In most African cities, more than half of residents live in informal settlements, with insecure tenure, a lack of basic services and infrastructure, and often unsafe housing. It is now widely recognised within policy and academic circles that such households tend to be best served by upgrading programmes that enable them to remain in situ, without disrupting their livelihoods and social networks.
Informal settlement upgrading is a significant poverty reduction mechanism, enabling low-income households to secure essential services at a lower cost, improve their social status, and overcome spatial inequality. It also helps address the needs of vulnerable groups, such as women-headed households and people with disabilities, as well as offering multiple opportunities for income generation.
City elites are increasingly recognising the potential that informal settlement upgrading has for enhancing their popularity, and the politics underpinning such interventions will be closely analysed by ACRC through our research. With multiple actors involved and a number of contentious issues shaping the challenge of upgrading, the complexities of the process and the overlaps with other urban development domains will be a key focus in our work.
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Exploring practical pathways for urban reform in Nairobi
The ACRC Nairobi team convened a final research uptake workshop on 9-10 March 2023. The two-day event aimed to stimulate policymakers, community representatives, county government officials, urban practitioners and professionals, to actively champion reforms for positive urban transformation in the city.
Doing research with disadvantaged people: Navigating challenges and intricacies
This blog post draws on the authors’ experiences of researching disadvantaged people, the strategies devised to address challenges and questions raised through these encounters, and thoughts on how researchers can safeguard against generating and/or reinforcing vulnerabilities during fieldwork and moving forward.
Uptake workshop in Lilongwe brings together mayor and city stakeholders
ACRC’s Lilongwe research team and ICLEI Africa held the final uptake workshop for the foundation phase of the programme on Friday 10 March 2023.