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Carole Rawcliffe

Many current assumptions about health provision in medieval English cities derive not from the surviving archival or archaeological evidence but from the pronouncements of Victorian sanitary reformers whose belief in scientific progress made them dismissive of earlier attempts to ameliorate the quality of urban life. Our own tendency to judge historical responses to disease by the exacting standards of modern biomedicine reflects the same anachronistic attitude, while a widespread conviction that England lagged centuries behind Italy in matters of health and hygiene seems to reinforce presumptions of ‘backwardness’ and ‘ignorance’. By contrast, this paper argues that a systematic exploration of primary source material reveals a very different approach to collective health, marked by direct intervention on the part of the crown and central government and the active involvement of urban communities, especially after the Black Death of 1348-49. A plethora of regulations for the elimination of recognized hazards was then accompanied by major schemes for environmental improvement, such as the introduction of piped water systems and arrangements for refuse collection.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Open Access (free)
Digital Work and Fragile Livelihoods of Women Refugees in the Middle East and North Africa
Dina Mansour-Ille
Demi Starks

In the advent of the coronavirus pandemic and the push to digital work, this op-ed argues that the emerging digital economy can be vital for enabling refugee women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to overcome existing livelihood barriers. Since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in 2011, over 6.5 million Syrian refugees have been registered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) globally. Neighbouring countries across the MENA region continue to carry the largest share of the burden. Across the region, refugees live on the margins, in camps, as well as urban and peri-urban communities, and other informal settlements. Existing gender disparities coupled with other social and logistical barriers, as well as restrictive legal and economic structures, exacerbate livelihood challenges for refugee women in MENA. Research demonstrates that the digital economy, particularly crowd and ‘on-demand’ work, could provide opportunities that would enable women refugees to overcome these barriers to work. As it stands, however, the digital economy is still in its infancy, especially in host countries in MENA, and it is still fraught with challenges, including barriers to entry, employee protections and the lack of guarantees to decent work, especially for vulnerable and marginalised communities. We therefore argue that there is a need to direct efforts to maximise the benefits that the digital economy could offer, especially to refugee women – a need that has become even more pertinent since the coronavirus pandemic.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Four Decisive Challenges Confronting Humanitarian Innovation
Gerard Finnigan
Otto Farkas

) . American Red Cross ( 2016 ), ‘ Fire Sensors for Safer Urban Communities’ , (accessed 25 October 2016) . Amnesty International ( 2016a ), ‘ Fears for Safety of Civilians during Battle for Mosul’ ,

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Why Building Back Better Means More than Structural Safety
Bill Flinn

urban communities in Nepal. The initial rural study conducted time-line activities through focus group discussions. These explored both the understanding of disaster through historic memory and their definition of recovery. Disasters included drought, civil unrest, crop failure and much more; recovery meant different things to different people, from being better prepared to ‘sleeping well at night’. Targeted and ad hoc interviews complemented the focus group discussions in each of the twenty-five rural communities in both Nepal and Philippines ( Twigg et al

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Middle-Aged Syrian Women’s Contributions to Family Livelihoods during Protracted Displacement in Jordan
Dina Sidhva
Ann-Christin Zuntz
Ruba al Akash
Ayat Nashwan
, and
Areej Al-Majali

family ties, whether among rural or urban communities ( Rugh, 1996 ; Rabo, 2008 ), Damascene elites ( Salamandra, 2004 ) or minority sects like the Druze ( Kastrinou, 2016 ), through marriage, and mundane and extraordinary forms of hospitality. Extended Syrian families often functioned as profitable economic units, with different household members taking on paid or unpaid tasks (e.g. Rugh, 1996 ; Rabo, 2008 ). This networked perception of Syrian women’s lives is vital to

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Religious culture and civic life in medieval northern Italy

Most people would agree that the hospital functions as one of the 'first duties of an organized society' as a public service for those members of the community who are in need. In the thirteenth century, hospitals represented a nexus of exchange between church officials, the community, the needy, and the pious or ambitious individual. This book presents a survey that offers an overview of the role of the hospital in affairs of the urban community, suggesting how changes within that community were reflected in the activities of the hospital. It locates the rise of the hospital movement in northern Italy within the context of the changing religious, social, and political environment of the city-states. The book introduces the hospital's central function in the distribution and administration of charity. It illustrates how the hospital and other charitable organizations played a role in the appropriation of power and influence by urban citizens. A comprehensive investigation of twelfth and thirteenth century hospitals' foundational charters follows. The book then delves into a detailed description of the physical plant of the hospital, the daily life of individuals, and rules and statutes followed by its members. It considers the social composition of donors, workers, and recipients of hospital services. Jurisdictional disputes among the city leaders, the community, individual religious orders, ecclesiastical authorities, and larger political forces. Finally, the book explores the process of consolidation and bureaucratization of hospitals in the fifteenth century and the emergence of state control over social services.

Dominic Bryan
S. J. Connolly
, and
John Nagle

the street by appearing in person to shoot two of the offending animals. But these were occasional gestures from a body whose main function was to elect the two MPs that Belfast returned to the Irish Parliament. 39 A further important aspect of urban government was even more clearly rooted in the practices of a small and intimate urban community. On receipt of a ‘requisition’ from a body of inhabitants of appropriate standing, the Sovereign could summon a town meeting to discuss specific matters of public concern. In March 1791, for

in Civic identity and public space
Stavros Stavrides

social housing complex in Barcelona, which may be considered both as emblematic and exceptional: emblematic because in its history and threatened everydayness it epitomizes the commoning spirit that prevails in such urban communities; exceptional because it has not only become the site of important struggles connected to shared values and aspirations based on community experiences but also the focus of an international architectural competition meant to explore alternatives to “urban renewal.” The case of the Bon Pastor social housing complex in Barcelona gives us the

in Common spaces of urban emancipation
Urban encounters with crusading
Paul Oldfield

Messina from the external perspective presented by the (mostly) Anglo-Norman narratives associated with the crusading parties. This chapter instead will examine the encounter through a different optic: the urban perspective. While the sources offer insight into religious, cultural and Anglo-French tension, viewed from a different angle and situated alongside South Italian and other sources, they also allow us to see how these tensions could equally be shaped by the dynamics of an encounter between, on the one hand, an increasingly assertive and diverse urban community

in Rethinking Norman Italy
Abstract only
Brad Beaven

This book has constructed an alternative narrative of empire from the local margins and assessed the centrality of imperial identity to those living in urban communities between 1870 and 1939. 1 With the city as the centre piece of analysis, the book has sought to transcend national narratives of imperialism that have characterised the historiography of popular culture

in Visions of empire