Archive for the ‘Area and Ethnic Studies’ Category

Addressing poverty and inequality; new forms of urban governance in Asia

October 16, 2012

Articles examining The Asian Coalition for Community Action (Acca)

From Environment and Urbanization

This issue of the Journal has seven papers on different aspects of an Asia-wide initiative to address urban poverty and inequality at scale – the Asian Coalition for Community Action (ACCA) – which was launched in 2009 and is active in 19 Asian nations. The issue offers a range of papers that report on the scale and scope of this programme, and examine in some detail different aspects of the initiative. The authors bring different perspectives, including those of community leaders from informal settlements and young professionals. Statistics on inequalities usually relate to income or assets, living conditions or health outcomes (such as infant and child mortality rates). But one of the most profound inequalities is rarely mentioned – how those living in informal settlements have no influence on local government or service providers (who ignore them and their needs) and no influence on decisions about development investments and priorities.

The ACCA programme seeks to channel the energy, resourcefulness and motivation evident in the inhabitants of most informal settlements into a larger, more focused and more collective force to address larger problems of housing, access to land and basic services and finance. With the small grants available to them, it is up to each community organization to choose what to do, how best to do it and how to use the money. This forms or strengthens a network of community organizations that can begin to work at city scale.

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The “ecosystem-based adaptation” approach: A critical element in climate change response strategy

April 10, 2012

Exploring ecosystem-based adaptation in Durban, South Africa: “learning-by-doing” at the local government coal face

From Environment and Urbanization

The lack of progress in establishing ambitious and legally binding global mitigation targets means that the need for locally based climate change adaptation will increase in vulnerable localities such as Africa. This paper examines the “ecosystem-based adaptation” (EBA) programme implemented in Durban to consider the opportunities associated with the approach, it also recognizes the limitations and realities faced in the world’s most rapidly urbanizing continents. There are growing calls for biodiversity and ecosystems to be considered critical elements in any climate change response strategy. This paper considers the shift to “ecosystem-based adaptation”. The approach is being promoted as a cost-effective and sustainable approach to improving adaptive capacity. Furthermore, the concept of “community ecosystem-based adaptation” (CEBA) is being developed to highlight the mutually beneficial and positively reinforcing relationship that exists between ecosystems and human communities.

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How Paul McCartney and Liverpool FC seduced China and in doing so Liverpool is set to reap economic benefits of many millions

August 10, 2011

L iverpool at Shanghai: The Expo experience 

From Local Economy 

The city of  Liverpool made a bold move in investing in exhibiting at the 2010 World Expo in its twin city of Shanghai, China. Liverpool was the only city in the UKto take the decision to promote itself there.  The city is beginning to reap the benefits both of inward investment, and of a higher profile in, and strengthened relationships with China. Its display at the pavilion included a wall of music, football from Liverpooland Everton football clubs including the opportunity for guests to have a photo taken with soccer stars past and present, and a welcome from Sir Paul McCartney. The ‘Macca message’ was one of more than 80 films created by Liverpool’s River Motion Group and preceded an introductory 3-D film featuring a Chinese dragon and a Liver Bird soaring above Liverpool. During the 184 days that Liverpool’s pavilion was open it welcomed more than 770,000 visitors. This article outlines how this experience has resulted in astounding economic benefits to Liverpool and its region predicted to be anywhere from £5.5m to £47.5m over ten years, from Chinese students and tourists as well as from increased exports and direct foreign investment.

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The conflicts of the gentrification of neighborhoods through the encouragement of nightlife businesses

May 26, 2011

Dilemmas of the nightlife fix: post-industrialization and the gentrification of nightlife in New York City

From Urban Studies

Nightlife has an important role in the enhancement of the city and for the promotion of gentrification in derelict neighborhoods. Looking back to Misrahi, a developer-cum-landlord of several buildings in the Lower East Side of New York City In the mid 1990s, he rented out 18 vacant store­fronts on one street to bars, restaurants and counter-cultural performance clubs, which he expected to “bring in the hipsters and change the neighborhood”. Indeed, it is evident that within a decade, Misrahi and other similar landlords were successful. The process brought with itself condominium apartments and boutiques for new residents, known often as ‘yuppies’. By helping to create a hipster ‘vibe’ through the encouragement of nightlife businesses, Misrahi had created fertile ground for gentrification in a neighborhood that had not yet attracted the attentions of real estate developers. It is observed however that once gentrification settles in, nightlife businesses have been pushed out of the very neighborhoods that they helped to market as interesting to outsiders. This paper details this contra­dictory process in which this approach, together with rising property values and the tastes of newly transplanted yuppie populations, has reshaped nightlife into a cluster of more upmarket or corporate establishments, while marginalizing underfunded clubs that are often related to alternative and experimental sub-cultures. This transformation also signifies that, in post-industrializing and gentrifying cities, certain nightlife cultures are more valorized than others and that cities are increasingly left with a narrowing scope of nightlife cultures.

