Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development Policy and Administration

Edited by Gedeon M. Mudacumura, Desta Mebratu, and M. Shamsul Haque Taylor & Francis Group, 2006

Chapter 25

The World Bank’s New Urban Strategy: An Assessment from Development Ethics, by Chloe Schwenke*Sustainable_Development

“Concretely, Schwenke assesses the World Bank’s new urban strategy created after the Bank realized that urban development activities could and should have a greater impact in raising the living standards of the poor and promoting equity. Her chapter highlights how life is extremely tough in the urban areas in LDCs of the world, where the severity of poverty and the deprivation of opportunities constitute a profound moral challenge, a problem often overlooked by the rich and powerful in the South and in the more advanced, industrialized, and postindustrial economies of the world. Her assessment raises several legitimate questions such as ‘Is it morally permissible to maintain distinct and inferior standards for people just because they are poor? If not, who would enforce a more equitable standard? Are there moral obligations that we have – as individuals and governments, North and South – to overcome deprivation and uphold a more uniform standard of dignity in the urban South? And why has so little been said, when discussing urbanization in the South, concerning such moral dimensions?’ The author explores the new urban strategy from ethical and moral perspectives and suggests some explicit amendments including the recognition of universal human dignity, the embracing of a process of moral analysis within governance processes, and the institutionalization of popular participation based on the moral equality of all persons. In this manner, each city might gradually move toward an explicit, integrated, and localized articulation of the livable city ideal, influencing development strategies and governance processes qualitatively, and providing the essential motivation for sustained beneficial change.”

From Chapter 1, pages 27-28, by M. Shamsul Haque and Gedeon M. Mudacumura

* Note: The attribution of these chapters, and all of Chloe Schwenke’s papers and publications prior to 2008, were listed in her former name, “Stephen Schwenke”.

Moral Clarity Matters