- University of Chicago
Globally, an estimated 1 billion people – approximately one quarter of the world's urban population – reside in slums and informal settlements. By 2050, the UN estimates that the world's cities will add 2.5 billion people, with nearly 90% of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa.
Slum Dwellers International, the Ford Foundation, and the University of Chicago will host a networking event examining strategies for advancing social inclusion, physical inclusion and governance of slums and informal settlements. Moderated by the Ford Foundation, the event will feature a panel of experts: two representatives from Slum Dwellers International, Luis Bettencourt (Pritzker Director of the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation at the University of Chicago,) and Anup Malani (Founder, International Innovation Corps and Professor of Law and Medicine, University of Chicago.) The program will underscore the ways in which research and data can advance the collective capacity of urban poor communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The objective of the forum will be to identify approaches to data collection and interpretation that promote social and physical inclusion in uniquely local, complex and rapidly changing contexts. Together, speakers and participants will share successes, lessons learned, and new geographies of opportunity that will be central to advancing inclusion and, ultimately to reducing the proportion of people living in slums, as outlined in the New Urban Agenda.
The panel will engage an illustrative range of perspectives; it will be explicitly comparative, drawing from the experience of residents of slums and informal settlements in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The program will adopt SDI's pedagogical approach which emphasizes a horizontal exchange of information. Speakers will reflect the respective strengths of academic research, institutional partnerships, and community organizing as mechanisms of change, recognition, and inclusion in the world's informal settlements. Specifically, the program will advance the New Urban Agenda by providing examples of the way in which data, in its many forms, can be deployed to empower participatory urban development and to unlock investments in education, health, infrastructure, and sanitation. Together, speakers and participants will engage in a discussion of future research collaboration needs to advance local mobilization and inform inclusive policy.