University Urban Research Initiative with the Cities Alliance


Frédéric Choiniére
Meghan Holohan
Marisse Del Olmo Crenier

Cities Alliance

The Cities Alliance is a global coalition of cities and their development partners committed to scaling up successful approaches to poverty reduction. They seek to promote the positive impacts of urbanization, and are committed to working with local authorities in planning and preparing for future growth. The Cities Alliance developed a new mode of work in the University Urban Research Initiative (UURI) which would directly engage universities in both developing and developed countries to strengthen urban development initiatives.

PIA participants had the opportunity to begin working with the Cities Alliance in the strategic development and planning of a new University Urban Research Initiative (UURI). This Initiative has been established by the Cities Alliance to increasingly involve universities and research institutes in both developing and developed countries to strengthen the study, teaching, advocacy, networking and support of urban development initiatives in developing countries. The UURI aims to strengthen the effectiveness of urban assistance through undertaking research and evaluation on its long term impacts, with particular emphasis on the two operational programs of the Cities Alliance: city development strategies and slum upgrading. The UURI would work to build interest and active engagement among faculty, students, young professionals, and society at large in the work of the Cities Alliance.

The primary focus for the PIA team was to research and prepare a paper which identified collaborations between universities and local and national governments on urban development-related issues. This paper was an inventory of good examples drawn from the knowledge and experiences of CA members and partners. Additionally, the paper highlighted important issues, discussed lessons learned, as well as provided guidance for the operationalization of the UURI.

In addition, students had the opportunity to contribute their skills to another deliverable, also for presentation at the Mumbai meeting; a paper which proposed various modalities for operationalizing the UURI. Finally, a feasibility study for a comprehensive review of existing CA knowledge products, and discussion on how to improve such products, was prepared during the semester.