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Call for Papers: Reducing Urban Poverty

posted Jan 30, 2012, 8:59 AM by Urban Planning Coalition SJSU
Paper Competition/Policy Workshop/Publication
Abstracts due: February 20, 2012

To encourage a new generation of urban policy makers and promote early career research, USAID’s Urban Programs Team, International Housing Coalition (IHC), World Bank, Woodrow Wilson Center’s Comparative Urban Studies Project (CUSP), and Cities Alliance are co-sponsoring a third annual paper competition. The competition seeks paper submissions for an upcoming policy workshop and paper competition on urban poverty in the developing world. Winning papers will be published and selected authors will present their papers in a policy workshop to be held in Washington, D.C. in October 2012. The grand prize winner will also present at the World Urban Forum in September, 2012 in Naples, Italy.

Papers must be linked to one of the following sub-topics:

Land Markets

The absence of efficient land and housing markets and lack of secure tenure for both renters and home owners are impediments to urban and economic development in developing countries. Papers on this topic should explore strategies and approaches that would enable property markets to function better and would provide increased security of tenure and strengthened real property ownership rights. Papers might examine such topics as: legal and regulatory policies and frameworks that facilitate the functioning and efficiency of real estate markets; tenure security for tenants and homeowners; property ownership in slums and informal settlements; the availability of land to house lower income households; titling and registration systems; the availability of public information about property values and market data; gender aspects of tenure security and property rights.

Climate Change

People in urban areas across the world will be affected by climate change. Most at risk are the urban poor, as their already precarious living situations are exacerbated by rising sea levels, inland floods, frequent and stronger tropical cyclones, periods of increased heat, and the spread of diseases. Papers on this topic should examine how urban populations, especially the poor, are coping with the impacts of climate change and provide strategic policy analysis to better understand how cities can become more resilient to climate change impacts.


Most of the youth of the developing world are now or will soon be living in urban areas, which they perceive to offer greater opportunities than rural areas. Unfortunately, the majority of them are often growing up in the poorest urban areas -- informal settlements and slum communities where their opportunities for advancement and positive contributions to society are limited by a variety of negative factors including circumstances over which they have little or no control, such as poor housing, education and health care. Papers should explore how youth can develop knowledge and skills, find gainful employment, and participate more fully in society to advance economic growth and social development.

Papers should be policy-based and solutions-oriented and should critically examine existing projects and/or propose new strategies for tackling issues related to urban poverty. Papers from a variety of disciplinary and/or interdisciplinary perspectives are appropriate, including (but not limited to) urban planning, economics, political science, geography, public policy, sociology, environment, and anthropology. For more information, please contact nleahy@usaid.gov.

For more information on last year’s competition, please visit:



Process and Timeline

Eligibility: This call for papers is directed at PhD students and advanced Masters students. To be eligible, applicants should be currently enrolled in a degree or post-doctoral program.


Abstract Submissions:

  • Abstracts (max 500 words) and a brief CV should be submitted to the selection committee by February 20, 2012. Submissions should be sent to nleahy@usaid.gov.
  • Abstracts should contain a title, paper description, author name and affiliation, and specify which of the topical areas listed above the paper will most directly address.


Request for Full Papers:

  • A panel composed of members of the sponsor organizations will review submitted abstracts and request full papers from approximately 15 authors.
  • Applicants will be notified in early March whether they will be asked to write a full paper, which will be due by April 30, 2012.
  • Completed papers should be a maximum of 20 pages in length including appendixes (double-spaced, Times New Roman 12pt font) and utilize the style, spelling, usage, citation and illustration guidelines used by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (http://www.acsp.org/ publications/jper/guidelines).


  • Approximately 10 of the full papers will be selected for inclusion in a final compilation to be published by the Woodrow Wilson Center.
  • Publication of each selected paper is subject to review and will be contingent upon completion of suggested revisions by the authors, should they be requested by the selection committee.

Policy Workshop:

  • 3-5 of the authors selected for publication will be invited to Washington, DC, in October to take part in a unique “policy workshop” that will bring together a small group of academics, policy makers and students for an interactive discussion of international urban development topics. The session will focus on bridging gaps between policy and academia, theory and practice.
  • At the conference, students will be paired with a senior development expert who will serve as a discussant for their paper.
  • Workshop invitees will be provided with up to $1000 to help cover transportation and accommodation costs.


World Urban Forum:

The World Urban Forum (WUF) was established by the United Nations to examine rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies, climate change and policies. The Sixth WUF will be held from September 1-7, 2012 in Naples, Italy and will be focused on the theme of “The Urban Future.” In addition to the Washington conference and publication mentioned above, the grand-prize winner will be invited to present his/her winning paper as part of a panel at the World Urban Youth Assembly at WUF to be held on September 1st and 2nd.