We define fragile as something weak, something that easily could deteriorate, break or fall apart. Many cities around the world are exposed to this, as a consequence of rapid, unplanned growth.
Fragile cities are cities that have not benefitted from governments with the capacity to develop a prosperous city, where the institutions charged with providing security and justice are weak, and where distrust, lack of social cohesion and organization foster hopelessness. Consequently, fragile cities are fragmented, segregated, exclusive, insecure and unsustainable, without the elements to guarantee to its citizens: infrastructure, services, protection of basic human rights and opportunities for growth.
Today, a large proportion of the world’s 4,037 cities with over 100,000 inhabitants can be described as fragile, with city fragility worsening.
1. Rapid & Unregulated Urban Growth
2. High Levels of Inequality & Poverty
3. Inadequate Infrastructure & Weak Institutions
4. Weak Civil Society & Lack of Social Cohesion
5. Deep-seated Hopelessness & Cynicism
6. Unhealthy Environmental Conditions, Lack of Public Spaces & Vulnerability to Natural Hazards
7. Insufficient Economic Growth and Employment Opportunities
8. Entrenched Distrust & Breakdown of Relationships at all Levels
9. Widespread Violence & Insecurity Inside & Outside the Home
10. Ineffective Governance, Structural Exclusion & Systemic Injustice
Our “Urban Mosaic Change Model” seeks to contribute to the integral development of urban communities and generates quantifiable changes in the following ten focus areas.
1. Development of Local Leaders as Change Agents
2. Community Development and Organization to Strengthen Civil Society
3. Faith Communities that Catalyze Transformation and Generate Hope
4. Children and Youth that are Integrally Transformed
5. Healthy Homes and Communities to Improve Community Health and Quality of Life
6. Economic Development to Promote Employment Opportunities and Sustainable Prosperity
7. Emotional Health and Resiliency to Overcome Barriers and Create a More Inclusive Society
8. Violence Prevention and Peace Building to Create Safer Cities
9. Advocacy and Systemic Change that Promotes Justice and Good Governance
10. Scalable Solutions to Multiply our Impact in More Cities
In the last decade, we developed our Urban Mosaic Change Model which provides the conceptual framework, the theoretical foundations and the methodological approach to see fragile cities transformed into SHALOM cities.
The Urban Mosaic Change Model is focused on the development of urban leaders and the strengthening of social structures (citizen groups, faith communities, sports leagues, NGOs, educational institutions, etc.) that generate quantifiable changes in their fragile cities and communities through the following 5 intervention strategies.
Strengthen civil society to drive community development, address violence and insecurity, and engage in advocacy to achieve greater justice for all.
Start, train and coach faith leaders and communities to generate hope and transform their neighborhoods.
Create safe spaces and implement transformational programs for children and youth in schools, churches, communities and through sports so that they can overcome obstacles, become agents of change and lead healthy and productive lives.
Provide tools to improve emotional resilience, access to health services, preventive health education and dignified housing, working in homes, schools and communities.
Provide vocational training, create job opportunities, generate small businesses and promote economic development to achieve sustainable prosperity.
We employ a variety of interventions with a comprehensive and long-term approach that are reflected in our MOSAIC Process. We implement this change process in each community/city where we intervene
Mobilize, equip and develop local leaders, groups and faith communities: This includes setting up strategic alliances with schools, churches and local groups to form youth, faith and citizen committees, in order to develop transformational servant leaders from the communities we work in. With each group we will use appropriate methodologies and trainings: from theological training of churches and faith leaders in holistic mission, life skills training for youth leaders, to civic training in the culture of legality for community leaders.
Organize, and strengthen civil society by providing relational, technical, theological and conceptual support to youth, faith and citizen committees, as well as local civic groups in community organizing processes that strengthen trust and neighborhood relations, build greater social trust and cohesion, and lead to the design and implementation of small community improvement projects (seed projects).
Support and sustain holistic, locally-led development and solutions, accompanying local leaders in the design and implementation of sustainable community and high-impact projects, linking them with other private and governmental entities and training them how to intervene more effectively in their community and school environments. In addition, we train and coach them to engage in advocacy on a municipal level.
Activate and deepen collaborative, broad-based partnerships for change, including the formation of networks, community assemblies and inclusive Federations that incorporate other social actors and coalitions to change the current fragile urban reality, promoting the building of SHALOM cities and addressing the underlying structural causes of poverty, violence and corruption.
Instigate systemic change through advocacy for better and more inclusive governance, by forming public watch groups, holding government accountable as regards the public budget, influencing municipal development plans, and working with municipal entities to apply and operationalize national laws at the municipal level for the protection of minors, citizen participation and anti-corruption.
Cultivate narrative and worldview change to sustain lasting transformation, which implies working with youth, faith, citizen and public leaders, inspiring them to change aspects of their worldview and embrace an emotionally healthy spirituality, while also encouraging them to practice new values that contribute to the building of greater peace and justice in their fragile cities, gradually transforming them into SHALOM cities.
We want to see fragile cities transformed into SHALOM cities, in order to foster human flourishing so that people can live full lives (spiritually, relationally, economically, educationally, emotionally, etc.) in a healthy, dignifying and just environment.
We define shalom as a state of peace, justice, well being, healthy relationships, spiritual contentment and prosperity. SHALOM Cities are hope-filled cities that have the ability to develop, progress and grow, where people can fully exercise their human rights, within a framework of justice, well being, peace, spiritual wholeness and empathy. SHALOM Cities are characterized by their inclusivity, security, resiliency and sustainability.
Urban Mosaic supports the UN HABITAT’s framework, outlined in the documents “The City we Need 2.0 – Towards a New Urban Paradigm” and “The New Urban Agenda”, approved during the United Nation’s HABITAT III conference in Quito, Ecuador on the 20th of October 2016.
Via our own innovative approach – The Urban Mosaic Change Model – we directly contribute towards the development of “the city we need”. In doing so, we focus on 9 out of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, including SDGs #1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, 16 and 17.
Sustainable transformation requires a solid theory of the causes of city fragility, best practice interventions, and how fragile cities may be transformed.
A flawed theory of transformational change can easily lead those seeking change to invest huge amounts of time and resources into interventions that may only marginally change fragile cities for the better, since the focus remains on the symptoms of city fragility. A good theory of transformational change, in turn, focuses on the underlying factors that inhibit change and how these can be addressed through an overarching approach that helps transform the values, worldview frameworks, cultural beliefs, relationships at all levels, institutions and systems causing and maintaining city fragility.