Featuring : Juma Assiago , Coordinator of Safer Cities Programme at UN-Habitat
Moderator : ElsaMarie DSilva , Red Dot Foundation
Prathima Manohar , The Urban Vision
On April 8, 2020, ElsaMarie DSilva and Prathima Manohar both alumni of Stanford Centre of Democracy Development and Rule of Law’s (CDDRL) Leadership Network for Change hosted a webinar on Building Inclusive Cities . The coronavirus pandemic has put a spotlight on the issues of safety and necessities to rebuild just cities where opportunities of urban life could reach all.
An urbanist and social scientist Juma Assiago, Coordinator of Safer Cities Programme at UN-Habitat, lent perspective to the discussion regarding different ideas on building cities for people and not people for cities by integrating urban development into all aspects of national development.
The discussion highlights the following themes:
● Cities in developing countries have been confronting challenges of inequality, exclusions, and settlement. Covid-19 has shown all the fault lines and has highlighted the desperate need for basic health infrastructure.
● Early management issues of pandemic had led the curve to rise and high fatality rates.
● The pandemic highlighted the role of urban spaces and communities in overcoming the
challenges whereas we find low budgets allocated at city level for implementation and working of the cities.
● A large percentage of people working in the informal economy throws light on challenges of coping and adapting in situations with no livelihood.
● In the global south, the concept and tools of safer cities aren’t integrated with the coping
mechanism of urban poor.
● Emphasis should be made on capacities of urban resilience built on people centric and holistic approach and then adapting and transforming them towards sustainable development goals.
● We require transformational development responses with political commitment to inclusive urban development at multi level, application of a range of mechanisms and institutes to facilitate
inclusion, and strong recognition of complementary roles of national and local government.
● Since local governments are the closest to citizens, political decentralisation plays a major role to develop preventive response mechanisms and to work more in favour of basic health infrastructure.
● We need local level governance and social welfare systems that enable better planning at
neighbourhood level where citizens co-produces safety for all.
● We need to use informal social capital to help reinforce new neighbourhood normal by
acknowledging the social exclusion and institutionalise safety as a way to propel empowerment.
“Build cities for people and not people for cities.”, says Juma Assiago
The full session can be viewed here –