Sustainability and Informal Urbanization I: Land and Property Rights

Type: Paper
Theme:
Sponsor Groups: Human Dimensions of Global Change Specialty Group, Urban Geography Specialty Group, Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/6/2020
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Spruce, Sheraton, IM Pei Tower, Majestic Level
Organizers: Beth Tellman, Bertha Hernandez Aguilar
Chairs: Beth Tellman

Call for Submissions

We seek papers that explore the particular role of informal settlements, and how it informs debates in existing urban sustainability issues including land change, property rights, urban politics, social equity, urban and environmental services, and risk and vulnerability.

Paper topics might include:

-governance of urban informal land use regulation, tenure/titling, eviction, and service provision (e.g. electricity, water, and sanitation)
-the political and economic dynamics of urban informal settlements, especially clientelism, rent-seeking, and land speculation
-urban ecosystem services
-vulnerability of urban informal settlements
-strategies for transformation of inequitable social or environmental conditions
-defining, mapping, measuring, or modeling informal urbanization and land use change
-claims of “the right to the city” by residents of informal settlers
-highlighting (or critiquing) smart city, green infrastructure, or payments for ecosystem service approaches that include or exclude informal urban settlements
-the distribution of benefits and costs to different population in strategies to conserve land or prevent urban growth
-the cost of living under informal conditions: human rights vs access to natural resources
-case studies of innovation and experimentation in informal urban settings to tackle sustainability challenges
-representation in urban sustainability scholarship.

Abstracts should be submitted to Beth Tellman (et2663@columbia.edu) and Bertha Hernandez (bhernandez@comunidad.unam.mx) no later than October 29, 2019. All accepted contributors need to register for the conference and provide their PIN to the organizers by November 10, 2019 in order to be included in the session.


Description

Organizers: Beth Tellman (Columbia University), Bertha Hernandez (National Autonomous University of Mexico)

Sponsored by: Human Dimensions of Global Change, Urban Geography, Cultural and Political Ecology

Over 90% of urban growth takes place in the Global South. A large portion of new urban residents move to informal, unplanned settlements where inhabitants have little to no tenure security, may lack basic services, and construct homes in areas disproportionately vulnerable to environmental hazards. Understanding why informal urban settlements exist, how they persist, and equity of urban and environmental services for these populations is essential to research and practice attempting to understand urban land systems and enhance urban sustainability. Informal urbanization drives land change in many cities, often on land that provides ecosystem services critical to urban sustainability, such as water infiltration, flood retention, and microclimate regulation. To be effective, governance of these ecosystem services must grapple with the informal character of urbanization in the world’s fastest growing cities (Nagendra et al., 2018). Urban sustainability relies on the ability to analyze the patterns and consequences of this growth, and to reshape institutions to improve social environmental outcomes. Urban sustainability is fraught with the tension to create conditions for a new model of urbanization that responds to the challenges of our era while facing a constant struggle against unsustainable forms of city growth through precarious housing in prohibited areas. The governance challenge informal settlements represent may require a new approach or new urban agenda (UN Habitat, 2016).

Informal urban growth, or urban informality, is often characterized by urban planners and government authorities as chaotic and ungovernable (Lerner et al., 2018; Roy, 2005). Urban informality has been explained as a product of under-resourced governments unable to absorb the overwhelming rural-urban migration of impoverished populations unable to afford formal housing in a neoliberal era (Márquez López and Pradilla Cobos, 2016; Pradilla, 1995; Schteingart, 1989; Van Gelder, 2013). Others argue informality flourishes because the process to obtain permits to urbanize legally is too slow and bureaucratic (De Soto, 2000), informing strategies to eliminate informality via rapid titling programs in cities with mixed success (Gilbert, 2002; Jaramillo, 2009). Informal urban expansion can be shaped by actors with political and economic incentives to capture votes by providing services such as electricity and water (de Alba and Hernández Gamboa, 2014), ensuring slums are not evicted (Holland, 2016), promising to provide land titles (Connolly and Wigle, 2017; Varley, 1998) and other such strategies. Making these often overlooked social, political and economic dynamics more transparent is critical to the success of urban resilience efforts (Eakin et al., 2017). At the same time, informal urban settlements are sites of resistance, experimentation, and transformation of social environmental systems. Highlighting these lessons of sustainability success are essential to overcoming obstacles to urban sustainability and equity.

