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  1. 1
    292190

    Tolstoy, community cybernetics, and the MDGs.

    Moor J

    Habitat Debate. 2005 Sep; 11(3):19.

    Leo Tolstoy famously wrote that all happy families are alike, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. If the same can be said about dysfunctional cities, we must be prepared to deal with the unique micro-realities of each ailing community. This can only be done practically by encouraging residents to engage in a form of therapy that begins with local self-discovery. This must be a central aim in monitoring the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In an economically pressurized world where more than 95 percent of all development decisions are made by members of civil society, each acting more or less in their own self-interest, central coordinative systems of governance are failing. Squatters and slumlords everywhere make their choices outside the world of plans and regulations, as do an increasing number of small-scale entrepreneurs. This self-interest promotes unsustainable urban development, inhibiting a cooperative vision for the future that the complex urban ecology demands. The collective future is no-one’s baby and in effect has become an orphan. (excerpt)
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  2. 2
    292225

    Towards woman-friendly cities.

    Seaforth W

    Habitat Debate. 2002 Dec; 8(4):[3] p..

    A woman from the Philippines, one of the early writers on community participation, tells the story about how she started working and writing on the subject. In the early 1980s, she was introducing projects to urban poor communities and telling the people what the government wanted to do for them. Eventually the same communities started asking her “if we tell you what we want, can you tell the government and will anything be done?” Later on in Latin America, one of the early homes of popular urban movements, civil society started questioning the role of community participation. The following grafitti was seen in a poor neighbourhood in a Latin American city in the late 1980s: “don’t ask me about my participation, I want to know what is my government’s participation”. In the new millennium, we have come full circle vis a vis involving city residents in running the affairs of their cities. While the situation is by no means perfect, it is now quite normal to talk about such concepts as participatory governance, participatory budgeting, planning with communities, and building the capacity of local authorities to enable them to relate better with civil society in the process of governance. (excerpt)
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