African Urbanism

Speaker: Edgar Pieterse
Chair: Philipp Rode
This event was recorded on 26 January 2011 in U8, Tower One
Africa is the fastest urbanising region in the world, and has become the focus of increasing attention from architects and planners, academics, development agencies and urban think-tanks. Professor Edgar Pieterse argues for a new way of thinking about African cities to accompany this surge of interest and to replace traditional views of African cities as sites of absence and neglect. Rapid urbanisation along with impressive economic growth rates for much of the Continent represents an interesting moment to take stock of how academic discourses capture and animate African urbanism. Edgar Pieterse is holder of the NRF South African Research Chair in Urban Policy. He directs the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town. Philipp Rode is executive director of LSE Cities.

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SFI Takes First Steps Toward a Science of Slums

Dec. 12, 2012. Slums in the world’s fast-growing cities are often seen as problems and, in most cases, outside the law. But, from Paris and Tokyo 150 years ago to Mumbai and Johannesburg today, slums consistently emerge as a byproduct of the socioeconomic pressures of rapid urbanization, and they often don’t get the credit they deserve as entry points to the city for poor migrants, or for the economic activity they generate.

With as many as a billion people now living in slums, understanding what might place these communities and their cities on paths of increasing socioeconomic opportunity is a priority.
A new research project now under way at SFI, in collaboration with the nonprofit Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and backed by a generous grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, seeks to expand the scientific study of urban slums worldwide. Read more

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Affordable Housing In South Africa With Prof. Francois Viruly

The housing subsidies announced in the President’s State of the Nation Address and the Finance Minister’s budget speech may well represent arguably the single biggest policy change to date. Joining ABN’s Godfrey Mutizwa in studio to discuss the social impact of affordable housing in South Africa is Prof. Francois Viruly, a property economist and professor at the University of Cape Town.

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Estamos bien en el refugio Los 33 – De nasleep van de Chileense mijnramp

Foto Hugo Verkley

In 2010 werd het Chileense Copiapó wereldnieuws. Vlak bij deze stad kwamen op 5 augustus 2010 33 mijnwerkers vast te zitten in de San José mijn. 69 dagen verbleven zij op bijna zevenhonderd meter diepte. Voor het oog van miljoenen tv-kijkers werden zij, op 12 en 13 oktober 2010, één voor één bevrijd. ‘Los 33’ werden als helden onthaald en kregen uitnodigingen om onder meer Disney World in Amerika en voetbalwed-strijden van Real Madrid en Manchester United te bezoeken. Een poos na de ramp gaat het met de ene mijnwerker een stuk beter dan met de ander.

Jimmy Sánchez zit voornamelijk thuis op de bank. Dan staart hij wat voor zich uit en denkt na. Over de tijd die hij doorbracht in de San José mijn. ,,Ik kan alleen maar aan de ramp denken,” zegt de jongste van de 33 mijnwerkers. De nu 21-jarige Chileen heeft het zwaar, is zichzelf kwijt. ,,Vroeger was ik vrolijk en genoot ik van mijn vrienden en familie. Nu voel ik me onbegrepen en wanhopig en ben ik liever alleen. Ik ben nerveus, kan me niet goed concentreren en word soms uit het niets woedend. Ook zijn er dagen dat ik niets anders doe dan huilen. Deze hele situatie maakt me wanhopig en ik weet niet wat te doen.” Read more

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Sanitation Challenges In Urban Slums – SCUSA Part 1

Integrated approaches and strategies to address the Sanitation Crisis in Unsewered Slum Areas in African mega-cities

Bwaise III Parish, Kampala, Uganda
Africa, though reported to be the least urbanized continent, is recognized as one where the rate of urbanization is highest. To house all these new city dwellers, informal settlements in the peri-urban areas continue to development and expand.
It is not only housing that the urban population requires: clean drinking water and hygienic sanitary conditions are also essential. Providing water and sanitation in these peri-urban areas is however very difficult, for technical, financial, institutional and spatial reasons.

Lack of proper sanitation not only leads to undignified and unhealthy conditions; stagnant water causes breeding pools for malaria, plus the streams entering and leaving the slum catchment, either as surface water or groundwater, form a significant pollutant load.
This water is polluting drinking water and, due to extremely high phosphorus fluxes from the slum catchments, eutrophying surface water. Therefore, the main research question of this project is: How to improve sanitation in urban slums, with emphasis on reducing the output of nutrients leaving the slum?

Objectives: to identify and implement low cost integrated sustainable sanitation solutions to provide excreta and greywater management in a typical slum area. To determine the financial, institutional, and sociological mechanisms or boundary conditions for successful implementation of sustainable sanitation solutions in this urban slum and to use the lessons learned in other slum areas. To determine the effect of slums and of environmentally sustainable sanitation in slums on groundwater and surface water quantity and quality. In answering to these research objectives, UNESCO-IHE is joining forces with Makarere University from Kampala Uganda.

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Citizen Journalists Give a New Face to Nairobi’s Slums – Nairobi, Kenya. December, 6, 2012. Through journalism, residents of Nairobi’s slums are taking it upon themselves to highlight injustices and create a balanced image of slum life.

Ghetto Mirror – Photo by Jason Patinkin.

Newspaper editor Vincent Achuka was behind schedule. The November issue of his Ghetto Mirror newspaper had arrived a week late from the printer, and he had an hour to finalise story assignments for the next. Then, he and his reporters had to distribute hundreds of papers by hand across Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum. It was a typical Saturday morning in the life of a slum journalist.

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