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MOST Newsletter No. 6/7
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MOST Newsletter
No. 6/7 - June 1996
also available in
French and in Spanish

Table of contents

Editorial of the Director-General

    HABITAT II - City Summit
    Istanbul, 3-14 June 1996

Towards the City of the 21st Century

Following upon the Earth Summit (Rio, 1992), the Population Summit (Cairo, 1994), the Social Development Summit (Copenhagen, 1995) and the Women's Summit (Beijing, 1995), the United Nations Conference on Human Habitat (HABITAT II), also called the " City Summit ", concentrates upon all questions raised by the international community in these preceding planetary meetings, from an urban perspective. Today the city appears, for better or for worse, as a laboratory in which many social, cultural and technological transformations occur.

Rapid urbanisation is one of the major trends of our time in all regions of the world, even if in Africa and Asia a majority of the population still live in rural areas: the " urban revolution " is a major global challenge. The often uncontrolled growth of cities presents overwhelming problems to governments and local authorities, in areas such as housing, infrastructure, health, education, social exclusion and violence.

Should this lead to discouragement? Can we accept such situations which a certain catastrophic discourse qualifies as inevitable and irreversible? That would amount to bow the unacceptable.

HABITAT II provides the occasion for the international community to come to terms with "the urban question" and to mobilise towards building the city of the next century.

UNESCO has already been working toward this objective; it is ready to contribute to the implementation of the Global Plan of Action which will be adopted in Istanbul in its fields of competence and through its specialised programmes, particularly the one on the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) as well as the Culture of Peace.

The Organisation aims at contributing towards building a city which would be a place of innovation, conviviality and openness, reflecting a creative mixture of social, cultural and ethnic diversity; a city where the culture of peace would take over from the culture of violence, all and every human right prevail, starting with the right to housing and decent living standards; a city which would not do harm to the surrounding countryside and its people, hence the need to foster better quality of life and income generating activities for country dwellers. A city which would cause neither pollution nor degradation of the environment.

Let us hope that the Istanbul Conference will effectively contribute to the advent of such a city of humanness, culture, citizenship and solidarity.

Federico Mayor
Director-General, UNESCO


From 11 to 12 October 1995, UNESCO brought together forty professionals, NGO representatives, politicians, local authorities and development experts to commentate the city of solidarity and citizenship. The dialogue between this international and interdisciplinary group foreshadowed the kind of team work required for promoting a city of the twenty-first century that favours solidarity, fair-mindedness and citizenship.

On the eve of the City Summit, and at the doorstep of the Twenty-first century, solidarity and citizenship have become cornerstones of urban civilisation. In the current period of transition successful construction of the City of Solidarity and Citizenship requires asserting solidarity as a fundamental value of democracy and human rights and citizenship as a vector of a just and humane city, which means a space for free exercise of liberty, creativity and enjoyment. Below are the recommendations adopted by the participants in this international symposium and excerpts of the text presented by Enrique Ortíz, which personifies the MOST Programme's vision of the City of the 21st Century.

Views of Istanbul


  • Promote a forward-looking perspective on the new forms of solidarity necessitated by the transformation of society.

  • Devise action-oriented strategies to promote solidarity and citizenship in the city of the twenty-first century, particularly by supporting popular urban economy and encouraging a coherent policy for spaces of opportunities in cities

  • Find ways to concur international actions with national and local experience.

  • Support participative action-research projects based on initiatives and skills of inhabitants with regard to their urban environment.

  • Construct public-private-citizen partnerships in governance for urban innovation and identify, experiment, analyse, evaluate and disseminate successful partnerships.

  • Develop a learning process of innovative forms of solidarity and of citizenship by promoting a systematic recording of experience and practice, cumulative analysis and exchange of experience and know-how through:
      -micro social observatories;
      -observatories of associative civic practices that contribute to building up civic links;
      -collection and dissemination "Best practices of solidarity and citizenship".

  • Recognise the social usefulness and applicability of social and human science research.

  • Expand the transfer of applied social science research results, through the media, to the public, so as to increase public understanding of social issues.

  • Clarify the city related concepts and words in use.

  • Develop training activities, particularly " education towards citizenship ", defined as the appropriation and exercising of all fundamental rights.

  • Encourage exchanges between city practitioners - elected and social actors - and academics.

  • Organise periodically " urban assemblies of solidarity and citizenship ".

  • Establish an annual " World Festival of the City ", aimed at emphasising citizenship.

  • Use UNESCO's MOST programme (Management of social transformations) as an appropriate international instrument for implementing the above recommendations.

Habitat II - Citizenship, Vector of Humanism

Humanising the city is much more than building wide tree-lines streets, underpasses, parks and public spaces. It is more than providing shelter for all and equipping the city with good infrastructure, public buildings and rapid transport. Above all else, to humanise the city is to open spaces for the free exercise of liberty, creativity and the enjoyment of its inhabitants. It is to guarantee that those who appropriate it imagine it, live it, enjoy it and transform it. Just like what was pointed out in the UNESCO document which convoked us to this event: " the citizen must be returned to the centre of choices and decisions thus help recreate the plural city, the medium of culture ".

To transform the city to be at the service of people implies taking the economy out of the centre of our ethic and of our current urban concepts. To humanise the city is to democratise it, in the broadest sense of the term. That is, to facilitate the access of all to the goods and services produced by society, creating conditions that give priority to those who have less, the children, the women and the most vulnerable groups in society such as the elderly and the disabled. It is also to strengthen representative democracy and broaden spaces and possibilities for the exercise of direct democracy. In synthesis, to humanise the city is to build citizenship making the rights of its inhabitants effective and making possible the exercise of their responsibilities.

Within the preparatory process towards Habitat II some countries oppose the inclusion of the right to housing as a fundamental orienting principle of the conference. It becomes then necessary to turn to the more profound and root sense in which this right is based. That is the right that human beings, as all species on our planet, have to a place to live. This is an inalienable right closely linked to the right to live, in its spiritual as in its material aspects.

It is through this right, that goes beyond all legislation or government programs, that it is possible to link the rest of the rights and freedoms proposed in the text of the Treaty subscribed in the Rio Global Forum for the full exercise of our citizenship and the humanisation of our cities. The right to a place to live in peace and dignity; the freedom to choose that place and how it will be inhabited; the civil right to organise to make it effective; the political right to participate in the orientation of the policies and tools that the State establishes for housing and urban development, bring us closer to the economic, social and cultural rights that are being challenged and which many countries aim to deny. Finally, there is great interdependence and indivisibility in the whole of human rights.

UNESCO can fulfil a fundamental role in this universal struggle for citizenship and the humanisation of the places in which we live. Its work in the area of culture and education and social development opens a vast field of action to affirm, in all the world environments, the principles and paths to follow to guarantee the right to the full exercising of our citizenship as a vector for the humanisation of our cities.

Enrique Ortíz
Secretary General
Habitat International Coalition
Mexico, D.F.

