Central Business District, Johannesburg, South Africa

City Report: Neighbourhood Characteristics and Inequality in the City of Johannesburg

Overview

The School of Governance at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits), is a partner in the Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods (SHLC), based at the University of Glasgow. A consortium of partners from fourteen cities in seven countries have been studying a major and a secondary city – and the neighbourhoods that make them up – for three years. This report summarises findings of a sample survey undertaken among respondents in Johannesburg, the largest metropolitan municipality in South Africa. The survey is one component of a complex, mixed method, multi-year project.

Authors: David Everatt, Halfdan Lynge and Caryn Abrahams

Abstract

Johannesburg is among the most unequal cities on the planet, and the results of this survey reflect this fact, as two cities emerge: one poor, overwhelmingly black African, with high social capital but poor service access, reliant on state provision of health and education, the other mainly white and Indian (although a fifth of African respondents were in the highest socio-economic status (SES) quintile, suggesting an African elite is prospering), with low social capital but high standard of liv-ing. It is the middle quintile – comprising primarily townships formerly zoned for coloureds and Indians – that seems to be taking the most strain, with high levels of psycho-social, health, crime and other negative factors taking their toll. The city emerges as comprising a wealthy suburban population that primarily use private providers (school for children, health care, transport) and tend to be clustered in small, not very socially engaged groups; and the bottom two SES quintiles, where reliance on ‘the economy of affection’ ensures greater social interaction and engagedness, but in a context of high unemployment and poverty. The middle quintile seems stretched close to break point. The city is uneasily balanced on this continuum.


City Report: Neighbourhood Matters in Cape Town

Overview

There is mounting evidence from around the world that people’s local neighbourhoods exert a powerful influence on their well-being and life chances. The purpose of this short report is to present some of the main findings from a large household survey of almost 1,000 residents undertaken across different neighbourhoods in Cape Town during 2021-22. This report offers an overall assessment of the information emerging from the survey, rather than a definitive analysis of all the very detailed data. The survey was part of a four-year-long study of neighbourhood patterns and dynamics in seven countries and 14 cities around the world. The survey used a mixture of in-person and telephone methods and was based on very careful sampling of neighbourhoods and households to ensure representative results.

Authors: Ivan Turok, Justin Visagie and Andreas Scheba

Abstract

Cape Town is a deeply polarised and segregated city, with graphic contrasts in living standards and subjective well-being between disparate neighbourhoods. People inhabit distinctive worlds that expose them to quite different opportunities and hazards affecting their health, education, economic prospects and general satisfaction with life. Public services moderate some of these inequalities, but their reach and quality are also very uneven across the city. Some communities are deprived of basic water and sanitation services, while many affluent residents opt out of public services through private education, healthcare and security. The Covid pandemic amplified pre-existing divisions and made life much harder for poor communities by retrenching their jobs and swelling their debt burdens. Higher-income groups were better equipped to cope with social distancing measures, economic shutdowns and remote working. The priorities of affluent communities are local peace and tranquility, rather than altruism and solidarity towards poorer neighbourhoods. Individualistic attitudes run counter to opening up local opportunities for outsiders and engaging in collaborative activities to help improve conditions in other communities. The growing spatial divides in Cape Town raise uncomfortable questions about whether this trajectory can be sustained into the future without disruptive social consequences.


SHLC Workshop

Urban Neighbourhood Sustainability and Impacts from Covid-19

  • Wednesday 15 February 2023
  • Thursday 16 February 2023
  • 9:00-17:00
  • Seminar Room 237, Advanced Research Centre, University of Glasgow 11 Chapel Lane Glasgow G11 6EW

This workshop, supported by UKRI/ODA fund, aims:

  • to share SHLC research findings with colleagues in University of Glasgow and wide international research and policy making communities, and
  • to identify future research directions and facilitate further research collaboration between current SHLC team members and other international and University of Glasgow researchers.

The speakers and participants of the workshop will include:

  • Representatives from SHLC international partner teams
  • Invited international researchers
  • Researchers of the University of Glasgow Advanced Research Centre (ARC) theme group of Global Sustainable Development, and colleagues from the three College of Social Sciences’ theme groups Sustainability, Addressing Inequalities, and Challenges in Changing Cities
  • Researchers from other universities and organizations

The workshop will be a hybrid event with in person and on line access. The workshop presentations and discussions will be broadcast online to other SHLC team members and wider research communities.

The attendance of the workshop is free of charge, but pre-registration is required. You can register by press the registration button below.

If you have any questions about the workshop, please email: lynda.frazer@glasgow.ac.uk; or yaping.wang@glasgow.ac.uk

You can download the draft workshop programme here:

SHLC Workshop programme - draft

Register Here

Kigali: Lessons learned on the city’s strategy to achieve SDG 4

This project was conducted by Vincent Manirakiza, Leon Mugabe (University of Rwanda, College of Education), in collaboration with Jean Claude Ruzindana (City of Kigali), Yulia Nesterova and Michael Osborne (University of Glasgow, School of Education), Candy Lugaz, Daniela Uribe Mateu and Sadaf Qayyum (IIEP-UNESCO). 

Cities play an instrumental role in implementing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 11 and SDG 4, which aims to ensure universal access to quality education.

The IIEP-UNESCO research project ‘Local challenges, global imperatives: Cities at the forefront to achieve Education 2030’ aims at exploring the key role of cities in educational planning and management, as local elected authorities and privileged partners of ministries of education. Based on a wide range of interviews at the city level with main education stakeholders, the research aims at learning from the experience of cities committed for education and that have developed innovative strategies to address main education challenges at the local level.

First implemented during a pilot phase in France, in 2021-22, the research extended to other regions in collaboration with the University of Glasgow and SHLC (Centre for Sustainable Healthy Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods): Kigali (Rwanda), Manila (Philippines), Dhaka and Khulna (Bangladesh).

Following the completion of the field research and analysis in each city, a series of webinars is organized by IIEP-UNESCO, the University of Glasgow, national research partners and city authorities to discuss the main research findings. In Rwanda, the research was conducted by the University of Rwanda in close collaboration with the City of Kigali (CoK) authorities. A dissemination webinar was organised on 19 October 2022 to share the main lessons learned from the field work with the local government and partners.

Engaging Kigali’s city authorities and education stakeholders

The event gathered fifty participants including city representatives and education stakeholders. Among them, both elected officials and Heads of Departments at district and city levels, the district education officers (DEOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), and school head teachers attended and contributed to the discussions.

The webinar presented the opportunity for all the stakeholders involved in the project to discuss the main challenges and opportunities when designing, implementing and monitoring the city education strategy, particularly, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The presentations and discussions contributed to explore critical areas of quality education improvement and strategies to achieve the city’s future education objectives successfully.

Kigali’s role and education duties

In Kigali, the city is in charge of ensuring access to quality education from nursery to adult education at the local level. In coordination with the Ministry of Education, who mainly formulates the education policy nationwide, the city implements the national curriculum and conducts regular school inspections within its territory. The local authority also mobilizes financial resources to improve school infrastructure, pay and train teachers, monitor and evaluate the budget implementation and education performance at lower territorial levels.

In terms of administrative organization, there is no elected official with a specific mandate for education at the local level. Instead, the provision of education is led by the Directorate of Social Development and Good Governance with one Education Specialist, the city focal point, which provides support to districts to implement the education strategy.

This strategy is embedded to the city’s Integrated Development Strategy (IDS) rather than stand alone as a unique document. As part of the Social Transformation pillar, it aims to improve access quality of education for all citizens.

Main strengths of Kigali’s local education strategy

One of the main strengths highlighted during the field work is having a local education strategy aligned to national, regional and global agendas with goals focused, primarily, on vocational and technical training, STEM education for female students, teacher’s development, and the use of ICT facilities as new learning tools. The research shows that the education strategy was based on collaborative work between local education officers and CSOs, as well as on administrative information reported by schools.

Multi-party collaboration is also visible during the implementation process. Within the local administration, the CoK, through its Directorate of Social Development and Good Governance, cooperates with other directorates to provide school infrastructure and equipment, organise sport activities, and sensitize the community about violence, nutrition and early pregnancy. The CoK also coordinates and partners with CSOs and NGOs to implement inclusive education initiatives, related for instance to youth and girls empowerment, training of teaching and non-teaching staff on special educational needs, and financial support to low-income students. Particularly in terms of digital inclusion in education, the city prioritised distance learning through TV/radio and training teachers in ICT skills to successfully switch to an online teaching environment as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Acknowledging the city’s strategy implementation challenges

In Kigali, as in other cities, implementing the local education strategy comes with some obstacles, particularly in a context of crises. Public officers from the local government raised concerns about education not being the first priority of the city, compared to the infrastructure sector, for instance.

“In the City’s overall development strategy, education does not come first as a key priority since the infrastructure is the priority of the city. However, while putting much emphasis on infrastructure development, education benefits from the fact that well-built schools are being constructed and equipped with modern school materials” (Social Affairs staff)

In addition, the field work revealed that the design and consultation processes tend to exclude parents, teaching and non-teaching staff, even though both play a key role in the implementation of the local strategy. Private schools also stressed that the formulation phase fails to include them despite their express of interest in participate. One participant in the webinar highlighted the following:

“There is a need to strengthen the process of collecting the ideas, needs and aspirations expressed through the above-cited forums while designing the Kigali education strategy or the national education strategy” (Head teacher from a private school)

Limited financial resources are also a constraint to a more effective implementation. In addition, education units in Kigali lack of a reserve of budget available in case of crises or unpredicted events which may lead to delays in implementing timely responses. This was the case of the recent health pandemic during which schools reported scarce resources to deal with the early reopening of schools. The lack of technology devices, internet connectivity and ICT facilities to support the transition to online learning were some of the main barriers for promoting effective distance learning.

In other areas, the sanitary crisis also evidenced challenges that teachers and schools had to deal with: poor learning environment at students’ home, cases of unplanned pregnancies, high dropout rates, child violence, as well as a lower rate of parents’ participation in school meetings. Acknowledging these more common social issues outside schools represents a big opportunity to continuously revisit the education strategy and create solutions to address them.

The research provides insights on how planning and managing education at the local level works in Kigali. Disseminating these findings with city authorities and main local actors is part of IIEP and the University of Glasgow efforts to engage city education officers and partners in charge of education to enlighten future innovative strategies that will contribute to achieving SDG 4 in cities.


Acknowledgements

We are particularly grateful to our colleagues in Rwanda for the great efforts that they put into this work, which was funded through SHLC’s Capacity Development Acceleration Fund. SHLC has been funded within the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) grant ES/PO11020/1.


Art exhibition on problems of Dhaka

From May 27, Alliance Francis de Dhaka has inaugurated an extraordinary exhibition on the urban issues confronting Dhaka. The exhibition on ‘Urban Issues of Dhaka: An Artistic Gaze’ will run until June 7, 2022. This unique juxtaposition of art and urban research is an outcome of a year-long creative engagement with ten artists and 30 school children that teases out Dhaka’s unorthodox yet crucial urban struggles. The exhibition aims to provoke thinking regarding sustainable Dhaka.

The exhibition showcases works of the young artists like 'Rough Sleeper' by Sunanda Rani Borman and 'Eviction and Shelter' by Mahamudul Hasan in the background

The year-long impact activity and the exhibition are conducted by the Khulna University, Bangladesh, one of eight partners of the GCRF Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods (SHLC). SHLC is an international research consortium studying urbanisation, health, and education challenges of 14 cities in Asia and Africa including Dhaka and Khulna. SHLC is exploring new pathways to ensure cities and communities are sustainable, and those living in urban environments have good health and well-being and access to quality education.

Visitors at the exhibition gallery
The show features Reconsidering Map, the work of an eminent artist Dhali Al Mamoon

Eminent and young artists bring more than 19 outstanding paintings, sculptures, and installations to light in this exhibition. At the same time, 30 artworks from school children from deprived communities of Dhaka city are jewels of this event. Dr Kazi Ghiyasuddin, Shahid Kabir, Dhali Al Mamoon, Tayeba Begum Lipi and Mahbubur Rahman are the participating eminent artists. The exhibition also includes five young artists: Sunanda Rani Borman, Mahamudul Hasan, Md. Mojahidur Rahman Sarker, Kuntal Barai and S.M. Shaha Anisuzzaman Faroque. Architect Salauddin Ahmed curates the show.

'Waif' by Md Mojahidur Rahman Sarker
'Topion' by Mahbubur Rahman is exhibited in the show

The works of the artists capture interesting and critical urban problems including rough sleepers, shelter and health vulnerability of the poor, lost neighbourhood life, (in) security, the life of non-human agents in cities, urban tranquillity, thrown togetherness, and hopes of urbanites.

