Research on Urban Mass Housing
St Catherine's College, Oxford
26/27 March 2012
This workshop assessed the state of knowledge on key issues that affect the success of large-scale housing for the mass of the urban population and for the economic performance of cities in developing countries, not least in Africa, and to identify gaps which could potentially be addressed by a focused research programme. It brought together over 40 researchers, thinkers and policy-makers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America and the UK. A dozen papers were presented, and insights from economic history and rural-urban migration were also the subject of specific sessions. The workshop concluded that three tracks should be pursued further:
•1. Understanding of key issues should be improved, by promoting further research on large-scale housing for urban populations, not least in Africa. This should include the convening of further research workshops over a period of years, involving a variety of disciplines and tackling a limited number of key topics.
•2. The visibility of research findings and regional research involvement should be promoted, for example through a series of regional conferences on urban housing, based on a call for papers from regional and international researchers. Such conferences could have a day for academic exchanges and a day for discussions with policymakers and other key stakeholders, such as community groups and private sector investors.
•3. A stronger effort should be made to get basic messages from research to the political level, through a variety of means. The Third UN Conference on Human Settlements in Istanbul in 2016 would be a significant moment to bring research results to international attention.
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