Self-made cities

In search of sustainable solutions for informal settlements in the united nations economic commission for europe region

image of Self-made cities
Informal settlements are often characterized as “illegal” residential formations lacking basic infrastructure, security of tenure and adequate housing. This book describes how more than 50 million people in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) region have come to live in informal settlements and examines the main characteristics of the phenomenon. It also provides policy recommendations based on case studies and initiatives implemented in the region, with varying degrees of success. It concludes that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution, as informal settlements are the product of complex socio-political processes that differ significantly from country to country and from region to region.

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Towards inclusive urban development: an opportunity to be seized

Review of different manifestations of informal settlements in the UNECE region indicates a number of contributing factors: rapid urbanization, displacement of vulnerable people, dysfunctional land management and planning systems, and persistent shortage of affordable housing. The ways different countries come to terms with the existing illegal and informal development as well as the ways they find to prevent such development in the future differ, as they depend upon history, politics, economics and social development (and the type of informal settlements). Increasing decentralization and changes in governance in many countries will also impact these choices, since solutions will require action at all levels of government, leadership from municipal administrations and the mobilization of residents of informal settlements.

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