International Social Science Journal Special Issue for Habitat II (No 147), March 1996

Cities of the Future: Managing Social Transformations
(English, French - Russian, Arabic and Chinese) Editor: David Makinson

Jorge Wilheim : Introduction: urban challenges of a transitional period

The Global City

    Peter Hall : The Global City
    Yue-man Yeung: An Asian perspective on the global city

The Multi-Ethnic and Multicultural City

    Paul Winstone: Managing a multi-ethnic and multicultural city in Europe: Leicester
    A. A. Laquian: The multi-ethnic and multicultural city: an Asian perspective

The Fragmented City

    T. P.R. Caldeira : Building up walls: the new patterns of spatial segregation in Sao Paulo
    Michael Sutcliffe: The fragmented city: Durban, South Africa

Democracy and Governance of the City

    A. Rodríguez and L. Winchester: Cities, democracy and governance in Latin America
    Jordi Borja: The city, democracy and governability: the case of Barcelona

The Urban Environment

    Michael Cohen: HABITAT II and the challenge of the urban environment: bringing together the two definitions of habitat
    F. Rutelli - Interview: Rome, sustainable city

Urban Research

    Richard Stren: Urban research and urban researchers in developing countries
    Mario Lungo : The challenges of urban research: a Latin American perspective


    C. Sachs-Jeantet: Humanising the city

Available from:
Journals Marketing Manager
Blackwell Publishers, 108 Crowley Road, Oxford OX4 1JF, UK
Please send E-mail: jnlsamples@blackwellpublishers.co.uk

The outlook of governance show us that city government is not the exclusive affair of the local government institution. Coalitions of different social actors, the private sector, other national and international government bodies and their institutions also influence how the city is governed - sometimes decisively so.

Alfredo Rodriguez
International Social Science Journal No 147, March 1996


    (Istanbul, 3-14 June 1996)


  • Dialogue 8 of the City Summit on " Citizenship and Democracy in the City of the 21st century " (7 June 1996) ;
  • Round-table on the Revitalisation of Inner Cities (6 June 1996);
  • Youth Day Round Table (9 June).


  • The Revitalisation of Inner Cities;
  • Traditional Architecture (also displayed at the UNESCO headquarters, Place de Fontenoy, Paris)
  • 16 Video Films on Vernacular Architecture in Africa
The Organisation is also co-sponsoring the following events:
  • Dialogue 1: " How Cities will look in the 21st century " (4 June 1996) (World Heritage Centre and Architecture for Education Unit)
  • Dialogue 3: " Water for Thirsty Cities ", (5 June 1996), (Science/Hydrology)
  • Dialogue 6: " Land and rural/urban linkages to the future " (Ecological Science/MAB), 4 June 1996
  • Dialogue 9: " Cities Communications and the media in the information society (10 June 1996) (Communication)


    Towards the city of solidarity and citizenship
    by Céline Sachs-Jeantet, 1996 (English, French, Spanish)

    Managing Social Transformations in Cities. A Challenge to Social Sciences,
    by Céline Sachs-Jeantet, 1995 (English, French, Spanish)
    MOST Discussion Paper Series No 2

    Urban Research in Latin America - Towards a Research Agenda,
    by Licia Valladares, 1995 (English, French, Spanish)
    MOST Discussion Paper Series No 4

    International Social Science Journal
    " Cities of the Future: Managing Social Transformations "
    (No 147, March 1996)

    Les libertés de la Ville, sous la direction de Emile Malet et Hervé Le Bras,
    Editions Passsages / Editions UNESCO, 1995

    Construire pour la paix. Des abris pour la guerre, des maisons pour la paix,
    par Alain Hays et Silvia Matuk,
    Editions Alternatives / Editions UNESCO; 1995.

    Nature & Resources :
    Special Issue on Cities (Volume 32, Number 2, 1996).

    " Pour une ville solidaire " in URBANISME, le magazine international de la ville, No 286, janvier-février 1996.


Cities, Environment and Social Relations Between Women and Men

Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Argentina, Brazil, Poland, Bulgaria, and Switzerland are the countries that participate in this project which seeks to analyse the questions related to the environment in medium-sized cities, based on the consideration that the analysis of gender relations is a fundamental key to the understanding of the differential impact of environmental problems as well as of the social changes necessary to solve them and act on their causes.

Up till now reflections on environment and development or on gender and development evolved in parallel. The urban setting could provide the opportunity for making them converge, thus enriching the theoretical thinking on these concepts. A critical analysis of gender-planning, of the concepts of autonomy, sustainable development and eco-feminism shows that they a re unsatisfactory: either they do not allow questioning of the present model of development, since both gender relations and the environment involve relations of power which are not questions. Either these theories idealise the women-Nature relationship and do not analyse the social and historical causes of the problems but render man and culture responsible for all evil; or, they do not link theory and social practice, mainly because of a lack of communication between researchers, grass roots movements and the authorities.

The themes and propositions that will guide this research are:
- the environment in medium-sized cities
- an approach including a gender perspective
- comparative study of the environmental problem or problems that re considered as priorities in each of the cities included in the study
-special attention to their effects on public health
-a study of grass roots movements and how they function, in the light of the empowerment of women, to stimulate reflection on the possibilities of changing gender relationships and social relations in general.

The long term results this project will be:
- creation of education material for different levels of schooling
- institution of regular university training seminars in at least one institution per region that has participated in the project: further training of researchers and research projects on this theme, raising awareness of people working in the field of development and of researchers in general to the importance of gender questions in social transformation
-organisation and activation of a working group in one institution per region, responsible for the development of research and training in appropriate technologies
-increased awareness of environmental problems in cities.

The Social Sustainability of Cities

The MOST project  Towards socially sustainable cities: building a knowledge base for Urban Management  is co-ordinated by Mario Polèse from Villes et Développement in Montréal, and Richard Stren from the Centre for Urban and Community Studies, University of Toronto and GUPI (Global Urban Research Institute), together with Diana Lee-Smith of Mazingira Institute, Nairobi, and ARNUM (African Research Network for Urban Management), and Mario Lungo, Universidad Centro Americana in San Salvador, and FLACSO (Facultad Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales).

The project is sponsored by MOST, the Governments of Canada and Québec, and UTO (United Towns Organisation).

The central premise of the project may be stated thus: " For the management of a city to be successful, its policies need to be conductive to " social Sustainability ". Social Sustainability for a city is defined as development which is compatible with the harmonious evolution of civil society, fostering an environment conductive to the compatible contribution of culturally and socially diverse groups while at the same time encouraging social integration with improvements in the quality of life of all segments of the population.

The project builds on an internationally comparative approach comprising a diversity of institutions. Twelve cities considered for study are:

- starting with Canada: Montréal and Toronto;
- in the United States: Baltimore and Miami;
- In Europe: Geneva, Randstad, Lyon and Vienna;
- In Latin America: Sao Paulo and San Salvador;
- In Africa: Nairobi and Cape Town.

A workshop was held in Montréal and Toronto in October 1995. This meeting was attended by 12 teams from the twelve cities to discuss:
- housing and land;
- infrastructures and urban services;
- cultural and social policies;
- transport;
- employment, economy and management;
- governance.

Each city had its own different specific challenge within the context of  social sustainability :
- in Toronto the high proportion of foreign-born residents;
- in Sao Paulo and San Salvador or Cape Town harsh social inequalities in very segregated cities;
- in Baltimore an increased spatial polarization between centres and suburbs.

For Sao Paulo, San Salvador and Nairobi, the goal of social sustainability is far from attainable.

The workshop decided to proceed with comparative studies, to construct a network, to broaden the above-mentioned themes linked to environment and gender issues, to collaborate with local social workers and NGOs and policy makers at the municipal level.

A brochure has been planned for the HABIBAT II Conference, and a book will be published.

The next meeting is being planned for October 1996 in Geneva with the very active support of the Swiss Government (Center of Geneva). The Swiss Government is also financing the work of a number of the research groups and the Canada council has granted 25.000 dollars to this MOST project.

City Words

The project concerns ways of speaking about the city and its life. It is a long-term project, and is comparative, both within and between languages. It is co-ordinated by Francis Godard, PIR Villes.

