Green motorcycles in the avenue in Paharganj, Delhi. Credit: Fotos593 / Shutterstock.com

Prologue: Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods

Green motorcycles in the avenue in Paharganj, Delhi. Credit: Fotos593 / Shutterstock.com

This article was originally published by SAGE publications in ‘Environment and Urbanization ASIA’. Please visit the link below to view and download the full article.

Prologue

This prologue establishes the case for a comparative study of urban neighbourhoods in cities in developing countries in Asia and Africa to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The authors first outline the debates about sustainable development and sustainable cities. They then discuss the urgent need for comparative and multi-disciplinary research on the internal physical and socio-economic structures of cities and sustainable issues at the neighbourhood level.

Wang, Y. P., & Kintrea, K. (2019). Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods. Environment and Urbanization ASIA10(2), 146–150. https://doi.org/10.1177/0975425319859129.


Khulna mixed commercial area along KDA Avenue. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University

City Profile: Dhaka, Bangladesh

Khulna mixed commercial area along KDA Avenue. Credit: Irfan Shakil, Khulna University

This article was originally published by SAGE publications in ‘Environment and Urbanization ASIA’. Please visit the link below to view and download the full article.

Abstract

Despite numerous complex urban challenges, Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is rapidly growing in terms of both population and extent. This profile captures that unplanned and spontaneous urbanization of Dhaka, which resulted in haphazard spatial expansion and transformation. Its unstable urban primacy is the result of high concentration of administrative activities, jobs and services in this city. Results of unsustainable growth are reflected in the socio-spatial divisions and high-density urban living. The current urban growth has created a strain on housing, urban services, health and education services and facilities, and they, in turn, are severely damaging the sustainability of the natural and built environment. The city requires policies for decentralisation of activities rather than pro-growth planning. An integrated national and local policy agenda and an active city government are crucial for tackling the multidimensional crisis of Dhaka.

Roy, S., Sowgat, T., & Mondal, J. (2019). City Profile: Dhaka, Bangladesh. Environment and Urbanization ASIAhttps://doi.org/10.1177/0975425319859126


Modern view of Johannesburg. Braamfontein is a central suburb of Johannesburg in South Africa. credit: Nataly Reinch / Shutterstock.com

City Profile: Johannesburg, South Africa

Modern view of Johannesburg. Braamfontein is a central suburb of Johannesburg in South Africa. credit: Nataly Reinch / Shutterstock.com

This article was originally published by SAGE publications in ‘Environment and Urbanization ASIA’. Please visit the link below to view and download the full article.

Abstract

The city of Johannesburg offers insights into urban governance and the interesting interplay between managing the pressures in a rapidly urbanizing context, with the political imperatives that are enduring challenges. The metropolitan municipality of Johannesburg (hereafter Johannesburg), as it is known today, represents one of the most diverse cities in the African continent. That urbanization, however, came up hard against the power of the past. Areas zoned by race had been carved into the landscape, with natural and manufactured boundaries to keep formerly white areas ‘safe’ from those zoned for other races. Highways, light industrial plant, rivers and streams, all combined to ensure the Johannesburg landscape are spatially disfigured, and precisely because it is built into the landscape, the impact of apartheid has proved remarkably durable. Urban growth is concentrated in Johannesburg’s townships and much of it is class driven: the middle class (of all races) is increasingly being found in cluster and complexes in the north Johannesburg, while poor and working-class African and coloured communities in particular are densifying in the south. The racial and spatial divisions of the city continue to pose fundamental challenges in terms of governance, fiscal management and spatially driven service delivery.

Abrahams, C., & Everatt, D. (2019). City Profile: Johannesburg, South Africa. Environment and Urbanization ASIAhttps://doi.org/10.1177/0975425319859123


Water tanks, Madurai, India. Credit: Arvind Pandey, National Institute of Urban Affairs

City Profile: Madurai, India

Water tanks, Madurai, India. Credit: Arvind Pandey, National Institute of Urban Affairs

This article was originally published by SAGE publications in ‘Environment and Urbanization ASIA’. Please visit the link below to view and download the full article.

