as the major stakeholder. Additionally, structural and institutional differences among stakeholders coupled with superfluity in mandates hinder cooperation efficiency (Amin & Goldstein, 2008). Therefore, this article suggests that integrated participation of all stakeholders during project development
Projects tackling integrated challenges such as community upgrading and redevelopment, however, commonly face many difficulties as they require the involvement of multiple stakeholders from diverse fields. In such projects, which are aimed at long-term strategic and permanent impact on peopleâ€™s living conditions, any misleading approach or overlapping work caused by deficient coordination among the stakeholders can contribute to high amounts of
VILLA ROSA, PORT AU PRINCE
Nonetheless, though natural disasters are considered as destructive events that cause death and wipe out years of development, they may also be viewed as an opportunity to lay the ground for long-term (re)development that applies inclusive policies and addresses marginalized and vulnerable communities (Stephenson, 1994).
is necessary to achieve inclusive and efficient results. It specifically explores the methods of cooperation and particularly community engagement at different stages of the project from decision making to implementation. Since in such projects the community should be considered as the main stakeholder, specific attention is given to participatory methods. These processes and methodologies are exemplified through a practical case study from a â€œParticipatory Integrated Upgrading Planâ€? for Villa Rosa, an informal settlement in Port au Prince, Haiti.
Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, there have been many programs and projects that have strived to take advantage of the aftermath of the disaster not only for reconstruction but also as Naznin Mehregan | 61
Figure 1. The informal settlement of Villa Rosa, Photo by Architecture for Humanity, 2012
a prospective scenario for improved sustainable and inclusive development and upgrading approaches. The primary focus is especially on the informal settlements of the capital city; and cooperation of multiple stakeholders, as mentioned previously, is one of the most challenging aspects of such upgrading projects. Villa Rosa, has a population of approximately 12,000, and is one of the densest informal settlements of Port-au-Prince. It was severely affected by the earthquake and was one of the 16 prioritized neighborhoods for reconstruction and upgrading (Architecture for Humanity, 2012). Architecture for Humanity in partnership with Cordaid, Build Change, local authorities, the community and few other organizations developed an integrated upgrading plan for this settlement in 201112 over a period of 10 months. Cordaid was the lead organization for the entire project, Architecture for Humanity was the planning entity, Build Change and few other organizations came on board as the implementing bodies and different methodologies of cooperation were applied in this relatively successful case. However, there were a few shortcomings, or inefficiencies in the process that hindered the authenticity of cooperation and accountability among partners. Methods of stakeholder participation In the context of Haiti, recently affected by a disaster, the diversity of actors in development projects is augmented. Each stakeholder has a distinct mission, influence and importance and 62
applies their own values and expertise in their contributions towards the overall objective of the project. Government, humanitarian organizations, international and national NGOs, as well as citizens and communities are the main actors present in almost every development project in Haiti, each working on a different theme (for example; Housing, Water and Sanitation, Infrastructure) and on a different level (for example, policies and regulations, planning and design, consultation, implementation). Some of the methods applied in the case of Villa Rosa to improve collaboration among partners and alleviate the difficulties of communication include; building partnerships, working through a lead organization, taking a cluster approach and allowing for community participation. BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS A partnership reinforces multiple ownership of a project and increases the sense of belonging for all partners. It doesn’t necessarily imply equal involvement of all partners, although the significance of each contribution should not be undervalued as professionalism is of high importance. Contributions may include technical, financial or informational assistance and can occasionally be informal. Hence, different forms of partnership can be more beneficial than conventional contractual agreements. For instance, in Informal and Cooperative Agreements -with the absence of any financial contract- organizations from different sectors with their own agenda and funds but with
Figure 2. Location of Villa Rosa in Port-au-Prince, by the author, 2012
parallel scopes of work agree to cooperate, aggregating their resources and working according to the same frameworks to facilitate workflow and eliminate replications. Such an agreement was arranged between Cordaid and ACF (Action Against Hunger), which was already working on sanitation in Villa Rosa. Administrative Agreements are another innovative form of partnership, in which one partner agrees to support, often financially, the administrations of the project in order to free the other partners’ resources for direct project requirements. In other words, one partner covers the administrative costs of the project to uphold the funder’s resources for direct implementation costs. Given that Villa Rosa was identified as one of the 16 prioritized neighborhoods in a governmental program, UN-Habitat, the supporting partner of that program, agreed with Cordaid to cover the project’s administration costs. Finally, legal facilitation or agreements with the local authorities were established in order to provide legal assistance and set relevant regulations for a project’s progress, enhancing the efficiency of processes and outcomes of the project. In Villa Rosa, Cordaid had such an agreement with the local authority of CASEC (Administration Council of the Communal Section) to assist with legal matters.
LEAD ORGANIZATION Although partnership(s) provided opportunities and brought together diverse disciplines in Villa Rosa, is was not an easy approach to achieve and sustain. Therefore, it was essential to establish basic rules, regulations and obligations in order to reduce conflicts and increase liabilities. Furthermore, leadership is necessary to initiate and enforce these regulations and to achieve sustained progress in similar projects. However, as proven in practice, donor-driven leadership limits the accountability of diverse partners and rather confines it to contractual commitments and implies unbalanced power relations. In other words, partners tend to be accountable only to the powerful actors such as the donor -who holds the financial resources- and are reluctant to fully cooperate with other parallel partners with whom they may not hold an equivalent contract. For instance, similar circumstances in the lack of accountability and coordination in Villa Rosa resulted in parts of the implemented products that were built by Build Change not sufficiently following the planning and design elaborated by Architecture for Humanity, since they were only accountable to the lead organization and not to one another. Therefore, formulating basic Naznin Mehregan | 63
rules and regulations for partnership can reduce divergence among them. Through the establishment of mechanisms for cooperation and coordi-
nation, the lead organization can assure that all the assigned partners are sharing information and collaborating in an effective manner. For this reason, the lead organization, rather than a funder, should preferably be a partner, a collective association of partners, or an external organization, in order to encourage neutrality. CLUSTER APPROACH
Figure 3-4. Community participatory sessions, Villa Rosa project, photos by the author, 2012
This approach, initially elaborated to improve post-disaster humanitarian response capacities, is also applied during the redevelopment phase (Stoddard, Harmer, Haver, Salomons, & Wheeler, 2007). It facilitates cooperation and the sharing of information among the actors of the same sector in a given city, thus expands beyond the boundaries of individual projects. Cluster meetings in Port-au-Prince gather the active organizations from the same field to present their projects and share experiences. For instance, sanitation cluster meetings were organized by Soil with representatives from the French Red Cross, Concern, Viva Rio, Architecture for Humanity, and others. This approach, however, still requires further institutionalization to attain formality as a concrete method and to be implemented at a larger scale. Additionally, whether global or local, this method focuses on each sector independently and therefore it is yet incapable of addressing the necessity for cross-sectoral collaboration, if not incorporated within a larger perspective that includes all related sectors. For instance, sectors such as health, water and sanitation are often interconnected and therefore collaboration strategies should consider these interdependencies. COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION The engagement of community members in the process of the project should be recognized as a method of cooperation, given that as beneficiaries, they are in fact the main stakeholders, who are active agents rather than passive recipients and should contribute to the decision-making, design and implementation process or even the provision of financial contribution(s). However, their value as a partner in projects is often underestimated.
