• Wednesday 19 Oct 2016
  • Innovations in Slum Upgrading: New Participatory Technologies for Redeveloping Informal Settlements

    Side Events
    Venue: R20
    Lead Organization:
    • Santa Fe Institute The University Of Texas Austin.
    Partner Organizations:
    • Arizona State University,
    • Jardim São Francisco,
    • School Of Sustainability,
    • Shack/Slum Dwellers International,
    • The United States National Science Foundation,
    • União De Nucleos E Associações De Sacomã (UNAS),
    • Zeladoria Ambiental (Environmental Stewards).

    There are about a million neighborhoods in thousands of cities worldwide that are informal settlements, or slums. These neighborhoods present the greatest challenges to human sustainable development and to issues of equity, safety, environmental quality and resiliency central to the New Urban Agenda.  To be successful the New Urban Agenda must quickly and effectively promote open-ended development that enables poor and disadvantaged populations living in slums to participate in the processes that transform their own neighborhoods and cities.   Given the magnitude of the problem, it is unlikely that traditional top-down development programs will be singularly effective, especially since such approaches often fail to incorporate and utilize the knowledge and priorities of the urban poor.  Over the last few years three developments have arisen that create a novel class of approaches that can succeed at creating equitable development at the necessary speed and scale . These are i) the power of peer-to-peer community organization to create methods and collaborations for participatory neighborhood development, ii) an immense technological revolution that allows neighborhood residents to map their neighborhoods and leverage assets relative to objective needs and future priorities, iii) a major shift in our understanding of cities that now emphasizes how their networked and interdependent character impacts the relationships between social, economic, environmental and technical development processes.   This event will describe processes of slum upgrading in Brazil, South Africa, India, and other Sub-Saharan African Cities.  We will show how traditional participatory processes of slum upgrading are being increasingly facilitated and formalized by new technologies that advance participatory spatial analytic techniques for collaborative planning.  We will also show how such instruments – developed through collaborations between communities, governments, NGOs, researchers and technologists – can increase the efficacy of resulting solutions by helping local stakeholders solve technical problems and promote decision-making processes between communities and governments.