Creating bridges in Xochimilco through the “Pathways to Sustainability Game”

By Beatriz Ruizpalacios, Lakshmi Charli-Joseph, Hallie Eakin, J. Mario Siqueiros-García, Rebecca Shelton, Pathways Network The urban wetland in Xochimilco, Mexico City, and the traditional agricultural areas within it, are undergoing rapid change and degradation, driven in part by the lack of regulation of urban growth near and within the wetland ecosystem. Strategizing on the best…

Gurgaon skyline with skyscrapers and construction

The Power of a T-Lab: Sharing lessons on water and justice in Gurgaon, India

by Dinesh Abrol, Pravin Kushwaha and Bikramaditya K. Choudhary, South Asia Sustainability Hub & Knowledge Network. As big cities change rapidly, people moving into them can struggle for access to basic services like clean water and sanitation. One such city is Gurgaon, a secondary city that’s experienced rapid urban transition over the last two decades….

A colourful chart showing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Democratizing public health and urban sustainability: how can nexus framings be useful?

By Saurabh Arora (SPRU, University of Sussex, UK) and Leandro Giatti (SPH, USP, Brazil) Public health and urban sustainability are inextricably linked. The World Health Organization (WHO) has emphasized this, drawing attention to the critical interdependence of the UN’s third Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) – ‘good health and well-being’ – with ‘sustainable cities and communities’ and…

Flooded avenue in Mumbai with only the tops of cars showing above the water

Why Mumbai’s floods are an urban planning disaster

by Hans Nicolai Adam, Lyla Mehta and D. Parthasarathy, Climate Change, Uncertainty and Transformation project As Houston was inundated by ‘biblical’ rainfall and grapples with extreme flooding and its aftermath, another coastal megacity on the other side of the globe also experienced destructive flooding, albeit on a lesser scale. Within the span of a couple…

Garden cultivation

How Kerala is making the transition towards healthy, home-grown food

In Kerala, agri-food systems are in transition towards self-reliance and sustainability. Through bringing traditional gardening into the mainstream food agenda, and adopting technologies and practices like agroecology, growers and consumers in Kerala are trying to overcome the impacts of external food dependency and related vulnerabilities. Debates on sustainable food systems are still largely trapped in…

Boundary object

How rethinking local people’s agency could help navigate Xochimilco’s troubled waters

Xochimilco, Mexico City is the last remnant of the complex lacustrine system of wetlands that was the basis for agriculture and livelihoods (the chinampa system) in pre-Columbian times. However, the water is no longer provided by natural springs, but is reliant on the discharge of treated wastewater from the neighboring, densely populated and impoverished borough…

City street

How understanding politics and science can help create resilient cities

A new article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) explores how urban resilience can be strengthened by considering social and political norms, values and behaviours alongside engineering and environmental science approaches. The article, Urban resilience efforts must consider social and political forces, is written by colleagues at Arizona State University and UNAM…

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,…

Image of a car on a dusty street.

In the world’s poorest countries, cities could be the test for the Sustainable Development Goals

Ahead of a dialogue event on 13 June, STEPS member Gordon McGranahan discusses how the Sustainable Development Goals present challenges and opportunities for urbanisation in the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The UN’s 2030 Agenda presents a dazzling array of Sustainable Development Goals, claims they are integrated and indivisible, and pledges that no one will…

Why we need to reveal the hidden connections at the heart of cities

By Fiona Marshall and Ritu Priya, STEPS Urbanisation theme Urban areas are intense meeting points of people and cultures, but they’re also places where more or less visible interactions happen: between the infrastructures and systems of water, energy, food and other resources. These connections pose a big challenge for how researchers understand cities – but…