Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP): Practice Note 4: Climate-proofing urban WASH: a rapid assessment method, 2011.
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Climate change is happening, and the urban poor are extremely vulnerable to its impacts. Demand for water and sanitation services in low-income urban areas is likely to increase, while flooding and water shortages may become more frequent.
This Practice Note outlines a rapid assessment method, developed for WSUP by Cranfield University, that can be used to plan the climate-proofing of a city’s water and sanitation services.
Water and Sanitation for thew Urban Poor (WSUP): Practice Note 3: GIS & mapping tools for water and sanitation infrastructure, 2011.
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Recently developed tools that enable web-based geographical representation of data have exciting applications in the design and monitoring of WASH systems. This note introduces three tools currently being used in the sector.
Urban Health: Global Perspectives, 2011.
Authors: David Vlahov, Jo Ivey Boufford, Clarence Pearson
Table of Contents
1. Urban Health in a Global Perspective (David Vlahov and Jo Ivey Boufford).
2. Globalization (Ted Schrecker and Ronald Labonté).
3. The Demographics of Urbanization in Poor Countries (Mark R. Montgomery).
4. Migration, Health Systems, and Urbanization (Ndioro Ndiaye, Manuel Carbhallo, and Rougui Ndiaye-Coïc).
5. Immigrant Health in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (Arnoud P. Verhoeff and Roel A. Coutinho).
6. City Case Studies: Global Climate Change and Cities (Tord Kjellstrom and Patricia Monge).
7. Age-Friendly New York City (Ruth Finkelstein and Julie Netherland).
8. Global Infectious Diseases and Urbanization (Thomas C. Quinn and John G. Bartlett).
9. City Case Studies: Confronting the New Epidemics in Our Cities (Stephen Leeder, Angela Beaton, Cathie Hull, Ruth Colagiuri, and Michael Ward).
10. Chronic Disease Care in Nairobi’s Urban Informal Settlements (Catherine Kyobutungi and Alex Ezeh).
These profiles cover key information on urban health with selected indicators of health outcomes, health system outputs, health risk factors, and health determinants. While not a comprehensive overview of health and its determinants these profiles provide a snapshot of some key issues in urban areas for which there is standardized available data across countries.
Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 13 May 2011 vol. 369 no. 1942
How urban societies can adapt to resource shortage and climate change
David Satterthwaite, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), 3 Endsleigh Street, London WC1H 0DD, UK
With more than half the world’s population now living in urban areas and with much of the world still urbanizing, there are concerns that urbanization is a key driver of unsustainable resource demands. Urbanization also appears to contribute to ever-growing levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Meanwhile, in much of Africa and Asia and many nations in Latin America and the Caribbean, urbanization has long outstripped local governments’ capacities or willingness to act as can be seen in the high proportion of the urban population living in poor quality, overcrowded, illegal housing lacking provision for water, sanitation, drainage, healthcare and schools.
But there is good evidence that urban areas can combine high living standards with relatively low GHG emissions and lower resource demands. This paper draws on some examples of this and considers what these imply for urban policies in a resource-constrained world. These suggest that cities can allow high living standards to be combined with levels of GHG emissions that are much lower than those that are common in affluent cities today. This can be achieved not with an over-extended optimism on what new technologies can bring but mostly by a wider application of what already has been shown to work.
The Lancet, Volume 377, Issue 9778, Pages 1673 – 1680, 14 May 2011
Dengue vector control strategies in an urban setting: an economic modelling assessment
Dr Paula Mendes, et al.
Background - An estimated 2·5 billion people are at risk of dengue. Incidence of dengue is especially high in resource-constrained countries, where control relies mainly on insecticides targeted at larval or adult mosquitoes. We did epidemiological and economic assessments of different vector control strategies.
Methods - We developed a dynamic model of dengue transmission that assesses the evolution of insecticide resistance and immunity in the human population, thus allowing for long-term evolutionary and immunological effects of decreased dengue transmission. We measured the dengue health burden in terms of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) lost. We did a cost-effectiveness analysis of 43 insecticide-based vector control strategies, including strategies targeted at adult and larval stages, at varying efficacies (high-efficacy [90% mortality], medium-efficacy [60% mortality], and low-efficacy [30% mortality]) and yearly application frequencies (one to six applications). To assess the effect of parameter uncertainty on the results, we did a probabilistic sensitivity analysis and a threshold analysis.
Findings - All interventions caused the emergence of insecticide resistance, which, with the loss of herd immunity, will increase the magnitude of future dengue epidemics. In our model, one or more applications of high-efficacy larval control reduced dengue burden for up to 2 years, whereas three or more applications of adult vector control reduced dengue burden for up to 4 years. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of the strategies for two high-efficacy adult vector control applications per year was US$615 per DALY saved and for six high-efficacy adult vector control applications per year was $1267 per DALY saved. Sensitivity analysis showed that if the cost of adult control was more than 8·2 times the cost of larval control then all strategies based on adult control became dominated.
Interpretation - Six high-efficacy adult vector control applications per year has a cost-effectiveness ratio that will probably meet WHO’s standard for a cost-effective or very cost-effective intervention. Year-round larval control can be counterproductive, exacerbating epidemics in later years because of evolution of insecticide resistance and loss of herd immunity. We suggest the reassessment of vector control policies that are based on larval control only.
