This discussion will explore the meaning of these terms in the context of present debates about urban development in the global South. One in seven of the world’s population living in informal settlements in towns and cities of the Global South, and this ratio is projected to rise to one in three by 2050. In addition to the difficulties related to uneven spatial development, lack of economic development also raises serious challenges for low-income urban households who have to struggle with high levels of informal employment and a general lack of opportunities.
The goal for inclusive cities has a specific relevance in the context of India. While government programming has moved on, the commitments behind the JNNURM and the subsequent experiences offer an important learning platform for those seeking to improve the situation of the urban poor, and address issues of equity and challenge exclusion in Indian cities. Research on the JNNURM programme in five cities has shown us key factors that are important: structural conditions, institutional arrangements, financial commitments, and an appropriate vision and ambition for inclusion.
This discussion examines the understanding of inclusion both internationally and within the planning and implementation of the JNNURM. I will consider both the scale and diversity of needs in cities, and associated programme interventions. Inclusion requires a city-wide response (ie to provide for locations across the urban centre). At the same time, it needs to consider what different groups with the population require, and understand the different social and physical circumstances that influence what is possible, and what is a viable solution. In the context of present resource constrained towns and cities, inclusion requires greater attention to be given to the capacity to multiply from individual initiatives to something approaching the scale of need. This requires the standardisation of practices with appropriate political and financial processes. The discussion will consider how we need to may much more attention to the ways in which standardization processes evolve over time. Much of this depends on the capacity of city’s leaders and officials to be able to envision an inclusive citywide approach and build the stakeholder relations required for this to be realised. In practice, these capacities emerge from explicit demands and realised examples of new approaches.
Diana Mitlin is an economist and social development specialist and works both at the Institute for Development Policy and Management (University of Manchester) (www.sed.manchester.ac.uk) and International Institute for Environment and Development (www.iied.org). She is currently directing the Global Urban Research Centre at the University of Manchester (www.sed.manchester.ac.uk/research/gurc). Her work focuses on urban poverty and inequality including urban poverty reduction programmes and the contribution of collective action by low-income and otherwise disadvantaged groups.