IIED podcast explores opportunities for urban change

News, 4 February 2020
Ahead of the 2020 World Urban Forum, the third episode of IIED's ‘Make Change Happen’ podcast looks at how our local-to-global urban work developed and its current priorities.

IIED's podcast series offers listeners the opportunity to hear from researchers about their work on key global challenges and how we are working to make change happen. The series of audio recordings can be listened to online or downloaded direct to your mobile phone.

The third episode of the podcast, 'Seizing opportunities for urban change', looks at our work on inclusive urban futures. It features David Satterthwaite, who spearheaded IIED’s work on urban poverty. He is joined by senior urban researcher Anna Walnycki, and podcast host Liz Carlile, IIED's director of communications.

Satterthwaite begins with his realisation – in the 1970s – that IIED’s natural partners for urban research would be federations of the urban poor and the local governments they work with. IIED still follows this principle today, working with those urban residents most vulnerable to environmental as well as social injustices.

The researchers discuss the innovative nature of urban community groups, and how their ability to gather data and network has even led to the ability to influence global narratives. These grassroots groups have carved out a voice for the urban poor, which IIED seeks to amplify.

While national ambitions for sustainable urbanisation are high, Satterthwaite notes failures to recognise cities’ part in delivering this, and the exclusion of local governments and federations of the urban poor from relevant planning. The upcoming World Urban Forum (WUF) offers a chance to explore these big issues.

The researchers note that a key issue for moving on an inclusive urban agenda is donors’ willingness to channel money where it matters: to the frontlines of urban need, where Satterthwaite says that federations require little funding to achieve a great deal.

Both guests explain why they feel optimistic about the opportunities for inclusive, low-carbon sustainable urbanisation, inspired by successful community-led projects and the urban residents doing this vital work.

The podcast was funded by UN-Habitat as part of its project on pro-poor planning for climate resilience in marginalised neighbourhoods.

The IIED podcast – listen and subscribe

The ‘Make Change Happen’ podcast aims to provide informal insights into how IIED is working to create positive change.

The podcast title, ‘Make Change Happen’, refers to IIED’s new 2019-2024 strategy, which sets out IIED's response to the critical challenges of our time, from climate crisis to biodiversity loss and increasing inequality.

You can subscribe to the podcast on your favourite podcast app as follows:

The podcast is also available on IIED's YouTube channel.

You can follow the panellists on Twitter: @Dsatterthwaite, @AnnaWalnycki and @LizCarlile. Follow the podcast on @IIED_Voices for all the latest updates.


Anna Walnycki (anna.walnycki@iied.org), senior researcher, Human Settlements research group

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