CSUD & PBBC at World Urban Forum

Adjunct Senior Scholar Anna Rubbo successfully concluded her traveling exhibition on “People Building Better Cities”. She will be representing CSUD at the World Urban Forum in Medellin Columbia  with an exhibition space devoted to participatory urban design work. Anna can be reached at anna.rubbo@sydney.edu.au for further details. The schedule of events can be found here http://peoplebuildingbettercities.org/events/medellin/.

CSUD Director Sclar has completed a book with  Måns Lönnroth and Chris Wolmar with a March release date: Urban Access for the 21st Century: Finance and Governance Models for Transport Infrastructure. 

 

Williams, Sarah, Elizabeth Marcello and Jacqueline M. Klopp. 2013. ”Toward Open Source Kenya: Creating and Sharing a GIS Database of Nairobi” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 

 

Jacqueline Klopp, Jackson Mutua, Dan Orwa, Peter Waiganjo, Adam White and Sarah Williams “Towards a Standard for Paratransit? Lessons from Developing a GTFS Data for Nairobi’s Matatu System”. Transport Review Board Compendium of Conference Papers.

 

Jacqueline M. Klopp and Odenda Lumumba. “Kenya and the ‘Global Land Grab’: A View from Below” in Beyond the Hype: A Critical Analysis of the Global ‘Land Grab’ edited by Annelies Zoomers and Mayke Kaag (Zed press 2014)

 

On January 28, 2014 CSUD along with its partners at the University of Nairobi, MIT and Groupshot launched a comprehensive pubic transit map and data base. The map and more information can be found at digitalmatatus.com.  The event was widely covered in the local press in Kenya and also was featured in Next City and Atlantic Cities.

 

CSUD Director Elliott Sclar was invited by The Economist to debate privatization. The discussion can be found here.

 

Associate Research Scholar Jacqueline Klopp recently received a new 2 year grant from the Volvo Research and Education Foundations for “Reimagining Nairobi: A Policy Network Approach”. This will allow her to conduct more action research on urban transportation and land-use policy and practice in Nairobi.

 

CSUD has started a new partnership with  the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and the Universidad de Concepción. These two universities have established a new center for sustainable urban development with funding from their national government. CEDEUS (Centro di Desarrollo Urbano Sustentable) is part of an effort by the National Research Council of Chile to expand both the research and education capabilities of Chilean universities in selected areas (urban sustainability is one of them) and expand their collabortion with colleagues globally. CSUD Director Elliott Sclar, Assistant  Professor David King and CSUD Adjunct Senior Scholar Anna Rubbo gave talks at the recent CEDEUS Sustainable Urban Development Conference in Santiago in January.

 

 

CSUD Associate Research Scholar  Jacqueline Klopp is on the program committee of the Second international conference on ICT for Sustainability, ICT4S 2014, in Stockholm August 24-27 2014. More info regarding the conference can be found at: http://2014.ict4s.org. The deadline is February 21, 2014 for paper abstracts.

 

Adjunct Senior Scholar Anna Rubbo successfully concluded her traveling exhibition on “People Building Better Cities”. She will be representing CSUD at the World Urban Forum in Medellin Columbia  with an exhibition space devoted to participatory urban design work. Anna can be reached at anna.rubbo@sydney.edu.au for further details.

On January 28th, CSUD as part of the Digital Matatu team, helped launch a new, comprehensive public transit map and data base for Nairobi. Co-hosted by the Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations, the event involved key policymakers for the city and the County of Nairobi announced its formal adoption of the map which is critical for further planning of the city and also for better passenger information. For more information and a free map see http://www.digitalmatatus.com/.

PEOPLE BUILDING BETTER CITIES NEW YORK

The traveling exhibition People Building Better Cities (PBBC)  will be shown   at the AIA Center for Architecture from Tuesday December 3 to Saturday  January 4, 2014.
PBBC has been shown in 12 cities and eight countries in 2013, and has been translated into five languages. While the exhibition focus is on developing countries it speaks to urban issues in the US such as inequality, public participation in city making,  climate change and education. Through the Resource Platform (website below), the PBBC project shares  knowledge through films, talks, articles, books, websites and organizations  working in these fields.In each city  where PPBC has been shown exhibition partners have held public programs to localize some of the questions PBBC raises.  There will be three forums in New York: two in Manhattan and a third in Midlands Beach , Staten Island – an area severely impacted by Sandy.  PBBC is a collaboration between Global Studio and the Center for Sustainable Urban Development in the Earth Institute, Columbia University.

PBBC Manhattan

AIA Center for Architecture
536 La Guardia Place, New YorkOpening Reception

6.00-8.00 pm, Tuesday December 3 with remarks by Lance J. Brown , AIANY 2014 President, Michael Sorkin, CUNY and Anna Rubbo, PBBC

Two Forums
CULTIVATING ENGAGED AND INCLUSIVE URBAN PRACTICE
Saturday December 7, 2.15 –4.30 with Tobias Armborst, Wendy Brawer, Candy Chang, Miodrag Mitrasinovic, Shin-pei Tsay
THE ROLE OF ENGAGED LEARNING IN BUILDING BETTER CITIES
Wednesday December 11, 5.45- 8.00 with Christine Gaspar, Nabeel Hamdi, Geeta Mehta, Anna Rubb , Tony Schuman

RSVP required.

To  RSVP or find out more  about PBBC at the AIA  Center for Architecture > http://cfa.aiany.org/index.php?section=upcoming&expid=269

The workshop CSUD organised with the World Bank, the Civic Data Design Lab at MIT, the School of Computing and Informatics,University of Nairobi and Groupshot led to a successful discussion with Brian Ferris of Google to update the global data standard GTFS, This modification of GTFS will allow data for paratransit systems such as those found in Nairobi to fit in the global standard that allows mapping onto Google maps or Open Street Map among many other applications. This is a major step forward in bringing the benefits of standardized open transit data to more cities across the globe. More details on on the conference and the specification are here. See also the Civic Data Design Lab blog post.

CSUD Research Affiliate Andrea Rizvi received The Michael Beesley Award Honorable Mention for her paper “Implementing Bus Rapid Transit:  A tale of two Indian cities”.  Andrea presented her paper at St. Annes College at Oxford University as part of “THREDBO 13: 13th International Conference on Competition and Ownership in Land Passenger Transport”.  The paper was also nominated as ‘Best Paper” of the BRT Workshop held during the conference and was subsequently presented at the conference’s main plenary session by Andrea.  The Michael Beesley Award is given to a high quality paper presented at the THREDBO conference by a person in the early stages of their career.

People Building Better Cities: Participation and Inclusive Urbanization  is a traveling exhibition that aims to exchange knowledge, build networks, and promote dialogue on the challenges of inclusive urbanization. To date PBBC has been shown in Bangkok, Sydney, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Beijing, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai. While the exhibition focus is on developing countries, it speaks to urban issues in developed countries such as inequality, public participation in city making, and climate change.

Building on the work of Global Studio led by CSUD Adjunct Senior Scholar Anna Rubbo, the exhibition  documents community-driven projects that share a common goal in  India, South Africa, Bangladesh, Asia and the USA: the promotion of inclusive urbanization to improve the lives of the urban poor through participatory design and planning.   PBBC also presents an innovative approach to the education of urban professionals, and suggests a model for urban practice.

PBBC is a collaboration between Global Studio, an international educational program initiated in 2005, and the Center for Sustainable Urban Development at Columbia University . The PBBC Exhibit will be hosted at the AIA’s Center for Architecture from October 3rd through January 4th.  New York events include those listed below.  More details can be found here.

PBBC Opening Reception
Tuesday, December 3, 2013, 6.00-8.00pm

Citizen Engagement in City Making
Panel Discussions
Saturday, December 7, 2013, 4.00-6.00pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 6.00-8.00pm

CSUD received a new Rockefeller grant “Towards a Data Standard for Paratransit” in partnership with the Department of Computing and Informatics at the University of Nairobi, the Civic Data Design Lab at MIT and Groupshot. As part of this work, we are partnering with the World Bank to hold a meeting on “GTFS for the Rest of Us” in Washington DC on November 12, 2013. Participants will look at data collection efforts for transit (paratransit) in Dhaka, Manila, Mexico City, Nairobi and a number of Chinese cities. The workshop will also explore whether the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) format works for these systems, whether it needs modification or a new standard needs to emerge. Finally, it will explore how to create sustainable open transit data systems for rapidly growing cities across the globe.Conference details are here.

CSUD has entered a new collaboration with the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and the Universidad de Concepción.  These two universities have established a new center for sustainable urban development with funding from their national government.  CEDEUS (Centro di Desarrollo Urbano Sustentable) is part of an effort by the National Research Council of Chile to expand both the research and education capabilities of Chilean universities.  CSUD is the principal US collaborator working closely with Columbia’s global center in Santiago under the direction of Karen Poniachik.  Part of this CEDEUS’s mission is to foster exchanges between students and faculty both in Chile and here in the US.  Professor Elliott Sclar, CSUD Director, will be on hand in Santiago at the official launch of CEDEUS in January.

 

CSUD has been awarded a grant from the Earth Institutes’s Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity.  Jacqueline Klopp, CSUD Associate Research Scholar, will be the principal investigator of our study, “Sustainability and the City: An Exploration of Concepts, Metrics and Practices”.  This study seeks to produce a review of sustainability literature in urban studies with a special focus on the definitions, concepts and metrics around sustainable development and sustainable human development.  The study will also draw from our ongoing and long term research work in Nairobi, Kenya to test and apply competing concepts of sustainability metrics to assess their utility when confronted with concrete problems in the field of urban studies.

AC4’s mission is to support, share and connect theory, research and practice at Columbia University and beyond related to conflict resolution, violence prevention, sustainable development, and peace. Through the support of faculty and students at Columbia University, and in collaboration with centers and institutes from Columbia University and others across the globe, AC4 works to generate cutting-edge ideas, practices and technologies to foster constructive conflict resolution, violence prevention, sustainable development, and peace. More information can be found here http://ac4.ei.columbia.edu/.

Join us in a Conversation with UN-Habitat as they prepare to release their Global Report on Human Settlements 2013: “Planning and Design for Sustainable Urban Mobility”. This report argues that the development of sustainable urban transport systems requires a conceptual leap. The purpose of ‘transportation’ and ‘mobility’ is to gain access to destinations, activities, services and goods. Thus, access is the ultimate objective of transportation. This report provides important and thought-provoking insights and policy recommendations on a fundamental aspect of making cities work: connecting people and places by planning and designing sustainable urban mobility systems. We look forward to you joining this meeting of experts.KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director, UN-Habitat

PRESENTER: Andre Dzikus, Coordinator, Urban Basic Services Branch, UN-Habitat

MODERATOR: Jacqueline Klopp, Associate Research Scholar, Center for Sustainable Urban Development

Earth Institute, Columbia University

DISCUSSANTS:

  • Benjamin de la Pena Associate Director of Urban Development Rockefeller Foundation
  • Walter Hook Executive Director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP)
  • David King, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, Columbia University
  • Elliott D. Sclar, Director, Center for Sustainable Urban Development and Professor of Urban Planning, Columbia University
Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Jed. D. Satow Conference RoomPlease register in advance for this event
https://calendar.columbia.edu/sundial/webapi/register.php?eventID=67582&REGISTER_SESSION_NAME=1232933b6549aa43a8719c3cb06c1cca&state=init&

Researchers, including Dr. Jackie Klopp of the Center for Sustainable Urban Development (CSUD), have compiled data on the city’s transit system, outlining routes and the estates served. The map covers 100 routes in Nairobi served my matatus and municipal buses.

A recent newspaper article in the Standard, interviews Dr. Daniel Orwa, a key member of the  research team from the Department of Informatics and the University of Nairobi. Dr. Orwa explains the importance of this work, creating data that is free and available to anyone who wants to use it. To read the full article, click here.

On July 4th, 2013, CSUD will be jointly hosting the following public event in Nairobi, Kenya. Please email jmklopp@gmail.com with any questions, or to RSVP attendance.

SMART SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT FOR NAIROBI?:CREATING AN OPEN ACCESS DATA BASE FOR PUBLIC TRANSIT

July 4, 2013

9:00 am- noon

Kenya Institute for Public Policy and Research Analysis

Bishop Gardens Towers

Little reliable data exists for Nairobi’s mass public transit/para-transit system. Yet this data is both possible to collect and critical to urban planning, technological innovation, and research. This workshop presents an update on the effort to produce Nairobi’s first open access database for matatu/bus and rail. We will also brief participants on the recent developments around developing a new data standard for paratransit.

A team consisting of Professors Dan Orwa and Peter Waiganjo (Department of Computing and Informatics University of Nairobi) Professor Sarah Williams of the Civic Data Project (MIT), Dr. Jacqueline Klopp (Center for Sustainable Urban Development, Columbia University) and Adam White (Groupshot, Boston) will present their initial work. KIPPRA, a key partner in this work and invited participants will provide feedback and also discuss next steps.

 

CSUD researcher Ben Barczewski recently completed a policy brief titled ‘How Well Do Environmental Regulations Work in Kenya?: A Case Study of the Thika Highway Improvement Project’. The brief highlights the need for a different approach to development, one which recognizes the real cost of doing business at the expense of the environment. It emphasizes how Kenyan citizens and institutions can use newly created legal avenues and heightened community involvement to remedy of the weaknesses in regulation.