The eight urban networks from various regions cover the following linguistic groups: Arab, Chinese, Canadian English, British English, Anglo-American, Hindi, Urdu, the English spoken in the Indian Peninsula and in South Asia, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Latino-American and Portuguese.

The question is not to translate terms " word for word ", to draw up an equivalent table between terms and concepts from various languages or to constitute a thesaurus, but to identify the terms to speak of urban realities by placing them in a context, in order to compare them.

The researchers distinguish four levels:
- popular lexicon;
- learned lexicon (for geography, social statistics, sociology, urban studies);
- administrative lexicons;
- technical lexicons.

In the present phase researchers are studying:
- the type of words which cities bring to mind such as megalopolis, suburbs, quarters, neighbourhoods.
- surrounding areas: slums; favellas, barrios as proximate space.

This first phase will end up with a publication in French and in English, presenting the linguistic correspondence between the semantic fields of each of the languages retained.

The network has organised a meeting in Paris in October 1995.

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also supporting a glossary between the French, English, Arabic and Hindi languages for policy makers in the field of economy and trade.

PIR Villes has finalised a small brochure presenting the project specially for the HABITAT II Conference which is being organised in Istanbul in June 1996.

Industrial Decentralisation and Urban Development in India, with Consideration of south-east and East Asian Cases

This project involves research teams from Jawaharlal Nehru University, the University of Amsterdam, the French institute of Pondicherry, and the Centre for Indian and South Asian Studies of the French CNRS.

Decentralised industrialisation, hailed as a competitive alternative to the classic city-centred industrialisation model, may be more conducive to stimulating local initiative and allowing more balanced development. The objective of this project is to undertake a comparative analysis of socio-cultural and economic processes that foster industrial growth in small and medium towns and the vertical integration of these towns with national and international production systems in Asia.

This scientific endeavour is the result of co-operative efforts between three national research teams (Indian, Dutch and French). This research network will seek to expand and forge links with other networks.

The strategy and overall design of the project reflects the aim and the importance of adopting a multi-level approach:

· firstly to understand at the local level, the social and economic processes that have given rise to decentralised industrialisation and the forms of urbanisation ands social change this has created;

· secondly to evaluate the impact at the local level of macro-economic policies and of the globalisation of markets and technology, and the new forms of economic integration and urbanisation they generate.

A number of key issues will be examined on the process of industrial decentralisation and its integration in regional, national or international economies:

* specific patterns of organisation (e.g. sub-contracting) that facilitate economic development:
-political and administrative environment, social structure and its degree of dynamism;
-integration of smaller urban units within broader economic networks;
-comparative advantages of small firms in terms of responsiveness to changing demand and capacity to innovate;
-extent to which these new economic opportunities rely on the segmentation (e.g. along gender and ethnic lines) and the vulnerability of the labour force

* Relative advantages of a new economic rationale favouring the decentralisation of decision-making by private and public agents (compared to a large or centralised structure associated with urban concentration, which remains the norm in many developing countries)

The first intensive research phase of this project includes study of the following situations:

- the diversity of economic and regional differences of six industrially developed small and medium towns within India
- the peripheralisation of growth around two metropolitan cities in south Asia
- the salient characteristics of a sample of fast-growing towns in south-east and East Asia.

A number of documents and papers including technical reports and policy briefs will be issued regularly and disseminated widely:

- annual reports including a substantial document at the end of the first three years of the project;
- regular workshops and seminars followed by working papers and articles in international journals;
- technical reports, intermediate and final, focusing on themes of policy relevance regarding local and more general issues;
- international conferences to compare project's findings and discuss possible extension of the project.

MOST-UNU Training Seminars on Mega-cities

The Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme and the Institute for Advanced Studies of the United Nations University (Tokyo) are preparing a series of regional training seminars on governance, participation, citizenship, social, economic and infrastructure issues of mega-cities addressed to city specialists and practitioners.

The first seminar will take place in the Autumn of 1996 and will concern the mega-cities of Asia. In subsequent years, other regions, such as Latin America and Africa will be covered.

The Seminar series are funded, from the MOST side, through the Japanese Funds-in-Trust for UNESCO-UNU co-operation, as well as by the UNU/IAS funds.


UNESCO has established an action-oriented project for the six-year period 1996-2001, entitled "Cities: management of social and environmental transformations". The first four years will be spent designing and implementing a small number of pilot activities. During the final biennium (2000-2001), a comparative evaluation of these experiments will be carried out, and proposals will be drawn up to improve policies for cities, mainly in respect of support for local communities in the context of urban management.

This project, anchored in the MOST (Management of Social Transformations) and MAB (Man and the Biosphere) Programmes of UNESCO, will be implemented in partnership with local authorities, NGO's and grass-roots organisations. Co-operation with the international organisations and scientific communities is actively sought.

Since the experimental project relies on action in the field, it seeks to associate the social sciences with the natural sciences. The "social science" dimension will be centred on combating forms of social exclusion and, in particular, urban violence, drug abuse, delinquency, exploitation of children, discrimination against women and will seek to foster various forms of solidarity and citizens' participation in the face of these cases of social dysfunction. The "natural science" approach will emphasise the ecological facets, taking the city as an ecosystem. In addition to the social aspects of urban life, it will introduce the physical, chemical and biological aspects, for example problems related to water and to the purification of urban waste, the destruction of green spaces and the lack thereof, the deterioration of the built-up environment, the deterioration of coastal regions linked to urban growth, industrial hazards in the urban context and atmospheric pollution.

The relevance of the project is attested to by the following observation: the protection and the functioning of the city require the consumption of "things" which, by the development of forms of representation and of social policies, become goods owned in common, a part of the common heritage. This is the case not only with water, air and soil, but also with health, silence, the architectural context and security. It is the way in which production and the functioning of the city consume, transform and bring about the deterioration of these collectively owned goods that will pattern and create the urban environment.

This way of transforming and consuming implies a legal and financial framework, technical tools and above all actors, among them the inhabitants of the cities.

The consumption of "collectively owned goods" by the city may warrant a reference to the "modes of exploitation" (consumption, deterioration, transformation) and appropriation of these goods by the different sectors of the production and functioning of the city. Here we are at the very core of the reality of the presence of two that co-exist in the city of the Third World.

The issue of " collectively owned environmental and social goods " in the urban context relates to the fact that inequality, poverty, economic development and environment are closely intertwined and leads us to the question of sustainable development and social development as well as that of "governance".

The goal of the project is to "encourage initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life and to promote the exercise of citizenship in an urban environment".

In the face of overlapping handicaps resulting from both environmental dysfunction and social dysfunction which feed on each other in a given space, the project is based on the assumption that the only policies with some chance of success are those seeking to involve populations, or better still those relying on local initiative by inhabitants.

The present programme is therefore neither a project of urban management nor a programme of pure research. It is an action-oriented programme, based on certain criteria of choice. It should also form the basis for partnership among grass-roots communities, municipalities, the scientific community and the media with the impetus being provided by UNESCO. They will be conducted as case studies from which lessons will be drawn. They will form the core of an emerging network of social actors.

