International Development Planning Review

City learning from below: urban poor federations and knowledge generation through transnational, horizontal exchange

International Development Planning Review (2015), 37, (2), 129–142.

Abstract

This article examines ways in which transnational grassroots networks produce knowledge and learning that crosses borders to help cities explore solutions to dilemmas of urban development. International development programmes often legitimise a narrow class of professionals, advising donor agencies and foundations, private investment institutions, governments and other providers of capital for developmental intervention through a predominantly vertical hierarchy. Shack/Slum Dwellers International, a network of urban poor federations across Africa, Asia and Latin America, has over two decades of experience sharing knowledge through a methodology that has promised to upend these relatively vertical relationships. This network represents a growing critical mass of local national and transnational organisations of the poor learning from each other. This article argues that Shack/Slum Dwellers International’s exchange methodology, built on collective learning and discovery between communities and formal government agencies, has begun to demonstrate its potential as a tool for unlocking processes of bureaucratic reform and associated learning.

Access Token
£25.00
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

BAUMANN, T., BOLNICK, J. and MITLIN, D. (2002), The Age of Cities and Organizations of the Urban Poor: The Work of the South African Homeless People’s Federation and the People’s Dialogue on Land and Shelter (IIED WORKInG PaPeR NO. 2), London, IIED. The Age of Cities and Organizations of the Urban Poor: The Work of the South African Homeless People’s Federation and the People’s Dialogue on Land and Shelter Google Scholar

BOLNICK, J. (1996), ‘uTshani Buyakhuluma (THE GRASS SPEAKS): People’s Dialogue and the South African Homeless People’s Federation (1994–6)’, Environment and Urbanization, 8, 153–70. ‘uTshani Buyakhuluma (THE GRASS SPEAKS): People’s Dialogue and the South African Homeless People’s Federation (1994–6)’ Environment and Urbanization 8 153 70 Google Scholar

ELSON, D. (1994), ‘People, development and international financial institutions: an interpretation of the Bretton Woods system’, Review of African Political Economy, 21, 511–24. People, development and international financial institutions: an interpretation of the Bretton Woods system Review of African Political Economy 21 511 24 Google Scholar

EMMERJI, L. (1999), ‘Paradoxes of globalization and what nation states can do to address them’, in S. A. Rosell (ed.), Renewing Governance: Governing by Learning in the Information Age, New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 252–63. Paradoxes of globalization and what nation states can do to address them Renewing Governance: Governing by Learning in the Information Age 252 63 Google Scholar

EVANS, P. (1996), ‘Government action, social capital and development: reviewing the evidence on synergy’, World Development, 24, 1119–32. Government action, social capital and development: reviewing the evidence on synergy World Development 24 1119 32 Google Scholar

FUJITA, K. (2003), ‘Neo-industrial Tokyo: urban development and globalisation in Japan’s state-centered developmental capitalism’, Urban Studies, 40, 249–81. Neo-industrial Tokyo: urban development and globalisation in Japan’s state-centered developmental capitalism’ Urban Studies 40 249 81 Google Scholar

HUCHZERMEYER, M. (2009), ‘The struggle for in situ upgrading of informal settlements: a reflection on cases in Gauteng’, Development Southern Africa, 26, 59–73. The struggle for in situ upgrading of informal settlements: a reflection on cases in Gauteng Development Southern Africa 26 59 73 Google Scholar

LIBERTUN DE DUREN, N. (2008), ‘Intertwining national and urban policies: national development strategies and municipal tactics in greater Buenos Aires’, Political Power and Social Theory, 19, 1119–57. Intertwining national and urban policies: national development strategies and municipal tactics in greater Buenos Aires Political Power and Social Theory 19 1119 57 Google Scholar

MA, L. J. c. (2005), ‘Urban administrative restructuring, changing scale relations, and local economic development in china’, Political Geography, 24, 477–97. Urban administrative restructuring, changing scale relations, and local economic development in china Political Geography 24 477 97 Google Scholar

MAJAVU, A. (2010), ‘Sexwale finding it tough’, The Sowetan, 29 September 2010. Sexwale finding it tough The Sowetan Google Scholar

MAKAU, J. (2010), ‘Stops and starts in Kibera’, available at: http://www.sdinet.org/blog/2010/03/18/stops-and-starts-kibera/ (accessed 10 January 2014). Google Scholar

NPc (NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION OF SOUTH AFRICA) (2012), ‘National development plan – vision 2030’, available at: http://www.npconline.co.za/ (accessed 21 February 2014). Google Scholar

