The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


SLURC Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre

SLURC aims to build the capacity of urban stakeholders in Sierra Leone; make urban knowledge available and accessible to those who need it; deliver world leading research.

SLURC Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre

15 December 2016


Capacities and knowledge for improving the well-being in informal settlements

The Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre (SLURC) based in Freetown is a globally connected urban research centre. It was created through a partnership between the Bartlett Development Planning Unit (University College London) and the Institute of Geography and Development Studies (Njala University), and is initially funded by a grant from Comic Relief.


  • building the research and analysis capacity of urban stakeholders in Sierra Leone 
  • making urban knowledge available and accessible to those who need it, prioritising the residents of informal settlements and their organisations
  • delivering world leading research in order to influence the country’s urban policy and practice.

View our website or our information sheet (pdf) to find out more.

You can also follow us on Facebook 

Project Team

Dr Joseph Macarthy

(IG&DS, Njala University), Co-Director

Mr Braima Koroma

(IG&DS, Njala University), Co-Director

Dr Alexandre Apsan Frediani (DPU, UCL)


Dr Andrea Rigon (DPU, UCL)


Julian Walker (DPU, UCL) 

Caren Levy (DPU, UCL) 

Advisory Board:

Michael Walls (DPU, UCL) 

For ideas, proposals, partnerships or more information, please get in touch:

Dr Joseph Macarthy, email: jm72macarthy@yahoo.com, phone: +232 7968 4818

Dr Andrea Rigon, email: andrea.rigon@ucl.ac.uk, phone: +44 20 3108 5412

Dr Giovanna Astolfo email: giovanna.astolfo.13@ucl.ac.uk


Research Priorities

Research areas include:

  • Urban health 
  • Urban livelihoods and city economy 
  • Land and housing 
  • Urban vulnerability and resilience activities 
  • Development and provision of training and capacity building for key urban stakeholders (local researchers, civil servants, NGO staff and residents of informal settlements)
  • Implementation of research projects
  • International exchanges to expose urban stakeholders in Sierra Leone to other urban contexts and research centres
  • Collection, management and dissemination of urban knowledge to communities, NGOs, government, and other relevant stakeholders
  • Host national and international urban researchers
  • Develop new partnerships and collaborations.




Comic Relief

Comic Relief - a UK-based international charity organisation - funds the Four Cities Initiative to address the growing challenges of slum growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2012, after a scoping survey of cities across Africa, four cities were selected including Freetown (Sierra Leone).Five organisations were selected as direct implementing partners and grantees after successfully submitting proposals. These five successful grantees came together to form the “Freetown Urban Slum Initiative” or “Pull Slum Pan Pipul” Programme as a means of strengthening collaboration and maximising use of resources and creating impactful results.

DFID Department for International Development



Y Care International

Restless development


Urban Learning Alliances: Civic engagement through city and university partnerships | Networking EventSLURC Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre, Institute of Geography and Development Studies, Njala University 14:00 - 16:00 Room R2 , Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana “Benjamin Carrion”, Quito, Ecuador

SLURC press conference and international launch. 10:00-11:00, Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana “Benjamin Carrion”, Quito, Ecuador

On Thursday 20th October, SLURC was launched internationally through a press conference to explain how it operates as an urban learning alliance introducing a new mode of urban knowledge production through partnerships with central and local government, universities, civil society organizations, and local communities. The following people explained the importance of an organization such as SLURC: Mr. Sam Gibson, Mayor of Freetown, Mr. Francis Reffell, YMCA Sierra Leone, Dr. Joseph Macarthy, SLURC co-director of SLURC, Prof. Julio Davila, Director of Bartlett Development Planning Unit, University College London, Dr. Irene Vance, Comic Relief.

The press conference can be viewed on UN TV here.

Freetown delegation at Habitat III, Quito. 17-20th October 2016

A delegation from Freetown including Sam Gibson, Mayor of Freetown, Sulaiman Parker, the Environment and Social Officer of Freetown City Council and the two co-directors of the SLURC, Dr Joseph Macarthy and Braima Koroma, attended UN Habitat III conference. The Mayor of Freetown had the opportunity to informally meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and put the needs of cities in least developed countries on the political agenda. The delegation was also approached by the UN programme Capital Development Fund, which helps cities getting access to capital markets and bridging relationships with donors, in order to discuss municipal financ.

Read the full blog here.

The SLURC newsletter is out!

Download from: www.slurc.org/

DPU Event: Urban Development in Sierra Leone: Reflections from Interventions to Improve the Well-being of Informal Settlements

The SLURC team will be in London to present the activities to set up the centre

Join us at the DPU on 09 March 2016 17:30 - 19:30

Location: Room G6 LT, Archeology 31-34 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PY

Formal Launching event of the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre (SLURC)

The full press release can be read here (PDF)

Podcast interview with Njala University Radio

Alexandre Apsan Frediani (DPU)Andrea Rigon (DPU), and Joseph Macarthy (Njala University) discuss the purpose and priorities of the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre (SLURC) with Samuella Senesie of Njala University Radio.



Registrar Speech

Aly Turay, the University Registrar of Njala University welcomed us in our visit to Njala University as part of our startup workshop. The speech is available here (Pdf)