Latest news and publications from IIED's Human Settlements Group.
IIED urban newsletter
Welcome to our latest urban newsletter.

In the run up to our major international conference on humanitarian response to urban crises, we have a number of ways you can participate or read about the issues even if you are not able to attend in person. We will be hosting a Twitter chat on Wednesday 8 November; from 8 - 22 November we are giving a fortnight of free access to our latest Environment and Urbanization journal which focuses upon effective responses in urban crises; and we have published the latest of our reports around the issue which you can download for free. A follow up of the event will be published on the IIED website, so look out for that too. 

As always, our newsletter also shares our recent news, blogs and work from the last two months. All the publications listed and many more are available to download free of charge. Print copies of publications will continue to be sent where requested. Please do feel free to get in touch with any feedback.

Kate Lewis – Human Settlements Group

Latest news

Join our Twitter chat on effective humanitarian response in urban crises

In the lead up to our international event on urban humanitarian crises on 15 - 16 November, we are hosting a Twitter chat on Wednesday 8 November from 2-3pm (GMT), and we encourage you to join in. The chat will discuss how best to respond to crises in urban areas, and how we can achieve more effective and collaborative responses to crises in urban settings. To read the prepared questions and join the chat, visit the IIED website and follow #urbancrises from 2-3pm on 8 November. Set your alarm!

Fortnight of open access to latest E&U journal

To coincide with our urban crises event, Environment and Urbanization will give full open access for two weeks to the latest journal which explores the growing field of humanitarian activity in urban areas of the Global South. You can access the journal free of charge from 8 - 22 November. 

E&U China virtual special issue cover
Special online issue of E&U of Chinese urbanisation available

Environment and Urbanization has published many papers on China since its inception. We have collated them together in a virtual special edition with an editorial from Bingqin Li, Chinese Social Policy Program, Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales.

Urban ARK
Urban ARK feeds into special approach to slum upgrading, Nairobi

In August 2017 Nairobi City Council officially declared Mukuru as a Special Planning Area (SPA) - exciting and radical news as it means the council are taking the upgrading of Mukuru seriously and it provides an opportunity for communities to be heard in a meaningful way.

The Urban Africa - Risk Knowledge (ARK) programme has been working closely with SDI Kenya to help provide approaches to understand the nature and scale of risk in Mukuru, one of the largest slums in Nairobi. This will help to ensure that expert-led and technical assessments of risk do not override those  priorities of residents. It is still early days – but the approach has strong potential for transformative change across a wider scale. 

Cities Alliance
IIED to participate in first Cities Alliance Assembly

IIED became a full member of the Cities Alliance earlier this year – and we will be attending our first Cities Alliance Assembly as members in December. This is a good opportunity to develop new working partnerships with other Cities Alliance members and to combine our efforts with them to address the challenges facing cities and informal settlements. 

IIED's urban matters blog


IIED's Urban Matters blog focuses on urban poverty, reducing urban risk and rural-urban linkages. It is part of IIED’s hub for research and action to influence policy and practice.
Peace wall painted by youth organisations, Mukuru
A special approach to slum upgrading: the Special Planning Area in Mukuru, Nairobi

The idea of a Special Planning Area might not immediately be alluring. But for the residents of Mukuru, one of the largest ‘slums’ in Nairobi, this mundane phrase hides the potential for a radical transformation in their homes and lives.
Jakarta informal settlement  © Wikipedia Commons
Are impact investors missing a trick by overlooking local communities?

Guest blogger Katharina Neureiter, investment lead of DFID's Infrastructure for Economic Development programme, explores whether impact investors are missing a trick by not engaging with community groups. 
Southwark, London © Getty
How can compact cities keep house prices under control?

An increased urban population density can generate significant economic return. However, the risks of increased density within cities must be managed and investment in public transport and housing is essential for compact cities to function effectively. 


Urban refugees in Delhi
Urban refugees in Delhi: identity, entitlements and well-being

Urban refugees in Delhi, including Sikh and Christian Afghan and Rohingya refugees, face myriad problems that affect their ability to live meaningful lives in the city: no legal frameworks to guarantee their protection; difficulty attaining sustainable livelihoods; discrimination; and poverty. Both groups struggle to achieve self-reliance and realise their aspirations. This study explores the historical, political, and social factors that have contributed to such a state of insecurity, and poses an alternative way of supporting refugee self-reliance, using the Capability Approach.
Water resource management under a changing climate in Angola's coastal settlements
Water resource management under a changing climate in Angola's coastal settlements

Angola's civil war caused a massive population movement from rural conflict areas to low-lying coastal zones. Climate-related risks are worsening and it is important to understand and prepare for them. Angola's coastal areas are experiencing increasing variable rainfall and pressure on water supplies and markets but a dearth of relevant data has made it difficult to assess these risks. This paper demonstrates innovative methods in filling the information gap and how changes were introduced in how water is governed in four Angolan coastal cities.
Water, crises and conflict in MENA: how can water service providers improve their resilience?
Water, crises and conflict in MENA: how can water service providers improve their resilience?

Protracted conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have left tens of millions of people in need of humanitarian and development assistance to have access to water. But the capacity of local water service providers has decreased as conflicts and population movements across the region have continued, mainly towards urban areas. Other actors have played an important role in filling gaps in supply. This study analyses all these actors’ responses to continuing the supply of water during conflicts, focusing on factors of resilience building that particularly concern local service providers.
Civilian Protection in Urban Sieges: Capacities and practices of first responders in Syria
Civilian Protection in urban sieges: capacities and practices of first responders in Syria

Urban conflict in Syria has had devastating impacts on besieged civilians targeted by deliberate bombing and human rights abuses. Local actors, some with an overt humanitarian mandate, engage in first response activities, but often lack sufficient training, equipment and operationalisation. Our research from four besieged urban areas finds a range of capabilities, understandings and mandates within six different sets of organisations involved in first response. Our mixed-methods research methodology points to a strong evidence-base of the needs and strengths of organisations undertaking first response, and how external agencies can better support them.
Upholding the rights of urban refugees in Uganda
Upholding the rights of urban refugees in Uganda

Uganda is at the centre of current debate on urban refugees. The country’s Refugees Act 2006, which establishes refugees’ rights to live, work and own land in urban areas, has been hailed as exemplary and a global model for humanitarian responses. However, new evidence on refugee livelihoods in Kampala suggests that the rights to work and move freely, and without fear, are often unmet in urban areas. This briefing outlines the barriers to upholding the rights of urban refugees in Uganda, and recommends ways in which these may be overcome.
Financing the Urban Transition: Policymakers’ Summary
Financing the Urban Transition: Policymakers' summary

Urbanisation is one of the most important potential drivers of productivity and growth in the global economy. But if countries and cities are to capture the productivity benefits of urban growth while minimising the costs, cities will need to shift to a more economically and environmentally sustainable growth pattern. This policy brief focuses on the role of national governments in mobilising and directing urban finance, with the aim of supporting policymakers and practitioners to think systematically about financing compact, connected, and coordinated urban development.

Partner spotlight

Asian Coalition for Housing Rights
The Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR) is a longstanding partner of ours. ACHR is a coalition of Asian professionals, NGOs and community organisations committed to finding ways to make change in the countries where their work is rooted - change that goes along with the particular realities of their own cultures, politics and ways of doing things. Through this collaborative work over many years, the coalition has found that they had one crucial thing in common: a belief that the key resource to solve poverty and housing problems is the people who experience those problems directly. The poor themselves represent Asia’s greatest and least-tapped development force.
Copyright © 2017 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences