Thematic Hubs
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Thematic Hubs
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A Habitat UNI Hub is a consortium of universities that agree to work on the same thematic priority under the principles of mutual collaboration, exchange and learning, producing outputs which strengthen the role of universities in forwarding sustainable urban development. The Hubs established under the umbrella of the Habitat Universities are to link the ongoing related work of UN-Habitat to the work the Hub does on the subject. Through active collaborations UN-Habitat and these academic consortia are to forward research and action on the thematic target, promoting education, policy advice and professional development which are updated to current urban realities, and which have a strong focus on translating into direct impacts on the city level.

You find a full definition of a Hub, as well as requirements and roles involved here

The current Hubs are:

      • Informal Urbanism: Hosted by University of Hannover, Germany
      • Urban Governance: Hosted by London Metropolitan University, UK
      • Climate Change: Hosted by Makerere University, Uganda
      • Food Security: Hosted by Newcastle University, UK
      • Urban Futures: Hosted by University of South Florida, US
Find descriptions of and information on how to engage in these Hubs in the tabs below.

Hosted by: University of Hannover, Germany
Hub Coordinator: Christian Werthmann: werthmann@ila.uni-hannover.de

The thematic hub on ‘Informal Urbanism’ provides a platform for exchange in studying the phenomenon of informal urbanization and the advance of understanding related to improve policies and responses in the future. It seeks an interdisciplinary perspective that views physical, social, cultural, economic, environmental, governance and policy issues as interdependent. The Hub supports activities that can be generally categorized into two streams:
1) Studying and better understanding existing informal urbanization, including responses by governments, NGO’s and academic institutions in the form of citywide upgrading programs, integration policies and redevelopment approaches.
2) Studying future informal urbanization, trends and anticipative approaches and strategies that include but are not limited to the development of sustainable living strategies for arriving low populations.

The goal of the Hub is to enable academics to make a useful contribution to practices and policies that improve the lives of those living in informal conditions. Currently, municipal attitudes towards informal urbanism range from eradication to neglect to grudging tolerance; sometimes to improvement and rarely to anticipation. This Hub will investigate and propose appropriate processes of engagement for academics and professionals to improve and anticipate informal urbanization. This production of knowledge and empirical evidences is to improve research and education methodologies on the topic of informal urbanism as well as provide a window for academics to work with and contribute to the improvement of UN-Habitat programs. This to help mainstream the results of academic production and ideas into the global debate led by the United Nations in improving the lives of urban dwellers.

The Hub embraces an inclusive, inter-disciplinary and inter-regional approach to the investigation of informal urbanism. As many academics are working on issues related to informal urbanism from a variety of perspectives much can be gained by sharing innovative practices across urban disciplines. The phenomenon of informal urbanism is geographically diverse and the Hub will engage with individuals and institutions from around the globe to exchange regional approaches and best practices. For a list of proposed partnerships and connected projects, see concept note.

The Hub will serve as a platform for academic exchange and collaboration on topics related to informal urbanism.  The Hub will grow over time in response to the discussions generated by exchange between members.  A phased development approach is proposed as a means to guide this development.
Phase 1: Academic Exchange to facilitate member exchange and discussion through annual conferences. 
Phase 2: Coordinated Research to use coordinated research initiatives in investigating research questions identified by member institutions and UN-Habitat in phase one.
Phase 3: Academic & Professional Collaboration Progressing to collaboration between academic institutions and UN-Habitat and other partner institutions on relevant projects.

For more information read the Concept Note; Hub - Informal Urbanism
To engage in the Hub, contact the Hub Coordinator:
Christian Werthmann: werthmann@ila.uni-hannover.de

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