To curb the spread of the coronavirus, cities must address inequality. City preparedness and resilience are key to withstanding this and future crises.
Cities For All
On average, almost two-thirds of urban residents across 15 cities in the global South lack access to safely managed sanitation, with access lowest in cities of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
New research finds nearly two-thirds of sewage and human waste in 15 major cities is unsafely managed, worsening urban sanitation crisis.
This working paper describes sanitation access challenges in cities of the global south that have been overlooked in global indicators. In analyzing 15 cities, we found that almost two-thirds of urban residents lack access to safely managed sanitation, with access lowest in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. For these households, sanitation services are too expensive or unsafe. This paper highlights four key action areas for cities to improve sanitation access: extend the sewer and simplified sewer networks to household, communal and public toilets; support and regulate on-site sanitation in the absence of sewer systems; support citywide settlement upgrading; and make sanitation services affordable for all.
Historically, cities have upgraded poor neighborhoods by razing and reconstructing them, often displacing residents. But to actually improve affordable housing and give residents access to services and opportunities, cities need a different approach.
This case study describes the history of Surabaya, Indonesia’s inclusive housing policy and how the Kampung Improvement Program became a model for in situ slum upgrading efforts both nationwide and internationally. The paper suggests certain actions that the city can take to maintain its legacy of inclusive housing policy, including prioritizing in situ, incremental upgrading of informal settlements; partnering with NGOs and universities to facilitate innovation; and improving the city’s transportation network and limiting high-end development that displaces residents.
This working paper describes water access challenges in cities of the global south that have been hitherto largely invisible in global indicators. In analyzing 15 cities, we found that piped utility water is the most affordable option, yet, on average, almost half of all households lack access, and most of those that do have access receive intermittent service. This paper highlights four key action areas for cities to improve water access: extending the formal piped water network, addressing context-specific causes of intermittent water service, pursuing diverse strategies to make water affordable, and supporting informal settlement upgrading.
New research finds millions have access only a few hours a day, while others are forced to pay up to a quarter of monthly household income for private provision.
Nearly half the population in 15 major cities in the global south lacks access to public piped water systems, with access lowest in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. For these households without public piped water, water from other sources is either too expensive or unsafe.
A new WRI working paper finds that though cities are hotspots for opportunity, many urbanites find it increasingly difficult to access these benefits, rendering jobs, healthcare and education increasingly out of reach for millions of people.
This working paper describes the decline in access to jobs, services and people that many cities are facing due to the confluence of two trends: rapid urbanization and motorization. In analyzing two cities in the global south – Mexico City and Johannesburg – we found that up to half of urbanites experience restricted access, leading to high travel burdens and/or exclusion from opportunities. This paper highlights three key action areas for cities to improve access: rethinking the role of streets and who they serve, shifting to integrated transport systems, and tempering the demand for private vehicle use.
This case study tells the story of the Via RecreActiva, a ciclovía event that closes more than 60km of streets in Guadalajara, Mexico every Sunday for public recreation and entertainment. The paper explains the benefits that can come to a city that invests in car-free space and how these investments can spark broader change towards a safer and more equitable city.
Every Sunday, Guadalajara closes more than 60 kilometers of streets to car traffic, opening them up for public use by pedestrians, cyclists and performers. Since starting the "Via RecreActiva," Guadalajara has more open space for recreation, a new collective image of public space and a revitalized movement for transit equity.
New WRI research shows that cities in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are expanding outward rather than vertically. As these places grow in population, continuing their unwieldy expansion outward could push them into economic, environmental and social crises.
A new working paper, Upward and Outward Growth: Managing Urban Expansion for More Equitable Cities in the Global South, shows that unmanaged outward growth of cities exacerbates poverty, inequality, environmental problems.
This thematic paper in the World Resources Report, “Towards a More Equal City,” produced in collaboration with Yale University, analyzes data on urban expansion by measuring both the outward growth and upward growth in 499 global cities. It examines the challenge of rapid outward expansion for cities in the global South and highlights strategies cities can take to manage urban growth in a way that ensures more equal and productive cities.
The launch event of the new working paper, Upward and Outward Growth: Managing Urban Expansion for More Equitable Cities in the Global South, co-authored by Karen Seto (Yale University) and Anjali Mahendra (WRI). This is the fifth paper in WRI’s flagship World Resources Report, Towards a More Equal City.
Like many other big, developing cities, South Africa's largest city struggles with spatial inequality, where good jobs and affordable housing are mismatched. To bridge the gap, they've turned to a new planning paradigm called transit-oriented development.
This case study in the World Resources Report, Towards a More Equal City, examines transformative urban change in Johannesburg, South Africa, through transit-oriented development (TOD). The Corridors of Freedom program aims to help reduce spatial inequality in the city by extending bus rapid transit to many new areas and spur new or improved infrastructure for non-motorized transport, social facilities and public infrastructure.
In the most recent World Resources Report case study, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities looks at progress in sanitation in Kampala, where a decentralized system that puts the needs of the poor first now treats 32 times more human waste.