Applied urban Research and City Lab

Applied Urban Research involves research on thematic areas and issues to foster linkages of informed research knowledge with inclusive public policy making and collaborative urban planning processes. It consists of a number of urban policy based, short term research projects seeking to understand the complex dynamics of implementing sustainable urban development policies with an eye to supporting public policy makers and managers to be more informed, effective and responsive. The UIP/CURI seeks to provide researchers with a link to policy makers and the public through: Hosting of regular seminar series wherein the Researchers present their proposals, concept papers, progress reports and research findings to faculty members; Publication of research work, reports and other forms of research output; Dissemination of information via newsletters, policy briefs and journals.

Applied research ultimately feeds into City Lab. The DURP City Lab project aims to foster knowledge based encounters between researchers and the public through sharing what is known about the region and drawing students and researchers into greater contact with practitioners and policy makers. Recent research examples include settlement profiling in Mukuru and Mathare slums, civicengagement and planning in Ruiru Municipality and research on flexible uses of urban spaces in Nairobi and community policing to reduce urban crime.

Collaborative Urban Planning and Design Studio

This component of UIP/CURI seeks to articulate how urban planning as a technique and profession can be a medium for dialogue, inclusiveness, sharing, synergy, resulting in a stronger and just socio-spatial environment. By engaging in partnerships and collaborations, UIP/CURI serves as a point of contact for people with a shared understanding. UIP/CURI has pursued collaborative work across a broad spectrum of actors who include the public, private sector, and civil society. In the public sector UIP/CURI has been in active collaboration with the City Council of Nairobi and the Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan exploring opportunities that will fast-track initiatives in improvement of informal settlements. UIP/CURI has also collaborated with the Municipal Council of Ruiru on service provision and development control improvements. UIP/CURI has endeavoured to reduce the gap between theory and practice by taking keen interest in the activities of firms undertaking work of relevance to planning.

UIP/CURI has also partnered with Muungano Support Trust (MuST) and Pamoja Trust in promoting community-led informal settlement upgrading for Kosovo in Mathare, Nairobi. The upgrading of Kosovo saw improvement in service delivery, such as better water reticulation by the Athi Water Services Board. The partnership is currently preparing a zonal plan for the upgrading of the entire Mathare Valley informal settlements.

Urban Policy & Dialogue 

Urban policy component seeks to facilitate critical planning dialogue and policy discourses amongst key stakeholders through holding regular planning briefs, seminars, workshops, and roundtables that encourage active public participation. The lessons learnt are disseminated through the AAPS network of planning schools, public media, journals, newsletters, networks and professional associations

Planning Education and Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

The aim of curricula reform in Africa is to develop teaching content and methodologies that respond to current and future urbanization challenges in Africa. Engagement with the many dimensions of cities on the continent has implications for the training of planners, the legislative environment within which planners practice as well as research capacity of planning educators. UIP promotes development and testing of more responsive planning and design methodologies for urban planners and designers.

The overall goal of CPD is to achieve a skilled and modern planning workforce that meets the needs of the 21st Century. UIP/CURI seeks to foster human capacity development for

Practitioners in urban development through the initiation of relevant training and skills development modules for planners and designers, city managers, Officers, ALGAK and civic leaders.