Academic Partnership in Integrated Urban Development Studies – an interdisciplinary approach for the sustainable development of spontaneous human settlements in the central urban area of Managua | urban_managua
Romer ALTAMIRANO, MSc.
Universidad Centroamericana, Nicaragua
Fundación Casa de los Tres Mundos (Dieter STADLER, MSc.), Vienna University of Technology (Univ.-Prof. Andreas HOFER, Roland KREBS, MSc.)
Partner Country: Nicaragua
Project Duration: 1 October 2012 – 30 September 2014
Abstract:The project urban_managua (UM) aims to introduce creative urban development tools and innovative methodologies in urban studies in the curriculum of architecture and related disciplines (urban sociology, history, etc.) at Universidad Centroamericana (UCA). A main objective is the integration of academic, practical and socio-cultural approaches and the response to the needs/demands for improved living conditions in spontaneous human settlements (SHS) in the central urban area of Managua/Nicaragua.
Over a two-year period, the project has three interrelated specific objectives: Firstly, UM aims to strengthen educational and applied research skills in the academic curriculum of urban planners and researchers through an interdisciplinary partnership between the UCA, IEI, UT Vienna and other primary stakeholders in this field. Integrated Urban Development Studies (IUDS) will be introduced and institutionalized in UCA’s urban studies discipline and will allow for an integral and interdisciplinary urban planning approach that is demand/needs‐driven and community-based. A second objective is to foster a permanent South-South dialogue between academics and practitioners to strengthen the relation and cooperation between urban planning academics (“know why”) and practitioners (“know how”) on a national and regional (i.e. Central- and South American) level. Therefore national and international professionals act as guest lecturers in classes and give expert critiques on practical works. Thirdly, the project will also contribute to improving the local livelihood conditions of the families of Barrio La Candelaria, an informal settlement in the mere centre of Managua where the student workshop and accompanying academic research will take place throughout the project. Important is a Participatory Development Approach (PDA) on a local level throughout the project, which implements cultural activities to promote the local community’s inclusion in the planning and research processes, thereby strengthening their sense of project ownership.
The aim is therefore not only a theoretical one but also a specific contribution to poverty alleviation. Through improving Nicaragua’s higher education and academic research system we aim to make a major contribution to efficient implementation of the urban development strategies and programmes aimed at reducing poverty and achieving the MDGs.