Realising Just Cities - Learning Through Comparison 

The rapidly growing number of people moving into cities all over the world presents a challenge of unprecedented size. It is crucial to find ways to make urbanisation a source for wealth, health and sustainability – which is shared. Mistra Urban Futures arranges Annual Conferences about Realising Just Cities, which are hosted at our research platforms.

The 2017 Annual Conference focused on learning through comparison. The main conference attracted 130 delegates, including researchers and practitioners from all Local Interaction Platforms, the Board of Directors and distinguished guests from Kisumu county and city, including former Mayor, Mr Sam Okello, as well as the Rector and President of Chalmers University of Technology, Prof Stefan Bengtsson, and representatives of UN-Habitat.

The two keynote talks were presented by Dr. Caroline Kihato, Visiting Researcher at the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Global Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Washington DC, and Prof Edgar Pieterse, South African Research Chair in Urban Policy, Director of African Centre for Cities, ACC.

Two expert panels moderated by Prof David Simon discussed governance issues in the context of urban sustainability transitions and Mistra Urban Futures' research agenda in the context of the global Sustainable Development Goals.

One important element at the conference was networking, which was arranged through pauses, lunches, study visits and side arrangements. The great possibility to be hosted and located at the conference venue Imperial Hotel Kisumu, added the value of meeting each other unofficially.

Exhibition and posters at the conference venue
Local goods handicrafts from Kisumu were exhibited and sold at the conference and explanatory posters made by the PhD:s in Kisumu from JOOUST and Maseno University were shown to the audience.

Study visits

The old railway station Terminus and the harbour
This has been an important railway station as a part of the Kenyan – Uganda railway. Since the 1900s, Lake Victoria ferries have been an important means of transport between Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya where Kisumu was one of the cities located in Kisumu County on the shores of Lake Victoria, the second largest freshwater lake in the world.

To date the railway station and harbor are in derelict state and therefore one of the collaborative research at Mistra Urban Futures, Transport and Urban Development, is to explore alternative use of the facility to improve the livelihood of the people of Kisumu and East Africa at large. Discussions about a construction of a new railway is also on the table. That should make it possible to link the harbor in Kisumu with east African harbor cities.

Kachok dumpsite
The Dumpsite is situated in the city of Kisumu, near a sport stadium, houses and a hotel. The stanch and the environmental consequences are a big issue and discussed on a political and official level and for waste operators and -pickers it is a way of life and to make money. One can find organic waste as well as waste which is unsortable and mixed. There are suggestions on how to handle or move the dumpsite but the lack of resources, political agreements and infrastructure makes it difficult. One of Mistra Urban Futures collaborative projects, Solid Waste management is interested in the Kachok dumpsite.

Dunga Beach
Just some miles from the city of Kisumu one can find Dunga village and Dunga Beach. The invasive water hyacinths, have made the life difficult for the fishermen and the families in Dunga. The good fishing waters in the Lake of Victoria have been somehow destroyed. The Mistra Urban Futures co-production projects between the Gothenburg Local Interaction Platform and Kisumu Local Interaction Platform, Market places and Ecotourism have created a ground. Market places have played a key role in forming cities in Africa. In cities such as Kisumu most market places are informal and periodic. But they are important and vital parts of the city as they serve as means for: interaction, meetings, exchange of goods and services, sales, marketing and production. The project have focused on sustainable growth and well-being in the cities as well as policies on urban planning, social, economic, environmental and cultural issues tools and indicators. Ecotourism is about finding ways to travel responsibly to natural areas so that the environment is conserved and the well-being of citizens is sustained. The project has focused on climate change, environment and poverty reduction within the urban agriculture and food security context. New collaborative projects which connects to those former projects could be Urban Food Security and Value Chain, and maybe Participatory Cities, Neighbourhood Transformation and Development and Cultural Heritage and Urban Development

Videos from the main conference

All of the speakers and panels from the main conference 13-14 November was filmed and is available for viewing using the playlist below. You can also watch them and many more on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/MistraUrbanFutures



Mistra Urban Futures works through comparative projects concerning the themes of transportation, urban food, waste management, migration, participatory cities, neighbourhood transformation and cultural heritage. Most of the comparative projects used the opportunity to also arrange workshops:

Transportation and Urban Development
Fredrick Owino (KLIP) and Craig Davies (CTLIP)

Solid Waste Manangement
Dusan Raicevic (SKLIP) and Frankline Otiende (KLIP)

Participatory Cities
Beth Perry (SMLIP) and Alexandra Payling (SMLIP)

Urban Public Finance
Liza Rose Cirolia (CTLIP) and David Owuor (KLIP)

Urban Food Security and Value Chain
Gunilla Almered Olsson (GOLIP) and Nick Taylor Buck (SMLIP)

Migration and Sustainable Urban Development
Erica Righard (SKLIP), Henrietta Palmer (GOLIP) and Sanna Isemo (GOLIP)

Neighbourhood Transformation and Development
Sophie King (SMLIP) and Vicky Simpson (SMLIP)

Cultural Heritage and Urban Development
Helene Brembeck (GOLIP) and Ryan Bellison (SMLIP)


Media coverage

Kisumu Local Interactive Platform holds dinner as urban cities conference ends

Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang Nyong'o attended a dinner at Kiboko Bay on Wednesday upon invitation from Kisumu Local Interactive Platform (KLP). Hivisasa, Published November 2017. 

Governor Nyong's Communication Unit

The Governor of The Great County of Kisumu met with a delegation from KLIP - Kisumu Local Interactive Platform. Facebook, November, 2017


Please note: to view all the information about the conference, use the blue menu bar in the top left corner of the page that says "Annual Conference".