Recently published article from D.J.H.te Linteloa, J.Gupte, J.A.McGregor, R.Lakshman, F.Jahan: ‘Wellbeing and urban governance: Who fails, survives or thrives in informal settlements in Bangladeshi cities?’, now available in Cities, The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning, via ScienceDirect.

“The governance of urban agglomerations and processes of rapid urbanization is a key global development challenge for the 21st century. By 2050 around 10 billion people, two thirds of the world’s population, are projected to live in cities, with rapid urban growth particularly taking place in Africa and South Asia (SDSN, 2013). Towns and cities can be powerhouses of economic development and employment generation with the potential to drive significant improvements in societal and human wellbeing but can also be locations of deprivation, immiseration and societal breakdown (Baker, 2008; Ravallion et al., 2007; Satterthwaite, 2003). Where social, political and economic arrangements in cities generate the conditions for improvements in human wellbeing other desirable goals of economic progress, such as greater economic inclusion, innovation, productivity, creativity and enhanced quality of life are likely to follow (SDSN, 2013, p. 9). It is a major problem however that “we don’t know which cities are performing well, and which are not, and therefore our ability to explore the determinants of wellbeing in cities, and hence to inform urban policy is limited” (Burdett and Taylor, 2011, pp. 3–4). The problem runs deeper than just the availability of data: it is also not clear what frameworks we should be using to organise the collection of data to assess whether cities are contributing to genuine development progress.”

Highlights

  • We analyse wellbeing priorities and satisfactions in seven informal settlements in three Bangladeshi cities (Dhaka, Chittagong, Bogra)
  • Wellbeing priorities are similar across settlements but satisfaction with achieved wellbeing outcomes differs by site and by socio-economic groups
  • People’s subjective assessments of how they fare on wellbeing priorities are consistent with relevant objective indicators of their wellbeing
  • Wellbeing outcomes are substantively mediated by site-specific governance arrangements for essential services
  • Urban policy makers lack methodologies and metrics to support interventions that are relevant to wellbeing dynamics in particular localities