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Local Agenda 21

URBAN SOCIETY | Social inclusion

This section highlights initiatives promoting social inclusion, including strategies for ‘people-friendly’ city services, for child-centred provisions, fully participative urban regeneration schemes, immigrant absorption programmes, and citizen education projects.

quick links

local level city level
  international level websites

local level

Lopes, Felipe & M. Mikhael de Thyse - Fighting Poverty through Rehabilitation of Poor Neighbourhoods - UN-HABITAT [pdf]

Portugal - The two methods most frequently used by municipalities to renovate a neighbourhood are to demolish existing housing, in order to make room for new housing, or to undertake expense work to increase the tourist or commercial value of the area. Both methods reject marginalised populations by pushing them to the periphery.
That is why the municipality of Lisbon opted for a third way, not seeking a radical transformation but instead limiting intervention to the strict minimum necessary to render the decaying zones inhabitable.

Schusterman, Ricardo & Ana Hardoy (1997) - "Reconstructing social capital in a poor urban settlement: the Integral Improvement Programme in Barrio San Jorge" - Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 9, No. 1, April 1997 - IIED [pdf]

Argentina - This paper describes how the continuous support
provided by an external team over a ten year period in a lowincome
informal settlement in Buenos Aires (Barrio San Jorge) resulted in a development process which helped to improve living conditions, to change the inhabitants’ relationship with society and to reduce the deprivations normally associated with low income. This case study suggests that many low-income illegal settlements need a long and continuous support programme to allow the many kinds of deprivation and illegality their inhabitants face to be addressed. Poverty is not “solved” through one or two quick, sectoral interventions. Action is needed on many fronts. But this case study also shows the important catalytic role that international funds can have in helping low-income communities develop their own representative organizations. This is important for allowing them to address their own problems but it is
also central to them being able to successfully negotiate with their own local governments and utilities for the infrastructure and services to which they are entitled.

Sepúlveda, M.A.; G. López & Y.Guaimaro (2001) - Creciendo en EL Barrio: Percepciones del Entorno - Universidad Metropolitana, Caracas [pdf]

En los países del Tercer Mundo desde hace décadas se ha enfrentado un creciente proceso de urbanización y aumento de la pobreza, el resultado de ésto es la impresionante proliferación de barrios, también conocidos como favelas y tugurios en otros países, todos los cuales, comparten las condiciones de pobreza y miseria.
Los barrios son vecindades no planificadas, típicamente iniciadas por invasores sin reconocimiento legal o de derechos, que carecen de los servicios básicos tales como provisión estable de agua, servicios de excretas, adecuada recolección de basura, electricidad, etc. quedando de esa forma sus habitantes expuestos a enfermedades, delincuencia y desastres naturales. Carecen de suficientes escuelas, hospitales, adecuado transporte y comunicación con la ciudad, así como lugares públicos donde la comunidad pueda socializar. Los gobiernos nacionales y los locales han tratado de responder a este fenómeno sin éxito, en la mayoría de los casos los barrios son vistos como algo a ser eliminado en vez de verlos como un valor de la ciudad con un potencial por descubrir.

Silas, Johan (1999) - Indonesia 1997-1999 - Post Crisis and the need for intervention - ACHR [pdf]

The problem is never focussed to the good act of the people, but the place where the act is performed. Being poor is the reason for a person not able to provide a proper place to do the act of looking after the family. Hence the existence of street hawkers and slums is not the willing mistake of the poor but the failure of local governments to perform the mandate given by the people.

UN-Habitat (2002) - Best Practice - Safh Al Nuzha Urban Development Project [pdf]

Jordan - The purpose of the initiative was to recruit active participation of children (males, 12-18 years) in Safh AI-Nuzha neighborhood in Amman, in order to stimulate community members and civic authorities to champion their rights to be cared for and reconstruct a social environment where they would be important and appreciated collaborators.

UN-Habitat (2002) - Best Practice - Partnership between Shack Dwellers and a Local NGO Housing Lobby Group, Windhoek [pdf]

Namibia - The purpose of the initiative is to improve the lives of the urban poor in Namibia. The objective has been to assist local residents to organize themselves through saving schemes that offer democratic, accountable, and representative organizations able to use their own resources and negotiate with the state for additional resources in order to address local development needs as defined by the members themselves.

city level

Antoine, Philippe; Mireille Razafindrakoto & François Roubaud (2001) - Contraints de rester jeune ? Evolution de l’insertion dans trois capitales africaines : Dakar, Yaoundé, Antananarivo - DIAL [pdf]

Victimes de la crise prolongée que traversent leurs pays, les jeunes des trois capitales africaines (Dakar, Yaoundé et Antananarivo) se trouvent contraints de reporter le calendrier des événements
marquant leur entrée dans la vie adulte. Un recul de l’âge aussi bien d’accès au premier emploi rémunéré, que d’autonomie résidentielle et de constitution de la famille est observé des générations aînées aux plus jeunes. Le sort de ces derniers est d’autant plus inéquitable que, ni leur niveau d’éducation plus élevé, ni le fait de différer leur passage au statut d’adulte, ne leur permet d’échapper à une dégradation de leurs conditions, relativement à celles connues par leurs parents, au moment de leur insertion. On assiste même à un ajustement par le bas dans la mesure où les plus éduqués chez les jeunes, au lieu d’être préservés, sont plus affectés par la détérioration du contexte économique.

