Category Archives: Organizations

Local:Global Organizations

Local : Global Networks

The urban population has been rising for decades. Within this, the population of urban slums have been rising exponentially. Without land ownership, these citizens’ rights are limited or even obsolete. With their power in numbers, they have begun to organize.

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Slum Rehabilition Authority – Mumbai

Large-scale government coordinated efforts (led by Mumbai’s Slum Rehabilitation Authority) are taking place in Mumbai to rehouse the vast population of slum inhabitants. The process is largely market-driven with government authorities selling land occupied by slums to developers for private development. Because of density pressures in Mumbai, this land has incredible value to private enterprises. In exchange for he land’s development rights, developers are required to provide new housing to existing inhabitants, while the remainder of the site is open to private market-driven use. Not surprisingly, this process is often plagued by corruption and unfulfilled promises, but the existence of a formal mechanism for addressing slums locally is worth our attention. More after the break…

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CLIFF is a facility that has been designed to provide loan finance for slum development projects that are implemented by the urban poor, and which have the potential to influence policy and practice that in turn can lead to a scaling-up in the provision of suitable housing and related infrastructure for the urban poor.

The CLIFF concept emerged from a DFID-funded research project – Bridging the Finance Gap in Housing and Infrastructure – conducted by Homeless International in collaboration with local partner organizations in a number of countries.

The CLIFF project is expected to: 1) develop a finance facility (CLIFF) to assist organizations of the urban poor to carry out successful community-driven infrastructure, housing and urban services projects at city level, in conjunction with municipalities and the private sector; 2) Develop a sustainable finance facility (CLIFF1) in India to continue providing specialist financial services to the urban poor after the end of project funding 3) Develop a sustainable in-country finance vehicle (CLIFF2) in at least one other country (if further funds can be raised) to replicate the concept in a different institutional setting and to benefit additional communities/cities.

CLIFF is co-ordinated internationally by Homeless International, and currently implemented at the local level by two indigenous CBO-NGO alliances – the Indian Alliance and the Kenyan Alliance.

The direct funding inputs for CLIFF (to date) are DFID (£6.84m), Sida (20m Krona, £1.5m approx.),The Homeless International Guarantee Fund (£0.6m), Local revolving loan funds owned by SPARC and Nirman (approximating £1.2 million in India and £0.5 million in Kenya). These funds flow through the World Bank’s Cities Alliance program, which administers the facility on behalf of the donors.

Thanks to Ryan for pointing this out.

Global Studio

Global Studio

Global Studio Emergence in Istanbul, Turkey 2005

Global Studio is an international think-tank composed of a network of architects and planners, collaborating from 20 countries across the globe, that contribute to the UN’s efforts to improve slums, one of the UN’s 2000 Millennium Development Goals. Global Studio began as a pilot project, initiated by members of the United Nations Millennium Project’s Task Force and developed by a consortium of universities. The consortium was composed of 3 groups embedded within the Architecture Schools at the following universities; University of Sydney, Colombia University and The University of Rome, La Sapienza. The launched of the Studio was developed to coincide with the UIA (International Union of Architects) Congress, held in Istanbul in 2005. A site was chosen for the Studio at Zeyrek, in Istanbul and the competition working sessions were held during the duration of the Conference.

Studio Program

The Studio ran in three stages as:

i) an international design studio ‘A Home in the City: Urban Acupuncture in Zeyrek

  • all participants were architecture and planning students

ii) a stream within the UIA Congress ‘People Building Better Cities

  • participants included educators, practitioners and community leaders whom presented their individual work and engaged in dialogue with the UIA Congress participants about the contribution which design and planning professionals working with communities can make to improving the lives of the urban poor, and promoting environmental sustainability.

iii) a Future Directions Forum

Working Platform

The working platform for Global Studio aims to mobilise architects and designers to become involved with this kind of work, through marketing and implementation within a more generalized conference platform. This setting had advantages which were taken advantage of through the design of the program.

  • Running the Studio in unison with the Conference took advantage of the intellectual and networking pool.
  • Allowed an extending marketing and working platform
  • Removed logistical onus from the Studio organisers to provide platform ie. venue, sponsors etc.
  • The unique platform provided a chance to pool invaluable talent which streamed directly into a Conference Forum
  • The project also helped strengthen the Global Studio from a loose network of like-minded souls into a formal group
  • Furthered the debate about what architects can do and what lies outside their influenc

global-studio_participants.jpg istanbul-image-site.jpg

Project Proposal Development

Five teams from 20 countries, developed separate but complementary strategies for improving Zeyrek, a world heritage listed site, which is a low income housing neighbourhood in the heart of Istanbul’s “historic peninsula”. The proposals were developed in collaboration with the local population, with the aim being to improve the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the community.

