Organising grassroots initiatives for a more inclusive governance: constructing the city from below

With ever increasing numbers of people moving to urban areas, the world is facing increasing pressure on both ecological and human environments. Most of this growth is occurring in unplanned and underserved settlements in low- and middle-income countries. As the authors say, the resources and approaches needed to incorporate people and citizen-led initiatives into a more inclusive governance are lacking. Yet, policy making often ignores how, in the absence of formal infrastructure and services, low-income citizens in informal settlements have developed assets, resources and valuable practices for the provision of social services such as housing, water, sanitation, energy, transportation, food or waste collection services.

The project examines how grassroots organizations and networks providing urban critical services in informal settlements contribute to improve the quality of life of urban dwellers and to more inclusive forms of urban governance, constructing the city from below. The project is informed by the study of Kisumu’s informal settlements’ Resident Associations, the Water Delegated Management Model, and the Kisumu Waste Actors Network.