Forthcoming Book: Searching for Citizenship

In this great wave of urbanization unfolding across developing countries over the next decades, citizenship is central to more equitable and inclusive city building and place making. 60 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2030 and almost all (95%) of urban expansion will take place in developing countries over the next decades. This wave of growth is marked by the urbanization of poverty, where 828 million people live in slums today and the number keeps rising.

This forthcoming book explores the paths that some of the most marginalized populations in the world are taking to establish citizenship, in all its forms, from land rights to jobs. In this search, these populations must also acquire the very fundamental needs of identity, legitimacy, security, and voice in their lives and the decision-making that affects them and their communities. The characters of these stories are those that learn to write their own narrative and find courage to speak up and take action, in big ways and small ways. And they navigate institutional rules while wrestling to change others. In this process, leadership manifests, at all levels and from all sectors, to confront debilitating norms in an unequal world.

Through a compelling set of stories from across the globe, this book explores questions central to effective policy making and development solutions:

  • Who decides? Who has the authority?
  • Where do we look for permission?
  • What is planning? Is it that which remains bounded by the law and upholds formal regulations? Or is it the relationship between the published plan and unmapped territory?
  • Where do solutions come from? Top-down, bottom-up, young, old, experts or novices, or somewhere in between? How can this process be accelerated?
  • In what ways does leadership form various domains – government, NGOs, civil society – engage critical actors and a slice of the public in a politics of structural change?
  • How do people and communities organize, influence, and get what they want?