Beard Publishes Paper in 2018 World Resources Report Series

a colorful graphic image with heading and white logos featuring proposed changes in global cities

Detail from a graphic included in Beard and Chen's working paper titled "Including the Excluded," that was published earlier this year as a part of the World Resources Report series, Towards a More Equal City. illustration / Victoria A. Beard and Martha A. Chen

August 14, 2018

The latest paper in the World Resources Institute's (WRI) Toward a More Equal City series by Associate Professor Victoria A. Beard, CRP, was published earlier this year and has since been cited by a number of international news and other global reporting outlets.

"Including the Excluded: Supporting Informal Workers for More Equal and Productive Cities in the Global South" was coauthored by Beard and Martha A. Chen, cofounder of Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) and lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. The paper documents how a small but growing number of cities in the global South are taking more inclusive approaches towards informal workers and their economic activities. Beard and Chen also include studies of advocacy campaigns and legal struggles that have been mounted by organizations of informal workers and supported by coalitions of allies. "Including the Excluded" has been cited in several external pieces that have been published in sources such as the Independent Online Business Report, SME South Africa, Politico, All Africa, The New Indian Express, and Fast Company.

"We need more equal cities," commented Beard on the impetus for her work. "Those that have equitable access to resources like housing, energy, water, and sanitation are more economically productive and more environmentally sustainable. There are a lot of negative externalities and inefficiencies when people don't have access to core urban services and they self-provision those services."

While on a two-year leave from Cornell from 2015–17, Beard led the World Resources Report (WRR), Towards a More Equal City, as director of research for the Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. She was the lead author on the framing paper for Toward a More Equal City, which was launched at the Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador, in 2016. She currently maintains her affiliation with the World Resources Institute as a WRI fellow. WEIGO, cofounded by Chen, has supported a network of informal worker organizations to improve the status of the working poor, especially women, for more than 20 years.

Beard's own research and practice focus on access to urban infrastructure and services, community-based planning, and urban poverty. Currently, Beard is coauthoring two papers as part of the WRR series, one on access to potable water and another on fecal sludge management in cities in the global South.

Beyond a series of sector and thematic papers, Beard leads analytical work on eight city-level case studies about how urban transformation happens — or, why it does not happen, in cities in the global South. "These case studies are not 'best practice,' but instead examine under what conditions virtuous cycles of change are stalled or regress," Beard explained. "This body of work recognizes that cities need transformative change that transcends specific urban sectors and political administrations. Many cities do not have the financial resources to meet the service needs of their growing urban populations. The lack of access to urban services affects all income brackets to varying degrees and undermines the economic productivity and environmental sustainability of the city as a whole."

By Edith Fikes

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