International Development Planning Review

New agendas and ‘good’ urbanism? Shelter and tenure transition in a low-income Jamaican neighbourhood

International Development Planning Review (2019), 41, (4), 435–450.


The New Urban Agenda initiated at the UN Habitat III meeting in 2016 re-instated the need for ‘good cities’ and ‘properly designed and managed’ urban settlements in order to fulfil the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Of the many goals outlined, the aim ‘to foster community cohesion and personal security’ placed sustainable urban development at the forefront. The paper challenges the problematic notion of ‘good’ or ‘proper’ urbanisation in the context of the proposed formalisation of land tenure in low-income urban neighbourhoods, drawing conclusions from recent ethnographic research in a ‘garrison’ community in Jamaica. The concepts of shelter and security of tenure are considered with respect to neighbourhood transition, as residents respond to ongoing and intensive police and military operations aimed at reducing gang-related violence.

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Author details

Howard, David