Rapid urbanisation and increased migration in Africa and Asia have helped drive drive development and created jobs for millions who call the city their home. But fast-growing cities like Dhaka and Delhi also face growing poverty and inequality.  

The GCRF Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods (SHLC) is an international consortium of nine research partners aiming to strengthen capacity to address urban, health and education challenges in neighbourhoods across fast-growing cities in Africa and Asia.

For example, the urban population of the Philippines will make up 80% of its total population, posing serious challenges for the government to meet the needs of its citizens and provide adequate services for everyone.

Urban communities also face health and wellbeing challenges. In Tanzania, for example, life expectancy within the city is on average 2.7 years shorter than in rural areas and almost 11 years below the world average.

Cities can struggle to provide quality education to their urban populations. Out of India’s 170 million academically eligible population, only 47% attend any kind of educational institution.

To start addressing these problems, our research centre reviews important national urban, health and education policies as part of our city profile research reports.

We are also exploring different neighbourhoods to understand their dynamics and how they change over time. We are taking a closer look at ‘typical’ neighbourhoods. Household surveys, interviews and focus groups will help us to find out how these communities work and what makes a neighbourhood sustainable. All this rich data will be gathered to compare and contrast Asian and African cities.

We are hoping to create a strong network of urban researchers who support each other in creating world changing research. We want to strengthen to address urban, health and education challenges in fast-growing cities to improve neighbourhoods around the world.

Our partners work across Africa and Asia within the following countries: Bangladesh, China, India, Tanzania, the Philippines, Rwanda and South Africa.

Throughout ‘Urban October‘ SHLC will be releasing new research, photo stories, blogs and more. Sign-up to our newsletter, follow us on Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date and find out more.