On January 26, 2015, the top three winning authors of the Fifth Annual Graduate Student Urban Poverty Paper Competition presented their work at a seminar sponsored by the Wilson Center in collaboration with USAID, International Housing Coalition, World Bank, Cities Alliance. Students were paired with experienced urban professionals who commented on students’ research.
There is widespread agreement, and untold publications, that argue urbanization is the defining issue of our time. There are more cities, both large and small, and more people living in those cities than anytime in human history.
Resilience and adaptability increasingly are seen as essential for community well-being, particularly in the face of growing challenges and dilemmas posed by natural and man-made misfortune. Resilience, in turn, requires expansive social capital and vibrant civic life. Community vitality requires increasingly diverse neighbors come to know one another, even if only casually. As these Washington examples demonstrate, the shared enjoyment provided by the performing arts promotes a virtuous cycle which enables communities to move forward in the face of adversity.
Many fear that competition for fresh water will increasingly lead to conflict as the world’s most essential resource becomes more scarce. But a project involving Palestinian, Israeli, and Jordan youth, emanating from a region fraught with conflict, represents the possibility for cooperation instead of conflict. That’s the focus of this edition of REWIND.
"Emerging during periods of profound economic change, these art forms (kabuki and Go Go) were products of the social vacuum left by conflicts over power. They expressed the frustrations and struggles of social groups that were on the losing end of those skirmishes; and they did so in ways that were unvarnished and potent," writes Blair Ruble.
Asia is going through an unprecedented wave of urbanization. Secondary and tertiary cities are seeing the most rapid changes in land-use and ownership, social structures, and values as peri-urban and agricultural land become part of metropolitan cityscapes. All the while, climate change is making many of these fast-growing cities more vulnerable to disasters.
"Cities around the world have become agglomerations of ethnicities, religions, classes, and nationalities. Creating socially sustainable cities that can accommodate migrants and their diversity requires policies that nurture shared identity and maintain spaces whose use can be shared by everybody, promoting a pragmatic pluralism and a culture of tolerance," writes Blair Ruble.
The Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute, Latin American Program and Urban Sustainability Laboratory are saddened to learn of the passing of our dear friend, Peter Dexter Bell.
Former Wilson Center Fellow and Michigan State sociologist Xuefei Ren recently published the book about urbanization in China that she worked on while with our program in 2011-2012. We are pleased to share the positive review of her Urban China recently appearing in the London School of Economics and Political Science Review of Books
Following the collapse of communist systems in East Europe, cities and nations confronted the task of introducing markets and democratically accountable political systems. In other words, they needed to establish economic and governing mechanisms empowering individuals. They needed, as a popular metaphor of the time expressed the challenge, “to make an aquarium out of fish stew.”