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Re-imagining Inclusive Urban Futures for Transformation (RIUFT) Partnership

Program Locations: India, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa, Thailand
Global Partners: Future Earth, ISET-International, ISET-Nepal, ISET-Pakistan, Swedish Secretariat for Environmental Earth System Sciences, Transformations to Sustainability
Network Coordinators: Richard Friend and Pimolwan "Petch" Singhawong

Project Overview

The Re-imagining Inclusive Urban Futures for Transformation (RIUFT) partnership will create a new research and teaching agenda. Grounded in theory and methods from the global South, and through its direct engagement in policy making processes aims to influence positive change. Much of the struggle to address planetary boundaries will be played out in the urban arena, requiring a fundamental change of development pathways that are in line with global ecological constraints and that can promote equity and social justice.

Achieving such a transformation is a challenge of governance in reconfiguring state-society relations and shaping human wellbeing. There is a need to develop theories of urbanization and transformative governance from the experience of the global South. Academic literature based in resilience and complex social-ecological systems advocates multi-scale, polycentric, adaptive approaches to governance. Yet putting such calls into practice in the context of urbanizing Asia and Africa remains a critical gap.

The partnership will bring together academics, local government and civil society groups in Thailand, India, Nepal, Pakistan and South Africa. Through case studies embedded in dynamic urban centers RIUFT will generate new approaches to transformative urban governance. Building learning networks within and across the regions will contribute to shifting the discourse of public policy and opening arenas for informed public dialogue and engagement at multiple scales.

This material is based upon work supported by seed grants from the ISSC under the Transformations to Sustainability Programme. The Programme is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and serves as a contribution to Future Earth. Supplementary support for seed grants is provided by the Swedish Secretariat for Environmental Earth System Sciences (SSEESS), the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) UK through the Newton Fund and the National Research Foundation of South Africa.

Staff Involved

Project Partners



Future Earth


Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group (GEAG)


Institute of Business Administration (IBA)






Swedish Secretariat for Environmental Earth System Sciences


Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)


Transformations to Sustainability


The University of Kwazulu Natal (UKZN)

Funded by:

Re-imagining Inclusive Urban Futures for Transformation (RIUFT) Partnership

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