Top 5 Reasons to Know Your City!

By Federico Silva

Dr. Federico Silva is a Senior Programme Specialist at the Cities Alliance, where he coordinates the Catalytic Fund, one of the partnership's main business lines, and the corporate Results Framework and Performance System. Prior to joining the Cities Alliance, Dr. Silva worked as a project manager for the international NGO CIVICUS and as a consultant for the Italian Ministry of Finance. He is the author of numerous academic papers on international affairs.

Jun 4, 2014 | Smart Cities | 0 comments


Who will you meet?

Cities are innovating, companies are pivoting, and start-ups are growing. Like you, every urban practitioner has a remarkable story of insight and challenge from the past year.

Meet these peers and discuss the future of cities in the new Meeting of the Minds Executive Cohort Program. Replace boring virtual summits with facilitated, online, small-group discussions where you can make real connections with extraordinary, like-minded people.


 

The Cities Alliance has selected Know Your City as the theme of its 2014 Call for Proposals for the Catalytic Fund. For more information, please visit: http://www.citiesalliance.org/CATF-2014-Spotlight

Cities of all sizes are growing and transforming; in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia alone, the urban populations are expected to double over the next 20 years.

Despite major advances in technology, there is little reliable data and recognition on how these urban areas are growing and changing — who lives in the city, where they came from, where they live, and how they earn a living.

This is especially true for informal neighbourhoods, where the vast majority of urban growth is taking place, and which are often completely off the grid of formal planning and governance processes.

A better knowledge of cities can help bridge the engagement, information and accountability gaps between city governments and their citizens. It can also support good governance and inclusive planning. Here are some of the ways cities and citizens can benefit from Knowing Their City:

  1. More effective city planning. Without knowing how many people live in a city and where, it is very difficult for a city to provide services or plan for future growth. Once mayors or city officials have accurate data on the entire city – not just the formal areas – they can make more informed policy choices, such as where to provide services, housing and infrastructure so that residents benefit most.
  2. A more inclusive city. Because the urban poor generally live in informal areas, they are often excluded from the formal governance and planning process and effectively locked out of the city’s economic growth. Once the poor are counted and acknowledged by city officials, a debate can take place about the city’s future involving all residents so that everyone can benefit from the city’s growth.
  3. Better governance and accountability. When residents are counted and recognised as part of the city and as citizens, they can have a voice and participate to the future of their city. They also have the capacity to hold city officials accountable for the progress in their neighbourhoods and push for more transparent and participatory decision making and planning.
  4. Dialogue between city officials and residents. When communities of the urban poor collect data about their own neighbourhoods in partnership with their local and national governments, they develop a constructive dialogue based on collaboration that allows both parties to work together to develop the city. City authorities begin to learn what their residents’ priorities are, and the citizens learn how to work with city officials to improve their communities.
  5. Empowered urban poor. The process of collecting information on their own communities helps the poor mobilise and obtain the necessary tools to interact effectively with local authorities. Once they have acquired the data on their neighbourhoods, residents can create forums to discuss the issues affecting them, develop a community participatory plan for resolving those issues, and how to obtain funding for their community projects.

The Cities Alliance is a global partnership for urban poverty reduction and the promotion of the role of cities in sustainable development. Learn more about us at www.citiesalliance.org.

Discussion

Leave your comment below, or reply to others.

Please note that this comment section is for thoughtful, on-topic discussions. Admin approval is required for all comments. Your comment may be edited if it contains grammatical errors. Low effort, self-promotional, or impolite comments will be deleted.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more from MeetingoftheMinds.org

Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology

Sustainability and Resilience: Not Quite the Perfect Relationship

Sustainability and Resilience: Not Quite the Perfect Relationship

People seem frequently to assume that the terms “sustainability” and “resilience” are synonyms, an impression reinforced by the frequent use of the term “climate resilience”, which seems to enmesh both concepts firmly.  In fact, while they frequently overlap, and indeed with good policy and planning reinforce one another, they are not the same.  This article picks them apart to understand where one ends and the other begins, and where the “sweet spot” lies in achieving mutual reinforcement to the benefit of disaster risk reduction (DRR).

Stormwater Management is an Equity Issue

Stormwater Management is an Equity Issue

As extreme weather conditions become the new normal—from floods in Baton Rouge and Venice to wildfires in California, we need to clean and save stormwater for future use while protecting communities from flooding and exposure to contaminated water. Changing how we manage stormwater has the potential to preserve access to water for future generations; prevent unnecessary illnesses, injuries, and damage to communities; and increase investments in green, climate-resilient infrastructure, with a focus on communities where these kinds of investments are most needed.

Public-Private Collaboration – Essential for Disaster Risk Reduction

Public-Private Collaboration – Essential for Disaster Risk Reduction

A few years ago, I worked with some ARISE-US members to carry out a survey of small businesses in post-Katrina New Orleans of disaster risk reduction (DRR) awareness.  One theme stood out to me more than any other.  The businesses that had lived through Katrina and survived well understood the need to be prepared and to have continuity plans.  Those that were new since Katrina all tended to have the view that, to paraphrase, “well, government (city, state, federal…) will take care of things”.

While the experience after Katrina, of all disasters, should be enough to show anyone in the US that there are limits on what government can do, it does raise the question, of what could and should public and private sectors expect of one another?

The Future of Cities

Mayors, planners, futurists, technologists, executives and advocates — hundreds of urban thought leaders publish on Meeting of the Minds. Sign up to follow the future of cities.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Wait! Before You Leave —

Wait! Before You Leave —

Subscribe to receive updates on the Executive Cohort Program!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This