Back to Publication
From Unsustainable to Inclusive Cities
Chapter 6: Sustainable Development and Democracy in the Megacities, by Jaime Joseph
This chapter looks at sustainable development in the megacities of the South, focusing on Lima, the capital of Peru. Although the problems of Southern megacities are back on national and international agendas, the recent attention has been triggered by environmental concerns; strategies are not aimed at addressing poverty or the lack of basic services. Although environmental sustainability and economic development are not necessarily incompatible, sustainable development must be redefined from a Southern perspective. This chapter focuses on community-based organizations, which may offer some means of achieving a form of development that integrates social and political concerns and is, therefore, sustainable. The fragmentation of issues and groups in urban environments is identified as a main threat to genuine development. The chapter concludes that public forums are a way of combating fragmentation, and achieving a decentralized approach to development and democracy in megacities, provided these constitute an informed and educational working environment.