The presentation will focus on how community driven city-wide slum upgrading and housing development is an important process in solving urban poverty, slums growth, illegal squatting, inequality and unhealthy living conditions on a big scale. More importantly, we will talk about how the focus on community driven development fosters establishment of strong community organizations and networks which proactively lead to building better partnerships with city authorities and relevant development organizations. It is a demand-led approach which allows communities to be active actors and as joint owners of the projects and the development activities. It is the focus targeting to achieve and build stronger people and stronger community capacity leading to more integrated, inclusive and resilient city development. The key to such successful large scale city-wide community driven development is the system of innovative finance to support this big scale social change led by people organizations themselves. It is timely for the world to rethink or redesign financing mechanisms to reach and support development by people and communities directly, from the ground up, to make their innovative change at scale to attain secure housing, communities and healthy lives for all, particularly on the verge of global Habitat III event in 2016.

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Speakers: Somsook Boonyabancha

Somsook Boonyabancha is a Chairperson of the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, a coalition of organizations working on urban poor housing development in Asia. Previously she served as Director of Community Organizations Development Institute in Thailand.

Dr. Boonyabancha has been working extensively on urban poor housing development and slum upgrading in Thailand and other countries in Asia for the past 30 years. Her particular expertise is in development orientation on community driven, community led development on a wide scale, which proves an effective tool for improving the state pf urban community housing, community welfare, low income housing development, and the like. During her time with the Community Organizations Development Institute (CODI), she implemented the national city-wide community upgrading which has been implementing in almost 300 cities using new community finance and revolving fund mechanism in Thailand.

In recent years, she has worked at the national level collaborating with the Constitution Drafting Committee, the National Housing Development Committee, and the National Reform Committee of Thailand. Dr. Boonyabancha also has extensive international experience from being a member of the Fact Finding Committee member in Korea and Hong Kong to working with community NGOs and governments of several other Asian countries. Additionally, she has worked with various UN advisory committees such as the UN Habitat Eviction Subcommittee, the Millennium Development Goals on housing, the Advisory Committee of Cities Alliance, and others. Somsook Boonyabancha has earned her PhD in Architecture from Khonkhaen University in Thailand, and has completed earlier studies on Housing and Urbanization in Copenhagen, as well as Chulalongkirn University in Thailand.