African Research Network for Urbanization and Habitable Cities: The Centre won the ARUA-UKRI GCRF Partnerships for Capacity Building Grant to establish the African Research Network for Urbanization and Habitable Cities in August 2019. This Network brings together Nine African Universities with researchers from four UK Universities to develop a collaborative, interdisciplinary network of African researchers, capable of producing knowledge and interventions to address seemingly intractable issues in Africa’s urban areas. Core activities of the network include capacity building activities for all cadres of researchers, research, master classes and conferences amongst others.
SHLC-ESRC UKRI-GCRF Grant for Capacity Building: In July 2019, researchers affiliated with the Centre successfully won a grant to carry out a five-day workshop titled ‘’Strengthening Neighborhood Level Research Capacities for Sustainable Communities in Fast growing Nigerian Cities’’. This project was funded by SHLC – the Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods. SHLC is funded via UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) as part of the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).
British Academy Urban Infrastructures of Wellbeing Programme: In collaboration with researchers from other Universities, the Centre’s researchers are involved in two projects under the British Academy Urban Infrastructures of Wellbeing Programme, which commenced in December, 2019 and is to run for 24 months. They are:
Informal appropriation of public spaces and urban infrastructure for Leisure Physical Activity in Lagos and Yaoundé, led by the University of Cambridge
Pneuma-city’: Frictional Infrastructure, road ecologies and valorization of end-of-life tyres (ELTs) towards more sustainable urban economies in West African mega-cities”, led by the University of Kent.
RAEng Frontiers of development workshop grant: Led by Heriot Watt University, the Centre’s researchers also won a RAEng Frontiers of Development Workshop Grant titled: “The educational opportunity for building a resilient future”. The event will take place in July 2020 at the University of Lagos.
Governance and Justice Program: Under the International Development Research Centre’s Governance and Justice Program, and in partnership with the Justice Empowerment Initiative (JEI), the Centre’s researchers also won a grant titled: “Promoting Legal Empowerment of the Urban Poor and Addressing Key Justice Challenges through Inter-City Community Paralegal Network’’.
Lagos Resilience Strategy: The Rockefeller Foundation engaged the Centre’s Researchers in a project to develop a resilience Strategy for Lagos State.
This was done in collaboration with 100RC and the Lagos Resilience Office. Activities included a two-day workshop from the 30th-31st of July at the University of Lagos with stakeholders from Government, academia, communities, private sector and advocacy groups to identify up to 25 resilience initiatives across five discovery areas.
The Discovery Area Initiatives is part of a larger effort to co-create resilience solutions for the state in a more scientific manner. These have since been synthesized into a Lagos Resilience Strategy.
CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOPS
ARUA Workshop: The Centre’s African Research Network held its first international workshop on “City Infrastructure in Africa: the Demand and Supply” at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. The Workshop brought together 44 participants from over 19 African Universities. It was structured with three sessions: A Keynote Address on the Imperatives for Infrastructure in African Cities given by Professor Matthew Siemiatycki, Head, School of Cities of the University of Toronto. This was followed by a Panel Discussion with Astrid Haas (Political Economist, International Growth Centre, London School of Economics), Dr. Idris Salako (Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Lagos State) and Dr. Femi Adewole (Managing Director/CEO, Family Homes Funds, Abuja). Lastly, there was a break-out session with presentations made by participants on the pressing infrastructure challenges in their cities.
Research Leadership Capacity Building Workshop for ARUA CoE research clusters: The Centre held two capacity building workshops within the last year for cluster researchers to develop skills in leadership, grant application and cluster management.
Network Inception Workshop: The Inception Workshop of the African Research Network for Urbanization and Habitable Cities. The event held on Monday, 14th and Tuesday, 15th of October 2019 at the University of Lagos, Lagos. The Event brought representative of Network partner universities together for the first time to have a strategic discourse on the Network’s activities over the grant period and beyond. The thematic focus of the network as decided in the workshop are as follows:
September 2019 – August 2020 Urban Infrastructure
September 2020 – August 2021 Informality and Inequality
September 2021 – August 2022 Resilience and Livability
Neighbourhood Level Research Capacity Building Workshop: The workshop was put together by the University of Lagos Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development with funding from the Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities under the GCRF UKRI Research Fund. The nationwide workshop took place between the 7th and 11th of November and its objective was to enable early career researchers to develop skills for conducting neighbourhood level research, that can influence government policy in health, urban and educational sectors. The workshop attracted thirty-three delegates from eighteen universities in Nigeria. The participants were taught principles, tools, techniques and methods of disseminating neighbourhood level research. The participants also made field visits to four different communities in Lagos and thereafter articulated a Neighbourhood Level Research Plan to address the compelling challenges in these communities.
Writing Workshop: In collaboration with the University of Sheffield and the Faculty of Environmental Sciences, University of Lagos, the Centre carried out a three day writing workshop for early career scholars. This was to help early career researchers develop and sharpen their research writing skills.
Practitioners’ Capacity Building Workshop: The Centre in collaboration with the National body of Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), one of its industry partners held a nationwide capacity building workshop. The theme of the training was: ‘Enhancing the Capacity of Real Estate Developers for Productivity’. The workshop took place on the 14th, 20th and 28th of November in Abuja, Lagos, Imo States respectively.