In order to determine the sites of these pilot activities, it is proposed to attach greater importance to the following criteria in the choice of projects:

  • A well delimited territory, as the site of the activity.
  • A territory where there is an already-formed grass-roots community.
  • Support to actions already on their way, by a community of inhabitants.
  • Activities at the meeting point of the environmental, economic, social, psycho-social and health sectors, for example, centred on:
      1) the relationship between water and women: support for the setting up of water posts by women in single-parent families;
      2) the relationship between decaying built-up areas and youth in the streets: support for pavement repair work by pre-delinquent youth - street children;
      3) example: the relationship between wastes and households: support for income-generating micro-projects (recycling of wastes, market gardening) with rotating community credit.
  • Adoption of interactive strategies for:
      -renewing the urban environment,
      -developing the local economy,
      -enhancing the lives of the inhabitants.

The assumption here is that the prerequisite for the individual's self-esteem is the self-esteem of the group which itself is based on respect for and the renewal of an element of the urban environment, for example, a street, a square, a river, etc.

  • Partnership between the grass-roots community and local government.

  • Along with action, the undertaking of a process to train local leaders and municipal officials.

  • Support for action in the field and for the training process by a local government authority and an NGO from the North in order to promote South-North and North-South links.

  • Following up the action and process of training local actors through partnership with local research institutions.

  • Accompanying activities in terms of information notably through the media and radio.

  • Setting up networks of the different social actors in the two pilot activities in order to promote South-South networks.

  • Follow-up and assessment of each activity by a network of research workers in the natural and social sciences in order to draw lessons from activities in the field: these lessons would pertain to what works and what does not work, how it works, why the activity is functioning or not functioning, what is changing and what is not changing, what are the obstacles and what are the factors that make things easier. These questions will be asked through the immersion of the research workers in the environment of the activity.

Haiti/Port-au-Prince, cité-soleil districts, Sous-Fort, Caridad

In the Haitian capital, with a population of 1.3 million, there are several thousands of children aged between 7 and 18 who are homeless and even without shelter and there are even fewer families to receive them. They subsist in small street groups in an environment of violence, where they evolve survival mechanisms.

In the face of this situation, the inhabitants of the cemetery district who belong to an Association for Street Children have created a Peoples' Education Centre in order to strive for the integration of these children through a community-based approach.

This association proposes to support initiatives by groups of young people in their districts who have undertaken space-appropriating action: work to repair roads and pavements, action for cleanliness and the recycling of wastes. To accompany these examples of local initiative, action would be undertaken to train municipal cadres and social organisers along with information-providing activities in Haiti as well as abroad. The main thrust of this action would be education in citizenship and democracy in the city. The Cimade and the France-Haiti Partage Association could also be involved along with the Maurice Sixto Homes as well as the GRD (Groupe Recherche Développement), an NGO that works in the recycling of urban waste, the Association des volontaires au Progrès and the Groupe de Recherches et d'Echanges Technologiques (GRET). The Quisqueya University of Port-au-Prince could also be associated through the ENVIL network. The cities of Toulouse, Bordeaux, Montreal which have twinning activities with Port-au-Prince could be approached. Finally the Centre de Formation du Personnel communal, the Association pour la formation et le perfectionnement des gestionnaires des collectivités territoriales francophone, the Association Démocratie, the local education authorities and the Fondation Haïtienne pour les collectivités locales could make commitments.

Senegal/Pikine (Dakar suburb)/Yeumbel district

Yeumbel is a peripheral district of the municipality of Pikine in the suburbs of Dakar.

Owing to the natural configuration of Dakar's location (which is peninsular), Pikine to the north-east of downtown Dakar is one of the two municipalities, with Guédiawaye, that have experienced the bulk of population growth in Dakar.

Yeumbel (in the Pikine district) which is a former "traditional" village has become a working-class district in the outer suburbs. Most of its 7,000-odd resident households have no connections of their own to the potable water system. Certain parts of the district have no access to the household garbage collection system.

Owing to urban unemployment which has affected the majority of the population, especially young school-leavers, the inhabitants of the district are constantly undertaking action to create living conditions that are more dignified and less precarious. This action is supported by mutual assistance and solidarity groups such as savings and credit banks, women's development groups, cultural and sports associations, etc.

The association ENDA is planning a participatory project at Yeumbel for research and action on local development ventures conducted essentially by women. The proposed approach is based on participation by the concerned groups and other local partners (such as the municipality, the district, medical services and health services) in the identification, planning, financing, implementation and follow-up and assessment of different activities to be carried out in the district such as:

- the improvement of the public health and environment of the district by the building of toilets and filtering wells in dwelling units that have no such facilities, the setting up of water posts, and the collection and recycling of household garbage;
- the improvement of the living conditions of the least privileged groups by providing support to income-generating micro-projects (recycling of wastes, market gardening, etc.) and ventures of community interest (rotating credit, vaccination campaigns, etc.).

Following the same principle as in Haiti, multi-institutional partnerships, involving NGO's from the North, cities and universities, could be established to back up action supported by UNESCO.


    Working Towards the City of the 21st Century"

While already implementing specific actions on social, cultural and ecological aspects of urban life, UNESCO will support the follow-up of HABITAT II by increasing research, training, information, dissemination and initiation of pilot projects in the field of urban and environmental management.

Other key UNESCO efforts include:

  • The Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme did pioneering studies for over two decades, from 1970s to 1990s, on cities as ecosystems;
  • The International Hydrological Programme is working on water problems in cities.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Centre included cities in the World Heritage List; it created a World Heritage Cities Network in 1991 in Quebec and, since then, The International Management Guide for Historical Cities has become one of the important tools in assisting Municipalities in the elaboration of local policies towards the preservation of historic city centres within the urban development of towns.
  • Within the International Campaigns for the safeguarding of cities, UNESCO has made several appeals to International Community efforts for the restoration of Historic Monuments and buildings in historic cities such as Cartagenas de Indias or Fez.
  • Urban Historic Centres damaged by natural disasters or war like Beirut or Sarajevo, benefit from rehabilitation and revitalisation programmes.
  • Promotional Programs for vernacular architecture and traditional houses, with local materials self-construction workshops by inhabitants within poor areas, are supported by technical International Co-operation, Non Governmental Organisations or Universities like, in the historic cities of Mauritania or in the suburbs of Guadalajara.
  • A Policy level meeting of the mayors of some eight mega cities will be organised in 1997 within the transdisciplinary project " Environment and Population Education and Information for Development ". It will be attended by representatives of relevant United Nations Agencies, NGO's and voluntary movements as well as research institutions
  • An informal educational programme "Street's Children" will back up Non Governmental Organisations in the perspective of the social reinsertion of children.
  • An inter-regional educational programme oriented towards the eradication of urban violence is developed in schools, through UNESCO's associated schools scheme, as part of the Culture of Peace Programme.
  • A new programme will be engaged for the training of young people in charge of recycling urban waste and garbage as well as the programme for sports in cities.
  • In addition to the above pilot projects, a training programme will be concentrated on city actors such as architects, town planners, social workers, city technicians and managers, as well as mayors and regional authorities.
  • A MOST Clearing House on cities research has been created on Internet as a tool to increase and speed up communication and information between researchers and specialised Institutions.
  • A MOST data-base on Internet will provide information about the best social practices based on field experiences against social and cultural exclusion, poverty and violence in cities as well.

A communication policy for urban town planners, civil servants, teachers, journalists, media specialists and civic organisations has been created.

