As the combined problems of urbanization, environmental degradation, and poverty become increasingly urgent, understanding the links between sustainability and poverty reduction is imperative. A sustainable urban future for all requires raising the quality of life of the most vulnerable. Existing at the margins of urban life, low-income residents of cities in the global South are subject to numerous environmental burdens and are too often excluded from mainstream development and planning. In the face of these challenges, communities have proven to be remarkably resilient and innovative, with tremendous potential both to improve the quality of their own habitat and to contribute to the development of healthy and productive cities. The research presented in this book attempts to show how this potential can be harnessed, by showcasing sustainable solutions developed by the urban poor themselves.
The book’s case studies were conducted in the growing urban and peri-urban areas of Peru, Senegal, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Thailand, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They outline concrete strategies for sustainable urban living and design, developed in partnership with low-income city dwellers. The book offers insights into both theory and practice, which will be useful and inspiring to students, researchers, development practitioners, and policymakers alike.
Mélanie Robertson is a senior program officer at IDRC in Ottawa, Canada. She has over 10 years of experience leading research projects on sustainable natural resource management and urban issues in Asia, West Africa and Southern Africa. She holds a PhD in geography from the Université de Montréal, Canada, and has done postdoctoral research at the Institut Français d’Urbanisme of the Université de Paris VIII.