Even though in the short run this method may be perceived to be complex, costly and timeconsuming since it requires the involvement of
numerous people, in the long run it reinforces the likelihood of achieving and sustaining desired outcomes, paying back the difficulties and ensuring higher socio-economic efficiency. This method was highly recognized and applied in the case of Villa Rosa. However, since the entire community could not participate, an established Community Platform was engaged in the sessions. This platform consisted of representatives from the entire neighborhood who were mobilized by the project lead from the existing groups and committees in the area. However, conducting a participatory process implies certain methods and considerations in itself. Of the different participatory methods such as Goal Oriented Project Planning (GOPP) or Planning for Real, Community Action Planning (CAP) was applied in Villa Rosa; A dynamic, intense method that focuses on building the capacity of community members to take action for the improvement of their living conditions. It is problem-based and seeks opportunities, thus the goals are set to resolve the existing problems building on community assets such as organizational structures. CAP was originally initiated by Otto Koenigsberger in 1964 as an alternative method to conventional planning and later in the 80s it was developed by Hamdi & Goethert as practical principles and a series of operations (Hamdi & Goethert, 1997). This method allows the community to employ the established guidelines and strategies in future projects and to act on their own. Theoretically, it includes the following steps to be undertaken with the community: The identification of problems and prioritization; indicating visions and strategies for problem-solving; developing the actions and work program; and implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the work progress and lessons learned (UN-Habitat, 2010) & (Hamdi & Goethert, 1997). The steps mentioned above are valuable principles and guidelines for the trajectory of the processes involved and for how the participatory project should move from start to finish. However Naznin Mehregan | 65
Figure 6. Levels and intensity of participation in different stages of the project depend on the applied approaches and tools, by the author, 2013
Figure 5. An example of the design of a ravine and drainage in one of the most problematic areas in Villa Rosa, Each theme follows similar process, by the author, 2013.
in practice, occasionally the hierarchical steps cannot be followed as the theory suggests. In particular instances when new issues or hidden problems arise, the process requires a reverse cycle. For example, during the participatory sessions in Villa Rosa, the need for a community center was identified as a requirement by the participants, subsequent to which, they elaborated on the location, primary designs and strategies. However, complications regarding ownership only arose later in the process. Hence, it was necessary for the community to become involved again in order to validate alternative locations, functions and designs and thus the steps had to be repeated. This reverse process implied additional time and financial resources, which is why it is mostly neglected in development projects. Nonetheless, flexibility is a key element during the process of the project for new problems to be recognized and for the visions or proposed strategies to be altered accordingly. Rigid steps, 66
strategies and even objectives might be groundless in practice, especially when involving the community. Finally, Owner-Driven Housing/Infrastructure (ODH/ODI) was applied as another participatory methodology for the implementation of the Villa Rosa upgrading plan. Based on the culture of self-helped construction in Haiti, this approach invited the inhabitants to directly apply for grants from the funder and reconstruct or upgrade their house and/or their quarter. Supported by the technical assistance of implementing organizations, the households designed the plans and hired trained local builders to proceed with the construction. Inhabitants were encouraged to make their own contribution in terms of labor, money and materials, improving their skills and reinforcing their motivation and sense of ownership (Cordaid, 2012). This method builds upon the existing culture and grants a high level of control
to community members. However, the involvement of numerous people with diverse interests requires an advanced institutionalized process and a strong Community Platform through which the funder and inhabitants can negotiate their concerns and resolve conflicts, making the preparation phase of such an approach as or even more vital than the operation itself. Lastly, it is worth noting that the above-mentioned participatory methods of CAP and ODH/ODI were initiated and conducted through a series of participatory sessions with the community on the ground that included community surveys and interviews, transect walks, focus groups for problem identification and prioritization, design charrettes for vision and strategy development and validation for final decision-making. TWO FACTORS FOR REAL COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION Community participation is a method of collaboration with the most important stakeholder in a development project, but it may not always be genuine. Citizen control over the project can vary from very limited to full control. The levels of community participation were first expressed by Sherry R Arnstein in 1969 as eight steps of a
ladder, each step representing a higher power for the community; manipulation, therapy, informing, consultation, placation, partnership, delegated power and citizen control. Although the levels of participation are important indicators of citizen control, intensity of participation is another measure that verifies the quality of engagement and the extent of communication with the people. Intense community engagement sessions may result in increased local initiatives and motivation (Imparato & Ruster, 2003). For instance, as discussed in the case of Villa Rosa, the participatory methods of CAP and ODH only determine the levels of community engagement and the amount of their control over the project but not the intensity of their involvement, which is an important factor in evaluating the depth of community engagement. This measure may only be defined and verified during each participatory session on the ground through activities such as focus groups, design charrettes and validation sessions, among others. In other words, the application of CAP as a participatory method in Villa Rosa only indicated that high levels of control were granted to the participants during the project process, without accounting for the intensity of participation, which was hinNaznin Mehregan | 67
dered by the limited number of participants and low dissemination of information to the wider community subsequent to the participatory ses-
sions. Therefore, in order to improve community participation and to fully integrate a community as a partner in a project, it is important to acknowledge both factors. In order to verify the intensity of participation during each session, the following criteria are suggested here: The quantity of participants (number of people involved); inclusiveness (diversity of people in terms of age, sex, neighbourhood of origin, etc.); the quality of people’s involvement (interactivity and diversity of participatory sessions); and the subsequent dissemination of the information by the participants to the residents of the entire neighbourhood. CONCLUSION The involvement of multiple stakeholders in (re) development projects at first glance appears to cause muddled situations. However if appropriate mechanisms of cooperation are applied, practiced and followed up, partners can complement each other’s capacities, work in parallel and aggregate their resources. This is particularly critical in projects aiming for long-term sustainability. Cooperation mechanisms, as
mentioned in this article, can vary from partnerships to community participation. A nonaligned lead organization should establish an operational framework for cooperation consisting of a series of rules and regulations that assure partners’ accountability not only towards project’s objectives but also to each other. Since the community is the major stakeholder in such projects, their participation should be valued as a cooperation method. However, as the case of Villa Rosa exemplifies, for any participatory process to be authentic, the level of community’s control over the project is just as essential as the intensity of their involvement. Only then can the community act as partners in the project and increase the likelihood of long-term efficiency. Notwithstanding, “a participatory approach is certainly not a panacea” (Howeidy et al., 2009, P 124); it is a method of collaboration with merely one of the partners in the project: the beneficiaries. It must be complemented by and incorporated into other forms of cooperation among all stakeholders. The lead organization and the established operational frameworks should ensure the collaboration between partners and community and incorporate the methods of partners’ cooperation with community participat
Nazanin Mehregan is an architect and urban planner with degrees from UIC Barcelona, TU Darmstadt and IAU Tehran and is primarily active in the field of international cooperation and urban development. Subsequent to several years of professional experience and academic positions in architecture and urban planning, Nazanin shifted her practice towards exploring the field of international development, particularly urban slum areas and informal settlements around the world. As the recipient of the Mundus Urbano scholarship for academic excellence, Nazanin developed a strong interest in examining the modes of stakeholder cooperation and methods of engaging communities as partners in the process of urban upgrading and reconstruction in Haiti. After graduation from her latest Master Studies in Urban Development and Sustainable Emergency Architecture, Nazanin returned to Haiti, where she is currently working with Architecture for Humanity on diverse projects ranging from integrated slum upgrading to regional planning and participatory community development in Port au Prince and other parts of the country.