In addition, a UNESCO Mayors for Peace Prize is under preparation. It will enhance specific actions realised by Municipalities world-wide to improve urban life conditions, taking into account cultural, and ethnic diversity and the promotion of active Citizenship and Solidarity

Humanising the City

The City Summit encompasses many issues. There are hard questions to answer. how can we improve the governance and finance of human settlements? What policies are needed to improve conditions for the poorest people, families and communities? How can we ensure basic hygienic conditions in urban areas, while avoiding long-term damage to the environment? Can we ensure that, by a target date, adequate shelter will exist for all? What must be done to mitigate the effects of natural disaster and war? Can the cycle of deprivation, conflict, devastation and failure to develop be broken? "

Boutros Boutros-Ghali,
Secretary-General of the United Nations


Economic globalisation has changed the world, and a challenge is put forward to the State and other international actors in terms of definition of their new economic, social and political roles. Over-centralised State power in economic and social ruling is no longer satisfactory ; and yet, the idea of an emasculated and powerless State is unjustifiable and groundless. The MOST Programme, under its third major theme which focuses on coping strategies at local and regional levels with global economic, technological and environmental transformations, aims at reinforcing the need to promote scientifically-based and policy-relevant knowledge on relationships between urbanisation and globalisation processes. For instance, the MOST project on "Industrialisation, decentralisation and urban development in India with consideration of South-east and East Asian cases", implemented by scholars from India, France and the Netherlands, is currently undertaking a comparative analysis of socio-cultural and economic processes that foster industrial growth in small and medium towns in Asia.

Table : Growth Rate of some World Metropolis
Cities Pop. as %
of urban pop.
of the country
Growth rate
Growth rate
Alma-Ata 12 2,5 1,7
Bombay 6 3,3 4,2
Buenos Aires 38 1,6 0,7
Istanbul 19 5,1 3,7
Kampala 38 3,2 4,7
Kinshasa 33 4,7 4
Mexico City 25 4,3 0,7
New York 9 -0,4 0,3
Paris 23 0,9 0,3
Sao Paulo 13 4,1 2
Seoul 33 4,9 2
Sydney 25 2,1 0,4
Teheran 19 5,2 1,5
Tokyo 26 3,7 1,4
Toronto 18 1,8 3,5
Tripoli 69 10,5 4,6

Source : UNDP Human Development Report, 1995.

In fact, globalisation through economic world markets and progressive deregulation, the spread of liberal democracy, the transformation of production and labour relations, and new information technologies does not pre-empt the role of the State in regulating territories, spaces and people. Globalisation calls for a review of the role of the State in terms of management of its territories and resources, not just as a minimal regulating structure of civil society, but also as a political force which programmes globalisation processes according to social and economic priorities.

The transnational market is unable to manage all natural and human resources without producing what classical economists would call "external effects", which include poverty, unemployment, environmental degradation and energy waste. Thus, the State must not subscribe only to an ideology of market efficiency. As a basic rule, globalisation processes create new forms of integration and enhance competition among economic and social actors; however, it also leads to new forms of exclusion : exclusion stemming from rising unemployment or precarious jobs, exclusion through the lack of sufficient social services and security nets, exclusion through a culture based upon excessive and unsustainable consumption, exclusion from political decision-making, and finally exclusion from the common understanding of current events.

Urbanisation resulting from unbalanced industrial growth and "de-ruralisation" caused by forced rural migration constitute both major features of globalisation. Cities, in industrially advanced and developing countries, are attracting thousands of people ahead of their economic capacity to provide jobs, homes, water, sanitation, and many other basic services. Uncontrolled global processes and the incapacity to manage urban demands contribute to urban squalor, where social tensions, rampant crime, youth distresses and transgressions are on the rise.

table on urban population

Source : IMF World Economic Report , 1994.

In urban areas, globalisation can be seen as a factor of uniformity of spatial and social disparities. Social uniformity arising from globalisation processes is characterised by the fact that the beneficiaries (those who benefit from advantages incurred by globalisation) and the victims (those who suffer from this process) belong to similar social categories both in the North and the South. Geographic and spatial disparities also follow similar dynamics in different urban areas of the world : the rules organising urban space are basically parameters of social and spatial segregation, differentiation and separation.

Thus, development policies must consider the lack of concrete social regulation possibilities offered by global markets. Flexibility and organisation capacity of the private sector and the "organised civil society" are often overestimated. The State, but also the municipalities, must make the necessary effort to contribute to and ensure the sound functioning of basic and vital urban functions. As many scholars stressed in the last issue of the International Social Science Journal, prepared as a UNESCO contribution to HABITAT II, cities must begin to develop strategies to cope with the major tensions stemming from economic and technological globalisation.


Tanzania has recently formed the National Liaison Committee for the MOST Programme. The following institutions are involved:

1. Faculty of Social Sciences (University of Dar Es Salaam)
2. Ministry of Community Development, Women and children
3. Department of Youth Development (Ministry of Labour and Youth Development).
4. Department of Youth - Zanzibar (Ministry of Information, Culture, Tourism and Youth)
5. Tanzania Law Reform Commission
6. Ministry of Education and Culture (Commissioner for Culture)
7. Ministry of Education, Zanzibar
8. UNESCO National Commission of Tanzania (Social Sciences Committee Co-ordination).

Countries with MOST Liaison committees :

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Benin, Brazil, Burundi, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Latvia, Malawi, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Belarus, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Vietnam, Zaire.

The Scientific Steering Committee of the MOST Programme met in Paris from 15-19 April 1996 to MOST research proposals and progress reports from accepted projects. The next issue of this newsletter will provide information on newly accepted MOST projects.

List of SSC members:

Prof. Elvi Whittaker
Chairperson (Canada)

Prof. Norbert Lechner
Vice-Chairperson (Chile)

Prof. Narifumi M. Tachimoto
Vice-Chairperson (Japan)

Prof. Yoginder K. Alagh

Prof. Maurice Aymard

Prof. Arnlaug Leira

Prof. Antoni Kuklinski

Mr. Davinder Lamba

Prof. Licia Valladares

Members of the Intergovernmental Council of MOST in 1996-1997 :

Angola, Australia, Austria, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Jamaica, Japan, Lybian Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


MOST Regional and Sub-regional Conference Series

The series of regional and sub-regional MOST conferences, that started in 1994, with the aim of identifying research and policy priorities in MOST fields, will be completed, with the sub-regional meeting for English-speaking Caribbean countries, to take place in Jamaica, in October 1996. Also, the Second European Social Science Conference, in the Spring of 1997, in Bratislava, will devote half of its Agenda to discussing the MOST policy and research priorities in both Western and Eastern Europe. The meetings that have already taken place concerned the Asia-Pacific region, the Central Asian sub-region, the Latin American and Caribbean region (Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries), the Pacific sub-region, the Arctic region (northern parts of Scandinavia, Canada and the Russian Federation), the Central and Eastern European region and the Arab region.

A synthesis of the academic and policy implications of all these conferences will be published by the MOST Programme and will be available in 1997 from the Secretariat in Paris.

Arab Region: Highlights from MOST Conference,
(Tunis, 26-28 February 199)

This regional MOST conference was attended by some 60 academics and policy-makers from 11 countries in the Arab region. The conference benefited strongly from the interest and support of the host country. The meeting was attended by the Tunisian Minister of the Interior, Mr Mohammed Jegham, the Secretary of State for Social Affairs, Mr Kamal Hadj Sassi and by several representatives of international organisations working in the region.

Highlights of this meeting include the lively discussion around the theme of ethnic diversity in the Arab region. A keynote paper on this subject by Prof. Saad Eddin Ibrahim on the "Management and mismanagement of diversity, the case of ethnic conflict and state building in the Arab world" will be published shortly as a MOST discussion paper.

Participants emphasised the need for reinforcement of co-operation of Arab researchers and research institutions internationally. A proposal was made to establish a co-ordinating organisation for the social sciences following the model of CLACSO in Latin America or CODESRIA in Africa. MOST will follow up this initiative in co-operation with the Arab Association for Sociology and with other NGO's working in the social sciences.

