The Green rebirth of Emerald Cliamate Hub – Harare, Zimbabwe.

The Green rebirth of Emerald Cliamate Hub – Harare, Zimbabwe.

By Diana Filomeni

This Chapter will focus on “Emerald Climate Hub” (Zimbabwe) project, a visionary initiative that began reshaping the narrative of climate action and community empowerment. With the pressing issues of deforestation and climate change at its core, this youth-led project embarked on a mission to innovate sustainable solutions and champion the voices of African communities.

The Mission of the Emerald Climate Hub is to amplify African voices in the fight against climate change by integrating innovative technologies with grassroots activism. It also aims to reduce dependency on traditional biomass for cooking and heating by introducing biogas solutions that can provide clean renewable energy. Furthermore, the initiative seeks to mitigate the effects of deforestation and enhance local environments through sustainable practices and reforestation effects.

The concept of enabling state within the project is characterized by the recognition and informational support provided by the government, despite the lack of direct financial backing. While the state’s role is minimal, it is crucial in legitimizing the project and enhancing its attractiveness to other stakeholders, such as private investors and international NGOs.

However, without state funding, the project has creatively pooled resources from various nongovernmental sources and harnessed the power of community contribution. For example:

– International and local NGO Support: by leveraging connections with various NGOs, the project secures funding and resources necessary for its operations.

– Community contribution: local communities contribute not just labor but also local materials and knowledge to the biogas project, which does help to reduce costs and increases community investment in the success of the projects.

– Crowdfunding and Fundraising: innovative fundraising campaigns, both locally and online, attract small-scale donations that collectively help to sustain the project’s activities.

Furthermore, experimentalism in the Emerald Climate Hub is evident through its pilot biogas project and application of new technologies in “real-world context”. In fact, it serves as a test case for the viability of biogas technology in local settings, allowing the project team to gather data, learn from its application and make necessary adjustments.

Partnering with universities, such as “University of Zimbabwe” , enables the project to utilize academic research and development capabilities to innovate and improve biogas technology.

Moreover, the project actively incorporated feedback from community members to continually refine and adapt its approaches to better meet local needs.

Tech justice within the Hub focuses on ensuring equitable access to technology development and used by the project itself. While initially weak, eLorts are mad to strengthen this aspect by developing accessible technological solutions that could benefit all community members, especially those who are typically marginalized. Strategies such as development of userfriendly technologies, training and capacity building and inclusive participation are used.

In conclusion, while the project has ambitious goals, it does face several challenges, such as limited direct governmental support, the need for greater private sector involvement, and the complexities of introducing new technologies in traditionally conservative areas. However, the long-term vision of the Emerald Climate Hub is to scale its initiatives to other regions of Zimbabwe and beyond, creating a replicable model for community-driven climate action. By strengthening its foundation of education, technology, and community empowerment, the initiative aims to contribute significantly to global sustainability goals, fostering an environment where communities are quipped to lead their own sustainable developments

Laboratorio Para la Ciudad, Mexico City

Laboratorio Para la Ciudad, Mexico City

This chapter focuses on Mexico City, one oof the largest and most diverse cities in the world. It faces a multitude of challenges typical of megacities, from urban inequality to mistrust in politics, it grapples with complex issues that demand innovative solutions. In response to these challenges, the Laboratorio para la Ciudad (Laboratory for the City) emerged as a pioneering initiative in urban governance and innovation.

Laboratorio para la Ciudad, founded in 2013 under the leadership of Gabriella Gomez-Mont, represents a new approach to urban governance, one that does embrace experimentation, collaboration, and citizen participation. It is situated within the Mexico City government but staffed by individuals from diverse backgrounds, the Lab serves as a platform for tackling urban problems through creative and participatory means.

The Lab also offers the opportunity for the city to become a “mega-urban lab”. Overall, it seems that the local government performs a true “enabling role” by endorsing the creation of the Lab, it has built a bridge between civil society and the upper spheres oof government and a space where a variety of actors can collaborate in the design and implementation of innovative public policies. As a result, the enabling state variable can be evaluated as strong.

