High density and poor building materials make informal settlements extremely prone to fire hazards. The Nairobi-based enterprise Kwangu Kwako has developed a housing model that, while being truly affordable, increases fire resilience and thus positively affects many aspects of residents' lives.
The number of children living in urban areas is on the rise. However, this is not reflected in cities' infrastructures. Rapid development is shrinking the amount of suitable and safe play areas for children. Using Nairobi as an example, Peninah Ndegwa, founder of Wow Mom Kenya, reflects on why and how cities should become more child-friendly.
The concept of smart cities brings with it both risks and opportunities for informal settlements. Through technical innovation, they do have the potential of making slums more resilient, argues Laurinda Godjo – if they are not only smart cities but also inclusive cities.
Walking to school is a life-threatening endeavour to many African children, where road safety measures – if existent at all – fail to recognise the special needs of children. Ayikai Poswayo, Programme Director at Amend, outlines what urban engineering needs to focus on to make cities safer for children.
With the sectors for development and finance closely intertwined, a municipality's financing mechanism of choice significantly influences its development path. Khady Sarr, Programme Director of the Dakar Municipal Finance Programme, outlines several models and explains the advantages of bond loans – for municipalities and investors alike.
All across Africa, the most rapidly urbanising continent, locals are taking action to improve their neighbourhoods and get access to adequate housing and services. Leading up the UN Habitat Assembly, URBANET presents examples from Senegal, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, commits to implementation of the SDGs. To this end, the city focusses on sustainable construction, always ensuring to align the SDGs with national policies.
The large amount of electronic waste is a serious challenge in Lomé, Togo. At WoeLab, tech-savvy young people come up with solutions that clean the environment, ensure recycling of electronic waste, and educate residents on how to manage and valorise their electronic waste.
While Nigeria has made a leap in access to information communication technology (ICT) and the Internet in the past two decades, many of its residents still depend on imported used electrical and electronic equipment (UEEE). Since many of them turn out to be waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), they worsen the challenge of electronic waste management. Prof. Oladele Osibanjo and Dr. Innocent Nnorom discuss this trade along with its environmental and human health implications.
In Bamenda, Cameroon, municipal waste management remains blind to how gender roles shape waste generation. Hedwig K. Ngwa Akum analyses how bridging the gender gap between waste generation and waste management would improve sanitation in the city.
Housing has become a policy issue that interests not only housing departments and local construction authorities, but Central Banks and financial players as well. Kecia Rust from the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF) explains why housing has become an investment opportunity, and the role that policy makers play.
In Ghana, several policies and laws aim at including youth in urban planning processes. In reality, however, youth do not take part in city development. Emmanuelle Laurinda Godjo analyses the causes and suggests measures that authorities should take.
An oft mentioned phrase in development parlance is “think globally, act locally”. Yet, when the change we seek is improved livelihoods globally, is local action enough? Doug Ragan, Rolf Wichmann, and Raphael Obonyo claim that local action is critical yet can’t be done in isolation of national and international realities. In their article, they explore different interventions that can be utilised to address the issue of improving youth livelihoods through interventions from the local to the global.
"LivelyHoods" forges economic opportunities for youth and women in Kenyan slums – while at the same time promoting clean energy. What are the project's success factors and what challenges does it face?
In Lagos, youth are believed to constitute about 50 per cent of the population, equalling over 10 million people. Facing high rates unemployment and an ever-growing population, decision-makers need to understand both the challenges and the opportunities that characterise youth employment in Lagos, argues Oje Ivagba