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Communities and Spontaneous Urban Planning: A Toolkit for Urban Expansion (TTI)

Most of the urban growth around the world happens either by rural-urban migration or by high-paced population growth among second- and third-generation migrants. State-led urban planning is often absent, which creates unsustainable environments and hinders the integration of migrants. Communities' prospects of integration to cities and the quality of life they offer can be significantly improved by designing a rational urban layout and reserving spaces for urban infrastructure and services. A rudimentary community organization with basic urban awareness can fill the role normally played by state-sponsored planning wherever it is lacking. This project aims to produce both new knowledge about the keys to successful informal urban planning, and a set of tools to disseminate this knowledge. It will begin by drawing on experiences from Lima, Peru where urban expansion occurred in two periods. In the first period, the informal city expanded through regular urban grids, with proper roads and reserved areas for infrastructure and facilities, which greatly facilitated urban consolidation. The second, more recent, urbanization process resulted in a disconnected layout that affects residents' integration to the city. IDRC is supporting the Peru-based Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo (Group of Analysis for Development), which will be comparing these two processes to identify the organizational elements and the minimum set of criteria necessary to promote community mobilization for urban planning. The results will be incorporated into an organizational and urban planning toolkit comprising printed and audio-visual materials and mobile applications. This toolkit is expected to be a viable alternative for planning urban expansion wherever it cannot be carried out through traditional means. The toolkit will be tested in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where it is expected to generate a measurable short-term impact in the patterns of expanding urban areas. This project is funded through IDRC's Think Tank Initiative, which is a multi-funder program dedicated to strengthening independent policy research institutions, or think tanks, in developing countries. The program aims to enhance their ability to provide sound research that informs and influences policy. This second TTI phase will fund 43 institutions, helping them consolidate their role as credible development actors in their countries, and in some cases, regionally and internationally.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
15 months
IDRC Officer
Antonio Romero
Total Funding
CA$ 226,000.00
Think Tank Initiative
Think Tank Initiative
Institution Country
Project Leader
Ricardo Fort
Group of Analysis for Development / Groupe d'analyse pour le développement / Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo