GPA has been invited to contribute to the preparation and implementation of a new national housing policy for Iraq, on a project funded by UN-HABITAT. The lead consultants, the American consulting firm of AECOM have requested advice on land and regulatory aspects and Geoff is due to present a paper at a conference in Amman originally scheduled for December, now postponed until 22-24 February 2010, when it will be followed by a one-day action planning workshop for professionals working in the housing and urban development sector.
The presentation will include case studies of settlement upgrading and new development, referring particularly to examples in the Middle and Near East. The workshop will consist of a gaming simulation exercise based upon consultancy project in Egypt, which involves using planning and design skills to create added value to be redistributed as a cross subsidy to improve access to land and housing by low income groups.
Geoff was in Baghdad in 1986 preparing a housing policy for Baghdad City and the National Capital Region and, while personally opposed to the recent invasion of Iraq, is hoping that the new policy can make a modest contribution to improving the quality of life for Iraqis.