COLLABORATIVE POLICY STUDIO AND SEMINAR ON INFORMAL SETTLEMENT IMPROVEMENT
Participating institutions:University of Nairobi (UoN) in collaboration with University of California, Berkeley (UCB), Akiba Mashinani Trust (AMT), Slum/ Shack Dwellers International (SDI), Muungano Support Trust (MuST), Ministry of Housing (MoH) and UN-HABITAT
Rapid population growth, bad governance and urbanization among other factors have contributed to the emergence of slums and informal settlements. Characterized by lack of secure tenure, informal infrastructural servicing, poor housing/ dilapidated structures, poor environmental and sanitation provisionand high population densities, they offer low cost housing to a large urban population. In Nairobi city for example 60% of its 3 million urban population is housed in about 180 informal settlements and slums. With rapid urbanization and inadequate provision of affordable housing, the proliferation of slums and informal settlements in Kenya is inevitable[i]. To curb this, the ministry of housing seeks to improve access to housing and basic services to urban poor as well as encourage integrated participatory approaches to slum upgrading.
The Constitution of Kenya, bill of right article 42 provides for rights to clean and healthy environment and article 43 provides for equal economic and social rights to all citizens –access to adequate housing, clean and adequate water and health services- this provision guides the equitable access of services of all citizens. In response to the requirements of the Constitution, the Ministry of Housing and other related institutions have embarked on a collaborative policy formulation process. Currently the Ministry is in the process of drafting and formulating the National Slum Upgrading and Prevention Policy (NSUPP) and Land Eviction and Resettlement Bill, to aid in prevention of slum reemergence and improve the living conditions of the communities.
The University of Nairobi together with its partners (UC Berkeley, AMT, SDI, MuST, PT, UN HABITAT etc) have over the years engaged in collaborative research and participatory planning which has seen the production of various negotiated community-led informal settlement upgrading plans(Kosovo, Mathare Zonal Plan, Mabatini Settlement Upgrading). Work among the partners is carried out through action research, experimental learning and case study implementation of plans and proposals. Past plans have either focused on village by Village or settlement by settlement initiatives. The ongoing policy formulation process by the Ministry of Housing provides a chance to this partnership to share lessons learnt over the years to informthe formulation of integrated municipal, county and national-scale slum upgrading policies.
Every two years UC Berkeley and University of Nairobi hold Studios which are meant to expose Planning students to real world planning issues as well as link planning theory and research to practice. The theme of the studios is always informed by ongoing collaboration works of the University, and the civil society. The Universities Civil Society collaboration has been in existence for more than 5 years and has seen the production of various slum upgrading plans. This year’s policy studio seeks to contribute to the ongoing Country’s policy formulation process and especially to the National Slum Upgrading and Prevention Policy (NSUPP) and Land Eviction and Resettlement Bill by drawing from past studios and informal settlement works.
The core aim of the 2013 Collaborative policy studio and seminar is to build on lessons from previous studios and informal settlement upgrading plans and projects (Mathare, Kibera, Mukuru, etc.), to inform the Country’s ongoing policy formulation process especially in regards to Slum Upgrading and Land rights.
The Specific Objectives of the studio are:
- To ensure that the needs and knowledge of slum dwellers, civil society organizations and other stakeholders are reflected in new national, county and municipal policies by providing a stakeholder dialogue/forum/seminar to share ideas and lessons with relevant government and slum policy formulation agencies.
- To provide support and feedback to the formulation and implementation of the ongoing National Slum Upgrading and Prevention Policy (NSUPP) and Land Eviction and Resettlement Bill.
The studio team (from UC Berkeley and University of Nairobi) together with partners will hold a series of stakeholder meetings in January to help define specific areas of involvement and contribution. The policy studio will run from January to May 2013 and based on the January stakeholder agreement may culminate in: a jointly issued memo or policy analysis with recommendations to relevant ministries, a social media campaign to raise awareness of the importance of the policy process, pilot implementation plans for specific informal settlements, municipalities or counties, and/or a curriculum to train professional planners in the implementation of the new policies. A partners’ workshop will be held in UC Berkeley in mid-April to share outputs of the policy studio and seminar process.