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Informal Cities

Insight into Informal City Futures


Prof Edgar Pieterse - South African Research Chair in Urban Policy & Director of African Center for Cities

“African cities and towns are marked by profound crisis. The visible face of this crisis is the endless vistas of shanty towns."

"The shanty city is by and large the real African city."

Robert Neuwirth - Journalist, author, and investigative reporter.

“In the energetic cities of the future, your most important business partners will be squatters, hawkers, smugglers and pirates. Get used to it."

Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka - Minister for Human Settlements, Housing and Urban Affairs in Tanzania and former Executive Director of UN-HABITAT.

“In a heavily interdependent world, a major source of future fear and conflict lies within the divided city. Cities without slums may well hold the key to a future without conflict. Therefore, we must attack poverty but not the poor; get rid of slums and not slum dwellers and we must remove squatting and not squatters."

"Improving the effectiveness of slum policies can be achieved by fully involving the urban poor and those traditionally responsible for providing slum housing. But this will require more inclusive urban policies on the part of the public sector which must be made more accountable for the supply of urban public goods and services to all."

"For slum policies to be successful, the kind of apathy and lack of political will that has characterized both national and local levels of government in many countries in recent decades needs to be reversed. Much more political will is needed at all levels of government to confront the huge scale of slum problems that many cities face today, and will no doubt face in the foreseeable future."

Alioune Badiane - Director of the Regional Office for Africa and the Arab States, UN-Habitat Kenya.

“The hope of having a house bridges a great social divide. There are many people in the slums who are not poor. It’s just the market cannot afford them anything they want."

Prof Vanessa Watson - Professor of city planning at the University of Cape Town.

“They [cities] are essentially designed for people with money."

"What many of these new cities are doing will result in the exclusion and the forced removal of those kind of informal areas, which quite often are on well-located land"

Prof. AbdouMaliq Simone - International urbanist

“To be able to make something out of being a city resident, for many [Africans] today, means you have to find ways to NOT consolidate, to not defend, to not have your secure little niche, which you hold onto. It means … taking the chances to move through the city, … to deal with walks of life that are unfamiliar to you, because within those kinds of unexpected or unanticipated chances, some new opportunity and possibility might ensue."

Tim Beighton - Group Head Marketing & Communication at Rendeavour.

“Our objective is to provide the basic infrastructure, planning and necessary management framework in creating satellite cities that reverses the current trend of unplanned development and urban congestion in most of Africa's growing cities."

Felix Morka - Executive Director of Social Economic Rights Action Centre SERAC

"There is a more responsible way to engage in development activity. The government must see the people not as marginal to the city, they must be seen as integral to the city. They are part of this population."

Benjamin de la Peña - Associate Director for Urban Development at the Rockefeller Foundation

"It’s very easy to forget that cities are about people…often we consider them as clients or users of the infrastructure rather than the city itself. The analogy would be to look at termite mounds and be fascinated by the mounds but fail to understand the termites."

Trevor Manuel - Minister in the Presidency in charge of the National Planning Commission, South Africa

“Even people who hold formal jobs battle to live in our cities. The poor tend to live on marginal land, in unplanned areas that are consequently poorly serviced; distances are huge and transport costs expensive."

"We need to urgently devise and implement credible plans to intervene and make our cities inclusive; and bring the majority of citizens of our cities into the mainstream and not the periphery."

Prof Peter Newman - Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University and Director of CUSP

“Urban sprawl is finished. If we continue to roll out new land releases and suburbs that are car-dependent, they will become the slums of the future."

Stewart Brand - Author

“Author Stewart Brand (2010) calls squatter cities as ‘unexpectedly green’, and suggests that we need to seize the opportunity that is offered by urbanization by further greening the growing cities. Slums contain maximum density – roughly a million people per square mile live in the slums of Mumbai, India, and they have minimal energy and material use than their city counterparts."



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