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From the MDGs to the SDGs and Habitat III

Journal article, 328 pages

In 2015, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were replaced by the Sustainable Development Goals. And the UN Conference Habitat III to be held in October 2016 is meant to agree on “the new urban agenda” through which these goals are to be met. This issue of Environment and Urbanization looks critically at whether the much-needed changes in urban policy and practice will be achieved. It includes papers on:

• what inclusive urbanization actually means (and whether governments will act on it)
• the rapidly expanding urban agenda but with diminishing expectations for Habitat III
• the return to large, heavily subsidized and inappropriate mass housing
• the high rates of return that can come from good urban policy
• whether we need a new urban agenda for refugees/those displaced by conflict
• whether urban centres are taken seriously in the post-2015 Agenda
• indicators that allow cities to measure and monitor their SDG performance
• missing the MDG targets for water and sanitation in urban areas
• getting public and environmental health back into urban agendas

The papers on climate change in cities examine how vulnerability and adaptation are shaped by particular spatial contexts, community practices and political decisions in Dakar, Brazilian municipalities and Rio Branco.

Papers in Feedback describe the varied responses to inadequate services and infrastructure in urban areas, with a particular focus on informal settlements. These encompass young entrepreneurs providing critical sanitation services in Kisumu, urban poor federations building housing in Mumbai, and wetland communities adapting to flood risk in Kampala.

Other papers examine the effectiveness of communal toilets in Kisumu, the decline of rental housing in Mumbai, and how the Ahmedabad government’s infrastructure projects not only displaced large numbers of low-income groups, but also passed on costs as well as maintenance and management responsibilities to those in the resettlement sites.

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