CIDCO@Smart – Volume 5, Issue 3

CIDCO Smart City Lab publishes Volume 5 – Issue 3 of its newsletter CIDCO@Smart, detailing the team’s activities between July and Sept 2019. This issue talks about Desalination plants and a possible framework for an Environment Impact Assessment of Desalination plants. The issue also talks about the importance of segregating the waste at source and the importance of technology in organisational learning.

The newsletter is available for viewing and downloading here.

Read More

Dr. Prashant B. Narnaware

Dr. Prashant B. Narnaware is a 2009 batch Indian Administrative Services (IAS) Officer. Currently, he is posted as the Joint Managing Director in City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), Navi Mumbai. He has a strong inclination for social work and also an equally strong interest for research and teaching. This has helped him in attaching with some nationally and internationally reputed institutes like TISS, Mumbai; Bath University, London and Roskilde University, Denmark. TISS, Mumbai recognises Dr. Narnaware for his academic distinction and has appointed him as an ‘Adjunct Professor’ in the University. He is known for bringing in administrative innovation in health, agriculture and tribal sector of Palghar district in Maharashtra. Some of the noted initiatives are: Agriculture – Beyond sugarcane movement, Krishi Kranti Project, Jal Yukta Shivar; Tribal – Palghar Development Corridor, Sampurna Seva Abhiyan, FRA-TREE (Tribal Right Expansion and Empowerment Programme), Katkari Utthan Scheme, Osmanabadi Goat Breeder Association; Health – Aarogya Vardhan Project, Matrutva Samvardhan Din. He has also worked as a member of Maharashtra State Reform Committee, Expenditure Monitoring Committee for Local Body Elections and Course Advisory Committee for Module on Water Conservation, constituted by Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie. He has also received various awards, like Yashwant Panchayat Raj Award, Mahatma Phule Jal Bhumi Award, Beti Bachao Award and Best Collector Award for his contributions. In terms of educational qualifications, he is an MS, MA (Public Administration), Masters in Public Policy and PhD.

Read More

Mr. Hitesh Vaidya

Mr. Hitesh Vaidya is currently the Director of the National Institute of Urban Affairs. He has over 20 years of experience in the field of urban management, urban governance and capacity building. He has been involved in providing technical assistance and capacity building support to several urban local bodies and instituting significant urban reforms at local level. He brings on board strong demonstrative experience of improving institutional capacities including developing strategies to support in delivering the program results. He has been associated in areas of urban development, urban governance and urban Infrastructure management with UN, World Bank, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) assignments. Poverty Alleviation has been an integral component in all his assignments. Prior to joining NIUA, he was the Country Representative of UN-Habitat in India. He was intensely involved in supporting an eco-system to design and roll-out urban programs including localizing Sustainable Development Goals. His strength lies in developing institutional arrangements and project implementation strategies through facilitating effective liaison and coordination with various stakeholders. Mr. Vaidya holds a Master’s degree in Business Development and Post-Graduate Diploma in Urban Development & Planning and specialization in Urban Management from Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS), Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Read More

Conversation with Accountant – Accounts department

  • Name: Mr. Yogesh Thakur
  • Designation: Accountant – Accounts
  • Training: Advanced Financial Management
  • Institute: Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad
  • Date: 11th – 13th February 2019

You recently attended a course on Advanced Financial Management. How was your experience?

Course was very useful and the content of the course was very good. It helped me in improving my knowledge about financial management. The latest updates on GST in the course were very useful to know the current situation of our country. The overall experience was very good. The food, boarding and lodging facilities were up to the mark and everybody liked it. I think everyone should attend similar kind of trainings.

Do you think this course helped you in your current role and how do you relate this course to your daily life (personal and professional)?

This was a technical course related to my field, it gave me a chance to learn about GST and work towards the financial aspects of the role I have been given in CIDCO. The learnings from this course is surely going to contribute in my daily activities. The case studies discussed during the training were highly relevant to my current role of handling proposal section. For example, one of the case studies was on credit rating of the companies. CIDCO is financing some major projects and we prepare the abstracts. So, the ways to judge and analyse the situation of a market, taught during the training, will definitely help me in my current profile.

Who were your fellow participants and how was your interaction with them?

Participants came from different institutes and organisations in all over India. All the participants were senior managers working in the finance department of different public sector organisations. It was very fruitful to share my thoughts with them because but they handle multiple tasks and in CIDCO we have a very typical kind of work. Some of them were from Indian Navy and Indian Railways as well and they were handling projects of big budget. The participants came with varied experience, for example, some people working on purchases were handling purchases at the national level. I also got to discuss about e-portals that many government organisations are now using.

What was the best part of this training? If you want to highlight anything in particular.

There were many relevant case studies. I feel that the special lecture on GST and Taxes Law from a person from the GST’s core team responsible for forming the GST was excellent and very helpful. We had lot of queries and they managed to resolved almost all of them.

How do you think if other CIDCO employees go for similar course would be benefitted?

Yes, I definitely recommend this course for all the employees in CIDCO’s Accounts Department because this is a very relevant course for our department.

What are your views about implementation of Ujjwal in CIDCO?

After the introduction of Ujjwal attending a training has become much easier. Earlier we had to go to different Institute’s website and scroll hundreds of courses. However, in Ujjwal, one can find all the courses from different institutes under one platform and it is so easy to select them. You just have to select three courses as per your interest and your role in CIDCO. I really want to thank the training portal team for providing us such a wonderful platform.