This article recognizes a need to provide a critical appraisal of the ways in which academics and governmental officials have, explicitly or not, promoted the gentrification of nightlife and what important aspects of our social and cultural life have been lost through this process. This effort will add an important dimension to ‘the right to the city’ movements, which have largely focused on the right to affordable housing, social services and public space, but very little on the disappearance of important sub-cultural spaces in cities.

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In search of a better life: record highs of International migration

March 9, 2011

Special Issue: Immigration

From International Journal of Comparative Sociology

International migration has reached a record high with ever-growing numbers of immigrants, labor migrants and asylum seekers leaving their homelands in search of better employment opportunities, higher economic rewards, safer political conditions and improved living standards. This special issue addresses two major aspects of immigration: immigrants in the labor market and public reac­tion to immigration.

 

The findings illustrate, rather clearly, the ways that economic behavior and economic success of immigrants, on the one hand, and attitudes and public reaction toward immigrants, on the other hand, are influenced not only by individual-level characteristics of the immigrants and of the local populations but also by structural characteristics of host societies.

 

 

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100 cities ranked according to greenhouse gas emissions

February 1, 2011

Cities and greenhouse gas emissions: moving forward

From Environment and Urbanization

This study examines greenhouse gas emissions for over 100 cities in 33 countries and suggests 28 policy tools that city governments can use to take action on climate change. It looks at who produces the most, and urges a new look at cities and climate change. This paper finds not only variations between countries but within countries and even within cities. Lifestyles and consumption patterns are key drivers of greenhouse gas emissions .“This paper reminds us that it is the world’s wealthiest cities and their wealthiest inhabitants that are to blame for unsustainable levels of greenhouse gas emissions, not cities in general,” says Dr David Satterthwaite, Journal Editor. “Most cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America have low emissions per person. The challenge for them is to keep these emissions low even as their wealth grows.”

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Hosting the 2012 London Olympics may damage rather than regenerate local communities and businesses

October 21, 2010

Visibilities and Invisibilities in urban development: Small business communities and the London Olympics 2012

From Urban Studies

The coming of the London 2012 Olympic Games has been presented as a unique opportunity for the regeneration of east London. This article considers the potential repercussions of regeneration. It warns that the process of clearance of the area and eviction of local businesses for new infrastructure can destroy pre-existing socioeconomic practices and paradoxically erode employment opportunities and the quality of life for existing residents. The study examines the impact the Beijing 2008 Olympics had on local communities, highlighting just how regressive and top-down policy-making can be. The irony is that, ultimately, the Olympics may lead to less diversity in this part of London. This article raises questions about how power-infused visualisations shape the form and character of urban policy interventions. The focus on creating ‘legacies’ has given a renewed impetus to debates over the relationships between mega-events, regeneration and urban change. The article concludes that there needs to be a move away from the dominant metaphor of visibility and the ‘spectacular’, to a greater concern with the less visible elements of urban society.

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Local shops don’t offer enough healthy options: The importance of urban planning to fight an obesogenic environment

September 30, 2010

A tale of two cities: A study of access to food, lessons for public health practice

From Health Education Journal

Using Preston (UK) as a focus, this study maps food access in the city in order to determine access, availability and affordability of healthy food options. The article emphasizes the importance of urban planning policy to ensure access to a range of essential services, including a choice of healthy affordable food outlets, by maintaining the viability of local and district centres. This clearly needs to be linked with transport planning and priority communities groups identified. Through surveys and interviews the results demonstrate that in some areas there are more fast food outlets than general groceries outlets. In areas with a high South Asian population there are more local shops selling affordable food compared to white working class areas. Local area agreements between health agencies and local authorities can offer a way forward, in that they can take into account the expressed needs of local residents. There is a need to engage with the location of shops in urban areas, to ensure they offer a healthy range of options and are sited near to where people live. In addition the number of fast food outlets needs to be controlled and the food they offer improved.

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Courting artists to revitalize American cities

September 22, 2010

Artist garret as growth machine? Local policy and artist housing in U.S. cities

From Journal of Planning Education and Research

In the last ten years the arts, and artists, have come to be seen as catalysts for the revitalization of American cities. This article demonstrates that in most cities, artist housing programs are considered part of an economic development agenda. Once on the fringes of the municipal policy arena, they have woven their way into core areas of urban development policy making. City and state policy makers now see the arts as a potential generator of jobs and tax revenues rather than as expendable luxuries.

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Male Genital Mutilation: Beyond the tolerable?

September 21, 2010

From Ethnicities

This article aims to show that, if Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) warrants the serious attention of policy-makers, then so too, despite quantitative differences, does Male Genital Mutilation (MGM). FGM is viewed by many as marking the boundary of toleration. Regarded as a painful, injurious, medically unnecessary tool of sexual control, inflicted by coercive communities on vulnerable individuals. However Male circumcision is believed generally to be benign, uncontroversial and medically justified. To regard it as intolerable or ‘repugnant’ is, for many, ridiculous. The author aims to enable liberals to overcome, often justifiable, claims of ethnocentricity, in order to develop a consistent approach to harmful cultural practices. The author argues that it is inconsistent not to object to both – even if greater priority is given to opposing the more invasive forms of FGM.

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