The UK Department for International Development (DfID) Kenya Head, Julius Court, was among the speakers on the first of a two-day symposium bringing together over 200 delegates to find new innovative solutions to the challenges of affordable housing and sustainable development.
Under the title of ‘Healthy Cities: Affordable housing and sustainable infrastructure’, the symposium looked at existing research partnerships between the UK and Kenya in relation to housing and highlighted the importance of research to inform policies.
Speaking yesterday, Mr Court told attendees that the UK’s contribution to affordable housing research in Kenya is worth £13m. He added that these 15 research projects focused on areas such as public land use, upgrading slums and informal settlements as well as zoning and urban planning.
Tweeting later in the day, the DfID Kenya Head said: “Many think Kenya has a housing crisis. It is a Government priority. Kenya also has an urban opportunity. A quarter of Kenyans live in cities now; will be half by 2050. Launching UK-Kenya research partnership to get ahead of the curve.”
Jane Weru kicked off the event with a panel discussion on linking SDGs on poverty and cities which looked at how housing is much more than construction and needs to involve the community as well as design, engineering and safety experts.
Juma Assiago from UN Habitat told the symposium that crime and violence are usually a result of social exclusion while Dr. Eric Mwangi, from the Kenyan Ministry of Education, challenged the experts in the room to recommend what science, technology and innovations they could make to take forward after the workshop to build healthy cities.
During a cross-sector panel of working groups with local and international experts, Adrian Bucher from UKCDR identified possible next steps and opportunities for impact to achieve affordable housing and SDGs.
On the first day of the symposium attendees took part in a Technical Workshop during which they tasked with generating ideas on ‘Opportunities for Impact’.
The symposium has been organised by the UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) and the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).
Yesterday evening, British High Commissioner Nic Hailey welcomed participants from the symposium to a networking reception at his residence in Nairobi.
The housing symposium continues today.