Read More

Conversation with Deputy Chief Fire Officer – Fire department

  • Name: Mr. Vijay Shantaram Rane
  • Designation: Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Fire
  • Training: The winning edge: communication strategy for leaders
  • Institute: Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
  • Date: 24th – 29th September 2018

You have recently attended a course on Leading with Emotional Intelligence. How was your experience?

The training was very good. They had specified expert faculties for all the topics. One of the faculties asked us to share my experience regarding strategic management. Out of many emergency cases I experience, I got a chance to explain one of the strategy management technique I used in case of an emergency.

Do you think this course helped you in your current role and how do you relate this course to your daily life (personal and professional)?

Despite the fact that the course is not so relevance with our job in the fire department, the way they taught us has turned out to be highly beneficial. The course was on communication strategy for leaders and in my current position the learnings of this course is helping me a lot. This course has helped me in understanding the difference between perception and reality. I believe the skills that I learnt will help me in taking better decisions in the future.

Who all were the participants and how was your interaction with other participants?

Most of the participants were from different MNCs. The interactions with them led to many healthy discussions. For every task or assignment, we were divided in groups. The discussions and interactions within the group during the exercises helped us know each other and share our ideas.

What was the best part of this training? If you want to highlight anything in particular?

The participants were divided in groups of 4-5. After the lecture, the members of the team were instructed to gather in a room and prepare for the next day. The best part of the training was that we were kept busy all the time. It was made very clear that their idea is to make the participants learn and not take the training casually.

How do you think if other CIDCO employees go for similar course would be benefitted?

I would suggest this course for the top line leaders of all the departments in CIDCO. As far as my department is concerned, my recommendation would be to have more technical courses relevant to our field.

What are your views about implementation of Ujjwal in CIDCO?

I am highly satisfied with Ujjwal services and I am willing to go for a next training again soon. I would also like to thank our management to provide us such a great opportunity.

Read More

Conversation with Deputy Planner – Planning Department

  • Name: Ms. Pranali Hemant Kubde
  • Designation: Deputy Planner – Planning
  • Training: Sustainable Habitat
  • Institute: National Institute of Technology, Nagpur
  • Date: 7th – 12th January 2019

You have recently attended a course on Sustainable Habitat. How was your experience?

My experience with the training was very good and informative. The training was very well planned. It was a 5 and a half day programme with many faculties to supervise us. Every day we used to get exercises based on the lectures given during the training. On the last day, we were asked to give an exam. So, I must say that the training programme was very well organised.

Do you think this course helped you in your current role and how do you relate this course to your day to day life personally as well as professionally?

I selected this training because I felt it was related to my work profile. During the training programme I was introduced to many concepts related to planning field useful in our daily work in the planning department. Some of the best practices taught can be implemented in our projects for better results. Currently, I am working on city planning for Palghar New Town and I am trying to incorporate few learnings from this training.

What was the best part of this training? If you want to highlight anything in particular?

One of the faculty from Hyderabad has created a huge pond with the help of his students in the University itself, it helps the university in solving their water problem. Through the years, many endangered species can be seen around the pond now. Currently, many villagers approach him to learn this technique and solve the water scarcity problem. It was a very good learning for me and one of the best parts of the training.

Who all were the participants and how was your interaction with other participants?

Most of the participants were lecturers, few of them were planners and architects as well, from both public and private sectors. We used to discuss many city level problems and their probable solutions. It used to be a healthy discussion, different people had different views. These discussions resulted into a lot of knowledge sharing.

How do you think if other CIDCO employees go for similar course would be benefitted?

Yes, of-course this is a very relevant course and I would suggest it to all planners and engineers working in CIDCO.

What are your views about implementation of Ujjwal in CIDCO?

The kind of training provided through Ujjwal is really required. It helps us in enhancing knowledge, makes us aware of real situations and keeps us updated. These kinds of trainings also help us in interacting and learn from different organisations. I must say that Ujjwal has given us a platform that was really necessary.

Read More

Indicators for Slum Redevelopment Program

Guidelines for a comprehensive and sustainable action

Slums are informal neighbourhoods characterised by overcrowding and poor infrastructure. Their situation has been a concern for years and the place for many urban experiments. Concerned cities conduced field studies and launched multiple redevelopment programmes over the years in order to improve their conditions of living. Despite a better understanding of the issues affecting the slums, many of these programmes still present shortfalls, sometimes resulting in slum inhabitants returning to their former habitat. Nowadays, cities have a comprehensive look on these neighbourhoods. Based on the styles of interventions and the patterns of development, a common set of indicators to redesign an informal settlement can be identified.

This datasheet gives an overview of some identified indicators. They are parted in three themes: physical, institutional and social actions. Each of them is linked with a case study. Each indicator has been discussed in detail in this article.

Read More

Indicators for Slum Redevelopment Program

This article is in continuation to the published datasheet.  

Informal settlements represent a significant part of urban ecosystems. Due to the booming economy, growth rate of cities in developing countries is much higher than the developed countries. Almost 32% of the urban population of the world live in the cities of developing countries (UN-Habitat, 2012). The same number was responsible for 50% of the urban growth globally between 2000 and 2010 (UN-Habitat, 2014). Unprecedented demand, lack of infrastructure and facilities creates marginalised populations and inequalities, leading to development of slums. The United Nations Habitat programme uses five characteristics to define slums (UN-Habitat, n.d.):

  • Inadequate access to safe water
  • Inadequate access to sanitation and infrastructure
  • Poor structural quality of housing
  • Overcrowding
  • Insecure residential status

The interventions to upgrade conditions of the slums date back to as early as 1969 when The Kampung Improvement Programme was launched by the UN as world’s first slum upgrading programme (UN-Habitat, 2006). The aim of slum-upgrading programs is to tackle the issues mentioned above through a rather holistic approach. In India, tackling these issues can lead to improvement in the quality of life of at least 6 million households (Hindman, 2015). This article takes a comprehensive look on some of the neighbourhoods and suggests some common indicators that should be considered while designing slum redevelopment programmes. These indicators are broadly divided in three areas:

  • physical improvement
  • institutional systems
  • social policies

These indicators must comply with the context of the concerned upgrading program. Slums are organic neighbourhoods following the everchanging needs of their inhabitants. Narrow streets, hazardous locations and social frameworks must be considered while building a sustainable community that relies on the existing frameworks. Innovation is the key to create specific solutions for sustainable slum upgrading.