While introducing the exhibition, the concept designer of the impact activity that resulted in the exhibition, Professor Tanjil Sowgat says, “We designed the exhibition following a storyline that starts from individual issues and ends by questioning philosophical standpoints. The exhibition curator Architect Salaudddin Ahmed adds ‘‘The interesting space design will surprise the audience as it will remind them of the challenges and the negotiations people confront in Dhaka. You will surely see a different Alliance Francis de Dhaka”.

Book opening ceremony

SHLC Co-Investigator and the event organiser, Dr Shilpi Roy, an associate professor at Khulna University, is optimistic that the event will provoke new thinking regarding the rhizomatic nature of problems in Dhaka. She adds, “we aim to reach out to the policymakers, citizens and scholars through this event so that they start thinking about and respond to the complex issues around sustainable Dhaka.”

Shilpi Roy and Tanjil Sowgat have documented the year-long research work and findings from the interviews with the artists in a book. The book shares SHLC findings on Dhaka to date, the method followed to conduct the engagement activity, narratives on the artworks, a curatorial note, and the unorthodox yet critical reflections regarding Dhaka revealed from this impact activity. While talking about the book, Dr Roy says, “the book showcases how cross-disciplinary work can benefit urban research and the fascinating outcome of our journey.”


Throwntogetherness in Dhaka: rethinking urban planning

This article was originally published by Routledge Taylor & Francis Online in ‘City’. Please visit the link below to view and download the full article.

Abstract

Rapid spatial growth and rural-urban migration in Dhaka have influenced the dynamic evolution of the city’s unplanned and old neighbourhoods. Despite development control and planning regulations, following the diverse needs of the residents, most neighbourhoods evolve through organic transformation and restructuring of space. This photo essay argues that the ‘throwntogetherness’ of the citizens in these neighbourhoods results from cohesion, mutual support, and affordability priorities. In contrast, the pursuit of ordered and regimented urban space in the city denies the fluid transformation that has led to high value planned residential areas and condominiums, predominantly to provide exclusive urban services to those who can afford them. However, such placemaking creates fragmentation and encourages hostility and ‘thrownapartness’. This essay contends that the planned production of space in this city should recognise the value of diversity, fluidity and openness and move away from exclusive and rigid space making.

Sowgat, T. and Roy, S. (2022). Throwntogetherness in Dhaka: rethinking urban planning. City. https://doi.org/10.1080/13604813.2022.2057070 


Colonial legacies and contemporary urban planning practices in Dhaka, Bangladesh

This article was originally published by Routledge Taylor & Francis in ‘Planning Perspectives’. Please visit the link below to view and download the full article.

Abstract

Effective urban planning is said to be crucial for ensuring liveable, equitable and viable urban areas progress towards sustainability. This study combines a review of the relevant literature, key informant interviews and field observations to explore contemporary planning practices in Dhaka, Bangladesh. We problematize ineffective urban planning practice in Dhaka as a prime expression and reproduction of colonial planning, which manifests itself through institutional bureaucracy and centralization, technocracy, and ad hoc planning. We argue that these imprints have rendered planning institutions weak and fostered dependency on imported ideologies and practices. The situation, we further argue, not only stifles local planning creativity but also makes the planning profession unattractive. Apart from limited local innovations and political aspirations for meeting global development targets, urban planning and city management have followed a reductionist approach under neoliberalism. With little to no social resonance, attempts at creating ordered spaces are, instead, contributing to increased spatial fragmentation and segregation, informality, and widespread urban poverty. To promote urban sustainability, this paper urges the contextualization of colonial ideologies and practices against the social, political and economic realities of urban Bangladesh.

Baffoe, G. and Roy, S. (2022). Colonial legacies and contemporary urban planning practices in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Planning Perspectives. https://doi.org/10.1080/02665433.2022.2041468


Between rural and urban: action research in peripheral areas of El Alto de La Paz, Bolivia

Between rural and urban: action research in peripheral areas of El Alto de La Paz, Bolivia
Lead Applicant:

Instituto de Investigaciones Geográficas IIGEO, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA)

Collaborators:

Instituto de Investigación y Acción para el Desarrollo Integral (IIADI)

Overview

Within the framework of the “right to the city”, an action-research study was developed with residents and leaders of the peripheral ‘urbanización’ (housing developments) of Districts 8 and 14 of the city of El Alto de La Paz, Bolivia. The research involved the participation of early career and senior researchers and was articulated around professional expertise from architecture, sociology and geography to address issues related to empowerment and construction of public policies around urban issues. It has been an interdisciplinary study and the results have been made visible to and have empowered the residents of Urbanización Cristal and Urbanización Nuevos Horizontes as a contribution to the resolution of demands and the construction of citizenship.

Carrying out action research and community workshops.
Carrying out action research and community workshops. Credit: Universidad Mayor de San Andrés

Objectives

The overall objective was to: contribute to citizen empowerment in the knowledge and exercise of the right to the city, a fundamental principle of the New Urban Agenda (NAU), through the construction of knowledge, from a territorial approach of the urban periphery, with the same actors, through an Action Research approach, in the format of training workshops, complemented with the implementation of a quantitative survey whose final result will contribute to the strengthening of the current urban policy under construction.

This was further broken down as:

  • Citizen empowerment in the knowledge and exercise of the right to the city: Community workshops were developed in both housing developments with themes that allowed participants to see themselves and project themselves as an urbanización. The workshop activities included mental maps, neighbourhood history and right to the city.
  • Construction of knowledge, from a territorial approach to the urban periphery.
  • Action Research, in the format of training workshops. Development of training workshops (4 per development) with the following themes: Mental maps; History of the Neighbourhood, Right to the City and Construction of proposals from below.
  • Quantitative survey: For the implementation of the survey ballot, stratified random sampling was carried out that allowed delimiting of the number of people surveyed.
  • Strengthening of the current urban policy under construction.

The development of the entire research process was carried out by the early career researchers in the stages of design, elaboration and execution of the research techniques. It was the early career researchers who implemented the different techniques and activities. Their training was developed in classrooms of the Universidad Mayor de San Andres, in the subjects of Geography of the Population and Urban Sociology, and in the same way there were postgraduate students in the subject of Population Dynamics, Migration, Mobility and Environmental impact. This process included the review of secondary information sources, review of bibliography, construction of posters and bibliographic records. Going from the classroom to contact with the population was the priority for this project and for the early career researchers who spent time between the classroom and the developments of the city of El Alto, Urbanización Cristal of District 8 and the Urbanización Nuevos Horizontes Norte of District 14 of the city of El Alto of La Paz, Bolivia.