Mr. Barczewski conducted research for this policy brief between June and August 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya and the surrounding areas. While in Kenya Ben worked closely with Associate Research Scholar, Jacqueline Klopp and affiliate Elizabeth Marcello along with Dr. Evaristus Irandu and PhD. Candidate Dr. John Mallay at the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies in the University of Nairobi.  Ben Barczewski holds a BA in Political Science from Columbia University and is now pursuing a law degree at The George Washington University School of Law with a focus on environmental law.

The complete policy brief can be downloaded here. Feel free to the Center for Sustainable Urban Development (csudei@gmail.com) for any questions of follow up information.

Chief Executive Officer of Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA-Kenya), Kwame Owino, publishes blog post on the future of Nairobi:

Nairobi’s Future: Will it change with Devolution? Not likely.

The conventional wisdom in Kenya today is that the implementation of devolution as anticipated in the new constitution and brought to reality by the election of 47 county governors would provide stiff competition for Nairobi and most probably slow down the rate of the city’s growth. This view has been expressed largely in the press and represents the wishes of many, but is unlikely to happen for the following reasons:

First and foremost, population growth in the city of Nairobi is driven by the fact that it bears geographical and economic advantages that few other cities or counties in Kenya can replicate with ease. Since the first census after independence, the rate of population growth in Nairobi has exceeded all other provinces by a significant margin. The recent exception has been the North Eastern province of Kenya whose population growth rate between censuses in 1999 and 2009 were much higher than that of Nairobi. Indeed, these growth rates for North Eastern are part of the reason that some of the census data remains under dispute. On the other hand, Nairobi’s inter-census rates have been between 4.9% and 3.8% annually in the 1960s and the 1999-2009 respectively. Granted that the trend is not bound to continue forever but Nairobi’s place as a large population centre is bound to remain, because it registers significantly high rate of growth while it also has a large proportion of people. Thus in my calculation, the convergence of Nairobi’s large population and high annual growth rate implies that it creates the equivalent of several mid size towns in the inter-census periods.

Secondly, the city of Nairobi has a population of 3.1 million people, followed by Mombasa which has a population of about 940,000[1]. This distribution of population reflects the advantage that Nairobi has in terms of attracting Kenyans from other parts of the country. Urban population growth in Kenya is driven primarily by migration because fertility rates are demonstrably lower in urban areas of Kenya. Migrants, young adults and families seeking economic opportunities in the form of non-agricultural wage employment or opportunities for the largest markets for small enterprises. Due to the higher incomes of households based in Nairobi and notwithstanding the existence on low quality housing in Nairobi, the city is correctly identified as the place with the highest probability of growing a small enterprise.

Thirdly, whether by default or design, Kenya’s main public institutions are situated in Nairobi. Granted that public offices are available in the rest of the counties, the seat of all arms of government is placed within a 20 kilometers square radius of the city. This concentration of public offices within a single urban area has the consequence of attracting private sector firms to establish the main offices in the city to ensure proximity to the bureaucracy. The unintended consequence of concentrating public offices in Nairobi is therefore that most of these businesses have every incentive to stay within Nairobi in spite of the best intentions of the new counties to attract businesses. In turn, Kenya’s professionals too will stay in Nairobi because it is these private firms that will provide the employment and business opportunities that will ensure their success. This growth momentum will ensure that most of the satellite towns and suburbs will in the medium term constitute part of Nairobi.

The convergence of these factors means that Kenya’s most innovative minds will continue to be attracted to Nairobi in spite of the challenges that it faces. For that reason too, Nairobi’s success and challenges will be a wide mirror of the economic challenges that the whole country faces because its growth is an illustration of the asymmetrical urbanization in the entire country. In a sense therefore, Nairobi City must perform well in order for the other counties to have a chance. Nairobi’s continued dominance reflects political and administrative decisions that were made earlier and these may have pre-determined its growth path for the medium term. Absent a major environmental catastrophe, it’s a pretty safe bet that Nairobi will still be the largest urban centre in the country in 2040.

 

 

Together with the photo exhibition and book launch, “Nairobi in Pictures”, “People Building Better Cities” will be featured at the Alliance Francaise, Nairobi from 05 June until 07 July.  The exhibition will include the following public discussions about Nairobi’s architectural history identity:

June 5: Opening at Alliance Francaise

June 12: Talk: ‘Nairobi Architectural History’

June 19: Talk: ‘The Architectural Association of Kenya: Directions’

June 26: Talk:  ‘Current practice, Global Studio and Design Trends’

The Nairobi exhibition is co-sponsored by the Alliance Francaise Nairobi, the Architectural Association of Kenya and the Technical University of Kenya.

