African Research Network for Urbanization and Habitable Cities

Lead Research Organisation: University of Lagos
Department Name: Cntr for Housing & Sustainable Develop

Abstract

The project, titled 'African Research Network for Urbanization and Habitable Cities' aims at providing a strategic platform for developing research capacities in African Institutions to address the Sustainable Development Goals. Using a hub and spoke model that will see increased collaboration amongst African teams from diverse disciplines, the Network aligns closely with the focus of the ARUA-UKRI GRCF Partnership Programme for creating and strengthening African-African teams and networks.

As the host of the ARUA Centre of Excellence on urbanization and habitable cities, the University of Lagos is the Network hub, providing administrative and research leadership. The pioneer spoke universities are: Federal University of Technology, Minna, Obafemi Awolowo University both in Nigeria; University of Ghana, University of Cape Town, South Africa; American International University (West African Campus), The Gambia; Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre of the Njala University, Sierra Leone, University of Zambia and Uganda Martyrs University, Uganda. This reflects partnership between Sub-Saharan African countries, ranking predominantly as Least Developed and Lower Middle Income Countries on the DAC-list. Another common feature among these countries is the negative impact of rapid urbanization on city forms, limiting productivity of residents and city competitiveness. This is the development challenge that the Network seeks to impact.

Taking advantage of the existing work of its host Centre of Excellence which has eight multidisciplinary research clusters that uses knowledge co-production frameworks in research, advocacy and capacity building programmes, the Network will work within several disciplines required to create sustainable cities, bringing in policy makers, city authorities, businesses, civil society and community residents for impact. In addition, the Network will draw on existing relationships with academic researchers, research groups and organizations in UK institutions who have committed to supporting it. Interactions between the Africa-UK partners will create long term linkages that will lead to expanded knowledge, policy action and transfer for improving productivity, city competitiveness and economic prosperity, and therefore, national economy. The development of newer and stronger partnerships that will endure beyond this grant period is a core impact factor for the Network.

Network activities include themed capacity building workshops to build skills in research, community engagement, policy engaged and business case development, research management, ethics and grant writing amongst others. Some of these will be offered on-line. Other activities are: masterclasses in specific knowledge areas, mandatory PhD colloquial in annual conferences, researcher exchange programs within the hub, spoke and UK universities to ensure mentoring and scoping studies to enable researchers (especially post-graduate and early careers) take part in research activities.
Research and knowledge outcomes arising from this activity will be disseminated through development of tool-kits, policy guide-lines and policy briefs, working papers, journal articles, conference proceedings, information pieces, blogs, monographs, book of readings, book of chapters and most importantly, short messages on social media outlets. Local language dissemination, stakeholder co-production and engagement workshops would be strongly prioritized for activities impacting local communities.

The activities of the Network will be led by the Principal Investigator/Centre Director, Professor T.G Nubi, a seasoned practicing academia who has a strong track record in research, mentoring, private-sector, policy and community engagement. His team will report to an Advisory Board that will oversee the activities of the network and review progress. Network Activities will be spread over 36 months with commencement in September 2019

Planned Impact

Who will benefit from this research?
The beneficiaries of the research outcomes are the key stake-holders whose individual and collective activities shape the urban space, rendering it efficient or inefficient as the case may be. These are:
i. Residential communities (reflecting all types of communities to be found in urban areas with consideration for informal and slum settlements)
ii. Public sector organizations, including government offices, public utility/infrastructure and land management agencies amongst others
iii. Private sector organizations whose business processes are created, or support urban growth; including professional bodies and investors
iv. Civil society organizations whose stake in the urban space is reflected in the diversity of their advocacy activities in socio-economic rights as well as other dimensions of sustainable development.

How will they benefit from this research?
The research will contribute to the delivery of outcomes supporting the improvement of lives and wellbeing of the urban poor, especially those in informal settlements through promoting and institutionalizing more supportive approaches that recognises the opportunities for private and public investment, innovation and human capital development that is often trapped in these communities. Network capacity building activities involving communities, civil society organizations working with them, and public sector organizations whose policy implementation affects them will have the impact of promoting deeper engagement and evidence driven practice leading to a more vibrant and well-informed urban society that makes use of evidence, and advocates based on evidence. The business community will be a beneficiary through targeted engagements with the network members. The opportunity to co-create innovative, economically viable urban solutions will be a direct impact from the project.

What will be done to ensure that they have the opportunity to benefit from this activity?
(i) Developing a strategy for engagement with target audiences: The Network will
develop engagement strategies that will recognize the most effective means of collaboration with beneficiary groups. In general, for research based activities, the preferred strategy is transdisciplinary research that brings in key stakeholders as research partners from project inception.
(ii) Contextualized methods for communication and engagement for each stakeholder group:
For instance, local language communication will be prioritized especially when working with local community partners. Policy briefs and policy papers will be more appropriate for communicating with government sector; blogs and on-line social media communication will be better suited for general audience, younger collaborators and local communities, while technical papers will be adopted for private sector partners.
(iii) Maximizing other opportunities for collaboration: In seeking sustainability of the
Network to make impact both during and after the ARUA-UKRI funding, a deliberate culture of collaborating with beneficiaries/stakeholders by partnering in grants application, fellowships, capacity building and events will be adopted. In this, the Network shall take advantage of the services offered by the University of Lagos Research and Innovation office, which provides support for collaborative activities from grant writing/management to patenting and technology incubation centres.
(iv) Monitoring and evaluation of impact plan activities: During the currency of the grant, monitoring and evaluation of activity impact would be carried out at the end of each specific activity -for example, at the end of jointly organized conferences and workshops, with the use of known impact evaluation tools

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description This award is in its first Quarter. Major achievement so far include the building up of a network of African researchers from 10 Universities spread across the Continent, and collaborative agreement on core research themes over the grant period and the successful take-off of the 'Scoping Studies on The State of Infrastructure in African Cities'. This will potentially produce thematic studies and policy briefs on the state of Infrastructure in 10 African cities that will be disseminated across Policy and other related stakeholder groups.
Exploitation Route The outcomes of the scoping studies would provide up to date information about the State of Infrastructure across 10 African cities, thus proving a compendium upon which future research questions, possible problem solving collaborations and partnerships may be founded. Additionally, it is expected to produce an folio of best practices in Infrastructure provision that Policy makers in the cities can adapt to improve public service efficiencies. As the studies are still being done, we would work to further link up outcomes to stakeholders.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Retail,Security and Diplomacy,Transport,Other

 
Description The scoping studies research and trans-disciplinary research meetings are two key activities of the award that would produce non-academic outcomes are still at the early stages but being monitored for impact.
 
Description African Research Network for Urbanization and Habitable Cities 
Organisation American International University West Africa
Country Senegal 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Director of the Network and responsible for providing strategic leadership to ensure that the Network is active and achieve all its objectives during and beyond the grant period. I am supported by the CoE Co-Director and Centre Manager, as well as the contact persons for each University partner.
Collaborator Contribution Our partner Universities are expected to contribute in kind in terms of making facilities available for Network activities, as well as spaces and equipment as necessary. They are also expected to contribute in cash if possible as the Network matures.
Impact 1.City Profile Reports on 2019/2020 Scoping study research titled State of urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development (for 10 African cities: Accra, Banjul, Free Town, Johannesburg, Kampala, Lagos, Lusaka, Nairobi, Oshogbo, 2. Thematic reports on the State of urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development 3. Policy Briefs culled from City Profiles
Start Year 2019
 
Description African Research Network for Urbanization and Habitable Cities 
Organisation Federal University of Technology Minna
Country Nigeria 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Director of the Network and responsible for providing strategic leadership to ensure that the Network is active and achieve all its objectives during and beyond the grant period. I am supported by the CoE Co-Director and Centre Manager, as well as the contact persons for each University partner.
Collaborator Contribution Our partner Universities are expected to contribute in kind in terms of making facilities available for Network activities, as well as spaces and equipment as necessary. They are also expected to contribute in cash if possible as the Network matures.
Impact 1.City Profile Reports on 2019/2020 Scoping study research titled State of urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development (for 10 African cities: Accra, Banjul, Free Town, Johannesburg, Kampala, Lagos, Lusaka, Nairobi, Oshogbo, 2. Thematic reports on the State of urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development 3. Policy Briefs culled from City Profiles
Start Year 2019
 
Description African Research Network for Urbanization and Habitable Cities 
Organisation Njala University, Sierra Leone
Country Sierra Leone 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Director of the Network and responsible for providing strategic leadership to ensure that the Network is active and achieve all its objectives during and beyond the grant period. I am supported by the CoE Co-Director and Centre Manager, as well as the contact persons for each University partner.
Collaborator Contribution Our partner Universities are expected to contribute in kind in terms of making facilities available for Network activities, as well as spaces and equipment as necessary. They are also expected to contribute in cash if possible as the Network matures.
Impact 1.City Profile Reports on 2019/2020 Scoping study research titled State of urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development (for 10 African cities: Accra, Banjul, Free Town, Johannesburg, Kampala, Lagos, Lusaka, Nairobi, Oshogbo, 2. Thematic reports on the State of urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development 3. Policy Briefs culled from City Profiles
Start Year 2019
 
Description African Research Network for Urbanization and Habitable Cities 
Organisation Obafemi Awolowo University
Country Nigeria 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Director of the Network and responsible for providing strategic leadership to ensure that the Network is active and achieve all its objectives during and beyond the grant period. I am supported by the CoE Co-Director and Centre Manager, as well as the contact persons for each University partner.
Collaborator Contribution Our partner Universities are expected to contribute in kind in terms of making facilities available for Network activities, as well as spaces and equipment as necessary. They are also expected to contribute in cash if possible as the Network matures.
Impact 1.City Profile Reports on 2019/2020 Scoping study research titled State of urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development (for 10 African cities: Accra, Banjul, Free Town, Johannesburg, Kampala, Lagos, Lusaka, Nairobi, Oshogbo, 2. Thematic reports on the State of urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development 3. Policy Briefs culled from City Profiles
Start Year 2019
 
