Geoff has been appointed a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors President’s Commission on Disaster Management. He hopes to contribute towards initiatives to increase collaboration between the different built environmental professions and reinforce efforts to increase links with local professions in countries exposed to environmental hazards and man-made disasters.
Geoff was invited by Peter Schubeler, a GPA Associate and long term colleague, to contribute to a National Workshop on Housing Practices at the mountain village of Sighnaghi, near the Capital of Tbilisi. The workshop was funded by the Swiss Development Cooperation Agency (SDC) at the request of the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation to discuss issues and options relating to housing for internally displaced persons (IDPs) following the conflict in South Ossetia with Russia in 2008. This resulted in the displacement of 40,000 people, many of whom are living in poor housing conditions in and around Tbilisi.
The workshop provided an opportunity to link housing policies for IDPs with the broader issues of social housing, specially given the large stock of privatised departments from the Soviet era, which need upgrading and refurbishment. Geoff made three presentations on housing in a market economy, options for innovation in housing provision based on international experience and issues relating to the implementation of policy objectives. Discussions identified a number of approaches which participants from the Ministry and other government departments selected for further consideration.
The national Shelter Profile of Uganda, on which Geoff is acting as team leader, is making good progress. Geoff visited Uganda between 06-16 October for meetings with senior officials in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, the local team leader, Professor Shuaib Lwasa and other team members and a number of other key stakeholder groups. A one-day workshop was held to report on progress, present initial findings of the household social survey, prepare for interviews with national and local stakeholders in public, private and civil society organisations and discuss issues in break-out sessions. In addition, Geoff travelled north to Gulu, a city recovering from the long war between the government and the Lord’s Resistance Army, an extremist group which launched a twenty year long insurrection which resulted in many tens of thousands of people being displaced, many of whom ended up in Gulu and other urban centres. Although peace is now restored, and many displaced people are returning to their villages, many others intend to stay in the towns, increasing pressure on local government management capacity and revenues. The study seeks to assess existing needs and resources as a means of identifying options to facilitate social and economic development in both Gulu and other urban centres, including Kampala. A major workshop will be held to present the final findings of the research in November.
Geoff has started a blog and would welcome comments, (positive or critical!), click here to read his blog.
Approaches to improving tenure security for the urban poor have recently focused on allocating individual land titles. Research has shown however that this does not always realise its objectives and that a more incremental approach can provide security, minimise the burden on land administration agencies and also minimise land market distortions. This article outlines a way in which an incremental approach can be followed.
Geoff Payne was invited by ArcPeace and Architects for Social Responsibility to present a paper at a conference held at the University of Catalunya in Barcelona on 18 April 2008. The presentation addressed the issue “Are architects and planners part of the problem or the solution in enabling access to housing for the poor?
A paper based on Geoff’s presentation will be able on this website and in the ArcPeace website in the near future.
Geoffrey Payne contributed to “Approaches to Urban Slums. A multimedia sourcebook on adaptive and proactive strategies”, edited by Barjor Mehta & Arish Dastur, with multimedia by Steffen Janus. The book was published by the World Bank Institute (World Bank, Washington DC, 2008) and launched on 21 February 2008. Geoff contributed extensively to the Proactive Approaches section of the multimedia sourcebook by drawing upon his previous work, experience, and publications. He was also interviewed on innovating tenure policies. For more information, visit the World Bank Institute website.
An article written by Geoff Payne has been circulated on the internet. The article discusses the housing sector crisis and its impact on Third World countries. To download the article click here.
Geoff has been invited to become a trustee of the Building and Social Housing Foundation. He has been a member for some years of the Advisory Group, which selects the shortlist for the Annual UN-Habitat Awards. The appointment takes effect from September 2007. For further details see BSHF website.
‘Getting ahead of the game’, a paper by Geoff Payne published in Environment and Urbanization (Vol.17, Issue 1, April 2005) has been translated into Chinese. To download the paper visit CCPG.