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Urban water poverty halfway through the Decade of Water for Life
In 2000 the United Nations included targets to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe water and sanitation in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and in 2005 it launched the Decade of Water for Life. We are now more than halfway through that decade and only four years away from the 2015 deadline set by the MDGs, a useful point to reflect on current research and action in relation to the problem of urban water poverty. This short project instigated dialogue between practitioners and academics within UCL across a wide range of disciplines by focusing on the following questions: What do we know about urban water poverty and how to tackle it? What additional conceptual frameworks can shed light into the way in which water material and immaterial flows produce cities and accumulation and deprivation within them? What needs to be done differently if we are to put this knowledge into practice up to and beyond 2015? A special issue of the International Journal of Sustainable Urban Development edited by Adriana Allen and Sarah Bell articulates a diversity of approaches and the need for rigorous evidence to support policy making as well as critical thinking and engagement to ensure the needs of the urban poor are met when decisions are made about urban water management.
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