Graduate Training

Built environment professionals (engineers, planners, urban designers, architects) play a critical role in shaping the environment in which informal workers live and work. Informality in general, and the informal economy in particular, seldom features in graduate training for these professionals. This is despite the fact that informal work is in many contexts the dominant form of work, but also that this is one of the most challenging and exciting urban infrastructure, design and management areas. One of WIEGO’s focus areas under the Inclusive Cities project is working on curriculum reform.

The work so far has concentrated on:

An overview of planning education trends

Professor Vanessa Watson, head of the Planning Department at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and an active member both of the Global Planning Education Association Network and the African Association of Planning Schools drafted a research paper outlining trends in planning education and networking among planning educators, in part with a view to identifying how to influence planning education.

Collaboration with the African Association of Planning Schools (AAPS)

AAPS has a membership of 48 planning institutions from all regions of Africa. WIEGO has signed a memorandum of understanding with AAPS. Both parties are committed to collaborating on initiatives, plans and policies which encourage pro-poor and inclusive cities and towns in Africa.

Development of an Informal Economy Educational Toolkit

A key focus of AAPS is revitalising planning education on the continent. AAPS has developed a series of course outlines and toolkits, which planning schools may use free of charge to help with their curricular development processes. WIEGO Urban Policies staff contributed a toolkit on the informal economy for this process. The toolkit is designed for post graduates through a nine session seminar programme. Through the readings, course exercises and assignments provided, the toolkit aims to equip students with the conceptual and practical tools to respond creatively to the complex issues associated with urban informal economies.

Request for feedback: we would love any feedback from both students and educators using this toolkit. How have you used it and where? What did you find worked and where would you suggest improvements be made? Please email WIEGO.

Collaboration with the Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS)

IIHS is India’s first inter-disciplinary National University for Research and Innovation that focuses on urban development and transformation. WIEGO has collaborated with IIHS in its curriculum development.

Overview of planning literature

James Duminy completed an annotated bibliography of planning literature and informality. This is with a view to assessing how informality is understood and researched in the discipline but also aims to assist planning academics and students interested in conducting research in this area.