NUSP (THE NATIONAL UPGRADING SUPPORT PROGRAMME) (2010), ‘National upgrading support programme background document’, available at: http://upgradingsupport.org/background.html (accessed 21 February 2014). Google Scholar

PATEL, S. and SHARMA, K. (1998), ‘One David and three Goliaths: avoiding anti-poor solutions to Mumbai’s transport problems’, Environment & Urbanization, 10, 149–60. One David and three Goliaths: avoiding anti-poor solutions to Mumbai’s transport problems’ Environment & Urbanization 10 149 60 Google Scholar

PATEL, S., BURRA, S. and D’CRUZ, c. (2001), ‘Slum/Shack Dwellers International (SDI) – from foundations to treetops’, Environment & Urbanization, 13, 45–60. Slum/Shack Dwellers International (SDI) – from foundations to treetops Environment & Urbanization 13 45 60 Google Scholar

PIETERSE, E. (2014), ‘Filling the void: an agenda for tackling African urbanization’, in Susan Parnell and Edgar Pieterse (eds), Africa’s Urban Revolution, Cape Town, University of Cape Town Press, 200–20. Filling the void: an agenda for tackling African urbanization Africa’s Urban Revolution 200 20 Google Scholar

ROY, A. (2009), ‘Civic governmentality: the politics of inclusion in Beirut and Mumbai’, Antipode, 41, 159–79. Civic governmentality: the politics of inclusion in Beirut and Mumbai Antipode 41 159 79 Google Scholar

SABEL, C. and ZEITLIN, J. (2008), ‘Learning from difference: the new architecture of experimentalist governance in the EU’, European Law Journal, 14, 271–327. Learning from difference: the new architecture of experimentalist governance in the EU European Law Journal 14 271 327 Google Scholar

SCHON, D. (1999), ‘Two views of organizational learning in the public sector’, in S. A. Rosell (ed.), Renewing Governance: Governing by Learning in the Information Age, New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 274–91. Two views of organizational learning in the public sector Renewing Governance: Governing by Learning in the Information Age 274 91 Google Scholar

SPARC (THE SOCIETY FOR THE PROMOTION OF AREA RESOURCE CENTERS) (n.d.), ‘We, the Invisible Revisited’ (SPARC report), India, SPARC, available at: http://www.sparcindia.org/docs/invisrev.html (accessed 21 February 2104). Google Scholar

SPARC (THE SOCIETY FOR THE PROMOTION OF AREA RESOURCE CENTERS) (2013), ‘Annual Report, 2012–13’ (SPARc report), India, SPARc, available at: http://www.sparcindia.org (accessed 3 February 2015). Google Scholar

SWILLING, M. (2008), ‘Beyond cooption and protest: reflections on the FEDUP alternative’, in Mirjam Van Donk, Mark Swilling, Edgar Pieterse and Susan Parnell (eds), Consolidating Developmental Local Gover nment: Lessons From The South African Experience, Cape Town, University of Cape Town Press, 501–9. Beyond cooption and protest: reflections on the FEDUP alternative Consolidating Developmental Local Government: Lessons From The South African Experience 501 9 Google Scholar

TISSINGTON, K., MUNSHI, N., MIRUGI-MUKUNDI, G. and DUROJAVE, E. (2013), ‘“Jumping the queue”, Waiting lists and other myths: perceptions and practice around housing demand and allocation in South Africa’ (report on Housing Demand and Allocation), Cape Town, community Law centre of the University of the Western cape and the Socio-Economic Rights Institute. “Jumping the queue”, Waiting lists and other myths: perceptions and practice around housing demand and allocation in South Africa Google Scholar

TOMLINSON, M. (2006), ‘From “quantity” to “quality”: restructuring South Africa’s housing policy ten years after’, International Development Planning Review, 28, 85–104. From “quantity” to “quality”: restructuring South Africa’s housing policy ten years after International Development Planning Review 28 85 104 Google Scholar

VIRMANI, A. (2005), ‘Institutions, governance and policy reform: a framework for analysis’, Economic and Political Weekly, 40, 2341–50. Institutions, governance and policy reform: a framework for analysis Economic and Political Weekly 40 2341 50 Google Scholar

WILSON, J. (1989), Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It, New York, NY, Basic Books. Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It Google Scholar

WORLD BANK (n.d.), ‘India: Mumbai urban transport project’, available at: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/cOUNTRIES/SOUTHASIAEXT/0,,contentMDK:21527592~pagePK:146736~piPK:146830~theSitePK:223547,00.html (accessed 21 February 2014). Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Bradlow, Benjamin H.