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Exploring Ageing, Gender and Co-producing Urban Space in the Global South

This paper argues that the vulnerabilities and contributions of older women in the Zimbabwean urban environment are rarely acknowledged. The absence of state support and inclusive policies creates an environment for exclusion and ignorance of the needs of older women in the design of human settlements and the provision of urban services.

Alhambra, Spain Source: CityPlanista
Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development Targets: A Possible Harmonisation? Insights from the European Perspective

The Agenda 2030 includes a set of targets that need to be achieved by 2030. Although none of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focuses exclusively on cultural heritage, the resulting Agenda includes explicit reference to heritage in SDG 11.4 and indirect reference to other Goals. Achievement of international targets shall happen at local and national level, and therefore, it is crucial to understand how interventions on local heritage are monitored nationally, therefore feeding into the sustainable development framework. This paper is focused on gauging the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals with reference to cultural heritage, by interrogating the current way of classifying it (and consequently monitoring).

Towards Age-Friendly Cities in the Global South

In the Global South, older persons are often living in poverty and informality and have increased vulnerabilities. Despite the growing stream of literature in the development of inclusive and resilient urban areas in the Global South, there has been relatively little discussion of urban development in an ageing context. This paper seeks to address this gap by asking how inclusive urban environments for older people can be achieved in Global South cities? The inclusive design of cities and the WHO Age-Friendly Cities (AFC) model (2007) is discussed as a driving framework for enabling age-friendly cities. Additionally, this research extends the current literature on ageing and Global South urbanism, foregrounding the spatial agency of older people and the existing strategies employed in the production of the city for older people.

House façades in Surat, India showing colonial style influences and elements with Art Deco influences (Source: authors’ photos).
Urban Heritage Conservation and Rapid Urbanization: Insights from Surat, India

Currently, heritage is challenged in the Indian city of Surat due to diverse pressures, including rapid urbanization, increasing housing demand, and socio-cultural and climate changes. Where rapid demographic growth of urban areas is happening, heritage is disappearing at an alarming rate. Despite some efforts from the local government, urban cultural heritage is being neglected and historic buildings keep being replaced by ordinary concrete buildings at a worryingly rapid pace. Discussions of challenges and issues of Surat’s urban area is supported by a qualitative dataset, including in-depth semi-structured interviews and focus groups with local policy makers, planners, and heritage experts, triangulated by observation and a photo-survey of two historic areas.

Designing refugees’ camps: Temporary emergency solutions, or contemporary paradigms of incomplete urban citizenship? Insights from Al Za’atari. (Under Peer Review)

Millions of people have been forcibly displaced around the world at an alarming rate. In 2018, approximately 70.8 million people (UNHCR, 2018) were living in refugee camps. These camps are the most immediate response to the emergency. However, they have become more than a simple temporary solution, with refugees spending significantly longer than they should. Motivated largely by an economic rationale, the camps are often produced rapidly, cheaply and effectively to accommodate the largest possible number of shelters in the shortest time. The aim of this paper is to explore whether the concept of permanence should be embedded in the spatial configuration of a refugees’ camp in Jordan, or whether the concept of transient and temporary community would better reflect the aspirations of the users. The Al Za’atari camp has been selected as a case study to explore the nexus between spatial configuration and social aspirations of the refugees’ community. Indeed, the findings revealed that the spatial configuration of the Al Za’atari camp reflects social fabric, habits and organization of the refugees’ community. This has occurred to the point that the camp has taken on the appearance of a sort of informal city. This study therefore suggests recommendations to support the design of spatial and architectural solutions that better meet the actual needs of the final users, who are largely disregarded in the current emergency approach.

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