Physical improvement

Physical improvements visibly improve the quality of life and transforms neighbourhoods. Several programs advocate on the provision of infrastructures before solving the insecurity of tenure and other social concerns (De Soto, 2000). Some of the factors that should also be considered are as follows:

Steady Water and Energy Supply

Mostly, slums lack a formal water and energy distribution system. The primary focus on providing the infrastructure, in many informal settlements, is often constrained due to the overcrowding and difficulty in accessing the areas (Arias-Granada, Haque, Joseph, & Yanez- Pagans, 2018). However, it should also be noted that presence of a physical infrastructure alone is not enough. According to World Bank, the implementation of water and energy distribution system should follow the following steps (Arias- Granada et al., 2018):

  • Funding
  • Tenure requirements
  • Education
  • Reliability

Many households are not able to afford the implied expenses of a new water supply system. Re-development programs must include grants and subsidies to encourage the inhabitants to use the provided water and electricity supply network and the sanitation systems. For example, the Orangi Charitable Trust in Karachi launched a micro credit programme to enable families to pay for sewerage (UN-HABITAT, 2014). Simultaneously, organising awareness campaigns can highlight the advantages of legal energy access and improve user-behaviour.

Furthermore, developing trust between users and providers spawn reliability. The municipal networks must suffer no interruption, water must be clean and should be devoid of any bacterial contamination. For example, the slums of Dhaka have a water distribution system better than many slums, however, the quality of the water is not equally good, almost 57% of the dwellers still report quality issues (Arias-Granada et al., 2018).

Efficient Solid Waste Management and Sanitation System

In India, 58% of the slums do not have access to a proper drainage system (Hindman, 2015). The outdoor and indoor exposure to polluted water, in addition to open defecation, has a direct impact on inhabitants’ health (Nassar & Elsayed, 2018). Improvements should integrate the following features:

  • Dimensioning: The sanitation and waste management networks should be able to accommodate the area in influence, the amount of waste generated and the number of people responsible. Shared structures shall not exceed a limit, that can be settled at 2 households (UN-HABITAT, 2004).
  • Reliability: The sanitary services provided must be available at any time and place and under any conditions.
  • Education: Slum upgrading programs should raise awareness about waste management and hygiene behaviours.

The Asian Development Bank settled a system of different levels of collection in a few cities of Rajasthan (Bikaner, Jaipur and Jodhpur). Slum dwellers were hired to take care of the garbage collection and cleanliness of roads. This system is now sustainable and completely funded by the inhabitants themselves (ADB, 2002).

Streets and Public Transport

Streets and public transport networks help in creating a continuity essential to erase the rupture between formal and informal neighbourhoods. Proper streets have a great impact on social life and can serve as an outdoor extensions of living spaces; they are a vital support for commercial and cultural activities too. Thus, the transformation of the neighbourhood must preserve the community Supported framework and its social advantages. Similarly, public transport passing through a neighbourhood provides access to basic services, jobs and other opportunities in the city (UNHABITAT, 2014). As a structural component, the transportation network must be efficient. This is characterised by its:

  • Acceptability
  • Adaptability
  • Accessibility
  • Affordability

While integration of streets network with the informal settlements seems simple, however, it must be well planned. The new street network must be built around the existing network in order to build a coherent infrastructure for the area. Public transport and access for emergency vehicle should be clearly delimited (Sheth, 2009).

Figure 1 – Metrocable in Medellin, Colombia (UN-HABITAT, 2011)

Households and buildings

Dwellings in slums have specific characteristics: poor construction quality and organic disposition of the different households. Households in slums are usually located too close to each other and not well lit or ventilated. Redevelopments or relocations with proper space management requires construction of new households, following three major characteristics:

Good construction quality of the new dwellings ensures sustainability of the programme over the years. Well-constructed houses coupled with a tenure security programme, gives the citizens a sense of belonging and encourages them to stay longer (Syagga et al., 2012). This also highlights the necessity of compliance with building codes, standards and laws (UN-HABITAT, 2004). Slums households must be adaptable as per the demands of the inhabitants and the overall objectives. Several redevelopment projects construct pre-designed buildings without adapting to the context.

For example, 26% inhabitants of Serra do Mar in Sao Paulo, Brazil faced greater expenses when they were relocated to a neighbourhood not designed as per their previous livelihood (Cavalheiro & Abiko, 2015). The needs of the dwellers play an important role during the conception process. In informal economy systems, workshops and shops are often installed within the house or in public spaces directly connected with the houses. Women, children and the elderly tend to socialize a lot within these spaces. These common areas are a vital part of the social framework of slums (Sunikka-Blank, Bardhan, & Haque, 2019). Citizen’s participation is one of the best ways to identify and accommodate these specific and changing needs. For example, in Dharavi, combined housing addresses the needs of the inhabitants (Menshawy, Shafik, & khedr, 2016). After consultations and specifying their needs, the inhabitants can rent or buy the modules and then choose to extend their households later. This combined housing system provides a flexibility necessary for the families living in slums.

