Key issues for the human settlements group
IIED’s Human Settlements Programme has been working on urban environmental issues since the mid-1970s. Both our topics and our ways of working are informed by our poverty focus. People on very low incomes, living in slums or squatter settlements, tend to be the most vulnerable to all three types of environmental burdens, but are particularly susceptible to the local environmental hazards in and around their home.
The principal topics that we are currently working on are:
- Improving water and sanitation provision in deprived urban settlements
- Adapting Cities to Climate Change
- Local Agenda 21 and similar urban environmental initiatives
- Reconciling the Brown and Green Agendas
Rural Urban Linkages
For the majority of policies, people and their activities are classed as either ‘rural’ or ‘urban’. However, the links between rural and urban locations, people and activities are key components of livelihoods and local economies; they are also engines of economic, social and cultural transformations.
Rural-urban interactions can be defined as linkages across space (such as flows of people, goods, money, information and wastes) and linkages between sectors (for example, between agriculture and services and manufacturing). In broad terms, they also include 'rural' activities taking place in urban centres (such as urban agriculture) and activities often classified as 'urban' (such as manufacturing and services) taking place in rural settlements.
The principal topics that we work on are:
- Governance, migration and local economic growth in small urban centres
- The role of urban centres in the development of their surrounding rural region
- Income diversification and rural non-farm employment
- Migration, mobility and climate change
- Transformations in peri-urban areas