[9 January 2009] -- The Cities Alliance Secretariat is pleased to announce the appointment of Julian Baskin to the position of Senior Urban Specialist.

A town and regional planner with more than 25 years of experience in urban development, Baskin will oversee the Cities Alliance slum upgrading work programme, and coordinate and monitor the portfolio. He will also work with members and prospective partners to develop strategic upgrading programmes.

“I am really excited to be part of the Cities Alliance. After years of working at the local level dealing with the complexities of slum communities, I now have the opportunity through the Cities Alliance to look at the challenges from a global learning perspective,” Baskin said.

He also stressed the importance of combining local experiences with global knowledge for an effective approach to dealing with slums. “The correct interface and balance between local reality and global knowledge is vital if slums are to be eradicated,” he noted.

Prior to joining Cities Alliance, Baskin served as Director of the Alexandra Renewal Project (ARP), a major urban redevelopment initiative in Alexandra, Gauteng Province, South Africa.

During his career he has also worked for the international agencies CARE and UN-HABITAT, the national NGO Planact, the Metro Housing City in Durban, South Africa and the National Institute for Physical Planning in Mozambique.

In 1999, he was awarded the Kwa-Zulu Natal Housing Person of the Year award, and a project under his supervision received an Ipululelo Award from the South African parliament for outstanding innovation.

Baskin holds a Masters degree in Town and Regional Planning from the University of Natal in Durban.

The author of numerous papers on urban planning and sustainable development, his areas of expertise include household livelihood security, local economic development, good urban governance, post-conflict negotiated development, participatory urban planning processes, sustainable urban services and infrastructure, and affordable housing.

He will be based at the Cities Alliance Secretariat in Washington, DC.

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