Bibliography Amin, S., & Goldstein, M. (2008). Data Against Disasters, Establishing effective systems for Relief, Recovery and Reconstruction (pp. 1-342). Washington, DC: Word Bank. Architecture for Humanity. (2012). Villa Rosa Community Action Plan: Phase Two Report. (pp. 1-119). Port Au Prince, Haiti. Arnstein, S. R. (1969). A ladder of citizen participation. AIP Journal, (July), 216- 224. Cordaid. (2012). Owner Driven Reconstruction, From emergency relief to long-term reconstruction in Haiti. Codaid Haiti. Retrieved from http://cordaidhaiti.org/programs/housing-and-reconstruction/owner-drivenreconstruction/ Hamdi, N., & Goethert, R. (1997). Action Planning for Cities; A guide to Community Practice (pp. 1-254). Chichester, West Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Howeidy, A., Shehayeb, D. K., Göll, E., Halim, K. M. A., Séjourné, M., Gado, M., Piffero, E., et al. (2009). Cairo’s Informal Areas Between Urban Challenges and Hidden Potentials, facts. Voices. Visions. (R. Kipper & M. Fischer, Eds.) (Cairo, Jun., pp. 1-115). Cairo, Egypt: Egyptian Ministry of Economic Development, the German Development Bank (KFW), German Technical Cooperation (GTZ). Imparato, I., & Ruster, J. (2003). Slum Upgrading and Participation, Directions In Development (pp. 1-512). Washington, D.C.: The International Bank for Reconstruction and development/ The World Bank. Stephenson, R. S. (1994). Disasters and Development. United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Coordinator for the Disaster Management Training Program (DMTP), University of Wisconsin Disaster Management Center. Stoddard, A., Harmer, A., Haver, K., Salomons, D., & Wheeler, V. (2007). Cluster Approach Evaluation (pp. 1-111). The World Bank. (2011). Urban Poverty and Slum Upgrading - Urban Poverty: An Overview. The World Bank, Urban Development. Retrieved from http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTURBANDEVELOPMENT/EXTURBANPOVERTY/0, contentMDK:20227679~menuPK:473804~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSite PK:341325,00.html Turok, I. (2011). Area-Based Initiatives: 10 Guiding Principles. Glasgow, Scotland. United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat). (2010). Toolkit for Community Action Planning: Citywide pro-poor Ger-area upgrading strategy and investment plan of Ulaan baatar city. Ulaan Baatar City: UNHABITAT.
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Violence reduction strategies in Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town: A comparative approach By Silvia Aldana
More than half a million people in the world died violently each year between 2004 and 2009 (Geneva Declaration Secretariat, 2011) while some of the highest homicide rates have been related to violence epidemics in urban areas rather than to wars (The World Bank, 2010). The problem of urban violence has been tackled through a diverse range of tactics ranging from top-down to bottom-up participatory approaches. Although the strategies at either end of this spectrum have produced achievements and shortcomings alike, this work compares two representative case studies, one in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro Brazil and the other, in a similar setting in Khayelitsha, Cape Town South Africa. The paper identifies and analyses both strengths and weaknesses of these cases to determine which strategic approach provides better results in accordance with selected criteria. The evaluation suggests that although interventions were effective in their own contexts, community-oriented strategies are more likely to reduce crime and prevent urban violence in a more sustainable manner. A TALE OF TWO CITIES Located to the Southeast of Brazil and once its capital, Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city of the country with a population of 6.3 million people (UNdata, 2010), of which a fifth live in favelas (Instituto de Estudos de Trabalho e Socie70
dade, 2004). Rio has an estimated GDP per capita of 12 thousand dollars (ppp), but its income distribution is highly unequal and average income in the favelas is estimated to be one third of that amount. The poverty rate is of 9.4%, rising to 15% in the informal settlements (Centro de Politicas Sociais, 2010). According to official data, ten years ago theft of vehicles and injures were the crimes with the most impact in total reported cases (Governo do Rio de Janeiro, 2014). There was also a high rate of deaths due to police interventions in the favelas, where retail drug trade is structured on territorial control which causes fierce struggles for territory between various criminal factions; and between them and the police, increasing the number of victims and introducing the need for weapons of high destructive power. Since 2008, a program known as the Pacification Police Units (PPUs) was implemented in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro in an attempt to reduce crime through strong police presence. The program began in each community by introducing elite police forces to recover control of the territory, followed by the insertion of permanent police units as well as urban and economic integration initiatives (Governo do Rio de Janeiro, 2013; Prefeitura de Rio, 2013). Once pacification was reached, residents were called to an assembly where they were informed about the social
Silvia Aldana | 71
Enumeration process at Lotus Park. The community gets involved as volunteers on the field to translate to
The informal settlement of Monwabisi Park
projects geared towards improving their communities, previously decided on by the authorities (Smith, 2011). In this case, both, police interventions and social programs are designed by the Government. Participation only takes place in the form of assemblies where plans are presented to the communities without any intention to consult or actively involve them. This is what is called a top-down approach. Four miles away from Rio lies Cape Town, one of South Africa’s three major cities and its legislative capital. As the Brazilian city, Cape Town is the second most populous city in the country, hosting 3.7 million people and where one fifth of registered households live in informal dwellings (City of Cape Town, 2012). The GDP per capita is estimated to be an average of 7.5 thousand dollars but 47% of the population earns half that amount or less (Western Cape Government, 2012). In Cape Town, Khayelitsha is the poorest, most dangerous township that also presents features of socio economic and spatial exclusion that were heavily influenced by racial discrimination as a residue of the apartheid time; weak institutional power and significantly high rates of rape and violence against women. Reported crime is ca72
tegorized into crimes against persons, propertyrelated crime and drug-related crime. Ten years ago, Khayelitsha’s most frequently committed crimes were the first two categories: common assault, burglary at residential premises and robbery with aggravating circumstances (South African Police Service, 2011). Those circumstances have changed, as we will see later on. Since 2004, the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) program has been operating in this area of Cape Town with the objective of reducing and preventing crime by upgrading public spaces, strengthening social networks and improving the economic capacities of Khayelithsha’s residents. The program begins by acknowledging the existing social capital in the form of community and non-governmental organizations and strengthens it through the institutionalization of a Committee. The program approaches each case without agenda, allowing the violence-affected community to determine their priorities and the actions to be taken. The Committee acts as the community spokesperson, obtaining feedback which is then passed on to the technical team through a back-and-forth process that finalizes when the community is
other dwellers key information about the process
happy with the result, one that is supported on an academic and technical base. This constitutes the action plan. In addition, the VPUU program hosts a bimonthly assembly in which the program administration, the authorities, the committee and associated NGOs are recognized for their contribution to the results and progress of the action plan upon which all stakeholders previously agreed and to which they are all accountable. The consistent level of attendance over the years is a testament to the participants’ continued interest in the program resulting from their inclusion and contribution of local knowledge, time and skills towards the reduction of crime and the improvement of the physical, social and economic aspects of their neighborhood. This case, opposite to that of Rio, starts from the community’s needs and priorities, enables stakeholders to understand and address the specific issues that generate violence in their context. It sustains crime reduction by actively involving the community through the entire process, from diagnosis to operation. Authorities and technicians provide resources and expertise to the