The discussion on the state of the social sciences in the Arab region showed that the infrastructure in which the social sciences are to operate is problematic in those countries lacking the democratic freedom necessary for researchers to work and publish. It was stressed that social science research can only be effective in contributing to policy-making if it has scientific autonomy.

The participants underlined the importance of studying urbanisation in the region as one of the central mechanisms in social transformation. Special attention should be paid to the socio-cultural aspects of urbanisation. The participants debated at length the issue of globalization and emphasised the role that the Arab region could and should play in this regard.

As a major outcome of the conference several research projects were proposed including a conflict management project and a project examining agricultural policies. These project proposals will be evaluated in the next meeting of the MOST Scientific Steering Committee.

A recommendation was made to promote international exchange and training for students and researchers. MOST intends to cooperate with the European Union to join forces in this respect through the MED Campus programme.

With the support of UNESCO's Tunis Office, MOST will organise two small workshop for the further development of those projects which were initiated at the conference. The final report as well as the Recommendations are available on the MOST Internet Clearinghouse or on paper upon request.
P. de G.

The UNESCO office in Tunis which specialises in the social and human sciences has planned the following decentralised MOST Programme activities:

- production of an inventory of social science researchers and institutions in the Arab World, and a general bibliography in this area; attention will initially be focused on Algeria, Morocco Mauritania, Tunisia, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and Egypt;
- Organisation of two expert meetings with researchers from approved MOST projects in the Arab region;
- Development of a joint MOST-ISSC project, with the co-operation of Palestine, on population movements

For more information on these activities contact:
Francisco Carrillo, Director, UNESCO Office, B.P. 363 Mutuelville, 1002 Tunis, Tunisia

New urban communities: past experiences and responses to the future

    Cairo, Egypt, 13-17 October 1996
    INTA20 Annual Congress

The Conference will address issues such as:

- " New urban Communities in Retrospect: the good intentions behind the initial policy of new towns ".

- " Readjustment of new urban communities thinking, planning and implementation "

- " New Urban communities and future urbanisation: the readjustment of new urban communities thinking, planning and implementation; the adaptability of the new urban communities policy in light of the prevailing economic dynamics and change "

- " Modernisation without compromising the cultural heritage; modernisation without endangering the environmental balance "

Major technical visits are part of the programme:

    · The greater Cairo general metro
    · The north Gamalia renovation in old Islamic Cairo
    · Infrastructure development
    · Zamalek District project
    · Coastal development
    · Marina City
    · El Alamein
    · 10th of Ramadan
    · Ismailia
    · 6th of October

A special reduced fee is available for delegates from lesser developed countries.

For information please contact :
the INTA Secretariat at
Nassau Dillenburgstraat 44,
NL-2596 AE, The Hague, The Netherlands.
Tel. (31-70) 324 45 26; FAX: (31-70) 328 0727.

The Scandinavian Countries' meeting on MOST

    Helsinki, Finland, 11-12 January 1996

The Finnish National Commission for UNESCO organised this meeting, with the participation of National Commissions and MOST Liaison Committees of the host country, Norway and Sweden, as well as the social science research councils, and researchers from universities and research centres from these three countries, from 11 to 12 January 1996, in Helsinki.

The Agenda included issues such as the consolidation of MOST in 1996-1997, after the start-up period of 1994-1995, an assessment of project development strategies, funding opportunities and procedures, especially at the national level, promotion of national level activities and support, and the crucial role of national MOST Liaison Committees. In this connection, the MOST Liaison committees of Nordic countries will participate in May, in Stockholm, in the Joint Meeting of the National Committees of all UNESCO scientific programmes -- the four others being in ecology (MAB), geology (IGCP), hydrology (IHP) and oceanography (IOC), to explore possibilities of interdisciplinary joint projects.

The meeting recommended that:

- the MOST Programme be consolidated during the 1996-1997 biennium

- Liaison Committees be established to support the development of MOST projects; it is, however, up to each country to decide on the actual structure and status of the committee. All Nordic countries should establish liaison committees prior to the May 1996 joint meeting in Stockholm of liaison n committees of the five UNESCO scientific programmes (IOC, IHP, MOST, MAB, IGCP)

- surveys of MOST relevant research be conducted in each Nordic country

- National research councils and financing agencies - including NOS-S- consider supporting the MOST project on " Coping in the Circumpolar Region with Global Economic, technological and Environmental Phenomena " and other initiatives promoted by the national liaison committees

-Joint MOST research projects be generated in the context of inter-university co-operation

- Nordic academic communities participate in and support the Bratislava Conference on Social Sciences due to be held in 1997

- A flexible approach be found to funding of projects whereby all the three financing models listed in the preamble might be used

- National liaison committees may initiate MOST projects independently and grant the MOST label to these projects at the national level and communicate such initiates to the MOST Secretariat.

The Helsinki meeting proved to be very useful for assessing the operations of MOST in 1994-1995 and providing expert advice on its future strategies and actions. We hope that Member States in other regions and sub-regions will take the initiative of organising such meetings.


    MOST Programme Area of Multiculturalism and Multiethnicity


THE MOST-ASIA PACIFIC MIGRATION RESEARCH NETWORK (APMRN) held its first annual conference in Bangkok from 11-13 March 1996. The network is comprised of research teams from the following countries: Australia, Indonesia, Fiji, New Zealand, Thailand, Philippines, Japan, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, and the People's Democratic Republic of China.

The objectives of the conference which were as follows:

· to obtain the commitment of each official delegate to work toward establishing a national migration research network (if this has not already been achieved);

· to discuss and agree upon a common workplan and schedule of activities;

· to design an effective administrative structure for the network

· to explain and agree upon UNESCO's role in the APMRN and particularly the necessity for establishing close ties with the UNESCO national commissions of each country;

· to determine funding possibilities for the network;

· to determine a satisfactory publication strategy for the network;

· to identify migration training and educational needs in the APMRN member countries;

The morning of the first day was devoted to the presentation Country-level Issues Papers. These will be published by UNESCO as the first volume of the MOST-APMRN and will be available from the MOST Secretariat as of August 1996. This resulted in the group agreeing on four themes 4 themes that capture a number of significant contemporary research issues in migration studies, which have relevance for both academic and policy-oriented inquiry into social, political and environmental dimensions of migration and increasing ethno-cultural diversity in the Asia-Pacific region. Each country will participate in the theme or themes pertinent to its particular migration problems. Agreement was reached, by all national teams on the following APMRN workplan, 1996-1998:

· an elaboration, in theoretical and policy oriented terms of dynamics of major migration systems (including undocumented migration) operating within the Asia-Pacific region, with particular reference to social an a political dimensions of globalisation. This broad theme could incorporate a comprehensive survey of current migration policies in the region with regard to their impacts on short-term and long-term human resource transfers at national, regional and global levels.

A particular publication output from this research initiative could be a special issue of the Asian and Pacific Migration Journal - a journal which has already published leading papers on the transformation of migration systems in the region.

· an exploration of population mobility in the region in terms of the policy implications of an increasing mis-match between what local societies and environments can sustain, and the demands placed on these societies and environments by essentially transient populations. Flows of relevance here include tourism, short-term labour circulation, contract labour migration,

· circulation of highly-skilled employees of multinational companies, and possibly some of the return flows in the Pacific Islands and Asia

One idea underlying this research initiative is the consequences for people and places of temporary transfers of people from essentially low per capita resource consumption societies to societies where resource consumption is high (e.g. contract labour migration between Thailand and Taiwan, or population movement between Tonga and New Zealand). Another idea is the increasing pressure which exponential growth in short-term circulation, especially that associated with tourism is having on natural environments (scenic areas, naturereserves, national parks, etc.)

