The Geneva Challenge 2016: Finalists

CityProgress - Web Portal for Active Data Sharing, Dissemination and Analysis for Disaster Reduction

The Team



H S Krrithiya is pursuing her MBA in International Business at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Urban Planning and her thesis explores the dynamics of urban sprawl in cities. She is interested in studying the role of real estate markets, urban planners and the government in shaping cities.


Shruthi Arvind is pursuing her Master’s in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and currently works at PennPraxis, the social impact arm of PennDesign. Her research focuses on data-driven solutions to community and economic development challenges faced by communities around the world.


Rachna Edakandy is pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration from Xavier Institute of Management Bhubaneswar. Her prior experience in urban planning coupled with her current business development skills sparked her interest in exploring the scope of Smart Cities in India. Urban development and sustainability are her key areas of interest.


Nonie Mathur is a Master of Urban Planning candidate at New York University. She currently works as Reseach Assistant at NYU Wagner. She is interested in exploring the use of technology in cities to ensure efficiency.


Prerak Shah is a Chartered Accountant from The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and is pursuing his Master’s in Business Administration from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar. Being a resident of one of the most rapidly urbanizing cities of Gujarat, India, he is highly sensitive towards the inclusivity and challenges caused due to urbanisation.


The Project

Urban planning is acutely affected by and reacts to disasters in cities around the world. Although the occurrence of natural disasters is not a new phenomenon, they have been amplified by the scale of urbanisation and associated climate change. 

By 2050, 66% of our world will be urbanised and this shift is largely taking place in developing countries where the population lacks access to resources that could raise their standard of living and where the city fabric cannot accommodate the population increase.

In addition, post disaster recovery is associated with high monetary costs (nearly $1.7 trillion dollars between 2000 and 2012). These issues tie into the inadequacy of disaster preparedness and mitigation efforts in cities and delay planning efforts towards sustainable growth and development.

Our proposal addresses the need to mainstream disaster risk reduction in urban planning processes across the world. We aim to do this in a two-pronged manner. The first is by providing a framework for cities to measure their vulnerability to disasters and map the progress made by their urban local bodies and city planners. Their vulnerability to disasters is calculated by a composite index of relevant factors determined through the Sendai Framework, UN-Habitat’s Sustainable Development Goals and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP 21. The second is by providing decision makers with an online work platform to consolidate their disaster risk data and compare their performance with cities around the world. This is carried out through the creation of CityProgress, a web portal to promote active data-sharing. [more]



MINGA - Collective Waste Management


The Team


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Arianna Espinosa Oliver holds a B.A. in Government and International Relations Professional and  is a MSc candidate in Social Policy and Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her work experience is focused in the design, management, and delivery of social capacity building policies, across natural and human-­made disasters. She worked in Colombia's public sector at the national  level, coordinating climate change  adaptation strategies, as well as, in the private and academic sector promoting social inclusion programmes for the armed conflict's victims.

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David Núñez Amórtegui holds a B.A. in Political  Science and is a MSc candidate in Environment and Development at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. His work experience is focused in the research, design and management of public policy and social projects at the National Government of Colombia. He conducted academic research on constitutionalism, environmental and collective rights, environmental policy and political ecology. He is currently working in participatory ecological protection an restoration of Urban Forest Reserve in Bogotá and is developing a project of social-­tech for democracy and peace in Colombia.


Pilar  Veloza  Cantillo  holds a B.A. in Law and Sociology and is a MSc candidate in Urbanization and Development at  the London School of Economics and Political  Science. Her experience has chiefly focused in academic and social research and political activism. She has coordinated the legal strategy to defend territorial rights of urban informal settlements in Bogotá, as well as participated as research assistant in the project “Following to the public policy about land restitution” funded by the European Union (EU).

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Abraham Hidalgo Mendoza holds a B.A. in Government and International  Relations Professional and is a MSc candidate in Social Policy and Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His work has focused during the last five years in the development of public programmes aimed to enhance political participation and  alternative socioeconomic activation process of segregated communities (LGBT, Afro Colombian, Indigenous, Waste Pickers, People with Healht Impearments) in Bogota, as well as a researcher in private organisations analysing the affectations of extractive industries in the development of the Colombian armed conflict.

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Cristian  Gil Sánchez holds a B.A. in Economics and is a MSc candidate in City Design at the London School of Economics and Political  Science. His work has been focused in creating bridges between different branches of  knowledge and using techonology and design to improve public policy delivering. He had relevant work experienceas data analyst, researcher and policy maker in the public, private and non-­profit sector in Colombia. Cristian has launched and participated in several projects of info-­activism.


