Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Informal settlements remain a major challenge across the world. After a decrease between 2000-2014, the number of people living in these settlements has increased to an estimated one billion (UN-HABITAT, 2020; UN, 2018). Upgrade approaches have a long history, and global agendas (NUA and Agenda 2030) recognize their value. While lessons have been learned, there is an obvious need for new approaches that address the evolving challenges. COVID-19 has created an additional urgency for more focused dialogue on the most appropriate interventions for rapid upgrading. The pandemic has highlighted not only persistent socio-economic inequalities but also some of the institutional weaknesses in addressing the challenge. In this context, a global community of practice on slum upgrading started to take shape. Its aim was to articulate situated knowledge, practices, and stakeholders with global agendas for the unlocking of meaningful and sustainable trans-local knowledge exchange across the globe. During the last two years, debates and outreach events were organised, experiences shared, and knowledge products elaborated focusing on informal settlements in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region through Housing Laboratories (LAVs) of the Urban Housing Practitioners Hub (UHPH). LAVs, brought together research and practice from different sectors (public, private, social, academic, etc.) and scales (subnational, national, regional) to analyse issues related to housing and habitat. To broaden the scope and capture challenges and solutions, two Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC) were organised to learn from promising experiences in Africa and Asia. Building on the discussion in LAC, Africa and Asia, a global session on slum upgrading was organised at the LAC Regional Housing and Habitat Forum co-hosted by Habitat for Humanity and the Urban Housing Practitioner´s Hub Platform in May 2021. The events and activities in the three regions of the Global South contributed to sharing knowledge, fostering dialogue among actors and institutions, resulting in the identification of trends and lines for action and research. Throughout the discussions it was recognized that upgrading approaches require investments for infrastructure and social issues, and the adoption of a city-wide approach, considering wider urban land planning processes and climate crisis and disaster risks. Moreover, it was recognized that upgrading experiences require the building of territorial and multi-scalar alliances and arrangements to address more complex challenges in LAC cities including the COVID-19 crisis and climate change. The aim of this networking event is to continue expanding and consolidating the global community of production of knowledge, learning and practice on slum upgrading, building on the previous efforts and consensus, envisioning a platform of practitioners and researchers that can implement joining activities and meet regularly and grow at every WUF session.
The aim of this network event is to continue expanding and consolidating the global community of production of knowledge, learning and practice on slum upgrading, building on the previous efforts and consensus, envisioning a platform of practitioners & researchers that can implement joining activities and meet regularly and grow at every WUF session. Therefore, considering above all, the need to adopt an integrated approach that considers housing solution, residential habitat with urban equipment and opportunities to generate productive activities, together with the need of a multi-scalar approach (from the private space to the collective areas, appropriate neighbourhood, and integration to the city), the network event specific objective are: to explore articulation with themes such as climate change to mobilise stakeholders and resources for promoting upgrading interventions, to search for ways of integrating informal settlements to the urban formal system and improve the infrastructure and urban services to analyse possible ways to address COVID-19 impacts on informal settlements, considering the opportunities that the pandemic has generated, to identify key challenges and pressing topics to be discussed in more depth during upcoming webinars of the community of practice and the interested audience, to delineate next steps within and across regions for the consolidation of the community of learning and practice.