Spatial Profiling in Ethiopia

Qoloji, located in the Somali Region of Ethiopia is the largest of the many settlements housing internally displaced communities in the country. The urban planning technical support that URBANLOGIC provided to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) helped to provide a succinct overview of the local and regional context. It is part of a wider set of project initiatives that examine how the socio-economic development of the area can be enhanced holistically to benefit the communities living there. In order to design interventions of that nature, it is critical to begin with fully and comprehensively comprehending the existing situation. URBANLOGIC carried out comprehensive spatial mapping, analysis and visualisations to support the development of the Qoloji Spatial Profile.

The profile provides entry points for regional and settlement-level practitioners to feed into longer-term sustainable urban development processes. The analysis considers the various scales of work and the relevant outcomes, e.g., strategic and country level information decision makers as well as settlement technical information. The analysis and final document was developed to be used as a basis for open and informed decisions with local government and community members. The spatial assessment and participatory scenario building was developed through remote sensing and hybrid virtual workshops.

Wan Chai Public Space

In late 2020, URBANLOGIC was commissioned by Architecture Commons to support with a public space research assessment for the District Council in Wan Chai district, an area globally synonymous with the urban vibrancy that epitomises Hong Kong. The project objective was to assess the overall quantity and quality of the public space of Wan Chai based on the premise that good quality public spaces are a vital ingredient of successful cities.  When understood and designed to respond to the needs of the local inhabitants, they can improve mobility and access to services, and at the same time make their environment safer and crime-free, stimulating economic activity and investment, conserving historical and cultural assets or facilitating urban renewal and inclusiveness.

The project provided the critical hard analysis and evidence base for the project partner to carry out site by site participatory workshops and provide an overall assessment on the intersecting conditionality of Wan Chai District’s public space. URBANLOGIC carried out multidimensional spatial analysis related to various key indicators across identified dimensions such as accessibility, environment, amenities, functionality and inclusivity. This aimed to provide the baseline metrics to provide a common understanding of the public space environment in the district for further consideration and proposal making to improve the public realm of Wan Chai District.


Climate Resilient Urban Planning

URBANLOGIC (in association with Niras (Denmark) provided advice to AFD and the Government of Cambodia to assess the nature, and spatial location of climate hazards, vulnerabilities and risks in the secondary cities of Battambang, Kampot, Kratie and Chhlong. The main objective of the assessment was to improve the resilience of the cities’ urban/urban fringe infrastructure and to strengthen their ability to manage disruption from climate change related and other natural hazards.

The overriding aim for URBANLOGIC was to provide the critical spatial planning advice and socio-economic assessments, including: (i) implementable policies, plans and projects, ensuring better resilience for the cities’ generally; (ii)  climate adaptation measures which set an integrated planning and design context for the protection of vulnerable urban/urban fringe areas, the urban poor and heritage conservation areas; and (iii) capacity building and monitoring requirements in urban planning and design. Numerous city specific green infrastructure projects were identified, along with linked system-oriented actions to enable pathways to implementation to be recommended.  Critical components of policy analysis, local governance and municipal finance were highlighted through a stakeholder engagement process and an adaptive capacity assessment and training needs analysis, to develop a road map for institutional and human resource capacity development in support of climate change adaptation and resilience.

2nd GMS Tourism Infrastructure

Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), and Viet Nam (CLV) are endowed with diverse tourism assets and actively cooperate to promote tourism because of its substantial contributions to economic and social progress.
In 2016, CLV’s international visitor arrivals totaled 19.2 million, generating $22.1 billion destination expenditure and about 3 million jobs. Given CLV’s facilitative visa policies, improved connectivity with regional and long-haul markets, and strong outbound tourism demand in Asia, international visitor arrivals could reach 28 million in 2020 and generate $38 billion destination expenditure. Achieving these targets would provide jobs for over 5 million workers – the majority women employed by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Despite these strengths and opportunities, CLV rank low in the World Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index. Consequently, their share of ASEAN’s international arrivals was just 19% in 2016, with Cambodia and the Lao PDR’s receiving only 8.0%. Key causes of low competitiveness and asymmetric growth are the lack of modern, well-maintained airports and ports, roads, sanitation and solid waste management, flood control measures, and clean water supply in secondary destinations. Vulnerability to climate change exacerbates these problems.

The project’s objective is to help transform secondary GMS central and southern corridor towns into economically inclusive, competitive international tourism destinations by improving road and water transport infrastructure, urban environmental services, and capacity to sustainably manage tourism growth. The project will boost trade in services and deepen regional cooperation and integration among the GMS and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The project has three outputs: (i) urban-rural access infrastructure and urban environmental services improved; (ii) capacity to implement ASEAN tourism standards strengthened; and (iii) institutional arrangements for tourism destination management and infrastructure O&M strengthened. Project areas in Lao PDR include Champasak, Luang Prabang and Vientiane provinces, all located along the GMS Central Economic Corridor.

4th GMS Corridor Towns

Poor connectivity between corridor towns is one of the most significant impediments to trade, investment, and accessibility to markets and tourism destinations. Connectivity is not only concerned with making improvements to transport and communications but also creating the enabling environments to support the growth of trade, investment, exchange of information and knowledge, business networks and collaborative governance arrangements to address development problems and formulate policies for the development of the corridors. Improving these enabling factors will be crucial to increasing the rate of growth and stimulating the development of all towns and cities along the corridors.

