The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Video produced from 'civic urban media' engagement on responses to COVID-19 in informal settlements

29 January 2021

Alongside partners in Brazil and Nigeria, the DPU facilitated a series of discussion exploring responses to COVID-19 in informal settlements in São Paulo and Lagos through communication practices, and how civic urban media can help to secure the right to housing.

civic urban media

During the COVID-19 lockdown in the summer of 2020, the DPU facilitated a series of discussions alongside União dos Movimentos de Moradia (UMM) in São Paulo and Justice & Empowerment Initiatives (JEI) and the Nigerian Slum / Informal Settlement Federation in Lagos. The exchanges focussed on sharing experiences of using media and communication practices to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the potential contributions to the wider issue of housing rights. 

In Lagos, JEI have been supporting the Federation through a storytelling campaign called Corona diaries of the urban poor, a citizen journalism series told from the intersection of the coronavirus pandemic and urban poverty. 

In São Paulo, União have been forming a network of community representatives to carry out communication activities through alternative media channels (which include social media but also community radio amongst others). They have undertaken training activities on the use of social media and trying to generate video footage about what is going on in communities to share via WhatsApp. 

The DPU team comprised of Alexandre Apsan Frediani (now at International Institute for Environment & Development) and Alexander Macfarlane (Media & Communications Officer) facilitated a series of virtual meetings which aimed to support the continued development of a research agenda around civic urban media and the right to housing, focusing on a dialogue between São Paulo and Lagos. The discussions featured the participation of members from both partners, as well as additional contributions from Bea Varnai (urbaMonde) and James Taylor (Know Your City TV).

A video by Alexander Macfarlane has been produced as an output from the engagement, and forms part of a larger initiative on 'civic urban media', led by Alexander Apsan Frediani. The video defines what is meant by civic urban media, before exploring the housing and COVID-19 context in Lagos and São Paulo. The video then outlines the ways in which each organisation has been using communication practices, as well as specific projects civic urban media undertaken as part of the engagement. The video concludes by considering some of the key learnings generated through the exchange. 

The video is available on our YouTube channel.

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3vLeEjCbZk&feature=youtu.be