The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Understanding urban risk traps in Freetown - MSc ESD teams up with SLURC in new learning alliance

26 March 2018

cockle bay Freetown

Building upon the work undertaken under the Urban ARK research project and under the leadership of Adriana Allen and Rita Lambert, the practice module of the MSc Programme in Environment and Sustainable Development has teamed up with the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre (SLURC) and partners on the ground to set up a new learning alliance. Adopting a socio-environmental perspective, the focus of the work is on furthering the understanding of how and why risk accumulation cycles or urban risk traps are produced and reproduced in Freetown, how they affect the development of the city and its dwellers and how such traps can be effectively disrupted.
Between September and December 2017, participants in the ESD MSc practice module developed six policy briefs that together offer a comprehensive city-wide analysis of how different hazards converge on the reproduction of risk accumulation cycles. Their research has benefited from invaluable insights from Braima Koroma, Joseph McCarthy, Alexander Stone,  Suleiman Kamara, and Sudie Sellu at SLURC, and Emmanuel Osuteye, Donald Brown, Julia Wesely,  Andrea Rigon, Julian Walker, Alexandre Apsan Frediani, Pascale Hofmann and Diana Salazar, among others at the DPU. Through their research, the students identified and examined a vast body of information that is now available online at the SLURC Resource Unit. Each of the six policy briefs are available to download below:

Since January 2018, the focus of the work has shifted to six informal settlements selected by SLURC and local partners with the intention of deepening the community-led diagnosis already undertaken under Urban ARK and to co-produce transformative pathways to inform the development of local action plans in order to disrupt risk traps in Freetown. The research will include a two-week fieldtrip starting towards the end of April and the outputs from this phase will be publicly available in the summer.
The action-research undertaken under this learning alliance seeks to contribution to one of SLURC’s priority themes on risk and resilience.