Description African Research Network for Urbanization and Habitable Cities 
Organisation Uganda Martyrs University
Country Uganda 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Director of the Network and responsible for providing strategic leadership to ensure that the Network is active and achieve all its objectives during and beyond the grant period. I am supported by the CoE Co-Director and Centre Manager, as well as the contact persons for each University partner.
Collaborator Contribution Our partner Universities are expected to contribute in kind in terms of making facilities available for Network activities, as well as spaces and equipment as necessary. They are also expected to contribute in cash if possible as the Network matures.
Impact 1.City Profile Reports on 2019/2020 Scoping study research titled State of urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development (for 10 African cities: Accra, Banjul, Free Town, Johannesburg, Kampala, Lagos, Lusaka, Nairobi, Oshogbo, 2. Thematic reports on the State of urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development 3. Policy Briefs culled from City Profiles
Start Year 2019
 
Description African Research Network for Urbanization and Habitable Cities 
Organisation University of Cape Town
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Director of the Network and responsible for providing strategic leadership to ensure that the Network is active and achieve all its objectives during and beyond the grant period. I am supported by the CoE Co-Director and Centre Manager, as well as the contact persons for each University partner.
Collaborator Contribution Our partner Universities are expected to contribute in kind in terms of making facilities available for Network activities, as well as spaces and equipment as necessary. They are also expected to contribute in cash if possible as the Network matures.
Impact 1.City Profile Reports on 2019/2020 Scoping study research titled State of urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development (for 10 African cities: Accra, Banjul, Free Town, Johannesburg, Kampala, Lagos, Lusaka, Nairobi, Oshogbo, 2. Thematic reports on the State of urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development 3. Policy Briefs culled from City Profiles
Start Year 2019
 
Description African Research Network for Urbanization and Habitable Cities 
Organisation University of Ghana
Country Ghana 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Director of the Network and responsible for providing strategic leadership to ensure that the Network is active and achieve all its objectives during and beyond the grant period. I am supported by the CoE Co-Director and Centre Manager, as well as the contact persons for each University partner.
Collaborator Contribution Our partner Universities are expected to contribute in kind in terms of making facilities available for Network activities, as well as spaces and equipment as necessary. They are also expected to contribute in cash if possible as the Network matures.
Impact 1.City Profile Reports on 2019/2020 Scoping study research titled State of urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development (for 10 African cities: Accra, Banjul, Free Town, Johannesburg, Kampala, Lagos, Lusaka, Nairobi, Oshogbo, 2. Thematic reports on the State of urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development 3. Policy Briefs culled from City Profiles
Start Year 2019
 
Description African Research Network for Urbanization and Habitable Cities 
Organisation University of Nairobi
Country Kenya 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Director of the Network and responsible for providing strategic leadership to ensure that the Network is active and achieve all its objectives during and beyond the grant period. I am supported by the CoE Co-Director and Centre Manager, as well as the contact persons for each University partner.
Collaborator Contribution Our partner Universities are expected to contribute in kind in terms of making facilities available for Network activities, as well as spaces and equipment as necessary. They are also expected to contribute in cash if possible as the Network matures.
Impact 1.City Profile Reports on 2019/2020 Scoping study research titled State of urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development (for 10 African cities: Accra, Banjul, Free Town, Johannesburg, Kampala, Lagos, Lusaka, Nairobi, Oshogbo, 2. Thematic reports on the State of urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development 3. Policy Briefs culled from City Profiles
Start Year 2019
 
Description African Research Network for Urbanization and Habitable Cities 
Organisation University of Zambia
Country Zambia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the Director of the Network and responsible for providing strategic leadership to ensure that the Network is active and achieve all its objectives during and beyond the grant period. I am supported by the CoE Co-Director and Centre Manager, as well as the contact persons for each University partner.
Collaborator Contribution Our partner Universities are expected to contribute in kind in terms of making facilities available for Network activities, as well as spaces and equipment as necessary. They are also expected to contribute in cash if possible as the Network matures.
Impact 1.City Profile Reports on 2019/2020 Scoping study research titled State of urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development (for 10 African cities: Accra, Banjul, Free Town, Johannesburg, Kampala, Lagos, Lusaka, Nairobi, Oshogbo, 2. Thematic reports on the State of urban Infrastructure in Africa: Focus on Transit Oriented Development 3. Policy Briefs culled from City Profiles
Start Year 2019
 
Description Capaccity Building Workshop for Early Career Researchers 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact 44 Researchers from over 19 African Universities attended the workshop. The objective of the workshop was to provide an empirical grounding for the Scoping Studies of the 2019/2020 grant year thematic focus on Infrastructure. The event provided the Network an impetus to focus on Transportation as the Scoping Study research theme for the year. City teams have subsequently been raised to work on the City Profiles.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.chsunilag.com
 
Description Transdisciplinary Research Meeting on Housing and Transit Oriented Development 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This transdisciplinary meeting is at the instance of the Housing and Regeneration Research Cluster of the CoE. Representatives of three public sector ministeries, The research meeting was convened to develop a thematic study on the linkages between Housing and Transit Oriented Development and its relevance for Africa. At the end of the meeting, it was decided that there needs to be a re-conceptualization of the term to suit the realities of African City.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019