About us

The URB.im network is a global community working for just and inclusive cities. It connects practitioners in 23 cities and throughout the world to establish an international community of practice and learning, sharing ideas and experiences in order to innovate, replicate, and scale working solutions to the problem of urban poverty. URB.im is a project of Dallant Networks and the Ford Foundation.

Contact us. You can send an email to the URB.im team using our contact form.

Meet our team. Here are some of the people who make URB.im possible:

Carlin Carr (@carlincarr) is the former editor of Searchlight South Asia, a monthly newsletter that tracks trends in urban poverty in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. She is interested in urban planning, housing issues and how climate change impacts the poor. She has previously worked on clean water initiatives in India, Ghana and Kenya, and now teaches English literature and conducts a program for street children. Her interest in India began as a Rotary Ambassadorial Fellow in Mumbai from 2008-2009. Carlin holds a bachelor's degree from Mount Holyoke College, a master's from the National University of Ireland and a master's diploma from the University of Mumbai.

Adèle Charbonneau is interested in urban poverty issues, particularly in Latin America and Africa. She graduated from the School of Urban Affairs at Sciences Po Paris, and did a year abroad at the Universidad Externado in Bogotá, Colombia. She is currently based in Nairobi, Kenya working in informal settlements and conducting field research.

México City community manager María Fernanda Carvallo (@fer_carvallo) is a specialist in social development who has focused on poverty eradication programs through a career working with indigenous people in rural and urban areas in Mexico, a health safety net policy for universal coverage, and project assessment to identify impact on stakeholders. She lectured on Social Policy and Development at the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico. María Fernanda is interested in fostering development in urban and rural areas through the enhancement of community driven development, livelihood analysis, and the synergetic effort of different actors. She studied Political Science at the Tecnológico de Monterrey and holds a MSc. in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics (LSE). She currently belongs to the expert council of L21 Innovation and Social Development agency.

Lagos community manager Peter Adeyeye (@petrous4u) is passionate about development. As a researcher and social entrepreneur, he is interested in policy-birthed research and program design aimed at empowering the poor. He has conducted research on urban issues in Lagos, and has also led several advocacy groups in implementing sustainable projects in grassroots in Southern Nigeria. He holds a bachelor in Demography and Social Statistics from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria and a certificate course in Monitoring and Evaluation from the John Hopkin University.

Cape Town and Johannesburg community manager Tariq Toffa (@TariqToffa) is an architect, researcher, and writer based in Johannesburg. He is the Executive Manager at SHiFT (Social Housing Focus Trust), an NGO which provides expertise on the role and design of housing in transforming the built environment. He also lectures at the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) of the University of Johannesburg (UJ). He completed his professional architectural studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT), holds a Masters in architectural research from the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), and studied religious and constitutional law at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

Cairo community manager Shaima Abulhajj is an Egyptian/Libyan writer, editor, translator, and human rights activist who has been working for more than nine years for news agencies, magazines, and non-governmental organizations across Sudan and the MENA region. She is an activist in various organizations working on promoting human rights, environmental conservation, and safety, especially for street children.

São Paulo community manager Felipe Villela is an urbanist and architect concerned with homelessness and insurgent citizenship. He worked as an urban planner focused on housing policies and as designer of social housing and public transport architectural projects for the government. He also took part in an academic research project on the crack territory in São Paulo's downtown area and engaged in voluntary work supporting homeless people with drug addictions. He is currently a postgraduate student of Urban Policies and Planning in the Institute for Urban and Regional Planning (IPPUR). Felipe is a graduate of the Fluminense Federal University (Rio de Janeiro).

Lilongwe community manager Wonderful Hunga (@Wohunga) has worked as an independent journalist specializing in feature writing with interests in urban poverty, governance, and participatory development. Between 2010 and 2013, Wonderful worked for Centre for Community Organisation and Development (CCODE) as a Communications, Research, and Advocacy Officer. Wonderful also worked as Head of Research Policy and Advocacy at Urban Research Institute for two years. He rejoined CCODE in 2015 where he is Policy and Advocacy Manager. Wonderful holds a BA in Journalism from University of Malawi.

Dhaka's community on URB.im (@AUWurb) is managed by a group of students from the Research Center on Development and Humanitarian Action at the Asian University for Women (AUW). One of the major foci of the Research Center is urban management, governance, and poverty in Asia. AUW is a liberal arts institution for women from all over Asia, located in Bangladesh. With an international faculty and student body, AUW provides a critical pathway to leadership development, economic progress, and social and political equality.

