Gestionando Diversidad y Asequibilidad para hacer ciudades más habitables

Origen: Managing Diversity and Affordability to Make Cities More Livable | TheCityFix

Con la urbanizacion creciente en paises en desarrollo, las ciudades deben trabajar para dar acomodo a los ciudadanos mas vulnerables de las ciudades Photo by NACTO/Flickr

Como, para que una comunidad sea vivible depende de muchos factores tales como asequibilidad, salud, seguridad, conectividad, infraestructura y servicios.  Al crecer las ciudades alrededor del mundo, la urbanizacion puede a menudo amenazar la vitalidad de la ciudad al causar que los precios de la tierra y costos de vivienda se eleven. Mas aun, al migrar los individuos a las ciudades desde areas rurales (o diferentes paises) , muchos se encuentran alienados del tejido de la ciudad – muchos batallan por conseguir trabajo, mientras otros son discriminados o sufren violencia.  Para mejorar el bienestar de los ciudadanos, las ciudades deben enfocarse en hacer sus comunidades mas incluyentes para algunos de los residentes mas vulnerables, los migrantes y los pobres.

Aumentando la tolerancia Comunitaria para Migrantes y Minorias 

Un gran componentede la urbanizacion es la migracion; por ejemplo, en China se espaera que cerca de 245 millones de personas emigraran de las areas rurales a las ciudades dentro de los proximos 10 años. En India hoy,se estima que 40 porciento (±58 millones) de la fuerza de trabajo agraria esta buscando trabajos en regiones urbanas. Asi, muchas areas urbana estan atestiguando grandes cambios demograficos, a menudo conduciendo a una mayor diversidad. La diversidad se puede referir a una variedad de cosas, tales como la coexistencia de gente practcante de diferentes religiones, hablando diferentes lenguas o viviendo en diferentes niveles de ingreso. Especialmente en paises en desarrollo, junto con la diversidad social, las ciudades tendran una mayor necesidad de acomodar diferentes grupos de ingresos. Las ciudades que fallen en el manejo apropiado de la diversidad podrian ver un aumento en conflictos, odios y violencia entre comunidades

Un estudio de varias metropolis en todo Estados Unidos  revelo unas cuantas caracteristicas generales de ciudades diversas:

  • Un mayor numero de viviendas en renta, que facilitan la migracion
  • Una gama de ocupaciones, incluyendo tanto nivel de entrada como posiciones de alto nivel
  • Una abundancia de servicios publicos

These elements of a city help to ease the transition for migrants, and account for their varying needs. However, experiences from cities like Bogota in Colombia and Bangalore in India have shown that if these elements are not properly planned for, migrants often have to live in informal settlements under difficult conditions; for example, they may experience limited access to public services and violence at the community level.

Also crucial to integrating diverse populations are accessible public and communal spaces. For example, parks and cultural venues act as locations where different communities can interact and be visible.Mixed-use areas are also opportunities to ensure that communities not only have access to goods and services, but are connected to the city.

In sum, as cities grow in diversity, city planners must respond accordingly to accommodate the needs of various communities.

Making Cities Affordable for All

A city’s cost of living is not only crucial for residents’ quality of life, but also but also affects investments from expatriates and businesses. Rising prices in cities often outpace living wages, making a city less affordable for people to live in. When there are other cities that provide them the same quality of life at a much lower price, a city can lose the talent pool on which it depends for a healthy economy. Vishnu Varathan, an economist from Mizuho Corporate Bank, also warns that  increasing costs of living may discourage talented individuals from moving into to the city.

Furthermore, as cost of living increases, the lower income groups suffer the most, either displacing them or harming their quality of life. Local economies play an important role in providing for the needs of the low income population and affordable housing is key for their survival in the city. In fact, there is evidence that affordable housing and local economies (including informal economies) are very muchinterdependent on each other. In South Africa for example, affordable housing has been used as astrategy for development at a local level.

To protect low income groups, public policy can play a large role in managing the price of land and commodities in a city. The TOD (transit-oriented development) policy of Delhi for example, mandates that the city provide housing for lower income groups. Rather than purchasing expensive land while building homes, cities can manage public landholdings, for example, as an effective way to regulate land prices in cities where government landholdings are extensive. Another model is the MetroVivienda in Colombia, which integrated transit and land-use to increase their affordable housing stock. Government-subsidized housing is another strategy that can address market scarcity and make housing affordable. Finally, cities can also mandate that new housing projects include options for low-income families in return for construction incentives and development rights.

Planning for Diversity

Migration rates show no trend of slowing down anytime soon. Cities that fail to plan for diversity are in danger of not only missing out on the many benefits of diversity, but of straining tensions between different communities. Further, an unaffordable city can drive down investment and push entrepreneurs and the working poor away. It’s also important to note that affordability and diversity are connected, since marginalized groups are often disproportionately affected by high costs of living. As rural-to-urban migration continues, it’s critical to create the tools to monitor affordability and diversity now to improve the quality of life for future urban populations.

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