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…

Is more inclusive urbanisation essential to the 2030 Agenda?

The 2030 Agenda promises Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are “integrated and indivisible” and “leave no-one behind”. Yet goals listed have historically been pursued in ways that bring them into conflict with each other. In a newly released paper in Environment & Urbanization, Daniel Schensul, Gayatri Singh and I argue that inclusive urbanisation is central to bringing…

People riding motorbikes in Chennai

The challenges of creating new visions for sustainable urbanisation in India

by Poonam Pandey, from the Centre for Studies in Science Policy, Jawaharlal Nehru University. A two-day conference organised at Jawaharlal Nehru University, in collaboration with the STEPS centre, raised questions about how to bring about critical new thinking on sustainable urbanisation in India. For the creation of new visions for a sustainable city the foremost questions to be…

cityscape

Why India’s urban researchers need to move beyond megacities

Guest post by Aviram Sharma The launch of the South Asia Sustainability Hub and Knowledge Network (SAH&KN) provides a much needed platform to the academic, policy and civil society groups working in South Asia around sustainability challenges. During the launch and afterwards for the next two days in the International Conference on Pathways to Sustainable…

Rethinking ‘smart’ in India: The city as an ecology of practices

Last week, the government of India announced the names of the first 20 cities slated to become ‘smart’. These are the winners of the recently concluded ‘Smart City Challenge’. The government claims that smartening the cities will make them inclusive and sustainable, through the adoption of ‘smart solutions’. In one city, plans include a digital…