Pontus Westerberg


Pontus works with digital projects, community participation and open data at UN-Habitat, the United Nations programme for sustainable cities. He is the coordinator of Block by Block, an innovative partnership between UN-Habitat, and Mojang, the makers of Minecraft, in which Minecraft is used as community participation tool in urban planning projects.

For the last 10 years he has worked with ICT4D, digital technology and communications in Europe, Africa and Latin America and holds an MA in Global Media and International Communication from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Recently he is co-author of The Citizen Field Engineer: Crowdsourced Maintenance of Connected Water Infrastructure. Scenarios for smart and sustainable water futures in Nairobi, Kenya,presented at the Third International Conference on ICT for Sustainability (ICT4S 2015) and Using Minecraft as a citizen participation tool in urban design and decision-making, presented at the Third Future of Places Conference.

Find out more about Pontus’ work.

Emiel Wegelin


Emiel is an international urban economist (PhD in Economics, University of Amsterdam, 1977) with more than 40 years of experience in a wide range of advisory and capacity building assignments across the world. Emiel has worked with a wide range of international institutions including IADB, ADB, World Bank, UNDP, UN-Habitat, and bilateral external support agencies, such as DGIS, GIZ (formerly GTZ), and SDC.

He is currently the Director of UrbAct – International Advisory Services for Urban Action in Rotterdam, Netherlands, a position he also held during 2001-2007. During 2007-2012 Emiel was the GIZ Program Coordinator for the ADB , BMZ, Sida, Austria and Shanghai Municipal Government supported Asia-wide Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA), based in Manila, the Philippines.

Emiel has worked on long-term assignments abroad for more than 20 years, mainly in Asia. His assignments comprised work on urban infrastructure planning and programming, urban informal settlements development, urban land planning and management, urban policy programme development and management, housing policy and programme development, local government finance and housing finance, decentralisation, institutional assessments and strengthening, and project evaluation and formulation.

Find out more about Emiel.

Francesco Chiodelli


Francesco is a research fellow at Gran Sasso Science Institute (L’Aquila, Italy), where he is member of the scientific committee of the international PhD Program in Urban Studies. His research focuses mainly on the nexus between spatial planning and urban conflicts. He investigated in particular the political role of urban space and the related importance of spatial measures (such as urban policies, plans and projects) aimed at shaping it with regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over Jerusalem. The politics on informal housing in the Arab sectors of the Holy City is at the centre of his research.

His papers have appeared in international journals such as Planning Theory, Town Planning Review, Cities, Geoforum, Journal of Urban Affairs, Land Use Policy, Journal of International Development. He wrote Shaping Jerusalem. Spatial planning, politics and the conflict (Routledge, 2016) and co-edited Cities to be tamed? The space of urbanism and planning in the urban South (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014).

Find out more about Francesco.

Marco Kusumawijaya


Marco is an architect trained in Universitas Katolik Parahyangan in Bandung (1986) and K.U. Leuven (1990). He is co-founder of Rujak Center for Urban Studies (RCUS) in 2010 and has been its director since. He was chair of Jakarta Arts Council in 2006-2010. His notable works include reconstruction of 23 villages in post-tsunami Aceh (2005-2007) and Salihara Arts Center in Jakarta. He set up and built Bumi Pemuda Rahayu sustainability learning center in 2011.
He has published four books and numerous articles in newspapers and magazines. RCUS’s current main programme is “Citizen Urbanism” in 8 cities in Indonesia. It works with communities to co-produce urban knowledge and actionable initiatives.

Find out more about Marco’s ideas on community.

Mariana Fix


Mariana is a professor at the Institute of Economics at UNICAMP, and author of Partners in Exclusion (Parceiros da exclusão, 2001) and São Paulo Global City (São Paulo, Cidade Global, 2007). She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Campinas (2012), a master’s degree in Sociology from the University of São Paulo (2003), and a professional degree in Architecture and Urbanism from the University of São Paulo (1996).

She has also published several articles and book chapters on the right to the city, planning and housing policies, slums and tenements in São Paulo, financial investments in land markets, real estate promotion and homebuilders, inner-city gentrification, globalization, and public-private partnerships.

Mariana is a member of the Housing and Human Settlements Laboratory at the School of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of São Paulo, and has been working with “Right to the City” organizations for several years. She is also a member of CEDE (Centro de Estudos do Desenvolvimento Economico).

See what Mariana was presenting in Spatial Planning and Strategy lunch lecture on 2013.

Mathias Antonsson


Mathias started @UN and won a United Nations 21 Award, recognizing “the outstanding work of colleagues who advanced projects with great impact and innovative potential”. For the past three years Mathias has worked for Sida and Ushahidi in Kenya, supporting ICT projects through the Challenge Fund; Making All Voices Count. Mathias recently moved back to Sweden and is now a Making All Voices Count Fellow, an Advisor to Ushahidi and has started his own podcast; Plurrify, which is about social entrepreneurship, innovation and social good with tech.

Ushahidi, which translates to “testimony” in Swahili, was developed to map reports of violence in Kenya during the post-election violence in 2008. This enabled citizens to stay away from violent areas, and the authorities to respond to it. Crowd-sourced crisis mapping was born.

In 2010 the UN system used it after the earthquake in Haiti. Since then the Ushahidi crowd-sourcing tools have been deployed and used to raise citizen voices in more than 150 countries. It has reached more than 20 million people, and the tool has been translated to more than 50 languages. Ushahidi is a technology leader, headquartered in Nairobi, with a global team. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made a point of visiting Ushahidi while in Kenya and US President Obama has referenced the organisation’s work.

More about Ushahidi and Mathias.