City Futures: Confronting the Crisis of Urban Development

Zed Books Ltd.
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Cities are the future. In the past two decades, a global urban revolution has taken place, mainly in the South. The 'mega-cities' of the developing world are home to over 10 million people each and even smaller cities are experiencing unprecedented population surges. The problems surrounding this influx of people - slums, poverty, unemployment and lack of governance - have been well-documented. This book is a powerful indictment of the current consensus on how to deal with these challenges. Pieterse argues that the current 'shelter for all' and 'urban good governance' policies treat only the symptoms, not the causes of the problem. Instead, he claims, there is an urgent need to reinvigorate civil society in these cities, to encourage radical democracy, economic resilience, social resistance and environmental sustainability folded into the everyday concerns of marginalised people. Providing a dynamic picture of a cosmopolitan urban citizenship, this book is an essential guide to one of the new century's greatest challenges.
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About the author

Edgar Pieterse is Director of the African Centre for Cities and Professor in the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics, both at the University of Cape Town. He is also a founding director of Isandla Institute; an urban policy think-tank where he continues advocacy oriented research work. His publications include: Voices of the Transition: The Politics, Poetics and Practices of Social Change in South Africa (2004), Democratising Local Government: The South African Experiment (2002) and Consolidating Developmental Local Government: Lessons from the South Africa Experience (2007).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Zed Books Ltd.
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Published on
Apr 4, 2013
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Pages
216
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ISBN
9781848136274
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
Political Science / Public Policy / Regional Planning
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005. Commentary and analysis typically focused on what went wrong in the post-disaster emergency response. This forward-looking book, however, presents a more cautiously optimistic view about the region's ability to bounce back after multiple disasters.

Catastrophes come in different forms—hurricanes, recessions, and oil spills, to name a few. It is imperative that we learn how best to rebuild in the wake of disasters and what capacities and conditions are needed to improve future resilience. Since the devastating summer of 2005, leaders have made important inroads to restoring communities in more prosperous ways. Resilience and Opportunity is an important contribution to our collective learning from a teachable moment.

Contributors: Ivye Allen, Foundation for the Mid South; Lance Buhl, Duke University; Ann Carpenter, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Robert A. Collins, Dillard University; Mark S. Davis, Tulane University Law School; Breonne DeDecker, Brandeis University; Karen B. DeSalvo, Tulane University School of Medicine; Kathryn A. Foster, University at Buffalo Regional Institute, SUNY; Linetta Gilbert, The Declaration Initiative; Ambassador James Joseph, Duke University; Mukesh Kumar, Jackson State University; Luceia LeDoux, Baptist Communities Ministries; Silas Lee III, Xavier University of Louisiana; David A. Marcello, Tulane University; Richard McCline, Southern University; Nancy T. Montoya, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Reilly Morse, Mississippi Center for Justice; Elaine Ortiz, Greater New Orleans Community Data Center; Andre Perry, Loyola University, New Orleans; John L. Renne, University of New Orleans; Kalima Rose, PolicyLink; Michael Schwam-Baird, Tulane University; Jasmine M. Waddell, Brandeis University; Nadiene Van Dyke, New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation; Alandra Washington, W. K. Kellogg Foundation; Frederick Weil, Louisiana State University; Leslie Willams, LeaderShift Consulting; Jon Wool, Vera Institute of Justice.

Phoenix, Arizona is one of America's fastest growing metropolitan regions. It is also its least sustainable one, sprawling over a thousand square miles, with a population of four and a half million, minimal rainfall, scorching heat, and an insatiable appetite for unrestrained growth and unrestricted property rights. In Bird on Fire, eminent social and cultural analyst Andrew Ross focuses on the prospects for sustainability in Phoenix--a city in the bull's eye of global warming--and also the obstacles that stand in the way. Most authors writing on sustainable cities look at places that have excellent public transit systems and relatively high density, such as Portland, Seattle, or New York. But Ross contends that if we can't change the game in fast-growing, low-density cities like Phoenix, the whole movement has a major problem. Drawing on interviews with 200 influential residents--from state legislators, urban planners, developers, and green business advocates to civil rights champions, energy lobbyists, solar entrepreneurs, and community activists--Ross argues that if Phoenix is ever to become sustainable, it will occur more through political and social change than through technological fixes. Ross explains how Arizona's increasingly xenophobic immigration laws, science-denying legislature, and growth-at-all-costs business ethic have perpetuated social injustice and environmental degradation. But he also highlights the positive changes happening in Phoenix, in particular the Gila River Indian Community's successful struggle to win back its water rights, potentially shifting resources away from new housing developments to producing healthy local food for the people of the Phoenix Basin. Ross argues that this victory may serve as a new model for how green democracy can work, redressing the claims of those who have been aggrieved in a way that creates long-term benefits for all. Bird on Fire offers a compelling take on one of the pressing issues of our time--finding pathways to sustainability at a time when governments are dismally failing in their responsibility to address climate change.
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