The Project

MINGA represents an alternative to improve waste management systems while promoting social inclusion and environmental-friendly behaviour in Bogota. By taking into account problems associated with rapid and unplanned urban growth in developing countries such as increased pollution, socio-economic exclusion and informal economies, MINGA underpins a kind of urbanisation that effectively nurtures sustainable development. Based on e-participation and behavioural transformation frameworks, the project seeks to generate a different social approach by households and citizens towards the culture of recycling and the links associated to the waste management chain.

Solid waste management is one of the most challenging issues faced by Global South cities. Waste production in urban areas is exponentially increasing due to urban population expansion and the industrial-based modern lifestyle. The activity of informal waste management actors such as waste pickers, while positively impacting several dimensions of urban life, is often socially stigmatised and characterised by small-scale, labour-intensive, low-paid, unorganised/unplanned, and unregistered/unregulated work. In Bogota, recycling strategies for material transformation have not been fully embraced by local authorities and informal waste pickers remain a vulnerable and excluded sector, whose labour in the waste management chain is not fully recognised. Our proposal seeks to provide an alternative insight on how to improve waste management systems while promoting social inclusion and environmental-behaviour.

Based on e-participation and behavioural transformation frameworks, it is possible to create an alternative social approach towards the culture of recycling and the socioeconomic links associated with the waste management chain. We argue that normalised social practices that include the stigmatisation of vulnerable groups (in this case waste pickers) and incipient information guidelines on waste management practices result in a vicious disarticulation of formal and informal waste management sectors. However, these practices can be mitigated through the appropriate usage of information and communication technologies to provide a continuous and accurate flow of information between users and service providers (both from the formal and informal sector), and through the implementation of nudges and educational tools to modify entrenched social behaviour and norms towards waste separation and recycling.[more]



The Micro Farm Network


The Team



Josianne Galea Baron is currently working as a Capacity Development Officer at the NCD Alliance after completing a Master’s in Development Management at the London School of Economics. Alongside urban issues, Josianne is also interested in health and the role of civil society in development. She grew up in Malta, Fiji, the Philippines, and Switzerland.

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Benjamin Horne has joined Adam Smith International as an Assistant Manager in the Public Sector Governance team, having completed an MSc in Anthropology and Development at the London School of Economics. His research is grounded in the processes of globalization and the food security space.


Laetitia Pancrazi recently graduated from the London School of Economics and University College London, where she obtained a Master in Development Management and a Master in Sustainable Urbanism, respectively. The topics of food sustainability and urban agriculture are of particular interest to her.


Brooks Reed holds undergraduate degrees from the Florida State University and has recently completed the MSc in Development Management at the LSE. His research interests include transnational issues surrounding business and human rights and the governance of globalized markets.


Plinio-Antonio (Tony) Ruiz has completed a MSc in International Migration and Public Policy at the London School of Economics. He is currently working in the coffee industry in London, liaising with organisations such as the International Coffee Organization. His research focuses on the way migration affects the economics and businesses in the so-called ‘global cities’. Originally from Panama, he has lived in Canada, Spain, France, South Korea and Taiwan.


The Project

The Micro Farm Network offers an interdisciplinary solution to food insecurity in informal urban settlements that adopts a nexus approach to creating intra-household circular economies. Composed of Water, Veggie, and Compost Containers, this three-part modular system allows families to supplement their diets by growing food, filtering water for drinking and cooking purposes, and composting their waste.

The Micro Farm containers have been specifically designed to suit the context of urban slums. Each component can be built using low-cost and locally available materials, thereby facilitating local production and employment. Consequently, this versatile system can advance sustainability while increasing household resilience, alleviating malnutrition, and reducing problems associated with polluted drinking water.

The modular nature of the container system allows for adaptability; it can respond to various patterns of resource availability, and address context-specific needs. In order to demonstrate its potential impacts and flexible conceptual design, we explore how it could be implemented in the Kibera settlement in Nairobi, Kenya, one of the most studied and targeted settlements in the world.

We envision this solution being implemented and embedded into existing social systems through community-based organizations. The latter would allow members to leverage benefits accrued from increased social capital and generate access to valuable economic opportunities that are otherwise inaccessible. Ultimately, the Micro Farm Network is a systems-level solution that contributes to the goals of sustainable development and, more importantly, has the potential to transform the lives of many of the world’s urban poor.