implementation. This is called a bottom-up or community-oriented approach. COMPARING TOP-DOWN VS. COMMUNITY-ORIENTED STRATEGIES The two cities have similarities in the proportions of informality, inequality and high crime rates. Also, in both cases, programs studied began about 6 years prior to hosting a mega event –the FIFA World Cup- (South Africa 2004-2010, Brazil 2008-2014), an observation that we will address further on. Despite these similarities, the cases presented differ significantly from each other in the types of crime prevalent in the studied areas and therefore, the approaches used to address them. However, acknowledging the context where each approach develops, it is the objective of this exercise to identify their strengths and weaknesses and to compare which provides better or durable results. For this purpose, three criteria have been selected to evaluate the effectiveness of the approaches; acceptance amongst the people affected and soundness to last through time. Those criteria are 1) crime indexes, 2) perception of the residents and 3) sustainability. Silvia Aldana | 73
The methodology of comparison consists, for the first two criteria, on the analysis of data from before and after the interventions in the areas
affected; this data is taken from official sources, research and community surveys. The paper goes on to compare the results to those of the city in its entirety to clarify whether these results correspond to a general trend in the city or are the direct result of the programs implemented in the project areas. The third criterion will be evaluated on the basis of cost and political will, according to the research available. CRIME INDEXES
The community gets involved at the mapping process
VPUU partners with local organizations to conduct the household survey which is held regularly from early in the process to the monitoring and evaluation stage. It retrieves perception of safety from the community’s perspective before, during and after the interventions.
A study conducted in Rio de Janeiro by the Laboratório de Análise da Violência concluded that there has been a significant reduction in armed crimes and a rise, just as significant, in other crimes’ records. Violent deaths, especially those resulting from police intervention virtually disappeared as a result of the end of the armed struggle for territory and better contained police action. Robbery also decreased to one third of what it was before the intervention while injuries, threats and drug-related crime tripled in the same period; theft increased mildly. The trends were the same as in the rest of the city, however, more intense in the area of the PPUs analyzed which means that the program does have an impact on reducing violent incidents. The effects were also perceived beyond the limits of the favelas intervened, a sign that violence was not displaced but tackled in a broader area (Laboratório de Análise da Violência, 2012). In Khayelitsha, according to official figures, overall crime has decreased by 25% (South African Police Service, 2011). Most reduction has been experienced in the top rated crimes from a decade before, a decrease that has a lot to do with improved surveillance in the public space. However, drug-related crimes and driving under the influence have significantly risen; these types of crime are categorized as police matters. As in the case of Rio, the trends experienced in Khayelitsha are the same as in the rest of the City but more overwhelming, meaning that there is an undeniable impact of the program. PERCEPTION OF THE RESIDENTS A survey conducted in the favelas (Laboratório
de Análise da Violência, 2012), collected the impressions from the residents who had perceived changes since the PPUs began in their com-
munities. Changes were overall positive as the shootings had ceased, but they still did not feel safe due to the increase in other types of crime (theft and burglary) which did not occur when drug cartels performed extra-legal vigilance. The effects of the program included the regularization of services in the favelas as well as the valorization of properties. Both can be considered as either a positive change, a reassurance as clients and owners, or a rise in the living costs in those areas, depending on the case. Whilst in Khayelitsha, a household survey conducted regularly since 2007 measured an average improvement of 10% in the overall perception of safety. People felt safer at home due to the reduction in burglaries and they also felt it was safer for children to go to school. They still felt unsafe while walking to public transportation [locations] and using it (VPUU, 2007-2010). SUSTAINABILITY It has been said that the PPU program was created to reduce crime, vis à vis the world-class events to be hosted in 2014 and 2016. The study by Laboratório de Análise da Violência ellaborated a map of the intervened favelas which shows a bias in their selection: they are located in the more touristic and commercial areas of the city, as well as surrounding the Maracaná Stadium that will host the final World Cup match and both the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympic Games. The same study declares that policemen in favelas are installed at an average rate of 18.2 for every thousand residents, eight times higher than the state rate. And each one of those officers receives a bonus 250 dollars a month as a gratification for being deployed in those areas. If efforts and resources invested in favelas depend on an ephemeral event, once it is over, those are at risk of being withdrawn. Since its success is dependent on police presence, the whole program would be at risk. VPUU in Cape Town partners with the South African Police, though their approach relies more on the community than on the police institution. A voluntary-based Neighborhood Watch perSilvia Aldana | 75
forms duties such as giving advice to teenagers, mediating minor conflicts or alerting the police to those that require official intervention. This
approach mitigates feelings of antagonism and mistrust that characterize relationships between civilians and the police (especially in countries with a recent history of power abuse), while also acknowledging the institution’s valuable contribution to specific matters. The Neighborhood Watch volunteer in exchange for capacity building programs that, although dependent on the resources provided by the government and international cooperation, are far less expensive than police units deployed permanently. The practice also strengthens collective surveillance along with other forms of community involvement, it empowers them to demand action from the government toward their needs, even if there are different political interests. No evidence was found relating the hosting of the 2010 World Cup and the VPUU program. TOP-DOWN OR COMMUNITY-ORIENTED? Based on the above analysis, both interventions succeeded at reducing crime: The PPUs reduced deaths due to police interventions by changing their strategy to permanent presence. The VPUU did so at assaults, robbery and burglary through improved public space and facilities that allowed better community surveillance. Nevertheless, they both did well in some areas, at the expense of rising figures in other types of crime. Perception of the residents was overall positive in both scenarios, although a little ambiguous regarding the collateral effects of the interventions. At this point we could say both approaches, depending on the context and the types of crime, are as effective. However, the community-oriented program has an edge on the top-down approach: it is more sustainable. Political will is a key element in promoting and developing public policy, particularly in countries with weak institutions and regular changes in the ruling parties. Top-down approaches depend highly on political will to sustain them in time as a change in public office can channel efforts and resources in different directions. Through Khayelitsha’s participatory process, effectiveness and sustainability are reached by the active involvement of the community, the 76
resulting accuracy of the plan, its replicability, its capacity to break the cycle of violence and its cost-effectiveness. Through active involvement,
communities assume interventions as their own. When accompanied by capacity building, communities increasingly assume responsibility to a point where they become the operators of the programs implemented, which in turn adds to their sustainability. Participation ensures the accuracy of the action plan by allowing residents to define their context and the specific issues that affect them. Through this exercise, interventions have a better chance of long term success. The experience gained by operating and managing their own programs enables communities to manage new ones on their own as other issues arise, and familiarizes the community with the communication channels and processes to manage technical assistance from its local government. Results are sustained by an empowered community able to seize resources to repeat a process as many times as necessary. Additionally, through the acts of gathering, getting to know each other and acknowledging the power of collective organization to negotiate and manage projects for the common good, residents defeat feelings of individualism and mistrust which are not only the effects of a violent environment but also the root causes of further segregation, fear and aggressiveness. Participation contributes to sustainability by making the most of local resources, integrating them in the planning process to formulate innovative solutions and relying on existing social capital while building new capacities. This not only contributes to crime reduction but also aids in building stronger, more organized communities, capable of sustaining improved safety. It is recognized though that a participatory approach might not always be the best strategic first step in a community, especially one dominated by organized crimes such as drug cartels. Nevertheless, it has been proven that it can be a cost-effective strategy to add sustainability to interventions.