Within the Lab it is revealed that there is a presence of autonomous institutions, managed or owned by local communities, operating within non-mainstream economic systems, such as collaborative, cooperative, circular economies, for creation of new opportunities and services. The Laboratory aims at fostering social cohesion, resilience, and sustainability, encouraging citizens’ political participation, which are typical purposes of pooling economies.

Laboratorio para la Ciudad has been involved in initiatives related to the “sharing economy”, which can be regarded as the step preceding pooling economy. One example of this is one of the previous pillars of the Lab’s agenda, Ciudad Compartida (Shared City). It promoted the development of a sharing city where knowledge, goods, services, and funds are shared throughout the city. An experiment moving from the question “how the sharing economy can a city’s mobility?” was also carried out.

Furthermore, the Lab on co production, meaning it produces/improves public policies and services through the collaboration among several actors. For instance, the experiment “Nochebus” relaunched the night public transport sector by introducing fixed timetables for each stop and promoting a communication campaign to stimulate the use of such services. The results were achieved through the collaboration between the Lab and, among others, the Mobility Department, the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, and the urban advertising company IMU.

Nevertheless, if by pooling social and economic resources one means “the presence of different forms of resources pooling and cooperation between five possible actors in the urban environment”, it’s possible to detect some elements of poolism. Indeed, it is evident that all the actors involved in the Lab’s initiatives provide their contribution. Therefore, it could be appropriate to claim that there is a pool of resources in the sense that the Lab enables the creation of a pool of ideas that will then be realized through a pool of economic resources.

There is a presence of a site-specific and iterative bottom-up approach to design legal and policy innovations for the co-governance of the local urban commons. The very aim of the Lab is to carry out policy innovation through urban experiments related to a wide range of topics, from water management to the possible role of drawers in the decision-making process (Disegno para la Ciudad).

The Laboratorio took inspiration from other Labs worldwide like the New Urban Mechanics in Boston, with which it collaborated to launch the first edition of its first project, the Código para la Ciudad. However, it aims at addressing local issues by focusing on Mexico City’s specificity. By trying and iterating, the Lab can detect which is the most appropriate path the government has to follow in tackling a certain issue.

Furthermore, the Lab’s commitment to open access to technology and digital infrastructure plays a crucial role in promoting social justice. Projects like Mejora Tu Barrio CDMX and the Open Government Platform enable marginalized communities to access information and participate in decision-making processes. By providing internet access and support for citizens ho lack digital skills, the Lab ensures that everyone can contribute to shaping the future of their city.

In the evaluation of the Lab’s performance against key principles such as poolism, experimentalism, tech justice, urban collective Governance, and Enabling state, it is evident that while there are areas for improvement, the Lab has made significant strides in promoting innovation and social justice.

Its emphasis on experimentation and iterative approaches allows it to learn from successes and failures, refining its strategies over time. Moreover, its collaboration with diverse stakeholders reflects a commitment to inclusivity and co-creation, essential elements of effective urban governance. Through its innovative projects, collaborative approach, and commitment to social justice, the Lab serves as a model for other cities seeking to address complex urban challenges.

Bertolucci- San Juan, Community Land Trust

Bertolucci- San Juan, Community Land Trust

This chapter delves into the intricate institutional framework that underpins the CTL’s operations, examining its enabling state, social and economic pooling mechanism, experimentalism, and the integration of tech justice.  

It is evident from this case study that the intensity of private-public governance within the Martín Peña Channel Community Land Trust (CLT) begins with collaborative efforts initiated by the San Juan local government. The idea was that the government would empower the Public Transport Authority to spear a comprehensive development project, with participatory methods employed to gain resident cooperation, particularly concerning relocations from the rehabilitated zones. However, this led to residents’ awareness of the potential displacement due to river dredging. Between 2002 and 2004, over 700 activities were organized, fostering flexibility and collective leadership that facilitated dialogue and critical thinking, meanwhile the infrastructural project became integrated into the Proyecto ENLANCE (ENLANCE Project), managed by ENLANCE Corporation.  

The governance was further strengthened by the establishment of the G8, which is a formalized meeting among community leaders. Therefore, now ENLANCE Corporation and G8 collaborated on initiatives such riverbank cleaning and environmental education programs, reinforcing the collective approach to the problem-solving. One of the examples that embodies this public-private governance model is the Fideicomiso de la Tierra and its executive board, where Fideicomiso Bard comprises representatives from both the private and public sectors, as well as residents directly impacted by its decisions.  