April 20, 2011 – The United Nations will be hosting an exhibition on design solutions to improve the quality of life for the urban poor. Titled, “Design for the Other 90%: CITIES,” the exhibition is by Cooper-Hewitt, the Smithsonian National Design Museum, and it is part of an ongoing series originally started in 2007 to focus the attention of the professional design community to the problems of the other 90 percent of the world’s population. “The majority of the world’s designers focus all their efforts on developing products and services exclusively for the richest 10% of the world’s customers,” says Dr. Paul Polak, the founder of International Development Enterprises, a nonprofit organization that creates income opportunities for poor rural households. “Nothing less than a revolution in design is needed to reach the other 90%.”
The exhibition will explore design solutions to the problems of rapid urbanization in developing countries and the marginalization of the urban poor. “Close to 1 billion people live in informal settlements, and that population is projected to swell to 2 billion people by 2030,” Dexigner’s Levent Ozler says, further emphasizing the rapid growth and concentration of an under-served population in urban areas.
The exhibition will consist of six themes, each one highlighting an important aspect design solutions must follow in order to create useful remedies. Below are the theme areas with short descriptions, as summarized from the press release:
Environment and Urbanization, April 2011
Ill-health and poverty: a literature review on health in informal settlements
Alice Sverdlik, IIED, 3 Endsleigh Street, London WC1H 0DD, UK, firstname.lastname@example.org
This paper reviews the literature on health in the informal settlements (and “slums”) that now house a substantial proportion of the urban population in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Although this highlights some important gaps in research, available studies do suggest that urban health inequalities usually begin at birth, are reproduced over a lifetime (often reinforced by undernutrition), and may be recreated through vulnerabilities to climate change and a “double burden” of communicable and non-communicable diseases.
The review begins with a discussion of papers with a life-course perspective on health, poverty and housing, before considering recent literature on chronic poverty and ill-health over time. It then discusses the literature on the cost, quality and access to care among low-income groups, and the under-recognized threat of unintentional injuries. This includes recent literature that discusses where low-income residents may suffer an “urban penalty” rather than benefiting from urban bias — although there are also studies that show the effectiveness of accessible, pro-poor health care.
The concluding section examines emerging risks such as non-communicable diseases and those associated with climate change. It notes how more gender- and age-sensitive strategies can help address the large inequalities in health between those in informal settlements and other urban residents. With greater attention to the multi-faceted needs of low-income communities, governments can create interventions to ensure that urban centres fulfil their enormous potential for health.
April 5, 2011
The forces that drove the growth of European and North American cities in the 19th and 20th centuries are now driving urbanization in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia and other emerging market countries. Because the growth of these cities has been accelerated and magnified by productive technologies, rapid internal migration, and high net reproduction rates, many have reached unprecedented sizes at breathless speed. Indeed, all but three of the world’s 20 largest cities are in emerging markets.
Many forecasts suggest that by 2030, the four largest emerging market economies will have overtaken the Group of Seven in combined size, and that by 2050, today’s emerging market economies will represent more than half the global economy and an even larger share of the world’s population. These forecasts all assume that economic growth will be generated in cities.
But will emerging market cities be healthy enough to drive rapid economic growth? The issues that preoccupy health policymakers and practitioners in Lima, Cairo, Kolkata and Jakarta reflect contrasting climates, geographies, histories and cultures. Each city is ultimately a special case. But they share some generic features.
One is that the urban disease burden is shifting from infectious to chronic diseases — the so-called “diseases of affluence.” But the urban poor, faced with bad housing, limited infrastructure and meager services, are vulnerable to epidemics, malnutrition-based childhood diseases, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and mental disorders. They are also likely to be hardest hit by natural disasters, such as the floods and mudslides that devastated parts of Rio de Janeiro in January.
A second generic feature of emerging market cities is that dense concentrations of poverty help create fragile environments that spawn civil disorders, resulting in death and injuries. But a recent symposium at Oxford University concluded that emerging market cities could improve and maintain urban health by capturing the inherent advantages of concentration, coordinating health policies and programs, adopting successful innovations, reforming health education and training, and developing improved planning processes.
March 22, 2011 – Securing a safe water supply in urban areas is an increasing problem in 2011. The UN recognizes access to clean drinking water as a human right, but it remains out of reach for millions of people around the world.
Some 400 million people in Africa live in urban areas, according to United Nations statistics – but as of 2008, 55 million of them lacked access to clean drinking water.
A study by two UN agencies, released Monday to coincide with World Water Day on March 22, highlighted a troubling trend: As Africa’s cities grow more populous, an increasing number of residents there must do without clean water and sanitation facilities.
All over the globe, more people are moving to urban areas. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN, says 50 percent of the world’s population lives in cities – and that number is estimated to grow over the next 20 years to some 5 billion people.
“The problem is that with everybody moving to these concentrated areas, it puts a big strain on water resources,” James Dalton, water management advisor for the IUCN Water Programme told Deutsche Welle.
Rapid urbanization is taking place the world over, as people move to the city and away from rural areas to find work. Often, urban spaces lack adequate water infrastructure to support a growing population, and expanding the grid isn’t an easy proposition.
“That’s costly to countries that have a number of competing priorities for funding,” Dalton said. Recovering those costs often means tariffs for users – many of whom are used to getting water for free.
Ensuring that water is safe to drink and that sewage stays out of the water supply may entail extra expenses, but the consequences of consuming untreated water are even more costly.
Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s ambassador to the United Nations, said diseases caused by lack of access to drinking water and sanitation “cause more deaths than any war.”
“The lack of access to clean water kills more children than does AIDS, malaria and measles combined,” he said.