Tag Archives: urban ecosystems

Viewpoints: The informal as the “city” in urban Africa: Experience from Kampala

Shuaib Lwasa
Makerere University, Uganda

shutterstock_129730406 (1)Cities in developing countries have grappled with spatial planning, infrastructure, housing and, more recently, fragmented and “runaway” development. Spatial plans largely remain at a strategic level and less at the neighborhood scale, where there is a disjuncture between the envisioned urban layout and the actual development (Lwasa, 2013). The coupling of these multiple challenges has rendered planning a failure, resulting in a continued organic development of “informal” cities with diverse infrastructure and services that contrast with centralized systems used as the benchmark for measuring progress of a formal city. In this article, I postulate that the “informal city” is actually the city. Continue reading

Viewpoints: Opportunities and limitations in the private provision of public urban ecosystem services

Alessandro Ossola, shutterstock_280085912
University of Melbourne, Australia

The number of publications on urban ecosystem services (ES) has increased dramatically in recent years. While numerous studies have investigated ES provision from the public realm (e.g., public green spaces, urban parks and reserves, streetscapes) (Lovell & Taylor, 2013), fewer have explicitly accounted for the provision of public ES from residential gardens and, more generally, the private realm (e.g., Cameron et al., 2012; Larson et al., 2015). This article will highlight some major opportunities and limitations regarding the private provision of public ecosystem services (PPPES) in order to offer some stimuli for further research and facilitate interactions between researchers and urban practitioners interested in ES provision.

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Viewpoints: Ecologically-Smart Cities: Keeping Urban Ecosystems Centre Stage In India’s Smart Cities Programme

8. A tree branch provides shade and shelter for a makeshift cradle, holding the sleeping child of a street vendor iHarini Nagendra
Azim Premji University, India

On a path of accelerated urbanization, India is going through substantial changes in its land cover and land use. In 1950, shortly after Indian independence, only 17% of the country’s population lived in cities. Today, India’s urban population stands at 33%. India contains three of the world’s ten largest cities, Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata; as well as three of the world’s ten fastest growing cities, Ghaziabad, Surat, and Faridabad. In the past two decades, the area covered by Indian cities has expanded by a staggering 250%, covering an additional 5000 square kilometers of India’s surface with concrete, asphalt and glass (Nagendra et al., 2013). Projections indicate that more than 50% of India’s people will be living in cities by 2050 (United Nations, 2014). This massive urbanization will pose large scale challenges for urban resilience and sustainability, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable: the urban poor, migrant workers, traditional village residents.

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