Part 2: Issues in Sustainable Development

Human Settlements                                    

SummaryHuman Settlements

Urbanization is one of the most significant trends in Africa. While the concentration of people in cities makes sense economically, the growth of cities has been unplanned and has overwhelmed public services, especially in slums, where poor residents squat on unclaimed land with no access to municipal provisions of water, energy, and sanitation services.

Main Idea

Causes and consequences of rapid urbanization

Key Concepts

      • Rural-urban migration
      • Health and sanitation concerns in slums
      • Concentration of population in coastal zones
      • Natural disasters


Knowledge of

      • causes and consequences of rapid urbanization
      • health and sanitation concerns in slums

Understanding of

      • rural-urban migration
      • concentration of population in coastal zones
      • natural disasters

Ability to

    • describe methods of improving settlements cost-effectively by collaborating on land acquisition and using local materials and simple technologies

Core Readings

  1. Urbanization
    Summary of problems and opportunities associated with urbanization
    (1 page)
  2. Global Report on Human Settlements 2003, pages 24-27
    Push and pull factors influencing migration (4 pages)
  3. Different Speeds, Different Policies
    Characteristics of urban growth in Sub-Saharan Africa (1 page)
  4. The Persistent Disparities
    Health and sanitation problems in slums (3 pages)
  5. Addressing the Shelter Needs of the Poor
    Why do slums form (2 pages)
  6. Meeting a New Scenario for Shelter
    Providing access to serviced land and securing tenure rights (2 pages)

Sustainability Strategies

  1. Squatter Upgrading in Orwetoveni
    Self-builders use local materials and dry-toilet systems to improve housing
    (1 page)
  2. Naivasha Traders Housing Cooperative Society
    Using housing cooperatives to acquire land and provide infrastructure
    (1 page)
  3. Nakuru Teachers Housing Cooperative Society
    Using cooperative and revolving loans to acquire land (1 page)

Supplemental Readings

  1. Street Children and Gangs in African Cities, pages 1-6
    Detailed report describing lives of street children in Africa, exploring causes of the phenomena of street children, and recommending specific approaches to alleviating the problem (6 pages)
  2. Coastal Area Pollution - Role of Cities
    How cities damage coastal water and how they can be part of the solution
    (2 pages)
  3. Improving Urban Governance and Involving the Poor
    The role of Organizations of the Urban Poor (OUPs) in improving cities
    (2 pages)
  4. Sustainable transport and communication systems
    How smart transportation planning can improve urban communities (2 pages)

Assignment Questions

  1. Human Settlements: Rural-urban migration is one of the two main drivers of urban growth. What are some of the causes of rural-urban migration worldwide and in Africa particularly? What is the second most important driver of urban growth?
  2. Human Settlements: Describe the health problems that arise in slums.
  3. Interconnections: Human Settlements & Oceans & Seas:  How do coastal populations threaten coastal ecosystems, recalling issue material from the Oceans and Seas Module?