Urban geeking a bit :)

Ok, SO! I realized I spend quite a bit of time collecting articles about international development / urban studies and that’s something I find highly enjoyable. But I mostly share this on Facebook and then lose track of articles that would definitely deserve a second read. So from now on I will turn this blog into some kind of a hybrid creature: a bit of photography, a bit of urban nerdiness, probably some random rants and existential questioning :) I’ll try to still link each article with a photo – mostly cause I need to get back on track on this too but have been too busy lazy lately!


  1. First, a very interesting report from the World Bank: The Future of Water in African Cities : Why Waste Water?

This report made me really curious of what would be Integrated Urban Water Management implications (social, financial, institutional) at the local level in African cities. More integration is needed and sounds very sexy on paper, but to make it work is a whole different story. How are you gonna engage all players and users in the process and frame their expectations realistically in a context of resource scarcity? How to design the right IUWM system when no data is available and informal settlements represent such a large share of the city? How to design the right tariff that will ensure social, financial and ecological sustainability?

Still, a very interesting report that offers a balanced view on the topic. And it’s great that the authors acknowledge World Bank’s current limitations when it comes to developing IUWM in rapidly urbanizing Africa.


2. The science and practice of urban planning in slums , a sharp and clear intro to some main development challenges linked to urbanization :)

The challenge of urban planning and the needs of poor communities’ are linked by the need to exchange information and agency across levels of urban organization, from the household, to the neighborhood and the city. While this point seems rather commonsensical, it has been argued in economic theory to be the fundamental development problem of human societies (Hayek, 1935; Arrow, 1974; Acemoğlu, 2008). This places the problem of creating and implementing good urban plans squarely in the light of the coordination mechanisms that can make individuals and institutions with different perspectives and capabilities likely to collaborate for long periods of time. How is this daunting coordination problem to be solved effectively? Must city planners spend their time in community town-hall meetings? How will slum-dwellers communicate their knowledge and needs to the city?  A crucial component to this process of socializing problem solving is the creation of trusted, verifiable and evidence-based means of communication between individuals and organizations. A community process which elicits data about the physical, social and economic characteristics of neighborhoods and their needs is the simplest and most effective means to achieve this goal. The process has the added benefit of creating a path of dialogue and inclusion to the urban poor and of responsive and knowledgeable government around practical issues for official organizations and private firms. This approach is the common practice of organizations such asSlum Dwellers International (SDI) and the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights and is a growing practice in urban neighborhoods throughout the developing world.


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