Bogotá community manager Jorge Bela (@Quepenaconustd) has been working as a freelance writer and journalist in Bogotá since 2010. Prior to that, he worked at El Pais, Spain’s leading newspaper, and Analistas Financieros Internacionales. Bela has also worked as a researcher at the European Latin American Research Institute and as project manager at the University at Albany, State University of New York. He has an M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Florida and completed the coursework for a Ph.D. in comparative politics at the University at Albany.

Jakarta and Surabaya community manager Widya Anggraini (@WidyDen) is an urban planner with an economics and public policy background. She has worked for a city planning agency in the areas of child protection, youth and civil participation, women's empowerment, and good governance. She holds a Master Degree from Australia National University and just completed her non-degree program from MIT in Urban and Regional Studies, where she focused on land rights, community development, and community participation. She has lectured at the Pan Africaine de la Paix University in the Democratic Republic of Congo and has worked with two local organizations that teach illiterate rural women.

Delhi community manager Mukta Naik (@MuktaNaik) is a senior researcher at the Centre for Policy Research in Delhi, a public-policy think tank. As an architect and urban planner, her research interests include housing and urban poverty, urban informality, and internal migration, as well as urban transformations in small cities. At CPR, she focuses on understanding the links between internal migration and urbanization in the Indian context. Prior to joining CPR, she worked with micro Home Solutions on a number of community-based interventions to improve housing in informal settlements.

Caracas community manager Ana Cristina Vargas is an architect and urban designer. She completed her Masters of Science in Architecture and Urbanism at 
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Universidad Central de Venezuela where she also taught for two years. Her recent work “Tracing Public Space” is based on participatory processes to design contemporary public spaces in low-income communities with children. Her research is focused on incremental and sustainable housing strategies for the developing world. Ana has worked in Venezuela, India and the United States.

Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba community manager Andréa Azambuja is a freelance journalist who has a special interest in education and believes that independent civil society groups are powerful forces to build an inclusive world. She recently left her role as Managing Editor at Vice.com to devote herself to social projects, and is determined to take ideas from the sphere of discourse and put them to practice. Andréa has a degree in Journalism from Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul and studies Philosophy, Literature and Human Sciences at the University Of São Paulo (FFLCH).

Accra Community Manager Ortis Yankey is a Commonwealth Scholar who recently completed his Masters degree in Msc Urbanisation and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He is a member of the Programme for African Leadership at LSE and an Alumni of Preparing Global Leaders Institute (Macedonia). His research interests include development policies, land and legality, and urban planning issues in Africa. Ortis has worked with the Ghana Lands Commission, the Ghana Revenue Authority, and Outsource Client Service (UK).

Ashali Bhandari (@AshaliBhandari) is an assistant coordinator for programming at Studio X Mumbai (part of Columbia Global Centers | South Asia) and project associate at Megapolis India. She is interested in how innovative technology and creative planning can create inclusive spaces in rapidly changing cities, particularly in South Asia. Ashali graduated from Middlebury College with a bachelor’s degree in Geography in 2014.

Medellin community manager Lou D'Angelo is a master's student at Sciences Po’s Urban School. She did a year abroad in Buenos Aires and travelled in many Latin American countries. Passionate about urban poverty alleviation programs and Latin American cultures, she is currently living in Medellin, where she works for a local NGO.

Aditi Hastak currently works as a Water Sustainability Consultant with Biome Environmental in Bengaluru, India. She has been working on projects like groundwater management, lakes rejuvenation, rainwater harvesting, water management strategies in and around Bengaluru. She is interested in issues of urban water and sanitation and also the role played by culture and history in planning our cities. She has an M.Sc in Biodiversity from Pune and MA in development studies from Azim Premji University, Bengaluru.

Laura von Puttkamer holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Global Urban Development and Planning. Laura has spent time in India, Ethiopia and Brazil and is interested in community programs and urban design. She is also blogger who focuses on participatory urban development and offers a platform for innovative ideas and solutions for future cities (parcitypatory.org). @parCitypatory

Huynh Thi Thao Vi is a second-year student at the University of Social Science and Humanities HCMC. She is studying in the faculty of urban studies and she enjoys challenging herself and discovering new things.


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