A three-day event building on Cities Alliance's continued efforts to support informal settlement integration at the forefront of urban planning in India.

Register for the event here.


India accounts for 63% of the total slum population in the Central and Southern Asia region (UNHabitat, 2020). The informal sector contributes almost 50% of the country's GDP. Yet, informal workers often reside in poorly serviced informal settlements with no security of tenure and precarious livelihoods. For most of them, the situation has been exacerbated by the pandemic. 

With the aim of “Reimagining Inclusive Cities in a Post COVID Era”, the Community of Practice in Housing and Slum Upgrading organizes this international symposium. The objective of the event is to facilitate the discussion on the state of informal settlements in India, vis-à-vis the regulatory, legal, financial and planning interventions required in the long run to achieve resilient and inclusive cities.

The Community of Practice includes Cities Alliance, the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ) India, Habitat for Humanity, the World Bank, the Human Settlement Management Institute of the Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd (HUDCO), the Asian Development Bank, the National Institute of Urban Affairs, and Scaling City Institutions for India (SCI-FI) at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR). 

The symposium will aim at:

  • Discussing the challenges and vulnerabilities of the informal settlements
  • Rethinking how to mainstream the centrality of building city resilience, including sustainable livelihoods in urban development
  • Learning lessons from  projects and good city practices to effectively manage COVID-19
  • Enhancing local capacities through a community of research and practice on building inclusive cities.

The event, held in English, will be organised in the LAV (Housing Laboratory) format, where participants contribute to an open discussion. Live interpretation English-Spanish will be provided on day 3.

Reimagining Inclusive Cities in the COVID-19 Era

Day 1 - September 20, 2021 / 13:00 - 15:30 CET

Responsive urban planning framework towards building equitable and inclusive cities in the wake of Covid-19


  • Shubhagato Dasgupta, Senior Fellow, CPR
  • David Satterthwaite, Senior Fellow, IIED 
  • Yan F. Zhang, Senior Urban Economist, World Bank
  • Fernando Mello Franco, Former Joint Secretary of Urban Planning, City of São Paulo
  • Vidyadhar Phatak, Former Head of the Planning Division, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) 
  • Peter Rabley, Venture Partner, Global Property Rights Portfolio, The Omidyar Network
  • Georg Jahnsen, Project Manager, SUD-SC, GIZ 
  • Hong Soo Lee, Senior Urban Specialist (Smart Cities), Urban Sector Group, SDCC, ADB
  • Jane Weru, Executive Director, Akiba Mashinani Trust (AMT), Nairobi 
  • Manish Kumar Gupta, IAS, Principal Commissioner, DDA
  • Tereza Herling, Urban and Housing Specialist, Academic at Mackenzie University's Architecture and Urbanism School
  • Rebecca Ochong, Senior Manager, Habitat for Humanity International

Day 2 - September 22, 2021 / 13:00 - 15:30 CET

Upgrading informal settlements to foster resilient cities against future pandemics


  • Anaclaudia Marinheiro Centeno Rossbach, Regional Manager LAC, Cities Alliance
  • G. Mathi Vathanan, IAS, Principal Secretary, HUDD, Govt of Odisha
  • Ajoy Sharma, IAS, CEO, PMIDC, Govt. of Punjab
  • Tri Dewi Virgiyanti, Director Housing and Settlement at Ministry of National Development Planning/National Development Agency of Republic, Indonesia
  • Faizal Seedat, Senior Manager Planning, Human Settlements Unit, eThekwini Municipality, Durban
  • Ajay Suri, Senior Adviser - Inclusive Development, NIUA, India
  • Renu Khosla, Director, CURE
  • Frank Samol, Senior Project Manager, GIZ 
  • Shilpa Kumar, Investment Partner, Omidyar Network India
  • Marion Rono, Director of Housing- Nairobi Metropolitan Services, Nairobi City County
  • Shubhagato Dasgupta, Senior Fellow, CPR
  • Virinder Sharma, Senior Urban Development Specialist Asian Development Bank 


Day 3 - September 24, 2021 / 13:00 - 15:30 CET

Ensuring the integration of informal economy into the city value chain to combat economic adversities in the event of a pandemic


  • Anindita Mukherjee, Senior Researcher, CPR
  • Jorge Pérez-Jaramillo, Senior Consultant, World Bank
  • Maria Ana R. Oliveros, Former President, Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC)
  • Fernanda Garcia Monticelli, Subsecretary of Land Management and Neighbourhood Services, Socio-Urban Integration Secretariat, Argentina
  • Kulasekhara Chakravarthy, General Manager, National Housing Bank (tbc)
  • Rajan Samuel, Managing Director, Habitat for Humanity, India
  • P Jayapal, Former Senior Executive Director, HUDCO
  • Amita Bhide, Professor, School of Habitat Studies, Centre for Environmental Health, TISS 
  • P Satish, Executive Director, Sa-Dhan 
  • Lara Shankar Chandra, Director - Strategy, Advocacy & Partnerships, Habitat for Humanity India
  • Akshaya Sen, Joint General Manager, HUDCO
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