The biggest challenges developing cities in Africa are likely to face over the next 10 years and how they can be overcome using interdisciplinary and system’s thinking approaches
Maimanah Idris, Shun-chan Tsai and Yixuan Jin, University College London, UK
Abstract: The growing attention on urbanisation and the sustainability and resilience of cities has driven the dialogue of the challenges that developing cities are expected to face over the next 10 years. This paper considers the challenges in urban housing and water in Africa and in Sudan through critically assessing the trends, causes, and implications from several interdisciplinary angles. To attain the goal of developing adequate, accessible and affordable housing in Africa and Sudan, cross-border investment, land grab, and land rights need to be considered in order to prevent the formation of ghost towns and the displacement of people. For the development of sustainable water resources in Africa and Sudan, attention to the needs of all people is essential and decentralised water management initiatives are beneficial. SDGs and NUA acknowledge developing cities as opportunities for policy change, systems thinking, a renewed focus on small/medium cities and a context-specific and/or people-centred approach.
Purpose: This paper considers the challenges in urban housing and water in Africa and in Sudan through critically assessing the trends, causes, and implications from several interdisciplinary angles.
Design/methodology/approach: Literature review and systems thinking approach.
Findings: This essay analyses the biggest challenges developing cities are likely to face in their attempt to achieve sustainable development in the next 10 years.
Originality/value: By considering the progress and learning lessons from past projects (i.e. the importance of interdisciplinary perspective, system thinking, context and a people-centred approach and the focus on small/medium cities), the outwardly overwhelming challenge of achieving inclusive, resilient and sustainable cities becomes more achievable.
Keywords: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), New Urban Agenda (NUA), urban resilience, interdisciplinary perspectives, system thinking, context-specific/people-centred approaches, decentralised water management