Silvia is an architect with graduate studies in urban development, international cooperation and sustainable emergency architecture. She was an intern at the program Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading –VPUU- in Khayelitsha, Cape Town where she became acquainted with participatory methods to upgrade urban settlements affected by violence. She currently holds the position of Housing General Coordinator in URBANÍSTICA - Housing & Urban Development Metropolitan Agency in Guatemala City. She coordinates operations for housing projects which include social organization, land management, financial models and architecture proposals. She also contributes to the formulation of programs that promote affordable housing with a special focus on vulnerable populations. She remains interested in participatory processes and is currently collaborating on the formulation of participatory design workshops for the first housing cooperative under the principles of self-management, solidarity and collective property in Guatemala City.
References Centro de Politicas Sociais. (2010). Desigualdades e favelas cariocas: A cidade partida está se integrando? Rio de Janeiro: Centro de Politicas Sociais, Fundaçao Getulio Vargas. City of Cape Town. (2012, december). Retrieved may 2014, from 2011 Census - Cape Town Geneva Declaration Secretariat. (2011). Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development. Retrieved from Global Burden of Armed Violence 2011, Lethal Encounters. Executive Summary Governo do Rio de Janeiro. (2014, march). Retrieved may 2014, from Dados Oficiais: Secretaria do Estado do Segurança Instituto de Segurança Pública Instituto de Estudos de Trabalho e Sociedade. (2004). Retrieved may 2014, from Barracos em expansao Laboratório de Análise da Violência. (2012). ‘Os donos do morro’: Una avaliaçao exploratória do impacto das unidades de polícia pacificadora (UPPs) no Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro: Fórum Brasileiro de Segurança Pública. Smith, T. (2011, 12 06). Río on Watch: Community reporting on Río. Retrieved 02 07, 2013, from UPP Social and Participation: How Not to Integrate Rio South African Police Service. (2011). Crime in Khayelitsha (WC) for March 2003/2004 - 2010/2011. Retrieved June 2012, from South African Police Service The World Bank. (2010). Violence in the city: Understanding and supporting community responses to urban violence. Social Development Department. Washington. UNdata. (2010). Retrieved may 2014, from United Nations Statistics Division: VPUU. (2007-2010). Household Survey Database. Western Cape Government. (2012). Retrieved may 2014, from Regional Development Profile, City of Cape Town
Silvia Aldana | 77
Is an Architect with a Masters in Urban Design and a PhD in Urban Studies. She is Associate Professor in the Departments of Urban & Regional Planning and Architecture at Curtin University of Technology Perth, Australia. Her expertise is in Urban Design and Urban Theory and has a global perspective and wide-ranging experience on city growth and development. Reena received the Australian National Award for her outstanding contribution to student learning for developing a cross-disciplinary and integrative approach to teaching urban theory and design, blurring boundaries between classroom and ‘real world’ experience. She also supervises Postgraduate Research students in the field of Urban Design and Planning.
What specific project(s) has brought you the most valuable learning experience?
An architectural project completed in 2014 for a small village community in one
of the poorest states in India demonstrated that the design and construction strategies have to be continually shaped and reshaped through negotiations between different stakeholders. The end product might be completely different to what
was initially planned but what makes the project successful is that it is built by
and for the community and is able to respond to their needs – a democratic architecture.
What are the key obstacles/difficulties of urban upgrading (or your specific field of work)?
Most difficult, but certainly the most important opportunities to tap in, in an
upgrading project are the varying perspectives and agendas of different stakeholders. This is the most challenging part, but if done well, can turn out to be the How did you become involved in the field of development/sustainability?
strength of the project.
Any small intervention or insertion done in the built environment has a ripple
effect in its surrounding context. The ripple sets up a relationship between the va-
ried socio-cultural and political geographies in a city and this cycle continues. Having been trained as an urban designer, I have been interested to explore the way local communities can be developed and sustained through innumerable ripples that they are exposed to in the everyday.
In your opinion, what changes and practices are needed to dramatically improve the efforts and impact of development projects?
For a development project to be successful, the community needs to be facilitated to take the driving seat from start to finish of the project journey – from identifying needs, planning, strategizing and decision-making.
Who have been your mentors throughout the years or people whose work you admire?
I have respected and have been influenced by people who have worked in the area of development and cooperation not only because of their expertise and training,
but also because of their passion to make a difference for vulnerable communities.
Reena Tiwari | 79
To Walk or Not to Walk? Reclaiming the pedestrian space
By Reena Tiwari
Increasingly, the notion of improved walkability to enhance public transport patronage has been gaining momentum. Fundamentals for aiding non-motorized transport – high densities and mixed use – are already present in Indian cities. Street design policies promoting accessibility and safety for increased walkability are being written, but to no avail. The issues are not simply about form and design, but about user-centricity and socio-cultural awareness. The case of Indian cities The modal split in large cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Calcutta for public transport is between 42% and 60%, and less than 10% for private motorized vehicles (Pucher et al 2005). So while cities in other parts of the world are trying to grapple with ways of shifting from private to public transport modes, in Indian cities the problem faced is that of retention of large numbers of public transport users in the face of two major challenges: 1) The shift in lifestyle brought about by increased affordability of cars and the consequent sprouting of new auto-oriented boxed developments and more importantly, 2) Dealing with existing city infrastructure that lack NonMotorized Transport (NMT) amenities resulting in the rise of pedestrian and cycling accidents and fatality rates; around 78% of the deaths due to accidents in Mumbai last year have involved pedestrians.
