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People Oriented Development: Rethinking the Links Between the Sustainable Development Goals and Transit Oriented Development, Through a Case Study of Quito, Ecuador

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Resilient Planning and Design for Sustainable Cities (UPADSD 2022)

Abstract

One of the pillars of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the idea that the eradication of poverty and inequality is possible through economic growth. The baseline of economic growth relates strongly to the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) framework, which contains a consolidated financial model for urban development. In this paper, we examine the synergies and conflicts between SDGs and TOD. By doing so, we highlight how, although the SDGs ultimately strive to eradicate poverty, TOD fails miserably on this front. The findings are the result of the analysis of TOD in Quito, Ecuador, which has had a notable influence on TOD in its urban legislation, since hosting the Habitat III conference in 2016. The case study reflected the synergies and conflicts between the SDGs and TOD. In addition, we argue that certain aspects of the Quito study challenge the very concept of development through economic growth (promoted by the SDGs), or having fast urban economic centres (pushed by TOD). We argue that instead of trying to force local needs to be in accordance with the SDGs or TOD, a new approach should be adopted that is centred around people’s needs. We call for a shift in discourse: from a strong focus on infrastructural development, fast access and economic growth, to discussing forms of urban living. This paper defines such a shift in discourse, research and urban planning as People Oriented Development.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In this paper, we draw on the original definition provided by the United Nations, plus the targets and indicators for the Goals (UNDESA, n.d.), as well as the latest report on Progress Towards the Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations Economic and Social Council, 2019).

  2. 2.

    Additionally, the SDG’s definition of vulnerable is restricted. TOD can cater to the disabled, women and children as long as they can afford to live in the development catchment area. There exist other options outside of TOD to serve the disabled, women and children, such as Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) (Cavoli et al., 2017). The term ‘vulnerable’ usually extends to those who are economically and socially vulnerable (which in turn relates to the urban population living in slums that was highlighted in the facts and figures).

  3. 3.

    This is open to some debate. For example, the OECD would classify Quito as a large metropolitan area (OECD Data, 2023). However, Quito is clearly far from being a Megacity of the likes of México City, Bogotá, and Sao Paolo, which have nearly 22 million, 46 million and almost 11 million respectively.

  4. 4.

    Marginalised Communities is a term that depicts the specificity of informality in the Ecuadorian context. Here with informality, we refer to the United Nations definition: (1) inhabitants have no security of tenure; (2) the neighbourhoods usually lack basic services and city infrastructure; (3) housing built in absence of urban planning and building regulations; and (4) often situated in hazardous areas (UN-Habitat, 2015). In Quito, MCUDs are usually an area of urban land acquired in informal settlements, where inhabitants with limited financial resources have started to build family homes with decentralised basic services and in the absence of official building regulations. Due to increasing pressure in raised land prices from the urban middle classes, these MCUDs are often located in areas vulnerable to natural hazards (soil liquefaction in earthquakes and slopes vulnerable to landslides), mostly in the periphery.

  5. 5.

    This included a move towards the decentralisation of city services (water and sanitation, energy supply, waste management) achieved via rain and grey water recycling, renewable energy production, and localised waste processing, to name but a few.

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Acknowledgements

This paper would not have been possible, were it not for the guidance of Professor Tim Schwanen and a thorough review of the text by Dr. Lucy Baker, respectively, Director and Research Associate of the Transport Studies Unit of the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. Additionally, extensive work in the development of figures, analysis of the Delphi interviews, the semi-structured interview with the IMP leader and tasks in drafting and reviewing the paper was carried out by Arch. Andrea Cristina Cordova, whose involvement was essential. Furthermore, Arch. Jaire Cagigal's work was crucial in preparing the final document and images.

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Correspondence to Michael Maks Davis .

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Davis, M.M., Verlinghieri, E. (2024). People Oriented Development: Rethinking the Links Between the Sustainable Development Goals and Transit Oriented Development, Through a Case Study of Quito, Ecuador. In: Alberti, F., Gallo, P., Matamanda, A.R., Strauss, E.J. (eds) Resilient Planning and Design for Sustainable Cities. UPADSD 2022. Advances in Science, Technology & Innovation. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-47794-2_4

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