Figure 2 – Combined housing (Menshawy et al., 2016)


Providing proper health and education facilities help in tackling many social issues. For this, three objectives must be followed:

  • Adequate capacity: Addressing the needs of the area the facility serves, without building oversized facilities.
  • Localisation: Accessibility for the community and coherence with the environment and the public aimed.
  • Management: The role of governments, NGOs and private parties in administration and funding should be defined during the first stages of conception.

Fixing clear objectives adequate scope for such services. It has been done in the Favela Bairrio programme, by fixing quotas for healthcare and teaching equipment (Maher, 2017).

Natural hazards

Due to their irregular development without proper planning, slums are usually more vulnerable to natural disasters than conventional neighbourhoods. Although, resilient cities have started adapting to the effects of natural disasters but slums are not entirely integrated into this approach and lack protection against floods, fires and landslides (UN-HABITAT, 2014). In most cases, relocation seems like the only possible solution, the concentration however should also be on reducing the risks and hazards by (Betancur, 2007):

  • Identifying zones of high risk.
  • Installing infrastructures of stabilisation and environment control.
  • Using technologies and knowledge that reduces the risk, especially in the construction of buildings. These must follow good environmental practices.
  • Educating the local population about adapted behaviours.

In Medellin, Colombia, most informal settlements were located on the hills and were subject to landslides and other geological risks. The PRIMED redevelopment project resulted in the recovery and stabilisation of 70% of high risk areas (Betancur, 2007).

Institutional Systems


Owners and tenants, civil society organisation, the private sector and national and local governments have different interests and visions for the neighbourhood they live in. The institutional systems must have:

  • A clear administrative structure: Coexistence of different organisations must be organised within the project to enable collaboration and avoid the concentration of powers.
  • Clear objectives: A commonly defined focus brings the actors together to negotiate and set basis for efficient partnerships.
  • Defined approach and methodology: Strategies of the program must be clearly defined; it must avoid favouring and rely on partnerships with the existing social forces.
  • Transparency: Helps the inhabitants in understanding the role of each stakeholders and the organisation, and simultaneously in preventing corruption. In Kenya, the KENSUP programme created a local authority called Settlement Executive Committee to avoid conflicts between their stakeholders (UNH, 2011). At the same time, local governments must also commit to provide infrastructure and state authorities should facilitate the implementation of policies (Cities Alliance, 2013).
Tenure Regularisation

Slum residents have varying tenure security and are under constant risk of eviction. In Africa in 2007, more than 2,70,000 people in Africa and around 8,73,000 in Asia and Pacific suffered forced eviction (COHRE, 2009). This risk is a barrier to access credit and improve the quality of the house (Menshawy et al., 2016; Syagga et al., 2012). Security of tenure also supports the effective implementation of legal water and energy access. The process can be monitored by a national or local government, even if community organisations and international development agencies can have a role to play (Fernandes, 2011). In Venezuela, Comites de Tierras Urbanas (Urban Land Committees) were created to regroup 150 families in average and enable them to dialogue with the State and the Technical Office for Urban Land Tenancy and Regularisation (OTNRTTU) in order to become owners of their homes (Holland, 2006). There are currently 5212 of these organisations across the country. The Global Land Tool Network proposes the following Indicators to ensure a sustainable property rights regularisation (Global Land Tool Network, 2018):

  • Tenure type must be engineered regarding the social context. Registered freehold may not be the ultimate objective.
  • Customary land tenure processes can be promoted when they don’t discriminate vulnerable social groups as poor and women.
  • A participatory enumeration, a form of community participation, must be advocated to collect more precise data.
  • A recording of land transactions must be carried out, over the long term, thanks to tools implemented in the short term to simplify procedures.
Enabling affordability of households

Slums are the result of the housing markets failure to provide affordable housing (El-hadj, Faye, & Geh, 2018). Without strong policies, dwellers might have financial difficulties to stay in their new settlements. In Dharavi, one of the methods implemented considered the choice of the inhabitants to either stay or relocate to a different locality (Menshawy et al., 2016). Several examples can be a starting point for the definition of a housing policy in a slum upgrading program (El-hadj et al., 2018), like:

  • Incremental housing development: encouraging micro finance is more adapted to unstable income and fosters self-construction from the inhabitants. The government and NGOs have a major role to play in encouraging skill development.
  • Sites and services programs: operate a shift from a total public provision of housing to public assistance in private construction.
  • Rental housing: this scheme provides flexibility in budget and location for the dwellers. The role of the private sector is predominant here, but the government should provide a legislative environment and incentives.
  • Social housing: it corresponds to prices adapted to lower incomes of inhabitants. It can be provided by governments and NGOs and requires financial, human and technical resources.
  • Housing cooperatives: these corporations owned by members through equity shares is adapted to the slum context because it enables the inhabitants to pool resources. The optimal size of a cooperative agency is one of the issues faced.
Monitoring and Evaluation

Evaluating the impact of the implemented policies can improve the methods used. Today, there is a lack of this kind of systematic and complete evaluation of every slum upgrading programme (Goytia & Dorna, 2019). The key principles of a programme evaluation can be summarised through the logical framework structure keeping in mind:

  • The Inputs: The policies implemented that operate within the various topics related in this article.
  • Outputs: can be an increase in the dwellers’ income, a better literacy rate or a drop in crime rates for example. To analyse these results, a strong database is advocated.

The programme Favela Bairrio in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil evaluated the impacts of the upgrading project on the quality of life of the inhabitants. They compared the initial objectives to the effective benefits, using data from the beginning of the project and data collected 10 years after through surveys. The subjects covered are the residents’ satisfaction, the benefits accrued to the population, and the level of infrastructure and services (Fiori, Riley, & Ramirez, 2000).

