Violence In The City Understanding And Supporting Community Responses To Urban Violence

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Publisher World Bank
Year of Publication 2010
Category Papers and Articles Report
County All/General

For millions of people around the world, violence, or the fear of violence, is a daily reality. Much of this violence concentrates in urban centers in the developing world. These cities are home to half of the worlds population and are expected to absorb almost all new population growth over the next 25 years (UN-HABITAT 2007). In many cases, the scale of urban violence can eclipse that of open warfare. Some of the worlds highest homicide rates occur in countries that have not undergone wars but have violence epidemics in their urban areas. Concern over these experiences has made urban violence a central preoccupation of policymakers, planners, and development practitioners (Jütersonke and others 2009; UN-HABITAT 2007).

This study emerged from a growing recognition that urban communities themselves are an integral part of understanding the causes and impacts of urban violence and for generating sustainable violence prevention initiatives. Participatory appraisals in Latin America and the Caribbean have produced important insights into the manifestations of violence in different contexts (Moser and McIlwaine 2004, Narayan and Petesch 2007). Nevertheless, much still is to be learned in understanding the myriad strategies that communities employ to manage high levels of violence. Coping mechanisms may range broadly from individual strategies, such as changing ones work or study routine to avoid victimization, to collective strategies that involve formal institutions such as community-based policing, to reliance on traditional or alternative dispute fora.

Some coping mechanismssuch as forming extralegal security groupscan be negative and undermine the bases for long-term violence prevention. This study aims to understand how urban residents cope with violence, or the threat of it, in their everyday lives, to inform the design of policies and programs for violence prevention. The study is the first global study on urban violence undertaken by the World Bank and covers three regions. 

Tags Counties / General


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