The traveling exhibition ‘People Building Better Cities: Participation and Inclusive Urbanization’ (PBBC) illustrates participatory approaches to planning and design, as a necessary component of sustainable and equitable development in an era of climate change. This collaborative effort is led by CSUD’s Adjunct Senior Scholar Dr. Anna Rubbo, and has been made possible by the SAPPI Ideas That Matter grant.

The Rockefeller Foundation recently announced plans for the 100 Resilient Cities competition – an effort to build urban resilience around the world.

In this competition, city government officials and major institutions are able to nominate their city through a formal application process. Selected cities will receive membership in the newly formed 100 Resilient Cities Network, financial support in hiring a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) and support to create a resilience strategy for the city.

The Resilient Cities Network will provide support to member cities and share new knowledge and best practices. The Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) will oversee development of a resilience strategy for the city, and a resilience plan will include tools and resources for implementation.

For more information, or to apply, please visit: http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/100-resilient-cities
 

The traveling exhibition ‘People Building Better Cities: Participation and Inclusive Urbanization’ (PBBC), led by CSUD’s Adjunct Senior Scholar Dr. Anna Rubbo is currently on display at the Customs House in Sydney, Australia.

This 12-city, six-country traveling exhibit illustrates participatory approaches to planning and design, as a necessary component of sustainable and equitable development in an era of climate change.  Later this month “People Building Better Cities” will travel to Johannesburg and Nairobi, and on December 3rd the exhibit will be featured at New York Cities Center for Architecture.  Click here for more information about the event schedule.

PBBC is a joint project of Global Studio and Columbia University’s Center for Sustainable Urban Development, and has been made possible by the SAPPI Ideas That Matter grant.

For more information, please see:

Architecture AU: http://architectureau.com/articles/exhibition-people-building-better-cities/

World Architecture Community: http://www.worldarchitecture.org/

 

 

CSUD Associate Research Scholar, Jacqueline Klopp and affiliate Elizabeth Marcello along with their Kenyan partners George Kirui and Henry Mwangi recently published an article on their work.

The article titled ‘Negotiating e-politics: Initiating e-governance in a municipal council in Kenya’ will be featured in Volume 18, of Information Polity in 2013 (Number 1: 21-42).

For more information or to request a copy of the article, please contact Jacqueline Klopp (jmklopp at gmail.com).

 

CSUD Director Elliott Sclar, Associate Research Scholar Jacqueline Klopp, PhD students Eric Goldwyn and Danielle Petretta presented their work at the Omega Center, University College London April 10-12. The conference was part of the Volvo Research and Education Foundations (VREF) network on future urban transport in which VREF Centers of Excellence from all parts of the globe came together to present and discuss their relevant and practical applications of their research in areas ranging from the findings of 30 case studies of Mega Transport Projects to the initiation and evaluation of BRT systems in South America.

At the event, PhD student Danielle Petretta and Eric Goldwyn also participated in the VREF Ph.D. Workshop as part of the meeting where Danielle presented her work on Value Capture Finance and Eric presented his experience provided through the VREF Ph.D. study exchange program where he visited the South Arican CoE and studied the informal transportation sector.

Dr Sclar and Dr Klopp also presented their ongoing efforts in Nairobi regarding integration of the public and private transport stakeholders and also on their progress of facilitating public participation in the planning process and development of transport infrastructure. CSUD received much positive feedback from other meeting participants and VREF.

Other highlights included the former Mayor of London (2000-2008), Ken Livingstone, who spoke to the VREF group and discussed the evolution and development related to the 2012 Summer Olympics hosted by London.  Participants of the conference made a site visit to the Olympic Park in Strattford which is in the process of converting the buildings and grounds into a mixed use development to be available to all Londoners.

Eric Goldwyn, PhD student at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and CSUD affiliate, has recently published an article in The Atlantic Cities about bus rapid transit in Cape Town, South Africa. The article, titled The Limits of Bus Rapid Transit: A Cape Town Case Study is a result of Mr. Goldwyn’s recent visit to Cape Town through the Volvo Research and Educational Foundations’ PhD Student exchange program.

CSUD recently received news that the Smart Cities project has made it to the second round of the Knight Foundation News Challenge.  Out of 850 applicants, 40 were shortlisted for final review. The project aims to collect transportation data – including paratransit, rail and walking information – and put this data into General Transportation Feed Specifications (GTFS) to create an open access data system in Kenya. The system can be used by residents to inform policy and make planning decisions in the city of Nairobi.

This project is carried out in partnership with the Department of Informatics and Computer Science at the University of Nairobi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Civic Data Design Project and the design firm Groupshot.

Please click here to comment and support CSUD’s submission!

 

Jacqueline Klopp, Associate Research Scholar at CSUD served as an election observer for the Carter Center earlier this month.  In a recent interview with Aljazeera, Klopp explains how land ownership plays a large role in both contemporary and historical electoral politics and why land reform is critical for the country. The full article is available here. She was also interviewed about the Kenyan elections by the UK based news Channel 4: Channel 4 interview.

 

 

Cairo from Below is a collective of planners, policy-makers architects and urbanists with a mission of encouraging inclusive, responsible, and transparent urban planning in Cairo, Egypt. Over the past seven months the collective received 22 entries for the ‘Our urban Futures’ idea competition.  These results were announced at a symposium on 19 January 2013, where a panel of well-respected judges chose the first prize winner and runners up. The symposium was held at the Megawra architectural hub in Cairo, Egypt with over 50 people in attendance.

The winners of the competition is the ‘Nasr City Urban Valley’, while the two runners up are ‘Sustainable Transit Upgrades’ and ‘Mafto7’.  Many of the participants presented ideas in direct opposition to standard, top-down, urban planning and event organizers hope that these ideas, along with many of the others submitted, will continue to be developed.

The competition raised and addressed some very important questions about growth and governance in Cairo: How can you control and how far can you dictate? Can you affect change on the government level and people will follow? Can you affect grassroots change and will the government follow? How much do you know and how much do you need to know before you act on your knowledge? When do we move from talking to doing?

Click here to join Cairo from Below, or read about their contribution to Cairo’s urban revolution in Next City’s Forefront magazine here.

On February 20th, 2013, the Center for Sustainable Urban Development (CSUD) and the Kenya Institute for Public Policy and Research Analysis (KIPPRA) will host a seminar on ‘Smart sustainable transportation for Nairobi: creating an open access data base for public transit’.  The event will take place in Nairobi, Kenya and will include particpants from the civil service, academic and public sectors.

Little reliable data exists for Nairobi’s mass public transit/para-transit system. Yet this data is both possible to collect and critical to urban planning, technological innovation, and research. This workshop introduces a new project supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, which seeks to create an open access public transit database for Nairobi. It presents why this project matters, progress to date and challenges. The aim of this initial small workshop is to introduce the project and get feedback, ideas and possible partners moving forward.

For more information about the seminar, or about CSUD’s work on the Smart Cities project, contact csudei@gmail.com.

 

Dr. Jose Lucio joins us from the Department of Geography and Regional Planning/e-GEO: Research Center on Geography and Regional Planning at the New University of Lisbon, Portugal. Dr. Lucio will be working with CSUD during the month of January, 2013.

Dr. José Lúcio holds a PhD in Economic Development from New University of Lisbon, Portugal. He teaches courses on Geoeconomics in a BSc in Geography and Regional Planning and Poverty Alleviation Strategies in a MA in Territory Management. Currently, his main lines of research are related with Poverty alleviation in metropolitan areas, city development, and European Regional Policy.

While at CSUD, Dr. Lucio will be conducting research in the field of poverty alleviation, examining the relationship among welfare states and urban poverty alleviation. This research is part of the existing project, Institutional Responses to Poverty in the City of Lisbon, conducted in conjunction with Professor Elliott Sclar at the Center for Sustainable Urban Development.  Feel free to contact Dr. Lucio directly (jmrl@fcsh.unl.pt) for more information about his work.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Lucio during his stay.

In November 2012, the University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), the Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (Kara), and Columbia University’s Center for Sustainable Urban Development held a discussion about the future of urban infrastructure projects in light of the recent completion of Thika Superhighway. A video of this event can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-06qlpbbfw.

The event highlighted recent findings of a research consortium project, shared the results of various studies, answered questions, and hosted a lively discussion around the environmental, structural, and community‐based issues related to the highway.

The 12-city, six-country exhibition and associated catalog  ‘People Building Better Cities: Participation and Inclusive Urbanization,’ led by CSUD’s Adjunct Senior Scholar Dr. Anna Rubbo, was featured in an article in HOW Design.  The exhibition is a project of Global Studio and is being carried out in collaboration with CSUD.

The four-month traveling exhibition project will put the case for participatory planning and design as a necessary component of sustainable and equitable cities in an era of climate change, and will illustrate participatory approaches through Global Studio projects undertaken in Bhopal, India in 2012.

Read the full article in HOW Design, Design for Change, 13 Ideas that Matter.

Eric Goldwyn, PhD student at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and CSUD affiliate, will travel to Cape Town, South Africa from November 24 through December 27, 2012. Mr. Goldwyn will be working with CSUD partners at the African Centre of Excellence for Studies in Public and Non-motorised Transport (ACET) at the University of Cape Town, and his trip has been made possible through a travel/research grant provided by the newly-formed Volvo Research and Educational Foundations’ PhD Student exchange program. Mr. Goldwyn will work with ACET on investigating how Cape Town’s minbus-taxi system operates and serves its residents in an effort to understand the similarities between Cape Town and the New York City transit systems, and how these two cities can learn from one another as they plan their transit networks. Mr. Goldwyn’s dissertation examines non-traditional forms of transit, such as jitneys and unlicensed taxis in New York City.  Through his visit, CSUD also expects to develop a stronger partnership between CSUD and ACET.

On Tuesday, November 20th, CSUD and the University of Nairobi, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies will host a seminar to discuss results of an action research project around the Thika Highway Improement Project.  This seminar offers an opportunity for researchers, practitioners, and the public to discuss the future of urban infrastructure projects in light of the recent completion of Thika Superhighway.

The event will include members of a research consortium consisting of professors and students at the University of Nairobi, the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), members of the Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (Kara), and CSUD. This team recently completed a large-scale study of Thika Highway covering social, environmental, and engineering issues observed during construction, and they will be sharing the results of their study, answering questions, and holding a discussion based on these issues.

The seminar will be from 9am to 12pm at the University of Nairobi main campus, Education Building room 213.

Japheths Onyango Kabaka Ogendi will be joining CSUD as a visiting scholar for two weeks in October and November, sponsored by the newly-formed Volvo Research and Educational Foundations’ PhD Student exchange program. Mr. Ogendi is a PhD candidate at Maseno University School of Public Health and Community Development in Kenya and an affiliate at African Centre of Excellence for Studies in Public and Non-motorised Transport (ACET), a fellow VREF Centre of Excellence. Mr. Ogendi will be working with CSUD to carry out joint research on the various safety measures aimed at promoting walking and cycling in New York City and how these strategies might be applicable to urban areas in Kenya. Through his visit, CSUD also expects to develop a stronger partnership between CSUD and ACET and to discuss research on urban safety measures more broadly.

CSUD’s Associate Research Scholar Jacqueline M. Klopp was awarded a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation as part of the Foundation’s “Catalyzing the New Mobility in Cities” project. Building on CSUD’s previous action research on transportation policy in Nairobi, Kenya, CSUD will be working with Sarah Williams (Civic Data Design Project at MIT), Adam White (Groupshot, a Boston-based consulting firm), and the University of Nairobi’s School of Computing and Informatics (Dr. Dan Orwa and Dr. Peter Waigango). CSUD is very pleased that the University of Nairobi received a separate grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to support their students and faculty who are key partners in this collaboration.  Overall, the project aims to address what smart sustainable transport would look like in Nairobi, East Africa’s largest metropolis and economic hub.  Specifically, CSUD and its partners will examine how to leverage data, technology and policy networks to improve the existing public transportation system and how citizens – particularly the poorer majority – can be more involved in shaping and designing solutions to transportation issues in their cities.

To read more about the Rockefeller Foundation’s “Catalyzing the New Mobility in Cities” project, click here.

Global Studio, in collaboration with CSUD, has received a grant from the SAPPI Ideas that Matter program. The grant supports the 12-city, six-country exhibition and associated catalog  ‘People Building Better Cities: Participation and Inclusive Urbanization.’  Led by CSUD’s Adjunct Senior Scholar Dr. Anna Rubbo, the project launches in India in January 2013.

The four-month traveling exhibition project will put the case for participatory planning and design as a necessary component of sustainable and equitable cities in an era of climate change, and will illustrate participatory approaches through Global Studio projects undertaken in Bhopal, India in 2012.

Examples will range from the small scale – improving the learning experience of children in an under- resourced elementary school, to the neighborhood and to the city scale where livability for the urban poor can be positively impacted by urban design strategies which take people’s views into consideration.  The exhibition has special relevance to India as it implements the new Slum Free City policy which calls for people’s participation, but also to the many countries where civic society wants a voice in urban development.

The proposed exhibition venues include Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Bangalore, and Ahmedabad, followed by Bangkok, Rio de Janiero, Sydney, Johannesburg, and New York.  In each venue there will be a local event organized by the exhibition host, so as to promote debate about these issues, with the outcomes documented as part of this action research project.