An evaluation was undertaken for a range of socio-economic and development indicators of the largest towns in provinces in Cambodia and Lao PDR. The purpose was to determine which towns should be selected for inclusion in the Project. An index of 11 indicators was compiled to measure urbanization, poverty and health, basic urban services, household incomes, enterprise expenditure and profits for the 24 provinces (including urban areas) which provides a comparison of differences in levels of socio-economic development. The 11 data sets for the 24 provinces and urban centres were individually ranked from best to worst performance.

The cities selected for financial support by the ADB were Kratie, Kampong Cham and Stung Treng in Cambodia, and Paksan and Thakhek in Lao PDR.

GMS Border Economic Zones

In Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, Myanmar and Viet Nam, optimal economic investment potential for cities and towns at most cross-border economic zones is not realized. After investigating and evaluating the potential of 17 border crossings (corresponding to 34 border towns) along economic corridors, we identified four border crossings between China/Vietnam, Cambodia/Thailand and Lao PDR/Thailand, for which strategic economic plans are being developed. The plans will set specific policies and proposals to optimize investment opportunities, upgrade economic zone performance and create a better socio-economic climate in the associated small cities and towns.

Hetian Urban Regeneration

We consulted the city of Hetian- located in China’s Xinjiang province- on their comprehensive urban development and environmental improvement strategy. The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Government and the city government, in consultation with the Asian Development Bank, have identified approximately six to eight sub-projects which are suitable for potentially securing an ADB loan. One of the subprojects is specific to urban regeneration in Tuancheng, with particular reference to the area known as Tuancheng Phase 3 (Urban Regeneration). For this area, an urban regeneration master plan and subproject proposals, costs and implementation advice were provided in order to assure subproject feasibility and suitability for inclusion in the ADB loan. The project was be led by Urbanlogic partner Keith Perry. His task was to build a partnership between government and residents for urban renewal in a part of the old town, focusing on conserving traditional culture and ethnic interest whilst at the same time improving economic prosperity.

Development Strategy for Jiangxi

Urbanlogic has completed a Provincial Urban-Rural Integrated Development Strategy for Jiangxi province, which was endorsed by the government as an outcome of a stakeholder workshop in Nanchang in May 2018. [Read more…]

2nd GMS Corridor Towns

Working through Groupe Huit, our principal partner Keith Perry has recently completed another keynote feasibility study for the Asian Development Bank, for which he acted as Team Leader. The project included:

  • Integrated Urban and Environment Management;
  • Green City Planning;
  • Urban Conservation and Enhancement;
  • Eco Tourism and Conservation;
  • Sustainable Solid Waste Management Planning;
  • Integrated Urban Infrastructure;
  • Social Development and Poverty Reduction; and
  • Capacity Building and Training.

The feasibility study was set within the context of economic progress for the Greater Mekong Subregion and included seven corridor towns, spread across Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam. The feasibility study adopted ADB’s “Green City Agenda” which is based around the three key principles of Economy-Equity-Environment and which were applied to: (i) the development of Strategic Local Economic Development Plans for each of the seven towns. Each of these plans included a comprehensive and cross-sector medium-term investment program forming the baseline for the stakeholder investment across the public/private sectors; and (ii) feasibility studies on project priorities for inclusion in an ADB project loan for the three national governments.

EU-China Exhibition- GIZ Booth

In the context of the EU-China Urbanisation Partnership and the annual EU-China Urbanisation Forum, the European Commission, the EU Committee of the Regions and the China Center for Urban Development (CCUD) jointly organised an exhibition to showcase best practices of urban development in both countries. Urbanlogic was commissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to develop an exhibition design that was to reflect both the GIZ’s expertise in sustainable urbanisation and their contribution to the EU-German-Chinese partnership.

On our booth, the Sino-EU-German cooperation is represented as a “City of Ideas”- a 3-dimensional matrix, in which the vertical dimension is a series of info columns (the “buildings”), each of which displays one of the sustainability-related “sectors” of the collaboration. Just like in a real city, in which the activities that happen in the buildings are connected by a network of streets, the horizontal dimension represents the cross-cutting areas of the cooperation.

Inspired by short presentations in the “speaker’s corner”, we invited our guests to map their ideas for future bilateral collaboration projects onto the existing “sector” columns, as well- in the case of new topics which are not yet represented by any of the existing columns- onto their seats and a dedicated area on the side wall. As projects and topics are added, the topic of sustainable urbanisation is visualised as the “City of Ideas” grows. Thus the booth becomes an initially incomplete social sculpture, which in the course of the exhibition will be completed interactively by the visitors.

Among the displayed bilateral cooperation projects are projects implemented by the “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH” on behalf of the German government, such as the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) as well as projects by GIZ’s co-exhibitors- the Hanseatic City of Bremen and the Deutsche Energieagentur (DENA).

In the booth’s speaker’s corner, many of the actors involved in bilateral cooperation were given voice and visitors were invited to share their views and ideas through a comprehensive programme of short presentations, films, discussions, interviews and other interactive elements.