The CTL’s governance structure therefore is characterized by a tripartite leadership model comprising Fideicomiso de la Tierra, ENLANCE Corporation, and G8, each representing a distinct facet of public, private, and community interests. This ensures that the voices of all stakeholders are heard and respected, fostering a sense of ownership and accountability within the community.  

While this inclusive structure reflects the CLT’s commitment to shared decision-making and community empowerment, the relationship of the CLT with the stat is integral to its existence with local administration engaging communities in the restructuring process. In this chapter it is shown that the critical state involvement came with the enactment of Law 89-2004, which formalized the core bodies of the CLT and its associated institutions. This law granted perpetual existence and independence to Fideicomiso de la Tierra and insured its autonomy from local government legislation. Similarly, the ENLANCE Corporation, established as a public entity, received land from the local government, and entrusted to Fideicomiso for community development. However, challenges arose when Law 302-2009 threatened Fideicommissa’s control over the acquired lands, which undermines the CLT’s collective ownership model. Therefore, Community mobilization and legal advocacy ultimately led to the repeal of this law and reinforced Fideicommissa’s role in safeguarding residents from displacement.  

The CLT’s commitment to social and economic pooling is reflected in its reinvestment of revenues from property sales and rentals into community infrastructure and housing initiatives. In fact, Fideicomiso engages residents in peer-to-peer activities, promoting resource-sharing and collective action for community benefit, and through the acquisition and management of land it provides affordable housing to over 2,000 low-income families. This collaborative approach to resource management fosters sustainability and equitable development ensuring that the benefits of economic growth are shared by all members of the community.  

Meanwhile the CLT’s experimentalist approach is evident in its adaptation of the community land trust model to the unique context of an informal settlement. Community-led initiatives such as “Líderes Jóvenes en Acción” (LIJAC) demonstrate resident’s active engagement in governance processes and local service provision from promoting affordable educational materials to establishing community gardens.  

Technological integration usually servs as a powerful tool for promoting social justice withing CLT, which facilitates information dissemination. However, CLT’s use if technology is still evolving and residents with internet access typically obtain it through private contracts rather than communal services, the information dissemination occurs primary through face-to-face community meeting, prioritizing personal interactions over digital platforms.  

The Martín Peña Channel Community Land Trust represents a testament to the transformative power of shard governance, community empowerment, and collaborative problem-solving, and is a pioneering model of public-private collaboration in urban land management.  

Lome – WoeLab

Lome – WoeLab

 HubCité is an alternative and participatory vision of urban planning created by the African architect and which questions classic regulatory and elitist approaches. the initiative was born in TOGO, a West African country with an estimated population of 8 million inhabitants .The initiative offers a participatory model where residents themselves decide the future of their neighborhood. This is possible thanks to the installation in specific locations of a network of tech’hubs accessible to the public, which promotes the sharing and learning of “LowHighTech” technologies which easily include all actors such as low-income people who have frequented these places, with their capacity for collective mobilization over a long period, their capacity to think, design and create the city of tomorrow by themselves.

The objective here is to project the African city into the future with a plus that takes into account the collaborative aspect (ArchiCamps) which represents moments of rituals for the villagers + the collaborative work places (RepLABs) which are equivalent to the places of initiation in a village context in order to have it designed by business projects that will emerge from it. The first example resulting from the RepLABS model is WoeLab#0 which is nothing other than an urbanization space taking into account coworking+marketspace+startups-studio. To be clearer, it is a sort of so-called 2.0 house which has the contract to positively impact its proximity over a radius of one kilometer around the lab in all urban aspects (resources, mobility, waste management , governance…). this model is called Grassroot Technology Incubator.

To move from an entrepreneurship model to the total economic ecosystem, a program called #SiliconVilla was created and gave life to 11 startups, prototyped and incubated at WoeLAB. all these startups are owned by the communities that arise from the Lab and are built on the vision that the entrepreneur is called upon to replace the architect, the urban planner, or the decision-maker in the production of the city. #SiliconVillage, like Hubcité, aims to solve the most problems encountered by cities to become the main driver of their transformation.