Social Policies

Community Participation

Top down actions and resources from higher institutions usually fail to generate local engagement and acceptance (Meredith & MacDonald, 2017). When relocating, building the project together with the inhabitants can help it correspond to their needs and avoid the failure experienced by several projects (Cavalheiro & Abiko, 2015)S. Patel, Sliuzas, & Mathur, 2015). Project managers can assess the level of community integration through the ladder of citizen participation. It characterises the degrees of popular integration in the decision making process (Arnstein, 2007). Few indicators used to ensure a proper community participation can be (Betancur, 2007):

  • Identifying leaders to facilitate the communication
  • Enforcing the links with NGOs and community organisations
  • Developing small community programs to negotiate on different topics, like, community legalisation of tenure, home relocations, etc.
  • Involve the community in project development, sub-contracting, administration and evaluation
  • Fostering citizen awareness and implication

The Kenyan program KENSUP also promotes subsidiarity. This principle focuses the decision making process at the lowest level possible. As an example, in Pamoja trust in Kenya, survey responses from the citizens living inside the area provide a more accurate source of information. Inhabitants know their neighbourhood well and can reflect reality on the ground (Global Land Tool Network, 2010). Decisions thus correspond to reality.

Figure 3 – Community participation in the Favela Bairro Program (UN-HABITAT, 2011)

Gender Sensitivity

In comparison with men, women tend to spend more time in their living neighbourhood and hence are more affected by a redevelopment program (Sunikka-Blank et al., 2019). An active participation of women in the decision-making process at all levels of conception makes the neighbourhood more inclusive. Property rights control should not primarily consider men as the default choice. In 2009, women were head of onethird of all Venezuelan households (Fernandes, 2011). In the Peru-vian programme of Commission for the Formalization of Informal Property, land titles were given jointly to wives and husbands (Fernandes, 2011).

Figure 4 – An open air market (Entsie, 2017)


In the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya, 63% of residents feel unsafe in their neighbourhood, whereas 30% of them rate safety as a basic need (UN-HABITAT, 2011). As the major issue of safety requires much attention, in Papua New Guinea, the Yumi Lukautim Mosbi project tackles it through four pillars (UN-HABITAT, 2011):

  • Promotion of sport and youth engagement
  • Skill development and employment creation
  • Spread of urban safety feeling through stories and media
  • Community engagement
Access to Jobs and Economic Integration

The first point is to provide accessibility to the livelihood of the inhabitants. For example, one of the major objectives of the PRIMED programme in Medellin, Colombia, is to integrate the subnormal neighbourhoods to the rest of the city and give them access to the labour market. After its implementation, 91% of the residents stated they were better linked to the city (Betancur, 2007).

Similarly, another point is to promote economic life inside the slum neighbourhood. The Kojokrom market project in Ghana chose to build 8 sheds for the local market to improve working conditions of the vendors, thereby increasing their income. They negotiated with the banks to make the interest rates for the construction affordable for locals (UN-HABITAT, 2009). Kamna Patel underlines the importance of keeping informal continuities in the slum upgrading process (K. Patel, 2013).

Governments and NGOs are also major actors to foster skill development and capacity building within the slum population. This measure can have strong links with policies of households and infrastructure building and with community participation.

Read More

Self-Organisation in Amsterdam: Case-Study of Oostenburg


A city – a meshwork of players, comprises of people with common interests pursuing their lives in different ways. There are many unpredictable collaborations between the stakeholders to achieve their individual, commercial or political goals (Landa, 2000). These collaborations develop a pattern of connections based on the hierarchy in the society or the styles of interaction that define the community structure. Therefore, the focus of planners should be on implementing short-term, slight changes to adapt accordingly (Batty, 2011).The traditional Dutch approached planning with specific details. This included distribution of activities, spatial layout and even the visual appearance of urban blocks. The dense urban spaces left very little scope for redevelopment with lesser density and future projects. These cases can be seen in many city centres of Dutch cities having an evident mix of activities but limited scope for redevelopment.

However, Netherlands has also been trying to develop co-operation strategies among citizens, civic organisations, entrepreneurs, etc. for many years now (WRR, 2008). The new Structural vision of Amsterdam ‘Amsterdam 2040’ follows the old Dutch spatial planning approach, yet on many important points they have diverted from the previous structural plans. The emphasis in these cases is on addressing the social needs and concerns. The visual aspects are complimentary (WRR, 2008).

Organic planning (Buitelaar, 2014) focuses on creating conditions to allow diverse local initiatives for an incremental urban development. The stakeholders, here, are directly responsible in creating a demand-driven urban ecosystem (Rauws and Roo, 2015). Organic planning approaches a multi-layered view emphasising on inter-dependence between processes of different scales and different moments (Byrne, 2003). The multi-layers of an urban system can be broadly divided into three levels (Boonstra, 2015):

  • Macro – Society or neighbourhood
  • Meso – Network of established playersƒƒ
  • Micro – Group of independent agents

This new approach has brought interesting development strategies in many neighbourhoods of Amsterdam. This article takes the case-study of Oostenburg in Amsterdam and explores the development strategy of the local authority. The neighbourhood has an interesting approach to bring diversity in activities, avoid homogeneity or polarisation, encourage small-scale entrepreneurs and have temporary land uses to adapt to the changing socio-economic context. It emphasises on realising a coherent relation between social desires and spatial development through different approaches.

