Plenary Session: Responding to Urban Crises

Day 2, Plenary Session 2B: 4:30pm –6:00pm

Location: Storey Hall (Building 16) – Main Auditorium, Level 5, Room 1

Chair: Professor Paul James (RMIT University)


Michael Humphrey Michael Humphrey

  • Violence and Urban Governance in Neoliberal Cities in Latin America
  • Abstract: This presentation explores the responses of Latin American governments to the phenomenon of high levels of criminal violence and social conflict in Latin American cities. The region has the highest homicide rates in the world and the some of the highest levels of ongoing social protest. It outlines a neoliberal urban security model that has emerged in Latin American cities alongside urban political economy regime supporting ‘competitive cities’. It examines its impact on controlling crime and creating more inclusive urban space drawing on examples from Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Mexico City and Caracas. It argues that urban segregation is driven by the spatialising of security and the selective support for urban development/renewal. The project of making cities safe for people and investment is accompanied by securitisation, the risk management of ‘dangerous’ urban spaces through repression.  Making cities safe involves the management of the level of crime and the level of fear, the objective and the subjective impact of urban violence. Citizen security programmes seek to address citizen insecurity through participatory citizenship but they often also reinforces urban segregation and exclusion not inclusion. 
  • About Professor Humphrey: Michael Humphrey holds the Chair in Sociology at the University of Sydney. He has published widely on globalization and the crisis of the nation-state. He has undertaken research on Islam in the West, the impact of war and terrorism on societies, human rights politics and reconciliation, and citizen insecurity and urban governance. He is currently researching globalization, urban governance and violence in Latin American cities. His main publications are Islam, Multiculturalism and Transnationalism: From the Lebanese Diaspora (1998) and The Politics of Atrocity and Reconciliation: From Terror to Trauma, (2002). He is currently working on a book with Estela Valverde entitled Amnesty and Transitional Justice: The Judicialisation of Politics.
Joyati Das Joyati Das

  • Towards A Just City Where Children Thrive
  • Abstract: The unprecedented increase in urban population has driven an exponential increase in demand for infrastructure and services, leaving millions of people vulnerable worldwide. The urban poor often face exploitation, violence and high risk of disease in overcrowded slums. International NGOs have been slow to respond to the megatrend of urbanisation and its impacts. As one of the largest INGOs focused on child well-being, World Vision International is keen to learn more about the implications of the megatrend of urbanisation. The organisation has established an urban centre of research and knowledge management to contribute to sustainable ‘Cities for Children’. 
  • World Vision is already present in the world’s most rapidly urbanising countries. However, like most NGOs World Vision’s urban footprint is limited and its programming model is essentially designed for stable, cohesive communities – found predominantly in rural contexts. 
  • Joyati Das, Global Head of World Vision’s Centre of Expertise for Urban Programming, will highlight the need for INGOs to embrace the changing contexts and realign their role with the urbanising world. This will require reprioritisation as well as a multi-disciplinary integrated approach to contribute impact and effectiveness in urban areas.
  • About Ms Das: Joyati Das leads the Centre of Expertise for Urban Programming in World Vision to which she brings more than 20 years of diverse work experiences from India, Middle East and Australia. She is passionate about human rights, and development issues seeking innovative approaches to address issues of urban poverty and sustainable development. In World Vision, Joyati has held senior management and advisory roles in the Indigenous programs team, Asian Tsunami Response, and Urban Programs.