Corubolo, Enrico (1999) - Urban Management and Social Justice. Space, power and modernity - March 1999 ESF-NAERUS Workshop [pdf]

A possible way of looking at development issues is by considering their inherently moral nature: an overall betterment in living standards can be and usually is advocated on the basis that all human beings deserve to live in decent conditions so as to allow them to enjoy equal opportunities. More than that, morality also reflects a concern with how differential treatment can be justified in society. In providing a background for the whole development discourse, the theme of social justice thus becomes an expression of the moral interrogatives raised in the allocation of the conditions by which improvements in living conditions can be arrived at, as well as in the definition of the measures to arrive at such conditions. As a consequence, also the significance attached to social justice can be very diverse, as an expression of different views of the world and hence of different sets of normative tools to act within it.

UN-Habitat (2002) - Best Practice - Urban and Environmental Rehabilitation of Sao Bernardo do Campo Watershed [pdf]

Brazil - The project aims at improving the quality of life and enhancing social integration of the population residing in squatters settlements in watershed preservation areas.It aims at fostering their involvement and awareness in the preservation of these springs and headwaters, improving the quantity and quality of the water available, as well as to rehabilitate the Watershed of the Billings Reservoir which is of crucial importance to the Greater Metropolitan Sao Paulo Area.

UN-Habitat (2002) - Best Practice Revitalization of the Social Fabric and Housing Programme, Santa Maria da Feira [pdf]

Portugal - This programme allowed 261 families to gain access to adequate housing and it assisted 300 families as part of the project that fights poverty. This rehousing was accompanied by initiatives that promoted social re-integration, by reorganizing daily living and by offering a whole set of practices that are inherent to its new living framework.

UN-Habitat (2002) - Best Practice - People Friendly city, Baku [pdf]

Azerbaijan - Baku city became more clean, comfortable, beautiful site due to the newly built and restored ancient buildings, monuments of the ancient culture, architecture, sculptures and mosques. The broken roads in the city and its surroundings are maintained and also sport and recreation zones have been built. The inhabitants themselves say, "Baku city became the most beautiful city for people that dreamt of living life in peace and dignity"

UN-Habitat (2002) - Best Practice - Rosario: The New Citizenship Landscape [pdf]

Argentina - The Municipality of Rosario is carrying out the Municipal Decentralization Program and has created six District Municipal Centres that reduce bureaucracy and make management and assistance more effective. It also increases citizens' participation in social and urban development of their neighbourhoods. In order to create institutional mechanisms of participation and to utilise the creativity of the new citizens, the Municipal Executive undertook the Project called Rosario: The City of Children in 1996.

UN-Habitat (2002) - Best Practice -Gender & Citizenship in the Integrated Program for Social Inclusion, Santo Andre [pdf]

Brazil - The Integrated Program for Social Inclusion (PIIS) aims to develop various joint and simultaneous actions, in the same urban territory, focusing on social inclusion and managed with a participatory approach. The Program is based on the concept that social exclusion is multidimensional, involving economic, social, urban, cultural, and political factors that articulate and reinforce each other.

international level

Beall, Jo (2002) - "Globalization and social exclusion in cities: framing the debate with lessons from Africa and Asia" - Environment & Urbanization, Vol 14 No 1 April 2002 - IIED [pdf]

This paper considers the contradictory roles demanded of city
governments as they seek to keep their cities competitive in an increasingly globalized world economy while also having increasing responsibilities for addressing social problems, and making local economic development less exclusionary. After reviewing debates on globalization, social exclusion and their interconnections, the paper discusses the impact of globalization on the sweepers in Faisalabad (Pakistan) and on livelihoods in Johannesburg. In Johannesburg, the new socially excluded are those who are superfluous to the requirements of the global economy and Johannesburg’s position within it. Exclusionary processes associated with globalization (including changes in the international division of labour) graft themselves onto local dynamics of social exclusion. The scope for government action at national and city level is also reduced by the downsizing of governments, and liberalization, privatization and deregulation.

Ochola, Lynette & Andre Dzikus (2000) - Street Children and Gangs in African Cities: Guidelines for Local Authorities - UN-HABITAT / UMP [pdf]

Local authorities in Africa are increasingly confronted with a rising number of street children and all too often do not quite know how to deal with this growing problem. It is thus the objective of this report to provide guidelines for local authorities in Africa on how to deal with street children in their cities.

web sites



Documents highlighting DFID's published work in support of health and education in urban areas:

"National Social Rehabilitation Centre" - Wakely, Patrick; Nicholas You (2001) – Implementing the Habitat Agenda: In Search of Urban Sustainability - DPU [pdf]

Bulgaria - The National Social Rehabilitation Centre is the first organisation in Bulgaria working to improve the welfare of disabled people. It offers social services and aims at assuring better working and living conditions and social integration for disabled people. In the past, in Bulgaria, people with disabilities were placed in isolated 'social care homes' and young people with disabilities were ignored by society.

"Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development in Greater Mafikeng" - Ibid. [pdf]

South Africa - Administered by the Department of Local Government and implemented the Mafikeng City Council, this project is a prime example of successful
post-conflict reconstruction and development, which aims to rebuild social cohesion back into a formerly divided and neglected area of South Africa.

"Promoting Child Action" - Ibid. [pdf]

South Africa - Children are indispensable partners in the creation of sustainable settlements. The Growing Up in Cities initiative provides ways of engaging their experience, vision and energies in improving urban environments.

2003 Development Planning Unit | Sikandar Hasan | Anna Soave | Khanh Tran-Thanh || Tina Simon