It is with great pride that I share with you the annual report 2014 for the Center for Urban Research and Innovations (CURI). It provides us with an opportunity to reflect on achievements and challenges over the past year and identify areas where we can improve in the coming year. This exclusive publication outlines the various activities that the center has carried out within the financial year. As you will see later in this report, in 2014 we experienced significant growth and set the stage for even greater expansion in the coming years. CURI stemmed from the Urban Innovations Project (UIP), founded in 2007, by a small group of academic urban professionals, based in the University of Nairobi,
committed to explore new planning paradigms that are more responsive and effective in addressing challenges in contemporary and future urban settlements in Africa. We sought to champion urbanization that is innovative, livable, inclusive, and sustainable through applied urban research, collaborative urban planning, urban policy dialogue and revitalized planning education. In our time, urban areas in Africa are characterized by slums, also referred to as informal settlements. The Centre has championed slum upgrading as a human right and better managed urban areas to enable cities became engines of growth and prosperity. Our vision is to be a Center of excellence in promoting urban research and innovations in Africa and beyond.
The Center whose initial growth was supported by a grant from the Rockefeller foundation has over the last five years received many internationally competitive research grants and contracts, and participated in many collaborative
programmes, research and policy workshops. Recently, it has established a CAD & GIS Lab to provide both school based professional and external CPD training and capacity building in CAD and GIS technologies in partnership with ADCC International, an Autodesk authorized training service provider. The Centre’s approach is to work in collaboration and partnership with all levels of government (national and county), universities, civil society, private sector, and development partners to achieve its goals and deliver quality output.
A well-developed research and Innovations center is highly dependent on efficient staff. At the moment, the Centre has a strong multi disciplinary team of associate researchers in the fields of Urban and Regional Planning, urban design, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Environmental Impact Assessment, Strategic Planning, Community Planning among others. The center has a secretariat of 5 staff armed with technical and professional skills to supervise and facilitate daily undertakings of the Center. The center’s work is overseen by an advisory board while the University provides financial management and accounting. The center provides internship, scholarships and exchange to local and foreign students interested in urban research.
For the Year 2015 the Centre plans to continue collaborative and applied research with Government, civil society, and development partners. I wish to sincerely thank the CURI team for hard work and dedication and our partners and sponsors for believing in our shared vision.
Prof. Peter M. Ngau