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Livable Cities?

Livable Cities?: Urban Struggles for Livelihood and Sustainability

EDITED BY Peter Evans
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 290
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  • Book Info
    Livable Cities?
    Book Description:

    The sprawling cities of the developing world are vibrant hubs of economic growth, but they are also increasingly ecologically unsustainable and, for ordinary citizens, increasingly unlivable. Pollution is rising, affordable housing is decreasing, and green space is shrinking. Since three-quarters of those joining the world's population during the next century will live in Third World cities, making these urban areas more livable is one of the key challenges of the twenty-first century. This book explores the linked issues of livelihood and ecological sustainability in major cities of the developing and transitional world.Livable Cities?identifies important strategies for collective solutions by showing how political alliances among local communities, nongovernmental organizations, and public agencies can help ordinary citizens live better lives.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93597-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Tables and Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface Sustainable Cities: Structure and Agency
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Manuel Castells
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. 1 Introduction: Looking for Agents of Urban Livability in a Globalized Political Economy
    (pp. 1-30)

    The poor cities of the developing world are often vibrant hubs of global economic and cultural activity, but they are also ecologically unsustainable and, for ordinary citizens, increasingly unlivable. Three-fourths of those joining the world’s population during the next century will live in Third World cities. Unless these cities are able to provide decent livelihoods for ordinary people and become ecologically sustainable, the future is bleak. The politics of livelihood and sustainability in these cities has become the archetypal challenge of twenty-first-century governance.

    From Bangkok to Mexico City, levels of air and water pollution are rising. Getting to work takes...

  7. 2 Urban Poverty and the Environment: Social Capital and State-Community Synergy in Seoul and Bangkok
    (pp. 31-66)

    Over the past three decades East and Southeast Asian countries have been experiencing massive shifts of population from rural to urban areas. From levels of less than 25 percent in the 1960s, most countries are expected to have the majority of their populations living in cities within the next two decades (UNESCAP [United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific] 1993; United Nations 1997). While the urban transition is seen as indispensable to the processes of industrialization, economic growth, and material-welfare increase, it has also brought severe environmental deterioration. As urbanization in the region continues at an...

  8. 3 Collective Action toward a Sustainable City: Citizens’ Movements and Environmental Politics in Taipei
    (pp. 67-94)

    We begin with two stories of community mobilization in Taipei. The first is about defending living space. It involves a well-to-do middle-class community named Ching-Cheng, which indefatigably fought against the state-owned power company (Taipower), a large department store backed by overseas capital, and finally the city authorities.

    From 1988 to 1989, this community faced the imminent construction of a nearby power substation. Residents found out later that the increase in demand for electricity in this district resulted mainly from a newly opened department store, which also planned to rent its basement to a brothel. Unhappy, the community’s residents decided to...

  9. 4 Community-Driven Regulation: Toward an Improved Model of Environmental Regulation in Vietnam
    (pp. 95-131)

    Vietnam aspires to follow in the footsteps of the “Tiger” economies of Asia. Over the last ten years, the government has focused significant financial and political capital on advancing rapid economic development and on building modern, job-providing cities. But even with a strong development bias Vietnam has been forced to recognize that rapid growth can have potentially ominous environmental implications—as seen quite clearly in the neighboring cities of Bangkok and Taipei (see chapters 2 and 3). While representing the potential for successful development (although even that has been called into question recently), countries like Thailand and Taiwan also present...

  10. 5 Social and Spatial Inequalities in Hungarian Environmental Politics: A Historical Perspective
    (pp. 132-161)

    “The Best Earth Day Present: Freedom,” the title of an article by Laurence Solomon in theWall Street Journalon April 29, 1990, was a most succinct expression of the prevalent hopes for Eastern Europe’s environmental redemption after 1989. After listing the infamous cases of environmental destruction in former socialist countries, Solomon summed up the bright future awaiting postsocialist citizens: “[n]ow all this [environmental pollution] is being swept away by democracy and economic rationality.” That democratization and a switch to a market-oriented economy will automatically turn environmental matters for the better has been advocated implicitly or explicitly for decades both...

  11. 6 “Water, Water, Everywhere, Nor Any Drop to Drink”: Land Use and Water Policy in São Paulo, Brazil
    (pp. 162-194)

    Without a dependable supply of clean drinking water, no city is livable. Safe, reliable disposal of sewage is just as fundamental. Yet for decades, engineers and politicians recognized that both the drinking water supply and sanitation infrastructure in São Paulo, the largest and most industrially developed city in Latin America, were precarious. The story of São Paulo’s water supply and sewage facilities over the course of the twentieth century is a classic case of failure to move an emerging “world city” onto a trajectory of greater livability, despite the tremendous concentration of human, organizational, and economic resources that were centered...

  12. 7 Sustainability, Livelihood, and Community Mobilization in the Ajusco “Ecological Reserve”
    (pp. 195-221)

    The “irregular” settlements that have grown up in the Ajusco greenbelt of Mexico City pose the contradictions of livelihood and sustainability in a stark and dramatic way. They have also been the site of intensively creative efforts to reconcile the livelihood needs of poor communities with the larger urban area’s requirements of ecological sustainability. For three decades, poor communities struggled on the slopes of the Ajusco reserve to secure the land, housing, and services that they needed without destroying the area’s value as an ecological reserve. At its height, this effort was embodied in the concept of “ecologically productive settlements”...

  13. 8 Political Strategies for More Livable Cities: Lessons from Six Cases of Development and Political Transition
    (pp. 222-246)

    What has looking at Bangkok, Budapest, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Mexico City, São Paulo, Seoul, and Taipei told us about the politics of urban livelihood and sustainability? We began our comparative analysis with two general propositions: first, that any analysis of livability should begin by looking at communities, NGOs, political parties, and “the variegated collection of organizations that constitute the state”; second, that all of these were likely to be imperfect agents of livability and therefore it was necessary to think of agents of livability in terms of “ecologies of agents” rather than single actors. Both propositions were vindicated...

  14. References
    (pp. 247-268)
  15. List of Contributors
    (pp. 269-272)
  16. Index
    (pp. 273-277)