Utafiti Sera House on Urban Governance and City Transformation

Africa’s urbanisation rate is the highest in the world. Depending on the degree and efficacy of urban governance and planning, this can be either be an opportunity or a challenge. Poorly planned cities can result in increased inequality, poverty, crime, slum proliferation and public health hazards. Alternatively, effective urban governance and planning can facilitate economic growth, poverty reduction, cultural renaissances and transformation. House activities are inspired by a set of studies conducted by the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) on ‘Urban Governance and Turning Cities around in Africa’ and works closely with policy actors to bridge the gap between research evidence being produced in this area and public policy and practice. This is achieved through a mixture of research, policy actors’ engagement, debates and exchanges, structured dialogues and media outreach, to solve difficult development and policy issues and improve the lives of urban residents of Nairobi and Kigali.

Kigali, Rwanda

The Utafiti Sera house on Urban Governance and City Transformation in Rwanda was inaugurated on January 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. The house is hosted by the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research-Rwanda (IPAR-Rwanda), a  leading independent, not-for-profit research and policy analysis think tank in Rwanda, in partnership with PASGR. It forms a community of practice and interest that seeks to enhance policy processes and outcomes around issues related to Urban Governance in Kigali, Rwanda. Seeking to promote inclusive and evidence-informed policy-making, the house represents a diverse set of stakeholders including representatives of the residents of Kigali, government officials, members of parliament, legal experts, academics, public intellectuals, development partners and agencies.

The provision of affordable housing, access to effective and affordable public transport, and improving waste management for enhanced public health are some of the priority issues collectively identified by the stakeholders in the house as areas which need evidence for policy intervention.

House Activities and Resources

Background Notes:

Background note to Utafiti Sera Forum on Affordable Housing in Kigali

Forum Reports

  1. First Utafiti Sera Stakeholders’ Forum Report:
  2. Second Utafiti Sera on Affordable Housing in Kigali Forum Report

Policy Briefs:

Utafiti Sera Policy Brief on Affordable Housing in Kigali: Issues and recommendations

The Integrated Housing Development Program: Identifying Strengths and Gaps


Newspaper Articles/Blogs:

IPAR (2018) FEATURED: Using Research Evidence To Inform Debate On Affordable Housing In Kigali (2018). The New Times.

Tumwebaze, P. (2018) Researchers Call for More Collaboration to Spur Urban Development, The New Times

Florence, U. (2018) Researchers explore ways how housing can be improved, ImvahoNshya Newspaper Page 13, Issue No. 4477, Published April 27, 2018




Nairobi, Kenya

The Nairobi Urban Governance and City Transformation Utafiti Sera house was inaugurated in January 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya. The House is hosted by PAMOJA Trust, an NGO that works to facilitate and advocate for processes and approaches aimed at strengthening people’s organisation formations to ensure better livelihoods for the urban poor. The house brings together a community of practice and interest working to enhance policy processes and outcomes around issues related to Urban Governance and inclusive city dwelling in Nairobi, Kenya. House Membership consists of a diverse set of urbanists and other interested stakeholders including governmental institutions in-charge of land and infrastructure development (KENHA, National Lands Commission), Members of Parliament, legal experts, academics and public intellectuals, donor partners and development agencies, CSOs and urban slam community representatives.

The Nairobi Urban Governance Utafiti Sera House focus on providing evidence for productive engagement and policy processes aimed at improving social aspects of urban infrastructure development in Nairobi (mechanisms for public participation in infrastructure projects, devising a national framework for just compensation and resettlement schemes for person affected by infrastructure development and securing land tenure rights for the urban poor).

House Activities and Resources

Background Notes:

Background note to Utafiti Sera Forum on Social Dimension of Infrastructure Development

Forum Reports

  1. Steering Committee Meeting Report On Urban Governance And City Transformation
  2. 1st Utafiti Sera Forum Report on Urban Governance & City Transformation in Kenya

Policy Briefs:

Social Dimension of Infrastructure: Towards A Policy on Evictions and Resettlement

Newspaper Articles and Blogs:

Akoth, S. (2018). Opinion: Respect of human rights key as we develop infrastructure. The Standard. Retrieved 19 June 2018