History of the Neighbourhood workshop
History of the Neighbourhood workshop. Credit: Universidad Mayor de San Andrés

Outcomes

The implementation of qualitative and quantitative research techniques had the following impacts on the Cristal and Nuevos Horizontes Norte developments:

  • Visibility of the neighbourhood association as a representative organisation of the residents of both housing developments.
  • Visibility of both housing developments in academic instances (universities and other research institutions) and other entities (Mayor’s Office, sub-mayor’s office and other neighbourhood association organisations).
  • Visibility of both housing developments from the publications produced: Documents, Peripheral Territories (research results) and History of the neighbourhood booklets
  • Construction of the history of the neighbourhood based on qualitative information
  • Identification of the main needs of both housing developments based on quantitative information
  • Agreements and conventions between both housing developments and the Universidad Mayor de San Andres

Project Outputs

  • In August / September 2019, the project team held six action research workshops, three in each Urbanización, with residents and early career researchers as participants. 30 – 40 residents and 30 early career researchers attended each workshop.
  • Interviews were carried out in the Cristal and Nuevos Horizontes Norte housing developments with 30 residents and 10 leaders per development, making a total of 80 participants.
  • The survey was conducted in the housing developments reaching 210 survey ballots for Urbanización Cristal and about 80 survey ballots for the Urbanización Nuevos Horizontes Norte. The data were entered to SPSS for the analysis of the information by variable and crossing of variables.
  • Coordination meetings were held with eight members of the Board of residents from each housing development.
  • An Inter-institutional agreement was signed for a period of three years between Urbanización Cristal of District 8 and Urbanización Nuevos Horizontes Norte of District 14 of the city of El Alto and the Universidad Mayor de San Andres.
Publications
  1. Book: Peripheral Territories. Study of two developments in the city of El Alto (or Territorios Periféricos)

The book begins with the following story that integrates some interesting experiences:

“From the classroom to the street. It was one of the challenges that broke down the barriers between the theoretical academic world, isolated and separated from the social life of communities and peoples. With the students, we managed to get out of the University, to access the poor, excluded and most needy populations. It was found that the greatest professional learning occurs through social interaction and not through the accumulation of authors and theories, often inapplicable and out of context.” (René Pereira Morató (MSc), Sociólogo Urbano y Coordinador del Proyecto).

  1. Primer:  History of the neighbourhood of Urbanización Cristal and Urbanización Nuevos Horizontes Norte (or Historia del barrio Territorios periféricos), Daniel Hernando López Fernández, Investigador Temas Urbanos

Future Activities

The second stage of the investigation:

“Right to the City, perception and construction from the actors: in peripheral territories of the City of El Alto de La Paz, Bolivia”

The Right to the City is understood as the capacity for action and political advocacy of citizens. It is a concept that exceeds individual claims to urban services such as gas, water, sewage, garbage, transportation, etc. within a framework of understanding the city not as a commodity, but as a common good and, therefore, as a collective right. Given that the Right to the City is not on the country’s agenda and the City Policy is currently being debated, it makes it very pertinent to undertake a study that contributes to operationalising this paradigm, from different knowledge perspectives, in particular from the peripheral actors involved. The urbanizaciónes of Cristal and Nuevos Horizontes Norte of the city of El Alto have developed very organically and with considerable impact; therefore, studying the political agency will make both housing developments visible and highlighted.

Action research with early career researchers.
Action research with early career researchers. Credit: Universidad Mayor de San Andrés

Capacity Strengthening

The strengthening of the Cristal and Nuevos Horizontes Norte housing developments in Districts 8 and 14 is manifest in the following ways:

  1. Visibility of housing developments based on research results.
  2. Qualitative and quantitative diagnosis that allows identifying the strengths and weaknesses of both housing developments.
  3. Objectively, the main needs of the housing developments were identified.
  4. Both housing developments made an institutional agreement that allows them to generate other activities with other faculties of the Universidad Mayor de San Andres.

Further examples include:

Strengthening of Peripheral Neighbourhoods

The main needs and potentialities of the inhabitants living in the peripheries were identified, resulting in the Peripheral territories book.

A database was produced from the survey with Quantitative data in SPSS format.

The history of the neighbourhoods was constructed from in-depth interviews and this formed the basis of the Neighbourhood History Primer: Urbanización Cristal and Urbanización Nuevos Horizontes Norte.

The visibility of the peripheral neighbourhoods was generated from the management and identification of the themes in the construction of urban policy in the country and this resulted in negotiation and then an institutional agreement between the housing developments and the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés. This institutional agreement will allow the housing developments to manage other actions with the Universidad Mayor de San Andres, such as the implementation of studies in different areas such as agronomy, architecture, law, etc.

Strengthening of Leaders

Through training for the leaders of the housing developments, they strengthened their advocacy capacities within their Urbanización and improved their negotiation capacities with other entities, such as sub-mayorships and other neighbourhood associations. Similarly, the development of training workshops for boards of directors of the developments on the Right to the City were beneficial.

Strengthening of Organisations

Through the documentation and dissemination of project activities, including photographs, videos and other elements that were shared on social media, the Rural Urban Territorial Observatory of the Institute of Geographical Research of the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés was further strengthened.

New networks were generated around the theme of the urbanisation processes, with an emphasis on the peripheries. For example, networks within the Comunidad Urbano Territorial (CUT) (Territorial Urban Community), coordinated activities for the dissemination of research results. The CUT is made up of academics and institutions that develop research activities around the urban theme.

Strengthening of Early Career Researcher Capacities

Action research provided early career researchers with the opportunity to leave the classroom and move towards the communities in such a way that they developed and implemented qualitative and quantitative research techniques whilst in contact with their own realities.

The formation of a multidisciplinary team (Sociology, Geography, Anthropology, Psychology and Statistics) contributed to the training process of early career researchers as they interacted with senior researchers across disciplines.


