Tag: urbanization

Big demographic tides are sweeping the world: how should aid organizations respond?

Recently I spent half day BS’ing (breeze-shooting, obviously) about future trends and challenges for international organizations like Oxfam. Confession: we’re supposed to hate these, but often they’re really fun. A table on demographic shifts got me particularly excited. Great human tides are sloshing around the globe, populations are moving geographically, and their age make-up is […]

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Ditching the Masterplan. How can Urban Development become ‘Politically smart, locally led’?

Guest post from Harry Jones and Bishnu Adhikari, both of Palladium on what urban aid and development can learn from the Doing Development Differently movement The international development community has come some way in grappling with complex problems, but urban development has lagged behind. Urban programmes systematically underperform according to their own results frameworks and […]

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Once every 20 years the UN focuses on cities, but the wrong people will be there

Urbanization guru David Satterthwaite raises the curtain on next month’s big Habitat III conference.   Surprising though it may seem, I once got mistaken for the mayor of London. I was at a conference for mayors in Latin America and not realising the mistake, for half a day I had all the most prominent mayors […]

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Why is support for gender equality mainly growing in urban areas?

Guest post from the LSE’s Alice Evans from the LSE  Across the world, support for gender equality is rising. More girls are going to school. Women are increasingly being recognised and supported in historically male-dominated domains, such as employment and politics. Growing numbers of men are sharing unpaid care work. In short, young women are ‘beginning […]

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China’s meteoric rise: urban boom; NGOs in from the cold; overtaking the US on pollution and tourism

A while ago, the Economist stepped up its China coverage and opened a separate section, putting placing the country on an editorial par with the USA. It’s taken a while to get going, but recent editions have been excellent. Last week saw a great piece on the rise of China’s NGOs (see chart). This week […]

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A week at the Edinburgh festival: good theatre, bad music and great books

Last week Cathy and I spent our annual week at the Edinburgh festival. It provides a high intensity restoration of the mental flora (colonic irrigation of the soul?) before the autumn grind begins. We tend to avoid the ubiquitous stand-up comedy, even though the heckling sounds pretty amazing, and go for a more NGO-compatible diet […]

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How can development NGOs go urban?

Just spent a fascinating week in Nairobi, taking part in a review of our three-year- old urban programme there. Like many large development NGOs, Oxfam’s traditional remit is deeply rural – goats, irrigation, drought, that kind of thing – but the world has gone urban, and so in a few countries, we are dipping our organizational […]

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10 Challenges to 'business as usual' for development agencies: FP2P flashback

OMG, nearly three years on and almost everything on this list would still be on today’s version. But at least I could point to progress, in the shape of specific bits of thinking, reseach and/or programming. on nearly all of them. What new additions would go on today’s list, I wonder? Domestic taxation; resource scarcity […]

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Why is humanitarian work so hard in cities?

By chance, the day before the Haiti earthquake, we were having a discussion at Oxfam about why, when it comes to feeding programmes, disaster relief etc urban work tends to be both harder and less attractive to NGOs than doing equivalent things in rural settings. This reflected an increasing conviction that we need to do […]

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Charter Cities – visionary, naive or bonkers?

Charter Cities are a proposal to build cities from scratch in the world’s poorest nations, outsourcing their design and government to rich countries. Visionary, naïve or plain bonkers? Probably a bit of all three. They are the brainchild of US economist Paul Romer, who explains his idea on this (20 minute) video. He’s serious – […]

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Reshaping Economic Geography – the latest World Development Report

A helpful summary from my colleague Richard King of this year’s World Development Report – the World Bank’s flagship publication. The title is ‘Reshaping Economic Geography’ and Richard found it ‘exciting’. But then he’s a geographer – I found it hard going and fell asleep several times, but maybe that’s the jetlag…..

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