Oostenburg, Amsterdam

Oostenburg is one of the three (Oostenburg, Kattenburg and Wittenburg) islands in the northeastern part of Amsterdam. The island was built in the 17th century by the Dutch East India company for warehouses and a shipyard. Given the strong historical influence on its structure and planning, the municipality is taking special considerations for the conservation of the urban values. On the south-western side, four buildings of early 20th century, named after the architect Van Gandthallen, received the monument status in 2001 because it constituted “great historical, architectural and urban values” (Loos, 2014). After the collapse of the industries, the area went through a lot of clean up and regeneration. Although some parts of Werkspoor are still preserved, the island, however, lost its vibrancy with the decline of the industries and its locational isolation.

Figure 1 – Location of Oostenbug in Amsterdam.  Source – Urhahn, 2012 

Amsterdam’s dense urbanisation brings opportunities for growth in Oostenburg. The INIT building was built in 2000, it has the district’s wharf on the ground floor and offices on the upper floors. In 2004, real estate company Stadgenoot bought the Van Gendthallen buildings. For many years, many professional and cultural activities were hosted there. In 2008, Stadgenoot bought the remaining area of Oostenburg north except INIT and the south-western area.

Decision Making Process

From 2004 to 2008, Stadgenoot made many unsuccessful plans to re-develop the area, primarily due to lack of clear vision for political and social development (Stadgenoot, 2013). These failed interventions alongside 2008 crisis made Stadgenoot re-strategise their development plan. Therefore, in 2011, Stadgenoot and the municipality eventually intervened with an ambition to create a mixed environment for working and living.

In the initial stages, the plan was to develop an open structure connected to the environment. Instead of developing a single master plan, the development plan was implemented in stages where the land is sold in small lots, individually. The sale and development of parcels, and investment in public spaces and facilities is taken care from the profits of the sale of previous parcels of land.

The focus was on creating a good outdoor public space and have limited vehicular access, by:

  • Visualising the yard floor as a unifying element and as a medium to promote pedestrian and bicycle movement
  • By avoiding traditional building block layout

In a general outlook, most of the outlines for the design and the program is fixed, but the island, on the inside, has a lot of freedom and flexibility for better spatial solutions. Through a series of products, a framework of rules for the development of the spaces were developed, this framework identifies four qualities of the island (Urhahn, 2016):

1. Island

Definite boundary made by the waterways, the railway embankment on one side and limited access gives the area a clear identity of an island.

Figure 2 – Quality 1 – Island (Source – Urhahn, 2012)

1. Connections through public spaces; 2. Limited vehicular access; 3. Orientation of the plots in line with the water around Oostenburg.

2. Liveliness

The mixed use ensures public movement and activities through the day, the public spaces of the island work as a unifying element and also becomes a utility space. The INIT and van Gendthallen buildings are capable of accommodating many exhibitions and manufacturing at once. Simultaneously, Stadgenoot wishes to provide houses for low-income groups in a limited area. The remaining plots will be sold to private owners to recover the break-even cost.

A higher plinth and plots’ grouping encloses the inner yards. This brings privacy in the inner yards and parks, makes it quieter and allows the owners to use it as per their needs & convenience. The limited traffic movement and open plinth of the INIT & van Gendthallen buildings makes the use of outer spaces possible.

Figure 3 – Quality 2 – Liveliness (Source – Urhahn, 2012)

1. Coherent design of the inner yards. The green space can have; 2. The areas marked in red are to be opened at the ground level and are preferred for public activities; 3. Around 2 levels Variation in height in relation with  the adjacent building; 4. Variation in height of around 1 level in relation to the adjacent building

3. Contrast

The neighbourhood has an industrial presence but also accommodates bars & restaurants. The architecture and activities are diverse.

To ensure contrast in activities and the architecture, the land owned by Stadgenoot is being developed in parcels. Size of the plots varies; the development plan suggests maximum width of a plot but does not put any restrictions on the depth. The plot width is coupled with the front orientation of the buildings. There is a lot of scope for variation in height, roof shape, activities in the plot, etc. The distribution of activities for the neighbourhood is fixed as 50% each (live-work). These areas are kept car free and will have spaces reserved for public greens in the centre of the parcel. There are at least three variations proposed for the height of the building. The proposed layout places a building of smaller height between two higher buildings to create visual contrast in the arrangement of the buildings and provide light and air through the cluster of the buildings.

Figure 4 – Quality 3 – Contrast (Source – Urhahn, 2012)

1. Small grain v/s large industrial plots; 2. Variation in lot width; darker – Max. width 24 m., lighter – Max. width 18 m.; 3. Variation in height of around 2 levels in relation to the adjacent building; 4. Variation in height of around 1 level in relation to the adjacent building; 5. Variation in roof shapes. Entrances (hatched) have a special roof shape

4. Toughness

The heavy industrial history and the rugged architecture gives a strong visual impression and an identity to the island. The older buildings in Oostenburg appear as a single block with simple but robust detailing. The activities opening on the yard floor worked as a unifying element.

The development plan follows the same line of visual appearance around the van Gendthallen building. The indoor and outdoor public spaces run into each other. The roofs of the buildings are decided on what fits best, they do receive proper attention and are not cut-off abruptly. Aiming for a higher level of interaction and liveliness, balconies on the side of the street are encouraged, especially if the side is waterfront. The buildings are more open towards the side facing the water.