The process behind the project : The HubCité was inspired by village society, the methodology is inspired and driven by the reproduction of village and city conditions. Inspiration from the fact that traditional African societies produce very relevant solutions thanks to long experience, social harmony and a very intimate knowledge of their environment. An experience which is very difficult to reproduce in large cities where the decision-making choices are left to the decision-maker and specialists who do not always have solutions adapted to the problems. The vision is therefore to transfer the model of cohesion, adaptation, collaborative work and integration from villages to cities. An example would be Barcamps and Fablabs which have the potential while combining Camps + Lab which could lead us towards the vernacular city of tomorrow. It is therefore the cohesion of the villages both in the work, in the synergy of the actors, in the creation of ideas of the common good that we have in our sights by bringing together well-identified digital solidarity projects and original organizations appearing in the wake of ICT and which forms a collaborative niche. The project elaborators firmly believe that new technologies have the potential to support them in the implementation of urban vernacular. Hence the expression #LowHighTech Theory.

Observation of the villages made it possible to highlight three elements which define their effectiveness and efficiency: Times, places, and long term. The moments representing traditional celebrations, funeral, agrarian, initiation rites etc… which are also opportunities for reunions, sharing, transmission, sharing, assessment of transmission, strengthening the cohesion of village communities. Places of seclusion, initiation enclosures, which promote horizontality within age groups, trust and solidarity through palaver, codified jokes, group fellowship and the obligation to share. the collaboration on work of collective interest that its village spaces offer have the same function of intimacy and symbiosis. These elements guarantee villages a harmonious living environment specific to their requirements. These three elements are rare in cities which struggle to find a certain harmony in their living environments. It is therefore the absence of a so-called genius of the place like the African installations that the fate of the cities finds itself in the hands of the said specialists, politicians, architects and experts. To respond to this absence, Barcamps and Fablabs can compensate for the absence of place and time. Over time, it can be reproduced thanks to the abundance of technologies available to us today such as OpenSourceMap. This is therefore how we are moving towards vernacular cities: by combining technology and citizen collaboration.

The project extends over a long, divided period, inspired by the traditional organic model. Equipped with a generative approach, the project does not rely on a fixed objective on the wall but rather on a clear motive, a motivation and a motivator. It is therefore these factors that define the guidelines to follow for the next steps.

In 2012, upon discovering the Maker movement, a connection between hacker ethics and African traditional building practices was made. This proximity inspired the concept of #LowHighTech and the “HubCité” project, aiming to develop African cities around open innovation. This initiative Evolved into a social framework, fostering the emergence of a local tech scene in Lomé, Togo. The #RepLab program aims to introduce this approach into neighborhoods by creating eco-friendly technology hubs. WoeLab, a multifunctional space, promotes values of open sharing and seeks to reconnect technology with modest African traditions. Its mission includes promoting virtuous technologies like the W.Afate while balancing individualism and collective convergence. WoeLab’s #LowHighTech philosophy acts as a filter, selecting what best suits the African context and rejecting what doesn’t. Overall, it’s a “glocal” framework arbitrating temporalities and external influences to foster vernacular and sustainable development.

The project considers the common as fundamental taking into account the aspects of sharing, community, collaboration, openness. For example three levels of the urban, space and noise:

At the urban level, startups are designed to be owned and managed by the communities of the different Labs. Not business leaders but rather all the communities belonging to the lab who own it. The startups together generate shared wealth redistributed within the community, including all members belonging to the community. all working on urban themes: waste management, mobility, communication and resource management in order to respond to as many problems as possible.

At the social level of each of the incubators, the common is invited again to the extent that leadership governance inspired by the age class system of traditional African structures, guarantees shared responsibility and collective involvement. The executives of each startup are chosen by the groups and with a specific mandate after which they become mentors. The same structure is valid for the development of projects.

The collectivist model here inspired by village communities, where poverty or property is common goes against the capitalist model which diverts opinion from the notion of sharing, openness and social. For us, the ideal city remains the one produced by the city dwellers themselves and for themselves to the extent that they have the capacity to project themselves into the future and respond to their own requirements.

The initiative currently attracts little institutional interest in Togo. In a perspective similar to a “third industrial revolution” such as the theory by Jeremy Rifkind, each of the labs is supposed to become a source of energy, an attic, the waste recycling center, a 2.0 university, a small factory. .. Instead, programs such as 3DprintAfrica were set up to involve the population, each Lab for the needs of prototyping and manufacturing objects.

The initiative does not receive support from the government, despite its relevance, and the enthusiasm it has internationally. Everything suggests that the project remains marginalized in Togo.

The project has been self-financing for 4 years of existence. Far from an obligation, it is a choice in order to enjoy total independence and keep the same vision conceived from the development of the project. The different aid and financing systems are intended to bring about changes in the structure of projects due to the dependence on funds, a situation which has favored corruption in African states. It is therefore with the aim of avoiding any external hands that could harm the survival of the project that we preferred to operate with our own funds, and our vision while engaging the strength of the communities. Such social and radical innovation owes its strength first of all to the community that composes it before expecting any kind of help or funding and this is our vision.

Sénamé Koffi Agbodjinou, with a diverse educational background in industrial design, art history, ethnology, and architecture (although without official academic credentials), focuses on architecture, emphasizing simple and modest solutions while highlighting local human, natural, and aesthetic resources. In 2010, he established the collaborative research platform L’Africaine d’Architecture, dedicated to promoting what he terms “anchored modernity”. His interest in digital technology, sparked in 2012, stems from perceived parallels between the “Hacker Ethic” and traditional African values. He introduced the concept of #LowHighTech to make technology accessible to all, including the most marginalized populations. Through his urban program HubCité, he established the WoeLab Space of Technological Democracy in Lomé, providing a space for mobilization and collective action. WoeLab aims to support the Togolese tech and startup ecosystem while contributing to the global movement of Collaborative Consumption.

One Kindred One Business Initiative (OKOBI) – An economic philosophy currently practiced in IMO State, the Eastern part of Nigeria

One Kindred One Business Initiative (OKOBI) – An economic philosophy currently practiced in IMO State, the Eastern part of Nigeria

The One Kindred One Business Initiative is a new economic development of the Imo State Government located in Imo State, the eastern part of Nigeria, West Africa. The Initiative kick started at the beginning 2023 as an economic philosophy which is tied to Afri-capitalism and  focuses on common sense belonging. The One Kindred One Business Initiative traps into the roots of the African nature of Kindreds which is a smaller and closer group of people who come together to foster development. OKOBI therefore encourages them to set up businesses and helps them register these community tied businesses as Cooperatives, these businesses varies based on the choice of the group and there are no limitations in choice some of the businesses include poultry, fishery, cassava farming, Pineapple Orchids, Honey/Bee keeping, Transportation, bakery, livestock farming etc, through these businesses they can address their common problems of health, educational and poverty issues while providing jobs and employment opportunities at the same time.  Currently, there are over 100 and counting OKOBI registered in Imo State, with a mantra to spread the news and increase adoption in other Nigeria, Africa and the Globe. These businesses are community/group owned, controlled and managed. And in other for a business to be classified under OKOBI it must correspond to these 5 criteria:

  • It must  be a group-owned business
  • It must be profit oriented
  • It must be a formally registered business
  • It should be able to address the social and economic needs like employment/ job creation of the community it is based.
  • It should be domiciled in Imo State or prioritize a place

It fits into the global common discussion on shared community investment, prosperity and communities coming together to drive an agenda which is inline with the SDGs. The OKOBI agenda is trying to achieve a shift in the constant view of the government as the messiah by the people and it is an eye-opener to the hidden potentials within people when hands are joined together. Also, it is a just transition in the global economy with a mantra that people should not be left behind.

Below is an evaluation of the project and its alignment with the principles of  the Quintuple Helix Model :


There is a great inclusivity and active involvement of citizens, citymakers and other social players  like the NGOs, private sectors and civil society organizations in OKOBI. This dimension is highly visible because the initiative encourages the communal setting up of businesses which makes OKOBI a clear manifestation of the commons agenda.