  • At the largest scale, one proposal sought to improve the connections between Zeyrek and the rest of the city and boost the area’s economy. By revitalising old routes into Zeyrek and enlivening spaces leading to the mosque, the proposal sought to draw people into the area in a way that would benefit the local community.
  • Another solution sought to provide facilities such as a childcare centre, a skills training centre and a women’s health centre.
  • And a third looked at spatial strategies that would anticipate the impact of an earthquake, using open land as gathering places and aid drop-off points.
  • The ancient system of underground water channels and bostans, Zeyrek’s market gardens which used to pepper the area, provided inspiration for another proposal that would green the many wastelands to produce a chain of gardens and gathering places.
  • And at a small scale, one group mobilised the local children to clear a neglected site create a swing and paint a mural.

Global Studio, Johannesburg, South AfricaJune/July 2007

Building on Global Studio, Istanbul (2005) and Vancouver (2006), is Global Studio Johannesburg 2007, a four day forum with international speakers and local presenters, hosted by the University of Witwatersrand. The forum will offer two events:

  • People Building Better Cities, an interdisciplinary forum which is open to attendance
  • A hands-on studio

To view a short movie of the project:

Nairobi, Kenya

Eco-Build Africa
Beverly court,Marcus Garvey Road, Hurlingham,PO Box, 22746 – 00100 GPO, Nairobi , KenyaTel .254 (0)20 300 4983, Cell. +254-(0)723-883-912E-mail:

Planning System Services
Contact: Alfred Omenya

Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI)

Composed of members: Arthur Adeya, Patrick Curran, Ellen Schneider, Jen Toy, Chelina Odbert and Kotchakorn Voraakhom.KDI is affiliated with the Center for Environment and Technology in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.


kibera PS (KPS) – Pilot

the k.p.s. project is made up of several groups collaborating to create a practical, alternative model for improving the environment in Kibera. The group is united by a common understanding that there is tremendous potential for positive change in Kibera – but – such improvement need not drastically alter the physical and social composition of Kibera (unlike, for example, a traditional hi-rise upgrading model). At the same time, the problems are so vast that small projects need to be able to leverage more systemic change. The project approach enabled starting from the “bottom-up,” but also thinking from the “top-down.” The associated project blog offers a platform for the different actors interested in digging deeper into this unconventional model for physical upgrading – from community groups, residents, and ngos, to designers, academics, humanitarians,and other professionals – to discuss, debate, and ultimately get active.

For a recent update on the projects progress over Summer 07

Tecta Consultants
Erastus Abonyo, principal architect at Tecta Consultants, acts as consultant and local liaison for KDI.


Leading authority on slums in Mexico City


According to the UN-HABITAT website: “The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. “Towns and cities are growing today at unprecedented rates setting the social, political, cultural and environmental trends of the world, both good and bad. In 1950, one-third of the world’s people lived in cities. Just 50 years later, this rose to one-half and will continue to grow to two-thirds, or 6 billion people, by 2050. Cities are now home to half of humankind.

“Cities are the hubs of much national production and consumption – economic and social processes that generate wealth and opportunity. But they also create disease, crime, pollution, poverty and social unrest. In many cities, especially in developing countries, slum dwellers number more than 50 per cent of the population and have little or no access to shelter, water, and sanitation, education or health services. It is essential that policy­makers understand the power of the city as a catalyst for national development. Sustainable urbanisation is one of the most pressing challenges facing the global community in the 21st century.

“UN-HABITAT’s programmes are designed to help policy-makers and local communities get to grips with the human settlements and urban issues and find workable, lasting solutions. The organization’s mandate is outlined in the Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements, Habitat Agenda, Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements, the Declaration on Cities and Other Human Settlements in the New Millennium, and Resolution 56/206. UN-HABITAT’s work is directly related to the United Nations Millennium Declaration, particularly the goals of member States to improve the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2020, Target 11, Millennium Development Goal No. 7, and Target 10 which calls for the reduction by half of the number without sustainable access to safe drinking water.

“UN-HABITAT’s strategic vision is anchored in a four-pillar strategy aimed at attaining the goal of Cities without Slums. This strategy consists of advocacy of global norms, analysis of information, field-testing of solutions and financing. These fall under the four core functions assigned to the agency by world governments – monitoring and research, policy development, capacity building and financing for housing and urban development.”