June — The next few decades will see unprecedented population growth in cities, creating new political, economic, social, and environmental conditions that will, in turn, drive new approaches to sustainable development. Across the Global South, informal communities and sectors face the greatest uncertainties as to the future, as they are excluded from basic services, securities, and rights. Yet these gaps and uncertainties also provide informal communities the greatest urgency for change, along with the freedom from more established systems to experiment and shape developments in the cities around them. Follow the conversation as it travels from city to city, and please contribute to the conversation in the comments below.
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June — The next few decades will see unprecedented population growth in cities, creating new political, economic, social, and environmental conditions that will, in turn, drive new approaches to sustainable development. Across the Global South, informal communities and sectors face the greatest uncertainties as to the future, as they are excluded from basic services, securities, and rights. Yet these gaps and uncertainties also provide informal communities the greatest urgency for change, along with the freedom from more established systems to experiment and shape developments in the cities around them.
Follow the conversation as it travels from city to city, and please contribute to the conversation in the comments below. Dhaka, 26 June — Social businesses and student innovations are leading the way in developing better waste management systems in Dhaka. Waste Concern has started a pilot project for community composting in slums and residential areas. This experiment is demonstrating results that may provide a sustainable, inclusive solution for the rest of the city.
See more. The management of solid waste is a massive challenge in Dhaka. With landfills reaching their full capacities, the municipality and community actors are undertaking pilot projects to improve source segregation and the treatment of biodegradable waste, which constitutes 74 percent of the waste produced by the city. Waste Concern , a social business, has started a food waste composting program in Dhaka's largest slums and residential areas to teach communities how to process and decompose food waste that they later sell as compost.
The key to Waste Concern's WC activities has been simple technology and community education. They initially started training families in informal settlements how to separate waste at the source and how they could transform waste into fertilizer. WC then created the framework so that the compost these families produce can be sold back to WC. Keeping the needs of the community in mind, large Indonesian composting drums were brought in to conceal the waste and minimize odor.
Several families use one drum, and each month earn up to Tk. This project has allowed Waste Concern to expand to more affluent residential areas, where they started a similar door-to-door training and waste collection program. This is done at a price that allows them to cross-subsidize their operations. The organization has also opened its own composting premises for their Solid Waste Management program. Their approach was to start composting programs on a small scale and then to form partnerships with the municipality for larger projects.
Waste Concern is now in the process of formulating a larger integrated waste management program between 19 cities, including Dhaka, in cooperation with their municipalities' Private-Public-Community Partnership Schemes. Programs like these introduce new perspectives to city residents regarding waste. Several studies have revealed that South Asian families generally do not consider biodegradable waste as reusable material.
Waste is often dumped on city streets, clogging drains and spreading vermin. Composting projects provide a sustainable alternative to more expensive waste management programs.
As city residents are made more aware of Waste Concern's technology, the youth are mobilized to challenge traditional waste production. One finalist in the Social Business Champs , a competition hosted by the Social Business Youth Alliance held in Dhaka, focused on introducing environmentally friendly plastic bags as an alternative to plastic packaging. Meanwhile in Chittagong, at Asian University for Women, a group of students developed a social business plan for biodegradable bin-liners made from starch, vinegar and glycerin — a cost-effective formula coined by MIT students that can be produced using existing technology and resources in Bangladesh.
These projects indicate a key shift in focus for waste management in Bangladesh. Organizations like Waste Concern are using the experiences and observations from informal settlements to develop projects that may be implemented city-wide. They are also supported by young thought partners who are developing and engineering products and services that will cater to the needs of these communities.
Caracas, 25 June — In Caracas, residents of an infamous social housing complex use paint brushes and barren walls as their canvas to denote the strife, hope, and expressive thoughts of a city plagued with conflict and divided political, social, and economic perspectives. In cities known for innovation, such as San Francisco, Boston, and New York, initiatives like Uber , Lyft , Google's driverless car , Kickstarter , and Couchsurfing show that "innovation" and "economy" have become decisive factors of the 21st century.
However, in depressed economies where centralization and the crackdown on private industry are the norm, innovation and economy may seem like two divorced concepts. Venezuela's economy is in decline, inflation has doubled since May , and there is a lack of traditional economic policies; in this context, what does innovation look like? In Caracas, innovation is not necessarily created by chic and tech-savvy young people like in Silicon Valley. Instead, it is created by artists in El Valle, an area of the city where artists are given the space to become apprentices, and where traditional tools express economic hardships facing Caracas.
In the s, President Marcos Perez Jimenez developed a public housing project on the west side of Caracas for lower to lower-middle class families. He called it "Segundo de Diciembre" to commemorate his coup d'etat which put him into power. Later, the name would change to 23 de Enero , the day the dictator's government was overrun. Today, the social housing building complex is home to artists who have used the walls to innovate with paint and brushes. This neighbourhood is in many ways the political ghost of the city, representing the deaths of past governments as well as the birth of new ones.
The artist community rose at the height of the Venezuelan socialist revolution , adorning the buildings with revolutionary images and representations of peace shattered with violence and conflict.
These murals form of innovative escape from the bustling and frenetic city of Caracas. The walls display messages of lives lost to gangs, conflict, and violence. The street art at 23 de Enero is unique in that it is not directly government-sponsored; it is paid for by community members and several communes, who do receive indirect funding from the central government.
The murals themselves invoke a sense of vigilance, surveillance, protection, and popular struggle. The eyes in many of the paintings are particularly mesmerizing, with a combination of sadness and hope. Some murals express an implicit criticism of the lack of justice, like the mural with a dove suffering from a gunshot through the heart. The murals innovate through their form of expression, moving further away from technology and into expressive strokes that are less common in our technology-driven world.
This mural art is central to the vibe and eerie feeling that envelops this neighborhood and the city's depressed economy.
However, it is also a reminder that in times of strife, art can embrace the lives and hopes of citizens, and that public space can be a canvas and a form of unity in residents' lives. Lilongwe, 24 June — Lilongwe will soon become a city of trash due to the low capacity of the local authority to manage waste.
Poor women in low-income areas are ending the trash story, turning Lilongwe into a city of cash. Lilongwe, like many other emerging cities in the Global South, is facing unprecedented urban population growth due to a number of factors.
In , the city's population stood at ,, with an annual growth rate of 4. Estimates show that the number of people living in this capital city will have more than doubled by With the current population, approximately metric tonnes of waste are produced in Lilongwe every day.
Yet this figure is conservative as it is based on study that was done a few years ago. Waste management is increasingly becoming a challenge for Lilongwe's residents.
The local authority can barely collect all of the waste that is generated — a study showed that the city could only collect and safely dispose of 30 percent of the city's waste. As the problem worsens and the population continues to grow, Lilongwe may soon become a city of trash. Yet in this bleak future, women and young people — supported by the nonprofit sector — are seeing opportunities.
At least 76 percent of the waste produced by the city of Lilongwe is organic , and these residents are taking advantage of it. Driven by the waste situation in his neighbourhood, OWI's founder Stephen Chiunjira mobilized women and young people in the area and formed waste entrepreneurship groups.
Equipped with basic knowledge in composting, the women and young people are making compost manure, which they sell to individuals for use in gardens and to landscaping companies.
The neglected waste that was causing unpleasant smells in the neighbourhood and polluting rivers is now a source of revenue. The city of Lilongwe admits the enormity of the waste challenge it faces. Two years ago, the city government collaborated with two NGOs, a College of Agriculture, and women's groups in informal settlements in a UN-Habitat-funded "waste for wealth" project.
Through the project, women in Mtandire a populous informal settlement were trained in waste recycling, which included composting. The women were linked to a landscaping company called Four Seasons Nurseries, which buys compost from them. About 33 women, most of them illiterate and many of them single parents, are now still making compost, even though the project ended more than two years ago. While the motivation of the waste entrepreneurship groups is to earn a living, they are also cleaning up the city, especially in the low-income areas, where the city council's waste collection services do not reach.
Population growth and urbanisation are fuelling waste generation in Lilongwe. Considering the capacity of the government to handle garbage, the city seems to be headed towards a trash-filled future.
Yet there is hope in the works of waste entrepreneurs, not just for the environment, but for the city's economy as well. Bangalore, 23 June — Children are rarely asked to participate in local politics or in drafting a better neighborhood in which they study and play. A Bangalore-based NGO, however, believes that the only way to achieve child-friendly cities is to bring children into the decision-making process. Their programs train local youths from slum areas to capture their surroundings through digital media and give them a voice at ward meetings — a step that opens up city-making not only in India but around the world.
Indian cities are challenging to traverse by any measure. For children, these obstacles can be even more complex, and children are rarely asked about the difficulties they face.
There have increasingly been movements to make cities more child-friendly and even bring children into the planning process — a step that makes young people more aware of their surroundings while also giving city makers a look inside a child's world.
Recently, children in India's slum areas were asked to map public spaces in their neighborhoods. More organizations have joined hands in giving youth a say in what is happening in their communities — a move that might not just make cities more child-friendly but more livable, too. The Association for Promotion of Social Action APSA in Bangalore has been working to empower children and families in the city's poorest sections to become change agents in their areas.
ASPA focuses on an integrated development approach that asks the community to take a collective stand, increasing their bargaining power on political, social and economic issues. For children in these areas, becoming part of the process to improve their circumstances is often a new endeavor, but central to APSA's belief in a child's right to participate. To get them there, APSA has had to devise creative strategies to build the involvement of young people in civic duties. Selected youth engage in workshops to build skills in graphic design, photography, animation and documentary filmmaking.
The youths lead the entire process, from developing storyboards to writing the scripts and eventually using the cameras and editing. They begin to observe the world around them more acutely, and the various media channels allows them to share issues that matter to them: child labor, child marriage, challenges in access to education, inequitable access to land and housing and water.
Many of the issues might be difficult to bring up in their homes, or even in with neighbors and extended family, so the films give students a medium with which to tackle some of these taboo topics and bring them to the community's attention.
The videos and other digital media help APSA in their goal to build Child-friendly Wards CFW , which it defines as "one that has the active participation of children in local governance in identification and resolution of local community issues and those related to children.
Making child-friendly cities ultimately means that children of all ages are able to roam safely in their neighborhoods with opportunities that support a bright future.
It's a simple goal that often seems challenging in cities where public spaces are being gobbled up and car-focused streets are overriding room for sidewalks and bike pathways. Allowing young people to be part of the process doesn't ensure cities will respond, but if the movement grows and more young people demand change, it will be hard not to listen. Photo credit: Anuradha Sengupta. Johannesburg, 22 June — Johannesburg remains the focal point for economic opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa and is the largest city in South Africa.
Facing global challenges such as increasing urbanisation and economic inequality, the City's current Spatial Development Framework is being prepared to guide public and private investment toward not only accommodating a growing population and an increase in informality, but using these to drive growth and urban sustainability.
Cities as engines of change
School environment and sexual diversity. E-mail: jcaldas fpce. E-mail: lauradafonseca hotmail. E-mail: sofiasantos fpce. Correspondencia para. The purpose of this article was to analyze sexual diversity and homophobia in the Portuguese educational environment, through a comparative study between the results of the 'Sexuality, Youth, and Adolescent Pregnancy in Northwestern Portugal' study and the existing data of the report on homophobia and transphobia from the 'GLBT Education Observatory'.
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