ICTs and Participation in Developing Cities

ICTs and Participation in Developing Cities

Alexandre Repetti (Repetti Sàrl, Switzerland) and Jean-Claude Bolay (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne EPFL, Switzerland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-929-3.ch016

Abstract

Developing cities are experiencing substantial gaps in urban planning. They are due to approaches and instruments that do not correspond to the realities of the developing city including the prevalence of informal sector and slums, urban governance problem, and few resources. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) now offer enormous possibilities to use information flows, communication, and land-use models better. ICTs offer solutions that take greater account of informal activities, enable discussions with civil society and Internet forums to take place, etc. ICTs can enhance the planning of developing cities, if conditions are right. The chapter provides a review of the situation in developing cities. It analyses the challenges and potential of using ICTs to improve urban planning. Lastly, it puts forward key conditions for the successful and relevant implementation of ICTs in order to create the best conditions for real technological added value.
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Definitions And Case Study

Developing Cities

World population was estimated at 6.7 billion on January 1st 2009. Three out of four people live in countries with an intermediate or low Human Development Index (below 0.8) and every second person lives in a city.

Cities outside Europe and North America are experiencing a population explosion. They are known as developing cities and double in size every 25 years on average and every 15 years in some regions (UN-Habitat, 2008). Megacities, such as Mumbai, Djakarta, Sao Paulo, Cairo or Lagos are the most impressive examples of rapid urban growth, but smaller cities face even higher growth rates and are home to more people overall.

Managing this high rate of change in urban sprawl and demography is not only limited by a lack of financial and human resources. Developing cities also have to cope with seasonal residents, informal market activities, a complex land-tenure situation, uncertain real estate conditions, corruption, complex governance questions, and diverse socio-political practices. These realities result in chaotic urbanization, social disparities, limited or dilapidated infrastructure, insufficient access to basic services, and numerous governance conflicts.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Urban Governance: Systemic interrelations resulting from the balance in power and liability between the city authorities, the central government, the local stakeholders and other governmental or non-governmental stakeholders, and their capacity to effectively manage the urban affairs with recourse to participatory mechanisms.

Informality: Organization and administration mode that do not follow the administrative rules and the law, but that is generally recognized and tolerated.

Classic Urban Planning: Urban planning based on a master plan composed of guidelines, land-use regulations and a plan that specifies the limits of the various regulation zones.

Developing Cities: Cities outside of Europe and North America, where the growth rate is the highest and the urbanization the most chaotic.

Slums: Poor neighborhoods in developing cities characterized by precarious habitat, lack of ownership security and lack of infrastructure.

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