Streetside plantain vendor, Colombia. Credit: Flickr Adam Cohn

Promoting Inclusive Governance for Informal Workers in Cali, Colombia

Promoting Inclusive Governance for Informal Workers in Cali, Colombia
Principal Investigator:

Lina Martínez, Universidad Icesi, Cali – Colombia

Collaborators:

Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods (Graeme Young), United Kingdom

Local government of Cali, Colombia

Fundación WWB Colombia

Overview

This project sought to establish a sustainable policymaking process that would allow informal street vendors to play a meaningful role in shaping the policies that impact their livelihoods in Cali, Colombia. To achieve this, the researchers conducted a major survey of the experiences of street vendors in the city of Cali during the COVID-19 pandemic to further understand their socioeconomic circumstances, experiences of governance and policy views; worked with street vendor organisations to publish policy proposals; and held a meeting with civil society representatives to discuss the project and a workshop about informal work and public policy.

Street vending serves as a major livelihood activity in cities in the Global South. Like other forms of informal work, however, it is defined by significant forms of exclusion and inequality. The project is based on the premise that economic inclusion must rest on political inclusion, a principle that can have profound implications for how cities are governed and how they can be made more equal. By seeking to put this into practice, it builds on SHLC work by highlighting how urban development that rests on sustainability and equality must recognise the connection between political and economic empowerment.

Streetside plantain vendor, Colombia. Credit: Flickr Adam Cohn
Streetside plantain vendor, Colombia. Credit: Flickr Adam Cohn

Objectives

The original objectives are reproduced here with details about how these were met.

Objective 1: To allow street vendors, government officials and civil society groups to participate in an inclusive governance process that is sustainable beyond the initial funding period.

While the team had to make significant challenges to their original plans, they still sought to achieve this goal through: (1) conducting a major survey of street vendors that can inform policymaking; (2) collecting and analysing policy proposals from street vendors’ organisations; (3) communicating the outcomes of the project with vendors’ organisations and in a planned meeting with government officials, NGOs, and academics; (4) organising a workshop on informal work and public policy to bring together researchers and practitioners from a variety of different contexts; and (5) producing a variety of outputs to share the project findings.

Work remains to be done to ensure that street vendors in Cali are included in a participatory policymaking process that is sustainable. It is hoped that the conditions in which this can occur will return soon with the COVID-19 pandemic abating and governments having more capacity and willingness to engage, especially if there is a desire to ensure that recovery from the pandemic is just and inclusive. The researchers hope to secure future funding with international funders, research grants, and local initiatives to allow us to continue this work and expand it beyond Cali as the team believes that its potential value is significant. They are currently considering applying for funding from the University of Glasgow’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, possibly from the Follow-on Fund, which would provide up to £10,000 for a project that would allow them to undertake knowledge exchange activities based on this CDAF work.

Objective 2: To mobilise the extensive knowledge of the applicants on the governance of urban informality to have a practical policy impact.

This project has built significantly on the combined expertise on street vending in Cali, informality, and urban policy and governance, which has informed and been furthered by designing and undertaking the activities and producing the outputs. The potential impact of the work is discussed below.

Objective 3: To aid in capacity building for participants.

The project contributed significantly to capacity building for the researchers involved. This is explored in greater detail below.

Objective 4: To consider how similar processes can be replicated in cities in the Global South.

This is a primary focus of the current project activities as outlined below, and will be explored further in an upcoming report and a forthcoming policy brief. The researchers also plan to expand on this further by applying for additional funding to build on their project.

Contributions to challenges in low and middle-income countries (LMICs)

The informal economy plays a significant role in economic and social life in cities in the global south. In Latin America, it was estimated that the informal sector employed almost half of the working age population. The pandemic aggravated this condition and the informal sector may significantly increase as a consequence of the economic contraction it caused. Generally speaking, national and local governments in Latin America know little about the living conditions of informal workers and there is a lack of political inclusion for people in this sector. The project made contributions on three different fronts:

Activities to give voice to informal workers:
  • Through the survey, collecting information from 750 street vendors that is valuable for understanding their struggles and more urgent needs during the pandemic.
  • Creating an inventory of policy proposals, coming from informal workers’ organisations, to create a path for implementing programmes tailored to fit the most urgent needs of street vendors.
  • Creating a web page with complete information about the project, and with visual content in which street vendors express their main concerns and paths to access public interventions.
  • Four open forums to listen and exchange ideas and information.
Activities to provide evidence for a better policy making
  • Creating a catalogue of proposals with a policy analysis for programme implementation.
  • Providing updated information about the living conditions of street vendors during the pandemic through the survey.
  • Collecting data about political participation and views of street vendors through the survey.
  • Holding a forum to present results and policy recommendations.
  • Organising a final project workshop on informal work and public policy.
Activities contributing to the research of the informal economy in the global south
  • Providing open data with the information from the survey in Cali to promote comparative analysis.
  • Working to produce three academic publications (see below).
  • Working to produce two reports and three policy briefs (discussed below).
  • Writing two blogs (discussed below).

Outcomes

As explored in a paper that is being prepared for submission to the October 2022 issue of Environment and Urbanisation, the survey highlights the socioeconomic conditions of street vendors during the COVID-19 pandemic and provides important insights into their policy views and experiences of governance. It particularly highlights the significant livelihood constraints that street vendors experienced during the pandemic, their limited access to public services, and what programmes they believe the government should focus on. There is significant potential for this to inform policymaking as it highlights both issues that government officials should focus on solving and what, exactly, vendors would prioritise most. While this article remains to be published, data from this survey has been published in a second article in Data in Brief and a dataset can be accessed on Mendeley. The proposals that were gathered from vendors’ organisations provide further insights into the desires of these groups and, with the analysis from the team, how these might be translated into policy. This could provide an extremely useful tool for future policy discussions.

At the time of this report writing, the project activities have only recently been concluded and some of the publications are still forthcoming, so it is difficult to assess what the full impact of the project might be. The ultimate objective remains that a participatory policy process that can be sustained beyond the life of the project can be established, although given the changes that the team made to the project in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there remains much work to be done here. What they have done, however, provides a very useful platform for this to occur that builds on the extensive experiences and connections of the lead applicant. The project has led to the development of a detailed understanding of the challenges faced by street vendors during the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted possible policy directions that the government can pursue, an important basis for future policy discussions. The next step is to ensure that vendors are meaningfully included in policy processes and can have an impact on the decisions that shape their lives and livelihoods. This is what the team will continue to pursue through future funding, both in Cali and in other cities in the Global South. They will ultimately assess the impact of the work by judging the apparent success of any participatory policy process that it leads to. This could most effectively be measured by demonstrating that such a process has led to concrete benefits for those involved in it and/or for street vendors, or even other marginalized urban groups or city residents, more generally.

