From Local Action to Global Networks: Housing the Urban Poor: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

From Local Action to Global Networks: Housing the Urban Poor

1st Edition

By Peter Herrle, Astrid Ley


220 pages

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Over the past two decades it has become widely recognized that housing issues have to be placed in a broader framework acknowledging that civil society in the form of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and their allies are increasingly networking and emerging as strong players that cannot easily be overlooked. Some of these networks have crossed local and national boundaries and have jumped political scales. This implies that housing issues have to be looked at from new angles: they can no longer simply be addressed through localized projects, but rather at multiple scales. The current debate is largely limited to statements about the relevance of individual organizations for local housing processes and tends to overlook the innovativeness in terms of re-scaling those processes and of influencing institutional change at various levels by transcending national boundaries. There is a significant lack of a systemic understanding of such globally operating grassroots networks and how they function in the housing process. This book brings together different perspectives on multi-scalar approaches within the housing field and on grassroots’ engagement with formal agencies including local government, higher levels of government and international agencies. By moving away from romanticizing local self-initiatives, it focuses on understanding the emerging potential once local initiatives are interlinked and scaled-up to transnational networks.


"Its contributions challenge readers, scholars and policy-makers alike to rethink traditional conceptions of policy communities and advocacy by fleshing out key motives for transnational cooperation between urban poor organizations. The authors offer an invaluable theoretical contribution to the emerging field of transnational housing activism."

Timothée Labelle, Centre Mechtilde, Gatineau, Quebec, Canada, Housing Studies.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: housing processes taking roots in local action and extending to global networks, Peter Herrle, Astrid Ley and Josefine Fokdal. Part I Qualities of Networks by Urban Poor: Urban poor housing development in Asia: from target group to negotiating partner, Somsook Boonyabancha and Thomas Kerr; How urban poor networks are re-scaling the housing process in Thailand, the Philippines and South Africa, Astrid Ley, Josefine Fokdal and Peter Herrle; Transnational networks of urban poor federations and their modes of action and cooperation - lessons from Tanzania, Beate Ginzel. Part II Positioning of Urban Poor Networks: Moving from consultation to empowerment? The role of slum dweller organizations in global policy networks, Interview with Gunter Meinert and Rene Peter Hohmann; From grassroots shacks to the towers of power: relationship building of transnational urban poor networks. Experiences from Africa and Asia, Josefine Fokdal, Astrid Ley and Peter Herrle; Quiet conflict: institutional change, informal settlement upgrading, and formalized partnerships between local authorities and urban social movements in South Africa, Benjamin H. Bradlow; Transforming the housing process in the Philippines: the role of local-global networks by the urban poor, Anna Marie Karaos and Emma Porio. Part III Urban Poor Networks in Global Development Policy: Urban grassroots movements and agencies of development cooperation, Klaus Teschner; Making sure the 'voices of the poor' are heard: why forms of transnational activism can make a difference, Diana Mitlin; Grappling with housing issues at the city scale: mobilizing the right to the city in South Africa, Liza Cirolia, Warren Smit and James Duminy; Collective strength by global networks of the urban poor: policy implications of affordable housing and co-development strategies, Matt Nohn; Transnational networks of urban poor: key for a more collaborative urban governance?, Peter Herrle, Josefine Fokdal and Astrid Ley. Index.

About the Authors

Dr Peter Herrle is Professor for International Urbanism at the Technische Universität Berlin, Germany and until 2012 was Director of the Habitat Unit at Faculty VI at the same institution, Dr Astrid Ley is Professor for International Urbanism and Director of the Institute for Urban Planning and Design at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, and Dr Josefine Fokdal is lecturer and researcher for International Urbanism at Technische Universität Berlin, Germany.

About the Series

Global Urban Studies

Global Urban Studies

This series is published in conjunction with the School of Planning, Design, and Construction at Michigan State University, USA.

Providing cutting edge interdisciplinary research on spatial, political, cultural and economic processes and issues in urban areas across the US and the world, books in this series examine the global processes that impact and unite urban areas. The organizing theme of the book series is the reality that behavior within and between cities and urban regions must be understood in a larger domestic and international context. An explicitly comparative approach to understanding urban issues and problems allows scholars and students to consider and analyse new ways in which urban areas across different societies and within the same society interact with each other and address a common set of challenges or issues. Books in the series cover topics which are common to urban areas globally, yet illustrate the similarities and differences in conditions, approaches, and solutions across the world, such as environment/brownfields, sustainability, health, economic development, culture, governance and national security. In short, the Global Urban Studies book series takes an interdisciplinary approach to emergent urban issues using a global or comparative perspective.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography