Author Archives: ualadmin

Risk relocation and resettlement findings summarized for policy

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Follow the read more link to download the various of “Risk relocation and resettlement findings summarized for policy” they are published in various global regions read more.

Peter Kasaija of UAL Joins Other Partners in 2nd International Network for Transport in Low Income Countries (INTALInC) Workshop at University of Cape Coast, Ghana

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Following on from the foundations set earlier in February, 2017, INTALInC partners converged at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana from 22nd – 23rd May, 2017, for a 2-day workshop to deliberate the mobility needs of vulnerable populations in developing countries. The workshop was attended by some of the network’s partners from the University of Leeds (UK), Durham University (UK), Lagos State University (Nigeria), Urban Action Lab – UAL of Makerere University (Uganda) and of course, the host institution, the University of Cape Coast (Ghana). In her opening presentation, Prof. Karen Lucas, the network director, emphasized that the broader goal of the regional workshops being conducted under the INTALInC initiative was to get decision-makers to learn from the experiences of different actors. According to Prof. Lucas, the network more specifically aims to achieve this by:

i. developing an interdisciplinary, collaborative network for the co-production of knowledge between the UK and internationally-based academics, policy makers and NGOs,
ii. working within a broad constituency of transport and development related fields, to support the development of more inclusive transport systems within developing countries,
iii. delivering a series of ‘research into practice’ workshops, events and intermediary webinars to facilitate exchanges between network members,
iv. and promoting active and lasting collaborations between the member partners.

“It’s not just about the infrastructure, it’s very much about the people who use this infrastructure…”

– Prof. Karen Lucas

Alongside a couple of ‘live’ fieldwork exercises and several presentations, the workshop provided critical

insights and experiences into the accessibility challenges of vulnerable groups like children, disabled students and the youth in our rapidly changing and dynamic urban world. Perhaps the most pertinent question from an outsider or any observer to the workshop proceedings would have been: why were the discussions focused on young people in the first place? In her opening presentation, Prof. Gina Porter, from Durham University, UK, could not have given a better rejoinder;

“Why young people? They make up almost half of the total populations of countries like Ghana in the global South. Young people are the future!”

It is therefore vital that their mobility needs to access schools, health services and navigate an increasingly complex and challenging urban environment to safely access different opportunities. Without proper understanding of their mobility needs and challenges, children and young people are exposed to all manner of multi-dimensional threats and risks, as explored through different presentations on pedestrian safety, transport security and trafficking, impacts of public transport on the health of young people through air pollution and as a medium for the spread of communicable diseases.

By formulating appropriate policies, that are well-informed by well-documented experiences and needs of young people, from different walks of life through ethically acceptable methods, along with engendering positive behavioural change towards the same, can we ensure they have a secure future.

Of course, a plethora of policies does not necessarily guarantee this. Along with the policies, INTALInC partners reiterated the call for getting different actors from academia, policy, professional practice and others to engage one another to ensure that these policies are implemented. As one workshop participant memorably stated:

‘…road safety without enforcement is entertainment!’

The workshop also provided the platform for identifying critical information gaps in relation to the mobility needs of young people. Key among these is the lack of adequate data and information on the specific transport and mobility needs of young commuters in suburb agglomerations of peripheries of core city zones, inventories of social and economic cost of non-implementation of complete streets policy, use of intermodal transportation services by young suburban commuters and more importantly, the prevailing perceptions of urban road infrastructure planners about the purpose of road infrastructure.

In addition to these, Prof. Porter also highlighted the urgency to present data that is gender-disaggregated to avoid missing out on nuanced essences of the research theme around young people’s mobility. Her colleague, Prof. Karen Lucas called on partners to place as much focus on adaptation of ideas relevant to the African context, rather than importing ideas from the global North and superimposing them on contexts to which they are ill-suited.

Prof. Shuaib Lwasa advise on cities and disaster risk reduction

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Shuaib Lwasa of UAL together with colleagues advise in this policy brief on cities and disaster risk reduction that boosting resilience through by use of science is key in supporting the implementation of SFDRR, Paris Agreement and SDG’s read more.

Prof. Lwasa attended Round Table meeting at Oregon Zoo

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Prof Shuaib Lwasa attended Round Table meeting at Oregon Zoo

Prof. Shuaib Lwasa (center, red circle) attended Round Table meeting at Oregon Zoo that brought together members of the InterTwine initiative that is working on urban nature in that region. Shuaib’s topic of presentation was “Attitudes towards urban conservation in Africa”, why building city resilience matters? It is noted that new construction in Kampala can  be a course of action on integrating nature into the city. “But the attitudes toward urban conservation in Africa are very poor. Introducing and augmenting nature into the city was once seen as an expendable beautification effort, the new urgency of climate change has provided a stronger rationale. read more.


How Do We Get the Private Sector to “Walk the Walk” on the SDG for Cities?

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If you have been following the global, regional, and local-level conversations about the Sustainable Development Goals (or SDGs) and their implementation for example, UN’s Habitat III meeting, held in Quito, Ecuador.You have probably heard of or participated in providing clarity on the role of the private sector in achieving SDG 11, which calls on us to “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. Read more


Five Reasons to Conserve Nature in Kampala, By Shuaib Lwasa.

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5 reasonsMany cities still have green areas in various forms, despite the fragmentation of their ecosystems. The call for integration of built form with nature is now more explicit and can be discerned from the Sustainable Development Goals of 2015 as well as the New Urban Agenda of 2016.


“Kampala, like many developing cities, has problems & opportunities. Its nature, if conserved, can enhance ecosystem services.” Read more 

UAL conducts second training workshop for HICCUP: 17th – 20th/ 01/ 2017 at Makerere University

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HICCUP-WORKSHOP 2The UAL recently concluded another training workshop for students working on the Heterogeneous Infrastructures of Cities in Uganda Project (HICCUP) 3-year project from 17th to the 20th January 2018 at Makerere University. This workshop follows on from the first workshop which was held in August 2016.

The focus of this workshop was mainly on research methods. In addition, the research team also started discussions for planning fieldwork which is scheduled to commence in September 2017.

Networking Event on Leapfrogging for Urban Sustainability at Habitat 3, Quito, Ecuador

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Participants at the networking event engaged in discussions about leapfrogging as an alternative approach towards more sustainable cities in the global South.

Habitat 3

Small and mid-size not mega cities are growing quickest and need protection against extreme events – says a new study

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The UN conference on Cities (UN-Habitat III) is 14 days away and a new study that is a comment in NATURE by an international team of researchers shows that fast-growing small (populations of 0.3-0.5 million) and medium-sized (0.5 to 5 million) cities, especially in Africa and Asia, need more attention. Research and political attention in the past has often been given to the growth of mega-cities, but it will be the rapidly growing small- and medium-sized cities where the success or failure of sustainable urban development will be decided. The New Urban Agenda is calling for governments to make cities more inclusive, sustainable and resilient. Small and medium-sized cities are particularly vulnerable and fragile to natural hazards and climate change and often have limited capacities to build resilience. Strengthening the resilience of small and mid-sized cities also offers opportunities. Smaller cities are easier to manage than megacities. Risk reduction and climate change strategies embedded now can expand as cities grow. Adverse impacts of extreme events, such as impeded traffic flow and closed businesses, and the benefit of reducing those risks are felt more directly. Read more>>

Habitat 3 Quito Ecuador, Networking Event (20-October, 2-4 PM, MR 13)

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Emerging innovative solutions to leapfrog urbanizing Africa for sustainability

To move towards success and progress on Sustainable Development Goal 11, cities in Africa will have to deal with multi-dimensional aspects of urban development. Linking SDG’s, Climate Change Agreement and Sendai Framework for Disasters Risk reduction, cities in Africa will have to leapfrog to sustainability. Characterized largely as informal, leapfrogging may have to build on the informality foundation with diverse social, economic, physical and infrastructure systems that may offer some possibilities. In African cities, planning for better services, infrastructure housing and for fragmented and ‘runaway’ development remains daunting. Spatial plans have largely remained at strategic level with a disjuncture between envisaged plans and actual developments. The coupling of multiple challenges has rendered contemporary planning difficult resulting into the continued organic development of cities with diverse infrastructure and services that contrast the centralized systems. If the ‘informal’ is considered as the ‘city’, this perspective may offer several possibilities. From housing, diverse infrastructure, innovative livelihood activities, patterns of growth and sprawl, economy, labor market, industrious innovativeness and social differentiation, these ‘informal’ settlements are not only the largest in many cities of Africa but have offered careers and lifetime experiences of many people in Africa. Often measured by the proportion of people living in these settlements and infrastructure access such as water, sanitation and waste management, spatial planning has tended to envisage a city with symbolic architecture, infrastructure systems and an economy based on formal employment. There is a counter-argument that informal is the city because the informal has demonstrated sustaining of livelihoods, provided diverse opportunities and challenges that create compelling reasons to rethink the city in sub Saharan Africa. The issue is how to harness the potential in informality for the ‘new urban agenda’.