Cemre Sahinkaya, a GPA Associate, has successfully completed a literature review and short fieldwork studies of housing and planning in the Turkish capital, Ankara thanks to financial support from GIZ. The aim of the study has been to update the literature following Geoff’s major three volume study undertaken in the 1970’s. It is hoped that additional funding may be obtained to undertake more extensive fieldwork this summer in order to produce enough material for a book covering more than forty years of the city’s development.
Geoff was invited by the UK Built Environment Advisory Group and UN-Habitat to make a presentation at the Transition Training and Dialogue on Global Future Cities, for senior officials from nineteen cities in ten countries. The event was held during 10-14 September at the Royal Institute of British Architects and Geoff’s presentation was on ‘Engaging with urban informality and standards’.
Late in 2017, Geoff was invited to give a public lecture at Goodenough College London. He decided to use the opportunity to look back over the years and address the global land and housing challenge, identifying lessons for future policy and practice. He is now building on this for a new publication of the same title.
Geoff has been invited by the RTPI to contribute as one of a group of experts on the UK Built Environment Advisory Group (UKBEAG) Future Cities programme. In July and August, Geoff undertook a mission to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Bangkok, Thailand for an intensive series of meetings with senior officials in agencies addressing urban resilience, transportation and urban planning issues. The mission provides a basis for workshops and dialogues to be held in London in September, 2018.
Geoff is now back in Addis Ababa working as the lead land adviser on the ICF International project for the World Bank. He has been undertaking a review of the extensive literature on urban land policy and practice as a basis for identifying options for consideration by central and local government.
Geoff returned to Ulaanbaatar in October and November 2017 as the international land expert on the DAI project being undertaken for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). The project seeks to understand how urban planning, urban expansion and urban land policy can support the water investment by MCC.
Geoff was commissioned by the World Bank to review the plans and land policy instruments being applied for the development of the new state capital after the bifurcation of the state in 2014. Land for the new capital is being acquired by three policy instruments, namely land pooling, negotiated settlements and formal land acquisition. The land pooling scheme is possibly the largest in the world and is the subject of local debate. Geoff’s role is to assess the way the policies are being implemented to ensure that no groups are disadvantaged.
In late 2016, Geoff was invited by ICF Consultants to join their proposal to undertake a major review of urban land supply and affordable housing in Ethiopia. The proposal was successful and Geoff has been appointed as the lead consultant in the review of urban land production and lease transfer, while Dr. Graham Tipple has been appointed the international lead in reviewing affordable housing. The project will involve detailed studies in three cities, Addis Ababa, Adama, and Mekelle. Geoff will be working in collaboration with the local land expert Dr. Wondimu Abeje and Graham will be working together with Dr. Elias Yitbarek. The project will include a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods including extensive household surveys, semi-structured in-depth case studies, key informant interviews, focus group discussions and a review of the extensive literature on the subject.
The project will be undertaken over an eighteen month period and will include presentations on findings with key stakeholders in Ethiopia and discussions on policy and regulatory options for improving access to affordable, secure and reasonably located land for all those in need and means of strengthening the capability of central, provincial and municipal authorities in urban land management and administration.
Geoff undertook the first of several missions in March, during which he met key officials in Addis Ababa and Mekelle and visited a range of residential, commercial and industrial developments. A second mission is planned for early May to initiate the key informant interviews.
Geoff was invited by the World Bank to contribute to the Vietnam on ‘Scaling up Urban Upgrading Project’. The objective of the project was to carry out a rapid assessment of urban resilience capacity in the Mekong Delta Region which is particularly vulnerable to climate change. The first mission was carried out in January 2017 and included workshops in Hanoi, plus rapid assessments in the first four cities of Vi Thanh, Bac Lieu, Tan An and Ben Tre. In the second mission during March, 2017, the team undertook similar assessments in the cities of Long Xuyen, Soc Trang and Vinh Long.
Geoff was responsible for reviewing land use and master plans, while other international and local experts focused on Disaster Risk Management, transport planning, utilities provision and information management. Visits to each city were brief, but included intense discussions with local officials and site visits to a range of particularly vulnerable settlements, typical new commercial, industrial and residential developments and relocation projects. Each visit ended with a discussion with senior officials to report on our findings and implications for policy and practice. Reports were prepared on all seven cities and the key findings and recommendations will be peer reviewed within the Bank and then presented to the Ministry of Construction in Hanoi.
Following Geoff’s visit to Senegal in December 2016 to assess the ‘A Roof, A Skill, A Market’ project that was shortlisted for the 2017 World Habitat Awards, the Building and Social Housing has announced that the project has been successful in winning one of the two awards! Geoff congratulates all involved in this ambitious programme that has not only shown that the technique can be applied to a wide range of building types, from schools to community centres, housing and maternity clinics, but also provides employment opportunities for semi-skilled workers in a country where many young men have left to seek a future in other countries.
For full details see BSHF website.