A particular publication output from this research initiative would be a UNESCO Press report or book (possibly published with the support of UNFPA, given the links between this theme and the post-Cairo ICPD Plan of Action. This will be followed up by Richard Bedford from New Zealand, who has done extensive work in the past with UNFPA). There may also be links with the MAB Programme and the MOST Secretariat could consider a joint publication with MAB.

· research on the consequences of international migration for inter-group relations including relations with indigenous peoples with particular reference to the policy implications of increasing ethnic diversity for concepts of citizenship, the rights of migrants and their families in both countries of destination and origin, and the significance of social networks for the emigration process.

A particular publication output from this research initiative could be a special issue of the ISSJ

· research on the consequences of international migration for international migration (including return migration) and entrepreneurial activity in receiving and sending countries, with particular reference to both small-scale enterprises (including the operation of flea markets) and the activities of multinational companies. The roles of immigration policy, social networks and economic development plans/strategies at the national level would be highlighted in this research.

A particular publication output from this research initiative could be a special issue of the Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, or the journal Asia-Pacific viewpoint (formerly Pacific Viewpoint), edited t the Victoria University of Wellington and now published by Basil Blackwell (UK)

Throughout the APMRN's stages of work there will be seminars and training programmes both for policy-makers and academics. An effort will be made to communicate migration issues through public media, such as newspapers, magazines and press releases.


Metropolis is a co-operative, international research project that seeks to stimulate multidisciplinary research on the effects of international migration on urban centres involving over twelve countries and international organisations. The project has two overarching objectives:
  • First, it will provide policy makers at all levels of government, as well as community and business leaders with solid information on which to anchor their policy ideas--thus integrating research more systematically into policy development

  • Second, it will develop an inventory of " best international practices " that identifies the most effective solutions to the many practical challenges that face all countries which have significant numbers of foreign-born persons in their large urban centres

To accomplish these objectives, Metropolis proposes to encourage major academic institutions to engage in systematic research supported, in the initial stages, by the pubic and private sectors.

Two planning meetings, co-sponsored by the European Commission and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, were held in Brussels (in October 1995 and February 1996) to establish collaboration and commitment to work together in realising the international research agenda. In addition to participating countries, and research institutes, the meetings included representation from the EC, OECD and UNESCO/MOST Programme

The project will feature a series of major, annual conferences to be hosted by " partner countries ". Italy will host the first such event in November 1996. The conferences will focus on distinct policy themes and challenges requiring strategic management and will bring together senior researchers, members of the policy community and private sector, " stakeholders ". They will provide a focal point for the discussion of existing research and a venue for unveiling new " state of theart " work commissioned expressly for the Metropolis project.

Research results will be communicated broadly and a selection of papers presented at the annual conferences will be published in a journal of proceedings.

For further information on the Metropolis project, please contact the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada - Metropolis Project at (819) 994-1390

" Multicultural Policies and Modes of Citizenship in European Cities "

Under the auspices of the UNESCO/MOST Programme, on 19-20 February 1996 a meeting was held at the Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales, Paris, in order to develop a project initiative by way of a full MOST project proposal. This meeting carried forward achievements made at previous development meetings in Gimo and Stockholm, Sweden, which were sponsored by UNESCO World Decade for Cultural Development and the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO.

The project under development, entitled " Multicultural Policies and Modes of Citizenship in European Cities ", involves comparative and interdisciplinary research concerning ways in which immigrant and minority groups have gained access (or been confronted with obstacles) to decision-making processes and other ways of participating in the municipal public sphere. This includes the examination of local authority frameworks and immigrant or ethnic minority group activities with regard to local authority consultative bodies, civil service positions, political parties, public funding (e.g. organisations, legal assistance, training), housing, cultural policy and specific elements for urban regeneration.

Preliminary material, fieldwork locations, researchers and thematic elements arise from the linkage of two prior research projects: " Multiculturalism and Political Integration in European Cities " (supported by the European Commission's COST - A2 Migration Programme and the British Economic and Social Research Council) and " Culture and Neighbourhoods (managed by the Council of Europe's Council for Cultural Co-operation). The Directors of both of these prior projects, respectively Prof. John Rex and Dr. Franco Bianchini, are both Advisors to the new initiative. Steering Committee members and proposed researchers for the new project are trained in Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science, Human Geography and Cultural Studies.

The project will have a duration of " three plus three " years. 1996-68 will see a consolidation of the link between the COST - A and Council of Europe Projects through a comparison of findings, application for new research funding, and the commencement of fieldwork in chosen to represent certain social and political conditions (namely Birmingham, Liege, Stockholm, Rotterdam, Lyon, Marseilles, Bilbao, Milan, Berlin). Findings from this first three-year phase will be presented in 1998 in Stockholm, when that city is European City of Culture. The second three-year period will involve further comparative work in these cities together with research in other, yet to be confirmed cities, including ones in Eastern Europe.

Steve Vertovec
University of Warwick

"Multicultural Societies": Clarification of concepts and terminology"

    (CNRS Research Group "Law, Cultures, Languages")

This project which was accepted by the Scientific Steering Committee of the MOST Programme at its June 1995 meeting, aims at developing a research potential and the theoretical tools to grapple with the increasingly used terms and concepts used in media reporting of various situations related to Multiculturalism and Multiethnicity. The project aims not at producing a universal glossary of such usage but rather at identifying the implications of the use of various terms on public behaviour and public understanding of the issue being reported.

The choice of concepts and terminology will be made using the following criteria for selection:

1. The importance of the problems such or such a society must face during a given period. This priority will allow this clarification work to have a short-term effect on resolving questions in those societies under consideration.

2. The way in which the different disciplines in the social and human sciences have analysed problems within multicultural and multiethnic societies in their different national contexts. This approach permits an understanding of the functioning of concepts within complex societies.

3. Ethnic and national designations identifying concrete historical realities. The transformations which have occurred to ethnic and national designations (official and/or officious names, self-identifiers, etc.)

This programme is being undertaken by a network of teams from the main Western European countries, Russia, the CIS, Hungary, the Balkans, the Maghreb, USA, Canada and Chile. The network is lead by the CNRS Research Group "Law, Culture, Languages" (GDR 1178) with the help of Paris X Nanterre and Paul Valéry (Montpellier III) universities.

The network is planning a series of volumes describing multicultural and multiethnic realities in a number of countries and analysing the concepts with which these are normally treated. These publications, in the forms of school or popular textbooks will contribute to presenting a less emotional viewpoint of these realities, in particular to the problems presented by the existence of minority groups.

The project will take place over 4 years from 1996-2000 and will also concern the organisation by the network's teams of a certain number of symposia, culminating in a large international conference on "Prevention and Resolution of Conflicts in Multicultural and Multiethnic Societies" to present the synthesis of results.

Henri Giordan,
61 Traverse des Eaudes, 30250 VILLEVIEILLE,
tel. and fax 33 66 80 44 50, email Giordan@u-paris10.fr

BEST PRACTICES DATABANK in the Management of Social Transformations

MOST is setting up a " Best Practices " Databank where the " best " refers to the cases in which creative and sustainable solutions have been put in place to provide substantive responses to pressing social problems. The idea of the databank is based on the fact that no satisfactory solution has yet been found to the matter of collecting and circulating experiences from over the world relating to the management of social transformations. Thus, the main goal of the Databank is to contribute to the design of effective policy-making by providing precise and compact information on existing successful projects.