Walking is the form of transport for at least a quarter and sometimes up to half of all trips made in Indian cities. Interviews conducted by CAI-Asia to assess walkability for six medium-sized Indian cities revealed that 62% of respondents would shift their walking trips to motorised transport (20% to cars and 22% to twowheelers) if the walking environments in the cities did not improve. The fundamentals of walkability – high density and mixed-use – often discussed in the case of Australian and US cities as the key ingredients of Transit Oriented Developments are already present in Indian cities. This however, does not mean that these cities are easy or safe to walk in. Problematics include the lack of pathways, inadequate width; discontinuous; unmaintained; encroachments on pathways, lack of shade and concerns about personal safety and motorists’ behaviour, among others. Challenges of policy implementation Policies that prioritise wide, level, clean and uncluttered footpaths, pedestrian-only zones and slow traffic have been discussed, proposed, and in some cases, implemented, but with minimal impact. What are the challenges in achieving the successful implementation of these policies? The following examples demonstrate some of these challenges: Reena Tiwari | 81
as accidents, making them aware of their right to the pedestrian space, and engaging them through the design process. In this way, the community, armed with a new sense of ownership of place, will act as enforcers of their own policies. Lefebvre’s notion of ‘right to the city’ is about making users of the space in-charge of it (1996). As Mark Purcell says:
Separate pedestrian and cycle ways are invaded two-wheelers.
Public space afforded by wide footpaths is appropriated for commercial purposes
Wide pedestrian pathways are often occupied by unplanned built interventions such as temples; these are regular phenomena that sprout everyday on countless streets in Indian cities and cannot be treated as encroachments which need removal. In fact, they become places around which everyday rituals unfold for residents on their way to work. 82
Instead of democratic deliberation being limited to just state decisions, Lefebvre imagines to apply it to all decisions that contribute to the production of urban space. The right to the city stresses the need to restructure the power relations that underlie the production of urban space, fundamentally shifting control away from capital and the state and toward urban inhabitants (Purcell, p.101).
Social pressures lead the poor and self-employed to appropriate wide, shaded and well elevated pedestrian pathways as work places safe from motorists.
Failure in waste management and the presence of stray animals creates a ‘no-man’s land’, which no one wants to claim ownership. Policies and designs addressing pedestrian issues are important. Yet as seen in the above examples, change cannot be effected until the people of the place are fully involved. These are not simply built form or physical design issues; each aspect shown in Figure 1 presents a human and socio-cultural dimension. Policies can only be implemented and designs can only work when we as urban planners, designers, and engineers work through a bottom up approach of involving people at each step of issue identification, design and policy formation. Community and ownership of place It is time to look at ways of implementing sustainable transport policies by educating pedestrians about the cause of pedestrian problems such Reena Tiwari | 83
Pere Vall (Barcelona, 1964), graduated as an Architect and obtained his PhD in Urban Design and Planning. He was associate professor and the Director of the Urbanism and Spatial Planning area of the ESARQ-UIC, and was recently appointed as the new director of the school. His research is focused on cultural landscape and regional development, and has developed techniques for intervention in cultural landscape. He is cofounder of the Llobregat Colonies’ River Park, an initiative of territorial reevaluation based on cultural heritage, which has received several awards. Most recently, he has worked on studies of sprawl repair through heritage networks and the recycling of pre-urban patterns. Together with the architect Carmen Mendoza, he is the Director of the UIC Master’s Degree Programme in Regenerating Intermediate Landscapes: Sustainable Strategies for Contemporary Landscapes and is the author of several publications.
the people whose work I admire and appreciate most are those anonymous people who I met during fieldwork and oriented me with their stubborn care for everyday landscapes. What specific project has brought you the most valuable learning experience? The recovery of the textile colonies of the Llobregat River has been the most complete learning experience for me. It began with my doctoral thesis and continued as a practitioner and teacher. After some years I was involved in the regional planning addressed to preserve the cultural identity of this amazing heritage. I had to deal with communities, officials, politicians and stakeholders in order to determine guidelines for sustainable development. I learned a lot. Later I had the opportunity to apply this knowledge to the specific difficulties in handling cultural tourism in developing countries. What are the key obstacles of urban upgrading?
How did you become involved in the field of development /sustainability?
In general terms, we consider external difficulties such as the lack of economic
I was introduced to the field of cultural tourism and sustainable development
resources, legal framework, political will or technical capability, the key limi-
through my doctoral thesis. I studied a stretch of the Llobregat River colonized
tations of urban upgrading. However, in my opinion, these obstacles that are
by an amazing chain of mill communities. At the end of 90’s these little villages
beyond the communities are not as important as the internal fragility of commu-
were completely ruined, factories were closed and streets became deserted due
nities in the face of the market pressures. When socio-spatial cohesion exists and
to unemployment. However, despite the gloomy panorama, the unique identity
communities are resilient and firmly committed in the preservation of their own
of this landscape and the commitment of the locals to its preservation prompted
identity, external limitations, although significant, can be overcome.
the reevaluation of this area and led to its recognition as a heritage site. In your opinion, what changes and practices are needed to dramatically imWho have been your mentors throughout the years or people whose work you
prove the efforts and impact of development projects?
In the long term, pedagogic strategies aimed at raising awareness of local iden-
Joaquim Sabaté, professor at UPC (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya),
tity are crucial in order for communities to build their own sustainable develop-
and Mark Shuster and Dennis Frenchman, professors at MIT, taught me the
ment models. Simultaneously, in the short term, major efforts should be orient-
methodology to develop regional development strategies based on cultural he-
ed to better connect technicians and citizens in order to implement development
ritage. However, beyond the masters from whom I learned the technical skills,
strategies that are respectful of communities’ ways of life.