References
Connolly, P., Wigle, J., 2017. (Re)constructing Informality and “Doing Regularization” in the Conservation Zone of Mexico City. Plan. Theory Pract. 9357, 1–19. doi:10.1080/14649357.2017.1279678
de Alba, F., Hernández Gamboa, H., 2014. Intermediarios, usos políticos en una metrópolis en stress hídrico en México. Provincia Enero-Juni, 121–145.
De Soto, H., 2000. The mystery of capital: Why capitalism triumphs in the West and fails everywhere else. Basic books.
Eakin, H., Bojórquez-Tapia, L.A., Janssen, M.A., Georgescu, M., Manuel-Navarrete, D., Vivoni, E.R., Escalante, A.E., Baeza-Castro, A., Mazari-Hiriart, M., Lerner, A.M., 2017. Opinion: Urban resilience efforts must consider social and political forces. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 114, 186–189. doi:10.1073/pnas.1620081114
Gilbert, A., 2002. On the mystery of capital and the myths of Hernando de Soto - What difference does legal title make? Int. Dev. Plan. Rev. 24, 1–19. doi:10.3828/idpr.24.1.1
Holland, A.C., 2016. Forbearance. Am. Polit. Sci. Rev. 110, 232–246. doi:10.1017/S0003055416000083
Jaramillo, S., 2009. Hacia una teoría de la renta del suelo urbano, 2nd ed. Centro de Estudios sobre Desarrollo Económico, Facultad de Economía, Universidad de los Andes, Bogota.
Lerner, A.M., Eakin, H.C., Tellman, E., Bausch, J.C., Hernández Aguilar, B., 2018. Governing the gaps in water governance and land-use planning in a megacity: The example of hydrological risk in Mexico City. Cities 0–1. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2018.06.009
Márquez López, L., Pradilla Cobos, E., 2016. Los territorios latinoamericanos en la mundialización del capital. Territorios 17–34. doi:10.12804/territ34.2016.01
Nagendra, H., Bai, X., Brondizio, E.S., Lwasa, S., 2018. The urban south and the predicament of global sustainability. Nat. Sustain. 1, 341–349. doi:10.1038/s41893-018-0101-5
Pradilla, E., 1995. El Mito Neoliberal de la" informalidad" Urbana, in: JL Coraggio (Ed.), Más Allá de La Informalidad.
Roy, A., 2005. Urban Informality: Toward an Epistemology of Planning. J. Am. Plan. Assoc. 71, 147–158. doi:10.1080/01944360508976689
Schteingart, M., 1989. Los productores del espacio habitableestado, empresa y sociedad en la ciudad de México.
UN Habitat, 2016. INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS. doi:10.3402/gha.v5i0.19065
Van Gelder, J.L., 2013. Paradoxes of Urban Housing Informality in the Developing World. Law Soc. Rev. 47, 493–522. doi:10.1111/lasr.12030
Varley, A., 1998. The political uses of illegality: evidence from urban Mexico. Zed Books.



Agenda

Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Beth Tellman*, Columbia University, Meha Jain, University of Michigan, Dylan Connor, Arizona State University, Hallie Eakin, Arizona State University, Felipe de Alba, CESOP, Centro de Estudios Sociales y Opinion Publica, Marco Janssen, Arizona State University, The Role of Institutional Entrepreneurs, Electoral Politics, and Clientelism in Informal Titling and Urban Expansion in Mexico City 15 8:00 AM
Presenter Chantal Rietdijk*, National Taiwan Normal University, The hybrid urban geography of Indonesian cities 15 8:15 AM
Presenter Candice Carr Kelman*, Arizona State University, Squatters, endangered species and a new capital city for Indonesia? The case of Kutai National Park in the 21st century 15 8:30 AM
Presenter Hannah Friedrich*, Oregon State University, Jamon Van Den Hoek, Oregon State University, Breaking Ground: Automating the Detection of Refugee Settlement Establishment and Growth through Landsat and PlanetScope Time Series Analysis with a Case Study in Northern Uganda 15 8:45 AM

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