SUVA has been listed amongst Pacific cities and towns with the largest urban villages, in an Asia Development Bank (ADB) report titled, The Emergence of Pacific Urban Villages – Urbanization Trends in the Pacific Islands.
Released this month, the report defines urban villages as native and traditional communities and village-like settlements based in urban areas and claims that new approaches are necessary to address the rise of these impoverished areas in the region.
“These informal or unplanned settlements are often neglected and excluded from the government’s planning system, so we need to rethink approaches to urban management and development to include urban villages in the mainstream policies, strategies, projects, and programs,” said Robert Jauncey, head of ADB’s Pacific sub-regional Office in Suva.
The report says that urban villages should be recognized as meaningful local socio-territorial entities that operate as part of wider villages and cities, and that this context presented an opportunity to seriously question current approaches, such as who really builds Pacific towns and cities, what processes are used, and how they can be best supported and managed in a more equitable manner.
“Sustainable Development Goal no. 11 focuses on making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by ensuring access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums by 2030,” ADB highlighted.
“In line with this goal, the report recommends that urban villages be included in an expanded planning jurisdiction of towns and cities, thus enabling service providers currently constrained by law to provide basic services such as water and sanitization to these settlements.
ADB said this would promote more inclusive towns and cities, particularly as the growth and permanency of Pacific urban villages were in fact, a form of housing resilience.