Pere Vall-Casas | 85
Taking advantage of cultural tourism in developing countries By Pere Vall-Casas
Cultural tourism can have contradictory effects on the balance between the identity of developing countries and the requirements of global markets. In analyzing this, one must keep in mind the inadequacy of universal approaches to development regardless of cultural context. The imposition of standard interpretations of sustainable development that disregard local culture, lies behind the failure of well-intentioned development programs and the gaps in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. In fact, it has been proven that development interventions
responsive to cultural context are most effective, and likely to yield sustainable, inclusive and equitable outcomes, which is why recent UN resolutions integrate culture into development policies and underscore cultureâ€™s intrinsic contribution to sustainable development as a driver and enabler (UNESCO, 2012). This notion of culture-led development is based on the view that culture is more than just physical manifestations such as â€œthe artsâ€?, the city or the landscape. In this sense, culture is considered as the whole integrated social, economic, and environmental order; and consequently, the meaning of sustainable development must be interrogated according the specific characteristics of the context to which it is being applied. As such, culture becomes the fourth pillar of sustainable development that is only achievable 86
if there is harmony between the objectives of cultural diversity and those of social equity, environmental responsibility and economic viability (NURSE, 2006). However, the rising share of tourism in world trade often reduces culture to appealing stereotypes aimed at increasing the influx of visitors. Cultural tourism currently accounts for 40% of world tourism revenues; many regions use cultural heritage to improve their image, stimulate urban development, and attract visitors as well as investments. Actually, supporting cultural tourism has become a common practice, especially in areas designated by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) as World Heritage Sites. In addition to this public organization, the World Bank plays an active role in financing historic preservation programs in sites on the World Heritage List in developing countries. The role of private organizations such as NGOs, regional trade organizations, corporations and foundations, is also expanding. In this context, development agendas increasingly recognize the contribution of cultural tourism in the diversification of economy and the provision of a more competitive development platform for developing countries. However, beyond revenue generation and poverty reduction, the globalized promotion of cultural resources propels tremendous de-civilizing processes and
Pere Vall-Casas | 87
Figure 2. Quebrada de Humahuaca (Argentina)
Figure 1. Tsum Valley (Nepal)
causes serious damage to the cultural identity of communities. In this respect, the case of Quebrada de Humahuaca (Argentina) illustrates the impact of commercial speculation that a World Heritage Site nomination may inflict on a fragile, unique and non-renewable capital. The awareness of the potential of the Indian, Spanish and industrial heritage gathered in this narrow and arid Andean valley has recently improved efforts to reach the Declaration of the Quebrada de Humahuaca as World Heritage (2003). Cultural tourism was promoted for poverty alleviation due to the significant amount of population considered to be structurally poor and lacking basic needs, as well as the areaâ€™s limited economic base dependent on agricultural activities and with almost one-third of the population unemployed. Unfortunately, the mass tourism triggered by the World Heritage nomination mainly served to propel commercial real estate projects and banal imitations of historic places. As a result, the integrity and authenticity of the vernacular landscape, which is by definition the irreplaceable creation of their inhabitants, was compromised (BERGESIO & MONTIAL, 2008). Rather than focusing on profitable forms of culture which may threaten cultural diversity, cultivating aspects such rootedness and social cohesion should be seriously taken under consideration because of their capacity to protect communities against the pressures of the global market. In this respect, the case of Tsum Valley (Nepal) demonstrates that Third World regions with access to strong cultural heritage can choose indigenous rather than Western solutions to their problems.
According to the Buddhist tradition, Tsum Valley is a sacred space located in the remote HighHimalayan borderlands. Hundreds of spiritual seekers visit the valley which contains remnants of ancient Buddhist art and architecture, such as monasteries, shrines, monuments, cave art and rock inscriptions. This unique landscape, opened for regulated tourism since 2008, bears a deep spiritual significance for the local community. In this context, the future construction of a North South Transit Road (NSTR) project proposed by the government with the purpose of developing Nepal as a trade route between India and China, may lead to the destruction of the socio-spatial identity of the valley. Fortunately, the valley was recently identified as a Conservation Area thanks to actions take by local stakeholders, and hopefully the NSTR will be reconsidered. On this occasion, a deep connection to its cultural heritage inspired a community to respond to the invasion of a standardized device for poverty alleviation with a community-based development model, sensitive to local livelihood and self-sustainable lifestyle (LAMA, 2012). CONCLUSION Communities that are deeply rooted in the vernacular landscape have a wider range of options when it comes to protecting their own identity in the face of pressures placed by the global tourism market. Policies that enhance social commitment for heritage preservation in developing countries are crucial in order to mitigate the negative effects of rapid urbanization and propel sustainable culture-led development models. Pere Vall-Casas | 89
Bibliography BERGESIO, Liliana; MONTIAL, Jorge. 2008. “Patrimonialización de la Quebrada de Humahuaca: identidad, turismo y después…”. Encuentro PRE-ALAS 2008 - Preparatorio del XXVII CONGRESO ALAS, Buenos Aires, 2009. Universidad Nacional del Nordeste, Corrientes, Argentina. NURSE, Keith. 2006. “Culture as the Fourth Pillar of Sustainable Development”. Commonwealth Secretariat, London, UK. LAMA, Sonam. 2012. “Impacts of North-South Transit Route Development on Architectural Heritage of Sacred and Hidden Land of Happiness: The Case of Tsum Sbas-yul Skyid-mo-lung, Central Himalaya, Gorkha, Nepal”. Master’s Degree in International Cooperation in Sustainable Emergency Architecture, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain. UNESCO. 2012. “Culture: a driver an enabler of sustainable development”. UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda.
Pere Vall-Casas | 91
Architect with degrees from Stanford and the University of Texas at Austin, Nathaniel is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, a Rose Architectural Fellowship, and a Senior ECPA Fellowship under the auspices of the U.S. Currently an Educational Outreach Partner with Architecture for Humanity and the Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative, he collaborates with international teams and tribal communities on planning and design/build projects. Author of Building a Straw Bale House, his work is featured in numerous publications including The New York Times and Design Like You Give a Damn.
What specific project(s) has brought you the most valuable learning experience? The longest thread of my professional practice involves facilitating architecture and appropriate development with tribal members in the American West. These projects has led to lasting friendships and rewarding working relationships with several Native American communities. Together, we’ve been able to produce replicable, culturally-appropriate designs featuring local skills and materials. It is the work that has allowed me to practice an architecture that resonates with the deep, living history of the land I call home. What are the key obstacles/difficulties of urban upgrading (or your specific field of work)?
How did you become involved in the field of development/sustainability?
The word ‘development’ has some bad connotations. Many ‘developments’ have
My parents homesteaded in rural Vermont where we made buildings, tended or-
eroded the spirit and context of unique places. We often see a ‘Disney-fication’ or
chards, and produced much of our food including honey and maple syrup. These
loss of cultural fabric as the end result of mainstream developments. Developers
foundational experiences sparked a continued interest in working creatively with
need to regenerate local resources, respect built heritage, and insist on design
local and natural materials in a hands-on, close-to-the-land way. More recently
excellence. Opportunities abound for talented teams with the skills to enhan-
I’ve connected these threads to a participatory design processes propelled by com-
ce ecosystem biodiversity, food security, and water quality alongside enhanced
munity members and diversified practitioners.
commons—spaces for recreation, nature, art and play.
Who have been your mentors throughout the years or people whose work
In your opinion, what changes and practices are needed to dramatically im-
prove the efforts and impact of development projects?
