Urban Development

INESAD News: Graffiti on the Great Wall—The Hidden Street Art Culture of Beijing

This week, INESAD’s Carolynn Look published an article in the October 2012 issue of Global South Development Magazine, where she is the editorial assistant and contributor:

Beijing, China. Hundreds of buildings tower over the people that bustle between them every day. Some get demolished, some get rebuilt, some just get a fresh layer of paint. But what strikes you as you walk through this eclectic monster of a city is that none of its buildings are covered in tags or graffiti as they are in other metropolises. Or so you would think on first sight. Read More »

Livelihood Diversification: Is That All There Is?

It is practically impossible to look into any part of international development without coming across “livelihood diversification”. It is a process whereby families in poor countries move away from relying on just one livelihood strategy to many different ones.

This is widely accepted to apply to the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America alike. The implication being that helping people diversify their livelihoods would be beneficial to development and poverty reduction, especially for those who cannot diversify themselves. Read More »

INESAD News: “Challenging Accepted Wisdoms: Rural-Urban Linkages in Under-Nutrition”

Action Against Hunger UK (ACF UK) recently commissioned INESAD‘s Ioulia Fenton to help write the Guatemala part of a global report on the role of rural-urban linkages in under-nutrition. What this type of research originates from is the growing recognition that people’s lives in developing countries can no longer be neatly compartmentalised into either rural or urban. Someone who lives in a village and has land will also have to get a job in the city selling trinkets to make ends meet. Meanwhile, those who live in the cities will hang on to family land, work on other people’s farms or perhaps grow food in their city dwelling, something called urban agriculture.

Even the urban spaces we live in are also increasingly ambiguous and frequently an urban city can have a very rural face. In fact, depending on whose national standards you use, each country’s urbanity or rurality can look very very different. Read More »

The Urban City’s Rural Face

When it comes to development most take sides. I am not talking about of one country over another, or good guys versus the not so good guys.  Theorists and practitioners, however, do like to specialise in either ‘rural’ or ‘urban’ development. However, the distinction between the two really isn’t quite so simple. National bench-marks of what is considered urban and what rural certainly don’t help either since, depending on which country’s definition you use, India can be more than 70% or less than 30% rural (1).

Take the city of Sololá, the capital of a municipality and a department of the same name in the highlands of Guatemala. Every municipal capital is considered ‘urban’ by the national statistics office and the city’s latest official population counted 68,120 people residing across four barrios (city sections) (2). Whilst this figure would ‘feel’ far too large to any visitor, warranting further investigation, the image of it built in the mind of a distant reader (and their subsequent analysis of it by students and policy makers alike) will vary greatly depending on which statistic is used by the author: the official city figure or the actual population residing within the ‘urban’ space, which, at 8,851 is barely 13% of that (3). And that isn’t the city’s only rural-urban misconception. Read More »

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