Oostenburg is relatively dense and has limited scope for greenery. Hence, the users are suggested to develop green roofs and install solar panels. The industrial image is enhanced by the steel balconies, openness of the buildings and rugged style of architecture. These four qualities further has sub-categories (mentioned in figure 5) and bring forward a framework focusing on six key issues:

  1. Society: Implement mixed use and encourage adaptive re-use
  2. Mobility: Limited access for cars, focus on more soft mobility
  3. Material: Preserving the island’s historical significance
  4. Water: To reduce the water consumption
  5. Energy: Reduce energy consumption
  6. Biodiversity: Possibility to grow native plants in the dense urban area

Figure 5 – The four qualities and the sub-categories within the qualities. (Source – Urhahn, 2012; Gemeente, Amsterdam)

Van Gendthallen building offers temporary work spaces capable of adapting to different needs of different organisations. The offices in INIT building and nightlife in Roest is already active. This mix of activities makes Oostenburg capable of attracting public and keep the place active.


The land in Oostenburg is of high demand due to its location and proximity with the city centre. The sale of the plots in the first parcel began in 2017. Currently, sale of DIY plots in the 9th parcel is active and construction in 5 parcels is under-going (, 2019). The end of construction is stated to be around the end of 2020.

Figure 6: Parcel distribution in Oostenburg. The parcels marked in red are under construction, the areas marked in blue are upcoming projects. (Source –, 2019)


The outcomes of these cases manifests specific physical growth, urban form and morphological or functional patterns. It allows the urban systems to distribute the decision-making power to its diverse actors and avoid the dominance of a single actor (or activity). It’s tendency to self-organise the development safeguards the interests of the actors and maintains a dynamic socio-spatial nature (Boonstra, 2015).

The distinctions (agency, rules and physical order) in decision-making process carry out the transformation process in their own way. This results in a complex environment capable of selforganising itself through multiple interventions. The development plan has four design principles (Rauws, 2015):

  1. Small-scale sub-plans
  2. Incremental development strategies
  3. Carrying structures
  4. Loose rules

It is also important to understand that these development plans are highly contextual and depend on the level of interaction. The planners’ style of intervention and the style of mediation in this complex set-up depends on the context and the understanding of the social system (Tan, Bekkering, and Reijndorp, 2014). A good interaction among the actors can only come with a strong sense of community building. It may not be active and prevalent in every case. Therefore, such a solution can be implemented only after a deep understanding of the neighbourhood or the city. In absence of strong and dense pre-existing networks, taking an intervention like this can be too much work, even if the actors are skilful and committed (Uitermark, 2015).

From the case-study, it is also evident that the nature of organic planning is not entirely self-organising. It requires interventions at multiple levels to safeguard the interests of the actors. Therefore, the true role of the actors and the level of freedom they eventually enjoy while developing their spaces is always in question.

Read More

Urban Heat Island Effect – Causes and Remedies

Development in the urban areas causes changes in the landscape. Vegetation and open space is replaced by the buildings and infrastructure and the permeable surfaces get converted into impermeable surfaces. In a typical urban area, the surfaces are darker, impermeable and the vegetation is relatively lesser. The modified land surface in cities, compared to rural environments affects the storage and transfer of both radiative and turbulent heat (Parvantis, Stigka, Fotiadi, & Mihalakakou, 2015). The leads to a phenomenon where the heat gets accumulated due to the urban construction and other human activities leading to urban heat island (UHI) effect. The most noted observation about UHI effect is that the temperature of urban region is higher than the rural region (EPA, 2008). This difference can be as much as 2.50C during the summers (Akbari et al, 2001). The urban heat island phenomenon is caused by two factors:

  • intrinsic nature of cities (anthropogenic activities like vehicles, air conditioners, etc. along with buildings’ morphology, urban canopy, wind blocking, surface characters and land use planning forming the urban structure of a city)
  • extrinsic factors (climate, prevailing weather circumstances and the seasons)

Fig 1: Factors responsible for Urban Heat Island Effect. (Source – Osmond, 2017)

These factors increase the energy consumption in buildings in the effort of providing thermal comfort and results in increased air pollution, eventually leading to increased greenhouse gas emissions and negative impact on health of citizens of developing cities (TERI, 2017). It has been noted that 1o C rise in temperature leads to 2-4% increase in electricity consumption (Akbari et al, 2001). Urban flooding during heavy rains, traffic congestion along with higher level of air pollution, diminishing lakes, increase in temperatures during summer are some of the negative environmental impacts on a city due to rapid urbanization (TERI, 2017). . These environmental impacts are a result of the combination of Urban Heat Island and Global Warming effect. This article talks about the Urban Heat Island effect and explores the cooling strategies adopted by Sydney to reduce the impact.

Causes and Effect of Urban Heat Island

Due to the lack of green spaces and the effect of the intrinsic and external factors discussed above, surface temperature rises (Osmond, 2017). Natural surfaces absorb more radiation in comparison to man-made structures like roads and buildings having lower albedo. As a result, natural surfaces is always cooler than an urban surface. Evaporation from water releases energy and cools the surface temperature. As the heat capacity of asphalt and concrete is lower than other types of surfaces, the solar radiations falling on the built surface causes the air temperature to rise. Therefore, rise in surface and air temperature is directly proportional to the height of the built-up areas. Conditions of the available natural resources and the climate in the urban ecological system is affected by the increased surface temperature (Ningrum, 2018).

Fig 2: Differences between day-night surface temperature and air temperature in typical land use types. (Source – Osmond, 2017)

Urban Heat Island and Climate Change

Changes and development in radiative and thermal properties of urban infrastructure are causes of Urban Heat Island. Also, the functioning of a buildings has impacts on the local microclimate, for example, the rate of cooling at night is slowed down by tall buildings. The heating effect occurring in cities or specific areas leads to a change in the climatic conditions of the region leading to local climate change. Local climate change is different from global climate change; their effects are limited to the local scale and decreases as the distance increases. Global climate change caused by increase in sun’s intensity or greenhouse gas concentrations are not locally or regionally confined (EPA, 2008).

Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies

Urban areas need better development planning and a balance between social, ecological and economic factors. The correct ratio of built-up and open spaces, control over the growth of built-up areas, more sensitivity for the open spaces are few of the many things required. This can be done through spatial development planning associated with sustainable development and creating a comfortable urban environment. Some of the adaptation strategies can be:

  • Developing the green and blue areas within a city
  • Managing the growth of built-up areas of the buildings

Suitable areas can be developed by forming roof gardens or more trees can be accommodated in the streets as they are a better heat-stress suppressor (Ningrum, 2018). To mitigate the urban heat island effect, the thermal environment around the buildings should be improved by using material of lower absorptivity, larger thermal conductivity and higher reflectivity (Ningrum, 2018). Durable white roofing materials and cool coloured roofing available for coating, tiles, painted metals, and fiberglass asphalt shingles are being produced by manufacturers (Akbari, 2016). To directly reduce the energy use in buildings, shading devices, trees and cool-roofs should be installed more often. In addition to cool roofs, urban vegetation and higher albedo and emissivitypavements reduce the temperature of the surroundings by a few degrees (Akbari, 2016). For water drainage, many paving materials and paving surface technologies have been characterized such as coloured concrete, white topping, chip seals, permeable pavements and grasscrete. These cool paving technologies are currently used in many specific applications (Akbari, 2016).

Effective urban cooling in a city requires the correct strategy of cooling depending on the available factors, factors like the state of development, aspect ratio, sky view factor. Inner city/ CBD, inner and outer suburb areas have different strategies for urban cooling and should be carefully examined as per the character of the city before implementing. Local weather conditions and spatial configurations should also be carefully considered before the application of urban cooling methods. The urban context of the cities can be divided in three categories (Osmond, 2017):

  • Inner cities: Tall buildings surround the public spaces. Due to the shade of the buildings, urban surfaces are partially protected from the solar radiations. Therefore, in smaller public spaces like plazas, pedestrian open air malls, using high emittance cool-paving and building envelope treatments prevents ventilation and facilitates less heat storage.
  • Inner suburbs: Two to six storey buildings surround the public spaces and due to the shade of the buildings, public spaces are partially protected from solar radiations. Depending on the city’s latitude, solar radiations may also reach the public spaces. To complete the shadow over urban canyons or around plazas temporary and tree canopy shade may be used.
  • Outer suburbs: The development is low density in many cities and has a high sky view factor. Typically, in this urban form, areas comprise mainly of single or double storey buildings. The public spaces are generally not protected by the solar radiations by the shade of the surrounded buildings. Therefore, the main sources of shade in the plazas are tree canopy and shading structures.

Case-Study: UHI In Sydney

Intrinsic and extrinsic factors

Summers in Sydney are typically hot and humid. Highest monthly mean temperature of the city is 25.9 degree Celsius and daily sunshine during summers is of 7.1 hours on an average. With the maximum monthly mean rainfall of 117 mm, rainfall in summer is slightly lower than in autumn but higher than spring and winter (Osmond, 2017). The studies suggest that the Urban Heat Island Intensity (UHII) ranged from a mean of about 2-4o C and average daily peaks of 7o C (Parvantis, Stigka, Fotiadi, & Mihalakakou, 2015). Sydney increasingly experiences the UHII due to its numerous urban development projects (Sharifi & Lehmann, 2014). It is estimated that the combined effect of Global Warming and UHI will increase the temperatures by 3.7o C (Argüeso, Evans, Fita, & Bormann, 2014). The temperature in the urban areas ranges between 1.1o to 3.7o C as compared to the rural areas (ranging between 0.8o to 2.6o C), the UHII is much bigger during the nights (Parvantis, Stigka, Fotiadi, & Mihalakakou, 2015).

Suitable Urban Cooling Strategies

Depending on Sydney’s intrinsic and external factors, suggested strategies are more effective (Osmond, 2017):

  • When the relative humidity in Sydney is high, the effect on outdoor thermal comfort by evaporative cooling and surface water will be lower. Central Sydney and eastern suburbs benefit from regular sea breezes in the summer afternoon improve the cooling effect of water. Misting fans for temporary cooling at pedestrian scale is pretty effective.
  • Sydney usually receives high level of UV radiations and solar intensity during summer. Thus, the best suitable strategy is shading and increased tree canopy especially in higher density urban region.
  • During most of the summer days, maximum temperature stays below 30 degree Celsius but surpasses 35 degree Celsius on some occasions. To radiate the urban heat away, the best practice is to use the high emittance paving. While addressing storm water management, permeable paving is a good option for urban cooling as Sydney has an average annual rainfall of 1221 mm.
  • In low pedestrian and car traffic areas, especially in the CBD area, high albedo paving is a possible urban cooling strategy.

Fig 3: Summary of different cooling strategies suitable for Sydney


Humans are the main contributor to the urban heat island effect and solely responsible for the intrinsic factors of the urban heat island effect. Insulated buildings design and changes in human behaviour can reduce the energy consumption utilised to cool the indoor environment at the expense of heating up the outdoors. Climate responsive building designs can be really useful in minimizing the use of air conditioning by reducing the indoor temperatures during heat wave (Osmond, 2017).

The energy efficient measures such as increased level of insulation in roofs and walls, appropriate orientation, increased shading and application of reflective painting on the building envelope can develop better heat resistance in a building. The integration of these design techniques and adaptation in existing and new building designs could effectively reduce air conditioning and increase the indoor thermal comfort of the occupant.

Read More