Abstract

Madurai city, in the state of Tamil Nadu, is one of the ancient temple cities of India and has been existing since two millennia. It is the second largest city in terms of area and the third largest in terms of population in the state. Despite this, the city’s population and economy is shrinking. In 2010, the city’s boundary expanded to cover the entire urban agglomeration. But even after 9 years of integration, differences exist between the newly merged areas and the old city. The spatial division in provision of basic services coupled with the characteristics of a shrinking city has posed fundamental challenges in the path of sustainable development. This article discusses the development of Madurai city with regard to its history, demography, economy, health and education infrastructure. It also offers insights into the unique challenges faced by the city and discusses the policy implications for reversal of the retardation of the city to that of holistic progress.

Kundu, D., Lahiri, B., Pandey, A., & Sharma, P. (2019). City Profile: Madurai. Environment and Urbanization ASIAhttps://doi.org/10.1177/0975425319867487


People drive in heavy traffic in Manila, Philippines

City Profile: Batangas City, the Philippines

People visit Chinatown in Manila, Philippines. Credit: Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

This article was originally published by SAGE publications in ‘Environment and Urbanization ASIA’. Please visit the link below to view and download the full article.

Abstract

Cities have always been the predominant centres of political power, economic growth, educational and cultural advancement and technological innovation. However, rapid urbanization and growth of metropolitan cities, especially in developing countries, have resulted to various challenges that national and local governments and institutions fail to address completely. Against this background, small- and medium-sized cities are becoming the new growth nodes of the country. Batangas City in the Philippines is a medium-sized city located in the proximity of the Metro Manila region. This article provides an overview of the urbanization of Batangas City with special reference to its social, economic and urban characteristics along with its pressing challenges. The study highlights the current state of Batangas City with an emphasis on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on health, education and urban sustainability. Finally, the article attempts to conclude on whether the city is gearing towards a learning, healthy and sustainable Batangas City.

Reyes, M. R. D., Daguio, K. G. L., & Gamboa, M. A. M. (2019). City Profile: Batangas City, Philippines. Environment and Urbanization ASIA10(2), 151–175. https://doi.org/10.1177/0975425319863930


People visit Chinatown in Manila, Philippines. Credit: Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

City Profile: Manila, the Philippines

People visit Chinatown in Manila, Philippines. Credit: Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

This article was originally published by SAGE publications in ‘Environment and Urbanization ASIA’. Please visit the link below to view and download the full article.

Abstract

Manila is a primate city with national and international significance. Unlike any other city in the Philippines, Manila has the mandate of serving not just its local constituents, but also a clientele of national and even global scale. Recognizing that the localization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at sub-national levels is a key element in meeting the targets by 2030, it is important to look at how cities have been confronting local challenges relating to the development goals. Focusing on SDGs 3, 4 and 11, this city profile shows that Manila has performed reasonably well against key national and regional benchmarks on health, education and urban sustainability. However, as the city continues to lag behind many of its regional counterparts, key reforms must be undertaken in the areas of local policymaking, targeting of resources, scale of public participation and engagement of national government agencies. Heading into the first four years of the SDGs, the aim of this profile is to recognize and contextualize Manila’s existing urban conditions, best practices and pressing challenges—which would all have a significant implication on how Manila stands to attain SDGs 3, 4 and 11.

Gamboa, M. A. M., Rivera, R. R. B., & Reyes, M. R. D. (2019). City Profile: Manila, Philippines. Environment and Urbanization ASIA10(2), 331–358. https://doi.org/10.1177/0975425319859149


Panoramic skyline of Chongqing, Yangtze river, China.

City Profile: Datong, China

Panoramic skyline of Chongqing, Yangtze river, China.

This article was originally published by SAGE publications in ‘Environment and Urbanization ASIA’. Please visit the link below to view and download the full article.

Abstract

Small- and medium-sized cities have not received enough scholarly attention in China. In fact, these cities have a larger share of urban population than large-sized cities. Therefore, the paper focuses on one such typical medium-sized city in North China named Datong; a resource-reliant city with a long history but undergoing a difficult phase of transformation. Its industrial structure is upgrading from unitary resource-dependence to balanced development, but it is also accompanied by recessive unemployment and a depressed consumption pattern of its residents. Datong’s urban planning generally reflects the ideas of its leaders and often demonstrates high efficiency and execution. However, abrupt change in the leadership has brought new challenges such as constant adjustment and restructuring along with huge investment and financial risks to cities. This model also fully illustrates the self-repairing and error-correcting ability, which is guiding Datong towards sustainable development.

Li, Chenguang, Tao Sun, Lei ZHAI, and Ke Yuan. “City Profile: Datong, China.” Environment and Urbanization ASIA 10, no. 2 (September 2019): 176–92. doi:10.1177/0975425319863928.


Traffic in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

City Profile: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Traffic in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

This article was originally published by SAGE publications in ‘Environment and Urbanization ASIA’. Please visit the link below to view and download the full article.

Abstract

Cities in Africa are experiencing fast urbanization with growing demand for basic services. The city of Dar es Salam, one of the fastest growing cities in the region and the world, is likely to guide the urban future in Tanzania.

Dar es Salaam is the former capital city of Tanzania and retains its importance as most of the government offices were located. However, the whole process of complete relocation of government offices to the present capital city of Dodoma might affect the dynamics in Dar es Salaam in the near future. Nevertheless, it is the leading commercial centre and economic hub in Tanzania and is expected to be a mega city by 2030.

The growth of the city is construed by both natural increase and high rate of migration. However, the city’s organic growth was affected by racial-based residential segregation under the colonial regime, whose imprints are evident to date. In this profile, an overview of Dar es Salaam’s colonial, post-colonial, social, economic and location factors that led to urbanization is provided.

This profile highlights the previous, current and future challenges, and explores the pathways to enhance sustainability and transformation of Dar es Salaam to be a smart city. Poor implementation of master plans led to minimal guidance of city growth, but the current land and and human settlement policy emphasizes on sustainable approach in urban planning including low costs but sustainable settlements even for the urban poor. Such transformation requires government and city management to invest in better planning implementation, creation of database that will inform future planning, improvement in social services such as infrastructure, access to quality and affordable housing, water and electricity supply.

This paper contributes to the existing literature on nature of cities in developing countries, which had been affected by colonialism and poor implementation of policies, and suggest ways in which cities can to become smarter and sustainable.

Todd, G., Msuya, I., Levira, F., & Moshi, I. (2019). City Profile: Dar es Salaam. Environment and Urbanization ASIAhttps://doi.org/10.1177/0975425319859175


A view towards town, Kigali, Rwanda

City Profile: Kigali, Rwanda

A view towards town, Kigali, Rwanda

This article was originally published by SAGE publications in ‘Environment and Urbanization ASIA’. Please visit the link below to view and download the full article.

Abstract

Rwanda is experiencing rapid development and urbanization in the Post-genocide perpetrated against Tutsi (1994) period. Kigali as the capital and the leading city is undergoing remarkable changes in the process of modernization. This is being done through the rejuvenation of commercial areas, building of new business offices and quality infrastructure, improvement of urban service delivery, tourism and industrial development (Kigali Special Economic Zone). Together with a clean city policy, the City of Kigali is now known to be one of the cleanest cities in Africa. This has been effectively achieved through consistent and integrated urban policies.

However, the city has been facing challenges related to informal settlements and equitable provision of urban services to all residents. In this paper, data from secondary sources, mainly official reports, policy documents and academic papers, are presented and discussed through various perspectives related to the urban growth of Kigali. Likewise, the implications of existing policies on the implementation of strategic initiatives have also been highlighted.

Manirakiza, V., Mugabe, L., Nsabimana, A., & Nzayirambaho, M. (2019). City Profile: Kigali, Rwanda. Environment and Urbanization ASIA10(2), 290–307. https://doi.org/10.1177/0975425319867485


Understanding the Neighbourhood Concept and Its Evolution: A Review

This article was originally published by SAGE publications in ‘Environment and Urbanization ASIA’. Please visit the link below to view and download the full article.

Abstract

Though the concept of neighbourhood continues to remain relevant both in scholarship and in policy circles, it remains fluid and contested, as there is no agreed definition on what exactly it is. It has variously been defined as a place, a community and a policy unit. This article, which is based on the review of relevant literature, reviews how it has evolved both as an academic concept and research unit and how it has been construed by scholars, in addition to understanding its relevance in policy and research circles. By synthesizing literature in these critical areas, the review provides a condensed knowledge, which help to shape our current theoretical understanding on the neighbourhood perspective.

Baffoe, G. (2019). Understanding the Neighbourhood Concept and Its Evolution: A Review. Environment and Urbanization ASIAhttps://doi.org/10.1177/0975425319859115