MOST is launching a pilot project with the " Union Iberoamericana de Municipalistas " , an NGO with members in Latin America and in Spain, on local and municipal projects concerning Social Exclusion and Social Integration. After the Social Summit of Copenhagen the term " social exclusion " has become one of the key concepts amongst policy-makers and analysts to understand the effects of social transformations . This concept, with much rhetorical force, covers a wide variety of projects which promote socio-economic cohesion, ethno-cultural integration and poverty reduction.

The Databank is designed to be an effective way to communicate and make visible alternative solutions designed by policy-makers all over the world. The collected experiences will be widely diffused by UNESCO via the MOST Clearing House on the Internet, and in printed form.

CITIES IN THE ARAB WORLD : In Search of an Integrated Urban Environment

The consequences of the historical development of the traditional urban fabric in the Islamic World are linked to the common conception and production of urban fabric in Islamic cultures. Over the centuries, the architectural specificity of the various historical time periods were integrated into the existing urban fabric.

From the 1st century of Hegira, architectural and urban principles coming from Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Sassanite periods were assimilated to the new religious situation. Old cities like Tunis, Kairouan, Algiers, Tlemcen, Marrakech and Fez are testimonies through specific urban landscaping of regional techniques, socio-economic and political inputs related to the religion and the inhabitants traditional way of life.

Urban/rural Population Change in the Middle East and North Africa

This capacity, observed in the Arab region, to integrate new inputs through the joining of various civilisations was disrupted by colonisation. The subsequent rapid urbanisation of countries with limited resources has typically resulted in a steady and marked deterioration of the urban environment.

Successive migrations have increased the demand for liveable and affordable housing beyond means of the government to provide the subsidies required to produce it. Density has increased as housing shortage has forced the subdivision of the old buildings into tiny units and a lack of maintenance has accelerated their deterioration, while original city dwellers are replaced by a poorer, often rural population. Traditional urban quarters have been particularly affected, as their central location has proved attractive to migrants seeking cheap housing and unskilled jobs readily available in the city's small business and workshops: housing in historic urban fabric is too dense and decaying, rehabilitation works are expansive and neglected; the traditional know-how is fading away and living conditions are not decent anymore, some handicrafts activities are increasing the process of decay spurred by pollution.

Old infrastructure is used well beyond its design capacity and breaks in water and sewerage systems are common place, creating health hazards and threatening the structural integrity of buildings through shifts in the watertable and erosion damage to foundations. Sometimes the logic of government urban redevelopment projects destroys the whole traditional neighbourhoods without too much concern for the Islamic Heritage of the Arab City.

Some historical public facilities, even when physically safeguarded, survive in a dejected and lonely setting, devoid of their former urban physical and social fabric. Following the colonial period, most types of houses built in Arab countries are one way or another inspired by western models of architecture, excluding the very few architects inspired by Hassan Fathy who successfully adapted the traditional method of designing and building houses with the requirements of present day life.

New dwellings often compelled inhabitants to pay for imported technologies, their maintenance and energy consumption. The fencing of many educational buildings and their mosques, miles away from city centres is also not an uncommon practice: in Arab cities, planning is often non-existent; if it does exist, it is frequently non comprehensive, or not implemented and fails to provide an integrated urban environment, which would maintain the values and the qualities of traditional urban fabrics.


In less than a hundred years, the population of Cairo has grown about ten fold. In 1990, 12 million people were living in an area that covers about 32 000 hectares; the proper city has an area of about 22 000 hectares which means a city with a very high density. "Beautifully located, its old quarters has the special character of all medieval Arab-Islamic Cities". The historic core exhibits striking contrast of deterioration with vitality. After the second world war a flood of migrants poured into Cairo from all over Egypt. Ansurmountable housing shortage was generated, and haphazard illegal development sprung forth.

Few would have predicted the dramatic expansion in the two decades between 1996 and 1986 that doubled the city's size from 15,000 to 30,000 hectares, triggered by the appearance of people lacking education and urbanity.

Greater Cairo Urbanization Plan
Source: Urban Regeneration and the Shaping of Growth. The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, 1990


Within seventy years, Baghdad went from the level of a regional town of less than 200,000 inhabitants to a metropolis of 3 million inhabitants. Pressure on the historic city was increasing by the fact that the Modern city centre was growing within the historical urban fabric, using the Old City to provide construction material. The Old City suffers from the social mutation as well as from the increase in commercial and industrial activities which may trigger the explosion of the physical framework of the traditional urban fabric.

The Old City of Sana'a:

    "an exception"

A visitor from a North African City would be surprised to find a Medina that does not exude rural poverty: rural immigrants are not attempting to take the city over its ancient ramparts. Due mainly to the infrastructure improvements a delicate and precarious balance has been miraculously maintained between Sana'a and its citizens, between inhabitants and souk traders, traditions and a strong desire for modernity.

The Aga Khan prize for Islamic Architecture was awarded in October 1995 to the Old City of Sana'a.

Sana'a: An Urban Wonder of Tradition and Modernity


1980 total population 70,000 inhabitants
56% living in old deteriorating houses
65% of households are of rural origin.

Like others, the Medina has been transformed by successive migrations from rural areas. The first migrants settled in the Medina in the 1930's driven out of their land by a severe drought: old structures had been subdivided into many small dwellings. On the average, each liveable room sheltered 2.8 persons.

From 1975 to 1980, over 150,000 new migrants came to Tunis, crowding into cheap units of the Medina. As a result, twice as many families lived in one room dwellings in 1980 than in 1975.

The Medina, however, provides centrally located, relatively inexpensive housing despite overcrowding and deteriorating buildings and sanitary conditions. The increase in land availability and the rising number of jobs that draw on a broad spectrum of skills perfectly the lifestyles of the inhabitants.

Plan of the Moroccan Precolonial City
Source: Les équipements structurants de l'espace social 1975. Ministère de l'urbanisme, Maroc, 1972

Morocco :

From 1900 up to 1960, the Muslim cultural identity has decreased from 100% to 30% while the urban space was increasing from 1 to 15.....

Should Arab planners and architects keep following lessons that are often already out-dated in their countries of origin, or should they now strive to develop different and original paths?

Why do some governments concentrate their attention on new developments rather than improving the old housing stock?

The assets and the liabilities of the Medina underline the inherent conflict between conservation and revitalisation; conservation usually attempts to freeze an exiting environment, if not actually to restore it to a previous state of grandeur and artificially to protect it from further encroachment. Physical, social and economic revitalisation requires its evolution, its adaptation and its integration into the modern urban fabric: schools, open space, community facilities and sources of employment for a labour force with limited skills are the indispensable complement to housing.

The various statements herewith are taken from studies realised by François Vigier, Architect M.I.T, Said Mouline Architect- Town Planner Specialist of Arab cities for the French Institute for Architecture, teacher in Rabat, Stefano Bianca, Architect-Town Planner, Director of the Aga Khan Programme Support for the Historic Arab Cities, Leila Ibrahims, Architect and Town Planner Consultant for the M.I.T. and Aga Khan Institute for Architecture, Hedi Eckert, Specialist of Socio-Cultural Problems in the Maghreb and Yemen, Samir Adbulac, Consultant M.I.T. Architect Town Planner and Mona Serageldin, Specialist of the Arab World, M.I.T.).

Fez: Shadows of the Past and the Present

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