Project Outputs

The team sought to follow the output plan outlined in their original application, although some changes were made in response to adaptations to the project as it evolved. Full references for outputs are provided in the final point below.

  1. Sustainable Participatory Policy Engagement Process in Cali

Through the project the team has used a platform to promote communication between street vendors and the local government, and to feed stakeholders with data, reports, and a policy proposals inventory. This is a stepping stone to promote political inclusion in key policy decisions regarding budget allocation for street vendors in the city. The information gathered in the project facilitates participation in inclusive policies for this population group.

  1. Policy Initiative Impact Report

Based on discussions with street vendors’ organisations, the project created a policy inventory of programmes proposed by street vendors to be implemented by the local government:

The report presents eight initiatives ranging from relocation in public space to access to health and education programs. The team has organised the initiatives and provided a policy analysis with costs, feasibility, and equity criteria to facilitate the policymaking process.

An English translation of this report has now been prepared and will soon be published.  Full reference details will be provided when it is available.

  1. Workshop Impact Report with ‘Best Practice’ Guide

Due to changes in the project, this report focuses on how to establish engagement processes to promote inclusion for informal workers. It is currently being written and will be made available on this site in the near future.

  1. Academic Articles

The focus of the first article produced was changed to analyse the results of the survey. A draft is complete, and it will be submitted to Environment and Urbanisation for an October 2022 issue on urban inequalities. An article summarizing the data from the survey has been published in Data in Brief.

The final article is in progress and will still focus on theoretical issues surrounding political and economic inclusion, building on work presented at this year’s European Consortium for Political Research General Conference and will be submitted to a Special Issue of the journal Land on COVID-19 and urban food security and there is interest in a submission from this project.

  1. Blogs and Newspaper Articles

Two blog posts about the project have been written and will be published on the SHLC blog.

Two newspapers articles were published in the major newspaper in the city using information from the project:

Half of Cali’s informal workers are unemployed amid the pandemic

Half of Caleños who work do so informally

  1. Policy Briefs

Two policy briefs have already been written, disseminated, and discussed with street vendors.

The first policy brief focuses on the social and economic consequences of the pandemic. The second policy brief refers to street vendors’ physical and mental health after the pandemic. The forthcoming third policy brief will also address important issues that accompany establishing processes to include informal workers in policymaking.

  1. Additional Activities
  • Web site creation
  • Three meetings with informal workers, one meeting with local government officials, and other relevant stakeholders.
  • Final forum held on November 4, 2021 attended by representatives of two civil society organisations in Cali at which the results of the project were discussed. While local political officials were invited, they did not ultimately attend, illustrating ongoing challenges in building sustained policy engagement activities. The team will continue to seek further engagement activities with local government as they plan further activities that build on this project.
  • Workshop on Informal Work and Public Policy held on November 18, 2021 and organised with SHLC. Graeme Young delivered a presentation on the project entitled “Promoting Inclusive Governance for Informal Workers in Cali, Colombia” as part of a broader presentation about SHLC and CDAF. Seven other speakers gave five presentations on their academic or civil society work on informality in a variety of national and international contexts. The workshop had approximately 15 attendees.
  • Two reports with partners (explained in point 7 above).
  • One large report in partnership with Chamber of commerce and Fundación WWB Colombia (explained in point 7 above).
Output References

Martínez, Lina, Graeme Young, Valeria Trofimoff, Isabella Valencia, Nicolas Vidal, Andres David Espada and Esteban Robles. “Socioeconomic conditions of informal workers during the pandemic in Cali, Colombia.” Mendeley Data, V1, 2021, doi: 10.17632/w5x3dp8t4z.1

Martínez, Lina, Grame Young, Valeria Trofimoff, Isabella Valencia, Nicolás Vidal, Andrés David Espada and Esteban Robles. “The Hardships of the Poorest During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Data About the Socioeconomic Conditions and Governance of Informal Workers.” Data in Brief 40 (2022).

POLIS. Vendedores informales en el espacio público durante la postpandemia. Datos en Breve No. 38, 2021. Available at:  www.icesi.edu.co/polis/publicaciones/datos-en-breve.php

POLIS. Los vendedores informales no sólo han visto afectados sus ingresos, también su salud. Datos en Breve No. 41, 2021. Available at:  www.icesi.edu.co/polis/publicaciones/datos-en-breve.php

POLIS. Intervenciones para trabajadores informales en el espacio público: Una construcción colectiva para atender un problema olvidado. Datos en Breve No. 42, 2021. Available at: www.icesi.edu.co/polis/publicaciones/datos-en-breve.php

POLIS  Creando Puentes Entre los Vendadores Informales y el Sector Público. Available at: https://www.icesi.edu.co/polis/sppagebuilder.php?id=131&view=page

Local Involvement

During the project the team created a strong relationship with street vendors and leaders of organisations of informal workers in the city. The most relevant example of this relationship was the collection of the survey. There are no public records for contacting street vendors and given the impediments of conducting face-to-face interviews in public spaces, the most viable mechanism was phone interviews. Thanks to the relationship and the participation of street vendors during this project the team was able to survey 750 street sellers. Likewise, through different meetings they have been able to create an inventory of policy proposals representing the desires of street vendors.

City administrators have also provided support during the project. They actively participated in a meeting organised by the research team and promptly provided information requested for the project such as official records of street vendors in the city. As indicated above, while city administrators did not ultimately participate in the final forum we organised, the team will continue to seek to find opportunities for engagement as they build on this project.

Other relevant stakeholders such as local news stations (radio and newspapers), NGOs, and the chamber of commerce have been actively involved in the project.

Diario el País, the most important newspaper in the city, published front-page news about the informal economy in Cali using data from the project.

Fundación WWB Colombia is the largest NGO in the region working towards the improvement of the quality of life of informal workers. Thanks to this project and their involvement, the team jointly created two additional reports about informal workers in Cali during the pandemic:

Plan reactívate Mecanismos para la recuperación económica

Paro Nacional Colombia la necesidad de una agenda pública enfocada en la economía informal en la ciudad de Cali

Likewise, in collaboration with the chamber of commerce and Fundación WWB Colombia, the team is creating an extensive report about the informal economy in the city. The report will be released in summer 2022.

With those actions, the researchers are promoting the use of the information and the dialogue platform created in this project to foster the involvement of key stakeholders in the city.

