Housing for the Urban Poor
From Local Action to Global Networks

June 24, 2014, Lecture at the Hong Kong University

Josefine Fokdal gave a lecture on 'Regional Networks of Urban Poor in the Housing Field and the Changing Interface with the State - the example of Thailand and the Philippines' at the department of Architecture at the Hong Kong University.

Governments have for long failed to meet the demand of housing for urban poor in most countries across Asia. This situation has lead to an exclusion from access to services and resources for many urban poor in the region. Increasingly, transnational networks of urban poor at the grassroots level have evolved. They aim at a structural change from participative to collaborative modes of governance on multiple levels: Create new governance spaces at the city level, offer new modes of collaboration and interfaces with the state and private sector at the national level – and thereby change the dynamics of governance. This paper takes its starting point in the transnational network of the Urban Poor Communities Asia (UPCA), which operates under the umbrella of the NGO network Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR) and the program Asian Coalition for Community Action Program (ACCA). The ACCA program is an up scaling initiative of more conventional national alliances consisting of multiple CBOs supported by one NGO. It creates a network of urban poor communities that have already taken action in their own communities and in many cases on a city level, to create a new movement of urban poor within the region of Asia, i.e. UPCA. The main argument is that transnational networks of urban poor are creating new dynamics of governance and interfaces for negotiations with the local and national state institutions, as well as international organizations legitimized through numbers and their transnational scope - a paradigm change in urban governance in Asia’s mega-cities.

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