United Nations Human Settlements Programme
What kind of work do you do now?
I am currently working for United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) based in Nairobi, Kenya, UN-Habitat Global HQ. My current assignment is working as a regional programme advisor at the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP) of UN-Habitat, managing the PSUP`s portfolio in the Caribbean and the Pacific regions and leading the thematic areas of financing for slum upgrading and climate actions in informal settlements. We are working in 40 countries globally (30 in Africa, 5 in the Caribbean and 5 in the Pacific), assisting in policy, legislation and strategy development to help with participatory and inclusive urban upgrading.
Prior to joining PSUP, I worked as a programme manager for six years at 5-agency UN-Joint Programme on local governance and decentralization in Somalia and led the development of several policy frameworks for local governance and decentralization, including local government finance policies and procedures, urban regulatory framework, and land and property-based taxation system as well as solid and bio-medical waste management policies and service delivery models.
What did you learn in Urban Engineering?
I have learned a lot. I think in the Department of Urban Engineering (DUE), at Housing and Urban Analysis Lab. that was led by Prof. Okabe, Prof. Asami and Prof Sadahiro, was one of the best learning venues I have ever been. Particularly the lab’s weekly meeting to allow graduate students to present progress on their researches, discussion, and contribution from students as well as from the professors and senior researchers, were invaluable to my learning and knowledge. This modality was sort of eye opening for me as it allowed to have several valuable inputs to my research and also exposed me to several cutting edge researches conducted by others in the lab. I believe I learn a lot from this exchange in the lab in addition to courses that I took from DUE.
My research was focused to analyze foreigner’s cognitive map of Tokyo to find out how people (foreigners) perceive Tokyo’s urban structure to navigate throughout the city. The objective was to use the analysis as an explanatory tool to discover if the findings can be used to develop an easy-to-follow map for foreigners and unfamiliar residents.
Message to students who wish to enter Urban Engineering.
I think you should expect that this is a great opportunity to be exposed to wide range of cutting edge researches, topnotch professors to learn from, and importantly amazing city, people and culture to live with. Please learn Japanese as much as you can to open more doors and hearts, and always speak slowly and clearly in English with your peers.