The Urban Transformation: Health, Shelter and Climate Change, edited by CSUD’s Elliott Sclar and Nicole Volavka-Close, along with Peter Brown, will be released shortly by Earthscan from Routledge. To order discounted copies, click here.

For the first time in history, half of the world’s population lives in urban areas and it is expected that, by 2050, that figure will rise to above two-thirds. A large proportion of this urban growth will be taking place in the cities of the developing world, where the provision of adequate health, shelter, water and sanitation and climate change adaptation efforts for rapidly-growing urban populations will be an urgent priority. This transition to an urban world could be a negative transformation; but, if well-planned, it could also offer an unprecedented opportunity to improve the lives of some of the world’s poorest people.

This volume brings together some of the world’s foremost experts in urban development with the aim of approaching these issues as an opportunity for real positive change. The chapters focus on three strategically critical aspects of this transformation:

  • public health
  • shelter, water and sanitation
  • climate change.

These are considered using an integrated approach that takes account of the many different sectors and stakeholders involved, and always in terms of the solutions rather than the problems. The book offers a blueprint for action in these sectors and will be of great interest to academics and policymakers in all aspects of urban development and planning.

The Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (Kara) in collaboration with the CSUD, conducted a study of the impact of the Thika Highway Improvement Project (THIP) on communities in Nairobi. The findings of this study were complied in a comprehensive report that explains citizens’ main concerns with road safety, health, water drainage, property damage, public involvement, socio-economic impacts, among others.  We are happy to make an abridged version of this report available online. To obtain a copy of the full report, please contact CSUD at emarcello@ei.columbia.eduRead the abridged version of the report.

Elliott Sclar, Director of CSUD and Professor of Urban Planning was featured on Michigan public radio’s Craig Fahle Show for his keynote address at Wayne State University’s Law School on March 23 at a symposium called “Michigan in Transition: The Restructuring of Governance Through Privatization and Corporatization.”  Listen to the full show.

Jacqueline Klopp, Associate Research Scholar at CSUD will deliver a talk at the workshop “Models of Mobility” at York University, Toronoto.  Klopp will be presenting the paper “Pursuing alternatives to urban automobile dependence path: A comparative analysis of Zurich and Singapore,” by Meleckidzedeck Khayesi (WHO, Geneva, Switzerland), Adjo Amekudzi (GeorgiaTech, USA) and Jacqueline Klopp (Columbia University, New York, USA).  Read more information on the workshop.

Elliott Sclar, Director of CSUD and Professor of Urban Planning, will deliver a key noteaddress at Wayne State University’s Law School on March 23 at a symposium called “Michigan in Transition: The Restructuring of Governance Through Privatization and Corporatization.”  Read the press release.

Cairo From Below’s mission is to encourage inclusive, responsible, and transparent urban planning in Cairo, Egypt. Join Cairo From Below, CSUD, Columbia’s Arab Student Association, SIPA’s EPD Concentration, SIPA’s USP Concentration, and the SIPA New Media Task Force at a recruitment event to learn more about the project and how you can get involed.  The event will be held at Columbia University, IAB 503.  Watch the release of their first-ever video of the contested road to Khufu here and read more about the upcoming event here.

CSUD scholar affiliate Sarah Williams was feaured by MetropolisMag for her use of mapping technology to expose social injustices and inform urban design and policy.  Read the full article.

Join the American Assembly, the Center for Community Progress, and The Center for Sustainable Urban Development (CSUD) for the release of the new American Assembly book, Rebuilding America’s Legacy Cities: New Directions for the Industrial Heartland.

The forum, followed by a cocktail reception, will take place Thursday, January 26, 2012, from 5:00 to 7:30 pm, at the Brookings Institution (1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW Washington, DC). For more details, please visit the event’s homepage.

On October 25, 2011, the Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (Kara) in collaboration with the CSUD, held a public forum to discuss issues and concerns surrounding the Thika Highway Improvement Project (THIP) in the Nairobi Metropolitan Area. 152 people attended the public forum held at the Panafric Hotel in Nairobi.  Among the attendees were the Director General of the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), the Government agency responsible for the THIP; the Team leader of the THIP from the Ministry of Roads, Engineer John Mwatu; and Evaristus Irandu, Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Nairobi.  At the forum, citizens, local experts, and resident association leaders asked questions and discussed their concerns and thoughts surrounding the construction of the highway and its impact on communities, the City of Nairobi, the environment, and overall quality of life.

Watch the full video here.