Farming in the UK: can we nourish ourselves from this land?

The recent dispute over food prices between the UK’s largest supermarket chain, Tesco, and the UK’s biggest food and grocery manufacturer, Unilever shines a light on a deeper problem in the global food system: our reliance on food that is grown elsewhere. This is compounded by a drive for healthy eating in the UK which…

urban farming india

What does the future hold for Delhi’s urban farmers?

A new digital story and photo book show the dilemmas facing urban farmers at the edge of Delhi and Ghaziabad in India. Surrounded on all sides by rapid urbanisation, industry and even new tourist attractions, the farmers find their access to land increasingly constrained. Their crops, and their health, are affected by rising pollution.

A woman walks along a pipe with a bucket in her hand.

The New Urban Agenda and its 47 inclusions

  Inclusion can be a powerful term, particularly when applied to cities and urbanisation. It focuses attention on the means through which exclusion and inequality are produced and reproduced, and on achieving a more just ‘inclusion’. This is lost, however, when inclusion becomes a catch-all for social aspirations. Other aspirational terms, including sustainability and resilience,…

Learning from Nepal

A new book Aid, Technology and Development: The Lessons from Nepal will be published by Routledge in November. It is co-edited by Dipak Gyawali, who has had long-term links with the STEPS Centre and is a member of the STEPS Advisory Committee (the other editors are Michael Thompson and Marco Verweij). From the description: Over…

Close up image of circuit board lines.

What can we learn from digital transformations?

by Nathan Oxley and Adrian Smith With climate change, inequality, and injustice putting pressure on societies around the world, it often seems that incremental change towards sustainable development is not enough. A growing number and variety of alliances between organisations across civil society, business, politicians and states are calling for something more transformational. So are…

The sugar rush in southern Africa

In a new post on his Zimbabweland blog, STEPS director Ian Scoones discusses a new special issue looking at sugar in South Africa. “It is a good moment to review the political economy of sugar in southern Africa. This is what a new open access special issue of the Journal of Southern African Studies does….

Learning from Rojava: exploring democracy in the midst of the Syrian war and beyond

Ahead of two events on democratic transformations in Northern Syria on 3 and 4 November, Patrick Huff (Birkbeck, University of London) blogs on the extraordinary changes going on in the region and how they came about. Few outside observers would expect to see democracy sprout from the wreckage of the Syrian Civil War – perhaps…

What we talk about when we talk about technology

In casual conversation ‘technology’ usually means something like a device, gadget or machine. Your smartphone for instance, or the satellite navigation system in your car; maybe the car itself, why not? But this conception of technology soon collapses if you subject it to a few quick tests. For example, try asking: Where is the technology?…

Empowering chickens?

In his latest Zimbabweland blog, STEPS director Ian Scoones looks at the latest scheme from Bill Gates to distribute chickens to help poor rural women.

Six grassroots innovation movements, and why they matter

Innovation is increasingly said to be vital for responding to global challenges like sustainable development. Often overlooked, however, is the fact that networks of community groups, activists and researchers have been innovating grassroots solutions for social justice and environmental sustainability for decades. A new STEPS book, Grassroots Innovation Movements (Routledge, 2016) examines six such movements…