I’m thankful for a strong and supportive network of mentors and colleagues in
Generally, the development process needs to be more holistic and inclusive. This
the open-source, humanitarian design, and natural building communities. I
may be difficult transition, but the rewards are huge. Focusing solely on econo-
admire the work of Samuel Mockbee, of the Rural Studio, who set the tone for
mic imperatives tends to produce underwhelming, ‘beige,’ projects. By sourcing
community/university design partnerships in the US. Also, the Stanford design
pre-design funding, building trans-disciplinary teams, and focusing on commu-
and engineering faculty, through professors such as David Kelley of IDEO, illu-
nity participation, developers can insure diverse positive impacts that are truly
minates much about design process, prototyping and involving students in real-
native-to-place while remaining economically dynamic.
world challenges. 92
Nathaniel Corum | 93
Native-to-place design collaboration By Nathaniel Corum
EDUCATION OUTREACH THROUGH REAL PROJECTS Together with indigenous Mixtec community members, our shirt sleeves and pant legs rolled up, we jump into the Mexican mud. Barefoot and laughing, we learn the adobe-making ‘dance’ with new friends in Oaxaca. With our feet we mix earth, water and straw into what will soon become adobes: natural earthen building blocks. We help to lay out foundations and then, together, stack the earth bricks to dry in the sun. Soon they will be incorporated into walls, houses, homes.
Photo Jonathan Corum 94
In the course of the Oaxaca workshop, students and faculty from the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC) worked with Adobe for Women, re-vitalizing the traditional practice of earthen home building and directly addressing the housing needs of twenty local women and their families. A primary goal of Architecture for Humanity (AfH) educational outreach is connecting university programs to humanitarian design projects; creating teams, producing exemplary, culturallyappropriate designs and demonstrating resilient land use. Since 2011, annual AfH workshops at UIC have focused on timely real-world design challenges in Mexico, Brazil and Ecuador, leveraging the creative energy of Master students in International Cooperation Sustainable Emergency Architecture at the Barcelona-based Escola Tècnica
Superior d’Arquitectura (ESARQ). Parallel collaborations are ongoing with design programs in Japan, New Zealand, Australia and the United States. This network of academic teams has amplified the impact of a variety of design/build projects via direct collaboration between students, design professionals, and community stakeholders. Participants effectively join humanitarian design teams and add value to time-sensitive projects through their ideation, research and hands-on energy. The majority of these projects are collaborations with indigenous and long-term community residents—in the United States such projects are facilitated by the Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative (SNCC), a coalition of designers working together with Native American communities and tribal housing authorities. THE ROLE OF PARTICIPATORY DESIGN AND INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES Direct participatory design with local and native people is critical at this juncture. New technologies arrive daily along the webs of an increasingly urban and connected world, while new perils confront us: population, pollution, apathy, environmental erosion, extinction, and climate chaos. Though much development focuses on the economic bottom line, there are huge opportunities to leverage new technologies in concert with Nathaniel Corum | 95
Photo Jonathan Corum
indigenous knowledge to create communities that are environmentally regenerative, economically robust, and culturally-appropriate. Now, for the first time, more than half of us live in cities. This publication, and much current design and development energy, is focused on urban challenges. Cities have so much to offer us. However, they are also typically places where traditional architectures and life ways are often Though much development focuses on the economic bottom alongside soil and water quality. Focus and energy must be directed to the often overlooked peri-urban and rural zones that support our cities—the places where healthy food and clean water are sourced and where air, water and soil—the very foundations of life—can be regenerated. Native-to-place thinking and collaboration show a way forward. Designers are increasingly aware of the imperatives of decreasing carbon footprints, limiting energy use, reducing water waste, and enhancing regional ecosystems. Architecture, land use, and design are crucial fields where these goals must be addressed. Indigenous communities hold a wealth of knowledge that can – and should – empower design professionals to build better communities with respect to people and ecosystems. Such collaborations have the potential to fuse native-to-place knowledge with 96
the best of cutting-edge design and technology; producing game-changing architectural work that is fully integrated with site specifics and community amenities. Additionally, the growing green economy offers an opportunity for local and indigenous people to create initiatives and enterprises that align with their values, traditions and economic development needs. In the course of extensive work with indigenous communities, we’ve see Native entrepreneurs striving to meet market opportunities in the green economy by using architecture, design, building, and planning principles that stem from their traditions. METHODOLOGY AND IMPACT In order to engage in this symbiotic work, the Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative team relies on shared core values, expressed through design practice. We seek solutions through collaboration. We respect each community’s unique protocols, and defer to indigenous leaders and respected elders to lead the way. We engage diverse community stakeholders in the design of each project. We practice architecture and planning as key facets within a holistic design approach. We seek ways that projects and processes can reinforce cultural and spiritual significance. We focus on thoughtful planning, ensuring the
integration of sustainable, cost-effective, and culturally-appropriate features while conserving significant sites and habitats. We expect that each completed project has multiple, positive impacts: environmental, economic, cultural and social. We strive to inspire through providing replicable examples and best practices. Each project provides us with a new learning experience that we can share with others. Since its inception in 2009, the Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative has achieved the
following impacts: facilitated 4 green community design workshops, delivered presentations at 6 key tribal conferences, forged 14 new partnerships, provided technical assistance in the course of 16 tribal community collaborations, provided 184 families with direct technical assistance; published 17 case studies and 4 related documentary films featuring the stories of exemplary tribal housing developments, and created online resources and development tools available to each of the 586 Native American Tribes.
Nathaniel Corum | 97
Up on a mesa village in Northern Arizona, a team of tribal college students, community members and volunteers are stacking straw bales like adult Legos, raising straw bale walls, and creating super-insulated structures made with local agricultural material. Once they’ve stacked the walls, they add stucco covering, efficient fixtures, and roofing to collect rainwater. Working together with tribal members through initiatives such as Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative, Make it Right, Enterprise Community Partners and Red Feather, we are creating cozy homes, innovative classrooms, and sustainable village expansions in the American West, Southwest, and in the Northern Plains where there is a dire need for high-quality, cost-effective and healthy homes and community facilities.
WHAT’S NEXT In the spirit of ongoing collaboration, we’re looking forward to a UIC Barcelona workshop
connecting students to indigenous architecture projects underway in the United States. We’ll be examining cultural protocols and best practices that: arrive at site and building designs that are efficient and beautiful, exemplify regenerative land use practices, feature existing skills and materials, and support traditional life ways and cultural protocols. Through collaboration with indigenous and long-term community members, we designers can help ourselves and others to become increasingly native-to-place and to thrive in community and at home.
Bibliography Adobe for Women, (www.eng-adobeforwomen.blogspot.com/ ), ongoing collaborative blog, Oaxaca, 2011-13. Boundaries; International Architecture Magazine, “Free Architecture,” Rome, Spring Issue, 2013. Building a Straw Bale House, Nathaniel Corum, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2005. Design Like You Give a Damn: Architectural Responses To Humanitarian Crises, Edited by Architecture for Humanity, Metropolis Books, New York, 2006. New Architecture on Indigenous Lands, Joy Monice Malnar & Frank Vodvarka, University of Minnesota Press, 2013. Sustainable Native Community Collaborative, (www.sustainablenativecommunities.org/fieldnews/2013case-studies/ ), Enterprise Community Partners, case studies and documentary films, Santa Fe, 2013.
Images: Photos by Nathaniel Corum unless otherwise noted.
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