10 Year Retrospective

In 2015, the Institute for International Urban Development will celebrate its tenth anniversary. We look forward to a bright future for the Institute beyond this milestone that has been made possible by generous contributions from our supporters. To celebrate, we’ve created a series of postcards from the cities and communities we’ve worked in to share with you some of the highlights of our work since becoming an independent non-profit organization. As we enter our 10th year as I2UD (and nearly three decades of working together), the Institute continues an approach that builds a bridge between the practice of urban and regional development and our research activities funded mainly by the annual gifts of our supporters.

I2UD has been a driver of change and transformation in the cities and regions around the world where we work, as highlighted in our postcards. Our activities can be summarized by four words: Collaborate. Educate. Plan. Sustain.

From our office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, we collaborate with an extensive network of international and regional organizations, central and local governments, researchers, senior practitioners and NGOs. We are active through multiple international networks in global dialogues on issues related to land, development, environment, and culture.

Through interactive training courses, we educate and build the capacity of local governments and communities to address new development challenges brought about by rapid urban growth. We’ve conducted training courses for hundreds of government officials and communities not only in South Africa, but through our involvement in projects in Eastern Europe, Belize, and Ireland.

Participation and inclusion are key pillars of our approach. We plan in collaboration with communities and government organizations to manage and guide urban and regional development. Our recent work in Lesedi (South Africa) and Arusha (Tanzania) formulating urban design strategies with citizens, local authorities, and regional governments highlights how this approach can help communities overcome the challenges of rapid growth together.

The Institute addresses the social, cultural, financial, and environmental factors that sustain urban environments. When development pressures threaten the integrity of a city’s architectural and cultural heritage, we develop management strategies to revitalize and preserve historic districts while continuing to support urban development. Through our work in Cartagena (Colombia) and Condega (Nicaragua) on vulnerability and exposure to flooding and in El Alto (Bolivia) in relation to drought, we strive to enhance the resilience of urban communities, particularly in low-income neighborhoods, as they confront diverse climate change challenges.

As our ‘Publications’ postcard mentions, we document and evaluate emerging urban development trends and practices in urban and regional growth management. The lessons learned are then incorporated into our technical assistance and training activities. This unique combination has given I2UD international recognition and an important influence in organizations that make urban policy decisions. Some of our hallmark publications include contributions to The Urban Planning Guide for City Leaders, The State of African Cities 2010 and 2012, the UCLG GOLD III Chapter on the Middle East and West Asia, and lead authorship of the 2012 State of Arab Cities UN-Habitat publication.

As we look forward to what the next 10 years holds for the Institute and for the world’s rapidly growing cities, we invite you to reflect on the accomplishments of some of the cities we’ve supported and browse our extensive library of policy and project publications. We also hope you will consider making a gift to support the continued work of the Institute. Your generous contribution enables us to undertake critical research into the challenges and opportunities of urbanization in low-income countries, and provide our planning expertise to communities who need it most.

We greatly appreciate your support. Here’s to another 10 years!

Don’t forget to take a look back on 10 years of work through our postcard series!