Housing and the SDGs in Africa: This on-going book of chapters interrogates the linkages and connections between housing and the Sustainable Development Goals in African cities, in nine countries across Africa. The book of chapter has twenty-eight contributions and its publication is expected to be publicly available by February 2020.
Scoping studies on the state of Urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development:
The Scoping Studies of the 2019-2020 research year of the CoE Urbanization and Habitable Cities was conceptualized from the previous research and stakeholder meetings in the year, where it was agreed that Infrastructure is a key factor in improving the sustainability and economic prosperity of African cities. These studies are in line with the objectives of the ARUA CoE to promote and provide local knowledge and workable solutions to seemingly intractable problems impeding the functionality of African Cities, as well as promoting African-African research partnerships. This project is funded by the ARUA UKRI GCRF capacity building fund, and was released late December 2019
Stakeholders’ Presidential Town Hall meeting on “The State of Nigeria’s Housing Market”: For the first time in the housing sector, Presidential Candidates in Nigeria were invited to a town hall meeting on the state of the Nation’s housing market. Held on the 12th of January at the University of Lagos, the town hall meeting provided an avenue for Nigeria’s Presidential Candidates to understand the major problems in the Housing market that affects citizens. Over 1,200 stakeholders attended the event which was streamed live across various social media channels and reported in several National dailies.
Lagos Gubernatorial Debate: “A City that Works”: The Centre collaborated with several other professional bodies and stakeholders in the city (The City that works Alliance), to convene the Governorship and Deputy Governorship candidates for the Lagos State 2019 election. The Deputy Governorship and Governorship debates took place on the 7th and 21st of February respectively, at the Combo Hall Lagos Television. It was an opportunity to engage the candidates and know their plans for the State. The successful candidate is currently being engaged on the plans expressed at the debate
Civic Engagement: The Centre for Ethics and Sustainable Development in collaboration with the Centre held a two-day Public-Private Partnership training for the informal sector in March, to develop their capacity for engaging governments in proposed PPP projects. Also, a workshop titled ‘Lawmaking and new approach to people focused Public-Private Partnership in Lagos State’ took place in September, in which lawmakers in Lagos State and members of the informal sector were in attendance. This was to build capacity and strategize on how to bridge the existing infrastructural gaps through Public Private Partnership.
Sustainability Walk: The Civic Ecology Lab, Cornell University, U.S.A in partnership with the Centre organized a Sustainability walk, a carbon footprint reduction challenge. The aim of this was to enlighten students whilst reducing vehicular emission on campus by encouraging walking/cycling as an alternative on campus. The project lasted for a month (April 23 - May 16), with twenty-two students participating. This was done in fulfillment of the global climate action plan to execute a climate challenge.
A ten-day long Masterclass titled ‘Researching Public Spaces in African Cities’, was organized by IFRA-Nigeria, together with ENS-Paris. It held from February 19th to 28th and took place in the Universities of Lagos and University of Ibadan. The programme welcomed 15 participants, including 5 French students from ENS-Paris and 10 Nigerian students coming from different universities across the country, namely the University of Ibadan, the University of Lagos, Obafemi Awolowo University in Ilé-Ifé, Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria and Benue State University in Makurdi. The cohort of participants gathered Master and doctorate students from different disciplines, who all had common interest to do research in/on public spaces.
Another masterclass was the ‘Basic Photography for Researchers’, which took place on the 17th of May at the University of Lagos. This was to help researchers understand the importance of photography in research, and to impact them with basic knowledge and skills of photography, to improve non-textual research communication.
Looking for and learning from public spaces in African cities: The Centre hosted the conference ‘Looking for and learning from public spaces in African cities’ on the 21st of February, in collaboration with IFRA-Nigeria, ENS-Paris and several other organizations. The conference was divided into three roundtables which gathered academics, artists and urban actors coming France, Belgium, the USA, DRC Congo and Nigeria. This conference gathered about 90 people, composed of academics, students but also artists and urban actors from Lagos. Among them, we can highlight the presence of the French Consulate M. Polonceaux and the German Vice-Consulate Mrs. Alexandra Herr. The conference was taking part within a wider Masterclass programme on a similar theme “Researching public spaces in Africa”.
University of Lagos International Week:
The University of Lagos held its first International Week with the theme ‘’Education in a Connected World’’ on the 14th and 15th of October. The Centre anchored the fourth Plenary Session ‘’Cities of the Future, Future of Cities’’ on the second day of the International Week at the Tayo Aderinokun Hall. The Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu was the lead Speaker at the event. The Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe presented a speech at the Plenary. Other speakers were Mr Jerome Pasquier, French Ambassador to Nigeria, Professor Peter McEleavy, University of Dundee, Professor Iyiola Oni and Centre’s Director and Professor Timothy Nubi both of the University of Lagos. During his speech, The Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu restated his deep commitment to working with the Centre in addressing crucial housing and urban problems in Lagos.
ARUA Conference: The Centre which is also the Centre of Excellence for Urbanization and Habitable Cities, participated in the Second Biennial Conference of the African Research University Alliance (ARUA) which held at the University of Nairobi between 18th and 20th of November 2019. The conference was titled: “Africa and the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Defining a Role for Research Universities”. The two-day international conference was attended by over 220 participants from all over the world, with a great number of the participants being from ARUA member universities.
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