Future Activities

It is hoped that further opportunities for collaboration will emerge from the project activities, first to work with the local government or other relevant public bodies to continue to build a participatory policymaking process that ensures the inclusion of informal workers, and second to build international ties to engage in knowledge exchange and possibly collaborate on future work. Likewise, the partnerships created with the chamber of commerce and Fundación WWB Colombia helps to build a larger network to continue this work locally.

The project plan, as stated in the original application, has always been to apply for further funding to continue this work. The ultimate objective is to establish sustainable participatory processes in which informal workers can participate in governance in cities across the Global South; given the extent to which the team altered the project activities as the project unfolded, continuing to work to establish the participatory process that has been the ultimate objective in Cali is also of paramount importance. 

Capacity Strengthening

New forms of co-operation:

Researchers: The PI and Co-I involved in this project, both of whom are early career researchers, benefited from being able to develop their understanding of street vending and public policy; being able to design and carry out a project of this nature and scale; and being able to establish or further strengthen existing networks. The project also included six younger researchers playing vital roles as research assistants, giving them valuable experience in conducting this type of work that should aid in their skills development.

Within street vendors’ organisations: The project helped to create a policy inventory of programmes proposed by street vendors to be implemented by the local government. This outcome helped street vendors to organise their demand to the local government and helped to create new co-operations amongst the street vendors’ organisations and informal workers who participated in the process.

Academia – local government: The project provided a new channel for collaboration between academia and the local government to improve the quality of evidence for decision making.

Academia – NGOs and private sector: New collaboration emerged as a consequence of the project between academia and relevant stakeholders.

Street vendors – government: It is hoped that the project activities and outputs will serve as a catalyst for policy inclusion for street vendors, something that the team hopes to build on in the future.


Dar es Salaam’s new bus transit system. Credit: World Bank

Raising Voices through Design Charrette: Contextualization of Bus Rapid Transit Terminals and Stations by Neighbourhood Context and Needs

Raising Voices through Design Charrette: Contextualization of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Terminals and Stations by Neighbourhood Context and Needs.
Principal Investigator:

Dr. Fatma Mohamed, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Collaborators:

University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Overview

This research had the aim of capacity building and sensitisation towards contextualisation of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) terminals and stations by neighbourhood context and needs. Through questionnaires to 1200 BRT users and a subsequent design charrette involving 50 representatives from all stakeholder groups, inclusive solutions were designed and communicated to the implementers for consideration. Moreover, early career researchers’ capacity in carrying out research projects which feature community engagement and collaborative design approaches was increased.

This project extends the current SHLC research in the area of social spatial segregation, division and classification in relation to access and distribution of services in cities. The main focus was in the sustainability of Transport Infrastructure in cities resided in by diverse people from different economic and social backgrounds. This project looked at the BRT system due to its significance as one of the most important modes of transport in Dar es Salaam and its potential of being the main public transport system in Dar es Salaam in the near future. Since neighbourhoods surrounding the BRT system are diverse with different needs, the BRT should be designed with the understanding of this diversity in order to enhance social cohesion contrary to the current condition where prototypic designs are used.

Dar es Salaam’s new bus transit system. Credit: World Bank
Dar es Salaam’s new bus transit system. Credit: World Bank

Objectives

The objectives of this research were achieved using three activities:

Activity 1 involved data collection. Here spatial mapping and documentation of all BRT terminals and stations was conducted in order to understand how the space inside the terminal/ bus stop was designed; what the architectural considerations were and which kind of elements and amenities had been put in place to accommodate all types of transport system users with respect to contextual needs of the neighbourhoods. A meeting was held with 30 stakeholders from different government institutions including Tanzania Rural and Urban Roads Agency (TARURA), Urban planners from four municipalities, Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit Agency (DART), Usafiri Dar es Salaam (BRT Operator), private Architects and Engineers involved in designing of BRT, urban planners, and users of BRT, with the aim of hearing their voices on experiences and challenges and how they would like the project to be designed to cater for their needs. Moreover, structured interviews with 1200 BRT users at terminals and stations were conducted at this stage.

In Activity 2, the collected data from Activity 1 were analysed, and then collectively discussed in the design charrette of 50 stakeholders sampled from the people involved in the Stakeholder meeting and from the structural interviews/questionnaires. Here challenges facing users in different neighbourhoods in relation to BRT were discussed. Solutions that included changes to the planning of neighbourhoods, terminals and stations were proposed. The objectives set under this activity were also reached.

Activity 3 involved dissemination of findings. This Activity was conducted through a dissemination meeting of 30 stakeholders involving stakeholders from government institutions including TARURA, DART, UDART, Municipalities, BRT vendors, urban planners, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Private engineering consultants and other BRT end users. The general findings of the research were presented to obtain feedback and gather opinions and comments from stakeholders.

Contributions to challenges in low and middle-income countries (LMICs)

Like many LMICs, public infrastructures are a prototypic design of a success story from another country – Bogota, Colombia for the case of the BRT. These designs usually do not cater for the needs of the hosting countries in terms of cultural, social and economic context. Moreover, public infrastructure design is mainly a top-down approach with minimum involvement of local stakeholders at the design stage.

The activities completed in this project included data collection through stakeholders meeting, relevant reports, observation and structured interviews with BRT users. With other stakeholders, this data was analysed in a design charrette together with the representatives from municipalities and other agencies directly involved in the design, operations and management of the BRT. This process helped authorities to understand challenges and solutions related to a prototypic BRT design from the perspective of diverse stakeholders.

Additionally, this research increased the capacity of the relevant authorities in involving stakeholders in the design of infrastructure.

Outcomes

Research findings

This research found that there is a strong relationship between neighbourhood context and needs to BRT stations/terminals. These are:

  1. In analysing the mode of transport to reach the stations, it was found that more than 50% of the commuters reach the station by walking which indicates a close relationship between the neighbourhood context and the BRT.
  2. The activities around the neighbourhood determine the intensity of use of BRT where stations around neighbourhoods in commercial districts are more vibrant than neighbourhoods with offices and residential characters. This is also reflected in differing peak hours between different neighbourhoods.
  3. It was evident that neighbourhoods with self-sufficient social infrastructure such as workshops, markets, shops, schools and entertainment areas have less transport needs hence users do not travel long distances along the BRT route.
  4. It was observed that along the whole of the BRT Phase I, the areas in the immediate context of the BRT terminals and stations are used for shopping mostly from petty traders and hawkers.
  5. From the survey, it was found that more than 80% of the BRT users recommend the need for features to identify stations and orient themselves, as all stations are modular and prototypical.
  6. The research found that the pedestrian experience is not favourable due to unsuitable environment to reach the stations, including: lack of trees, benches, shelters and other amenities; congestion in the immediate context of the station due to hawkers and petty traders in pedestrian walkways. Furthermore, more than 50% of users are not willing to use the pedestrian bridge crossings and would rather get off one station before or after their intended stop.
Anticipated changes and impacts of the research project:
  1. The research has been used to provide analysis on how the BRT stations and terminals are to be designed with reference to the neighbourhood context within which it is located, therefore, it is expected that the findings from the research will inform other phases of BRT development. The team’s expectation is that the current design process for the BRT stations and terminals will change from one that considers all neighbourhoods as homogenous and thus produces a prototypic design to one that studies the neighbourhood in order to design BRT stations that carters to its context.
  2. It might lead to establishment of a policy that necessitates the efficient coordination of different governmental organizations and agencies in the design, implementation, operations and maintenance of the BRT infrastructures in relevant municipalities. This will also affect monitoring and financial management of public transport system (e.g. considering smart cards.)
  3. The team also anticipate that the BRT system will be more inclusive in-terms of diversity of users.
Assessment of potential project impact:
  • a more diverse group of people will use the BRT;
  • people (users) will identify the stations better and in turn orient themselves better in the immediate context of the stations;
  • public transport will be eased and this will lead to people’s lives being improved;
  • connectivity and mobility of areas in the city will be improved after the different infrastructure and transportation systems having been better coordinated;
  • an integrated system that allows the petty traders to coexist with the BRT will have been devised and thus give employment opportunities to the people while allowing for the BRT users to access the needed services rendered by the petty traders.

Project Outputs

This project produced the following outputs:

  1. The creation of technical notes on design considerations for different neighbourhood typologies:

Neighbourhood Amenities Technical Note

Park and Ride Technical Note

It was found to be more relevant to create technical notes on general issues that were pertinent to all neighbourhoods to support local and other authorities that are connected in designing of current and future BRT stations.

  1. Reports and Publications (pending). Planned papers are on the following topics:
  • Analysing the relationship between the neighbourhood character and the commuting behaviours of the BRT users.
  • Architectural qualities of the BRT stations and terminals in aspects of identity, orientation, visibility and legibility.
  • Evaluating pedestrian experiences in the Dar es Salaam BRT Phase I project.
  1. Policy Paper and Abstracts for policy makers. An abstract of report and abstract policy paper was created and will be discussed in the final stakeholders meeting before submission to the relevant authorities.

Local Involvement

In carrying out Activity 1, data collection, a meeting with different stakeholders of the BRT system was conducted. There were mainly two groups of stakeholders. The first group included users of BRT and built environment professionals (architects, civil engineers, quantity surveyors and urban planners) not directly involved in the design of BRT; and the second group comprised of representatives from municipal councils, regulatory authorities as well as DART, as the main government agency responsible for the design and overseeing of the BRT project and UDA-RT, the company handling the operations of BRT buses. Also, JICA, an international organization involved in several transport and infrastructure projects in the country, was one of the participants of the discussion.

The users and professionals were involved so as to find out about their experience and challenges in using the system and their suggestions on how to make the design better to suit the needs of the community. The second group were also part of the discussions since they would be the major implementers of the suggestions brought out. The meeting was very useful for exchanging opinions from different sides of the BRT project and it helped to establish contacts for further collaboration in the course of the project.

In Activity 2, the design charrette, community engagement was featured so as to reach conclusions and ways forward that were creative and well-rounded. The aim was to ensure that solutions were not merely derived from professionals while disregarding the experience of the direct users of the BRT. A 4-day collaborative data analysis and design workshop was conducted to find solutions to integrated problems of BRT and make firm decisions on the challenges from different groups and neighbourhoods. The charrette brought together all of the people associated with the BRT, not just designers; including experts who could provide more information on the system, and people with the ability to make this transformation happen; as well as a diverse group of community members. Having established an acquaintanceship with some stakeholders during the stakeholders meeting, e.g. DART, UDA-RT and JICA, it was easier to engage them for this activity. Other participants included representatives from municipal councils, ward councils, neighbourhood government officials, government regulatory authorities like TARURA, representatives from association for the disabled and small-scale entrepreneurs along the BRT corridor.

Through these activities the team was able to set an example of how government officials can work with the community directly affected by a project so as to implement something that works for them.

Dar es Salaam’s new bus transit system. Credit: Hendri Lombard World Bank
Dar es Salaam’s new bus transit system. Credit: Hendri Lombard World Bank

Future Activities

Following the dissemination meeting, JICA, who prepared the Infrastructure Masterplan for Dar es Salaam requested to use the findings of this research as a reference for the purpose of developing a plan titled Infrastructure for Development. A summary report was provided as an overview, and a detailed report will be provided once it has been published by the University.

Capacity Strengthening

  • Researchers

The team conducting this research project was entirely made of female professionals in the academic and engineering field. The research has helped this team of early career researchers to develop skills of engaging stakeholders in analysing challenges and bringing forth solutions that can help to elevate their communities.

The project helped the team to develop skills on working with large amount of data including how to use technology to collect data and how to analyse and interpret such data.

The project team has also developed skills on dissemination of research outputs especially in the form of Technical Notes that can be used by architectural designers as well as the general public.

  • Home institution

The project has also helped the research team to increase their knowledge of barrier free/inclusive/collaborative design that includes practical knowledge to supplement their theoretical understanding. This will trickle down to architectural students that the team comes in contact with, as well as other consultancy works that comes to them via the university.

The university has increased the number of researchers who are able to produce academic writing and this will enhance the exposure and prestige/reputation of the University. This writing includes the research report as well as the expected peer reviewed published articles.

  • Other organisations that the team worked with

Through the design charrette, government authorities and other agencies involved in this research were able to understand the need for contextual design of the BRT considering the diverse types of users and neighbourhoods. Therefore, they are in a better position to apply the knowledge for future BRT projects in the country

The technical notes, report and paper publications that will be disseminated will serve as a resource for other organisations including NGOs, community organizations, city administrations and the private sector, to do further researches in the field of transportation and infrastructure planning

  • Communities that the team worked with

Through the design charrette that was conducted, the capacity of non-academic, local members of the community to express their ideas and opinions in the presence of different people was improved. Since all opinions were given the same weight, the research was able to show the invited members of the community that their opinion matters in bringing positive change to their communities.