In the case of Government involvement, in the interview on the 30th December 2023, we learnt that the collaboration happens mostly through  legitimacy from the registration of the businesses. But, currently the Imo state Government displayed  a huge interest in facilitating the OKOBI businesses, early this year by introducing the Community Economic Development Initiative CEDI, whereby each community presents a pressing need that will enhance their economic activities. These could be either Water supply , electricity, good roads and means of transportation etc and these means will be certified based on its economic impact, therefore communities that are involved with manufacturing can decide to choose electricity etc. This therefore serves as an enabling state activity.

In relation to Knowledge Institution, this is done through the government’s push where it gives the necessary legitimacy to research institutions and knowledge centers to build the required capacity. But currently the OKOBI initiative is beginning to gain global recognition by reputable educational institutes. The New Institute in Germany has indicated strong interest and has decided to run a fully paid research on the One Kindred One Business Initiative . Publications were also made by the London Business School  and La Repubblica which is a prestigious italian newspaper


Within the State, other communities are recreating the model, and more communities want to participate in the project. The idea is for other communities in other cities to also replicate this to help with development in the nation, therefore this variable is Moderate, but growing.

Tech Justice

The potential of digital infrastructures and access to technology to facilitate collaboration is not considered. Here we have a Weak dependent variable for tech justice. But currently ideas to set up digital hubs are being explored.


Adaeze Oluchi Ashaheme

Kigali Masterplan

Kigali Masterplan

Contact Name:  Gabriela Robba e Enrico Moriello

Project:  Kigali Masterplan

Catchment area: Metropolitan Level. Kigali.


Kigali is the capital city of Rwanda a small land-lock country located in East-Central Africa that shares a border with Congo (DRC), Burundi, Tanzania, and Uganda. The Kigali Masterplan is a project that was first approved in 2013 and later renewed in 2015. The updated version of the master plan is structured to accommodate a more participatory process to include all the stakeholders of the city of Kigali.

The master plan is composed of two cardinal focuses which are, to create a vision of the city development and the use of land analysis. The aspirations of the master plan are to be informed about the needs of the inhabitants of Kigali, to have inclusive and participatory decision-making for the city, and to have a socio-economic idea of what the city will be like in the future. Also, the master plan has zoning with a map that consists of the various layers that describe how the land is used and the technical rules of implementing development projects on the land.

Essentially, the goal of the plan is to give a strategic and regulatory plan to the city to make the city a hub for sustainable economic development. Upon approval of the plan, detailed information on the project will be readily available online. Owners and prospective owners of lands within the city will be able to know information about regulations and the rules that govern the development of their land online or via SMS. A detailed discussion of the project aligning with the principles of the quintuple helix model of development is presented below.


The updated version of the master plan is formulated in such a way that will attract inclusive decision-making by all the stakeholders of the city. Of the new actors that were included in the master plan is the “technical advisory group” which are independent decision makers. The representatives of the group consist of local institutions, private sectors, architects, and international organizations such as the UN-HABITAT, etc.

The “technical advisory group” had the objective of managing the entire planning process, not only to endorse the master plan but to help make strategic decisions. It is a decision-making body that makes decisions in consultation with representatives of the local community, and research centers, the municipality of Kigali, public administrations, districts, other administrative units, and the various ministries. The practice of co-governance in this project is part and parcel at all the stages of the process.

Enabling State

The project is run by the municipality of the city of Kigali which receives funding from the central government. That said, the contractual obligation lies on the municipality which has an overall influence on the performance and the running of the project.  There has been a positive economic situation and a great agreement among stakeholders and the government, which is why the municipality has asked for even more innovation. Notwithstanding this, the presence of the central government in enabling local action is always present.


The project was grouped into eight themes which are considered the most relevant for the project. Even though this is said to be important for the realization of the goals and objectives of the project, there is a general lack of foreseeability concerning the resource transfer and creation of a pooling economy. Therefore, there is little presence of pools in the project.


The plan if successfully implemented in 2050 in the city of Kigali, will serve as an example for many cities in Rwanda and Africa in general to replicate it. However, the implementation of it is closely linked to the favorable political-economic situation linked to the co-governmental actors present at the time of its implementation. The experimental nature of the project in other cities is highly likely although subject to the conditions of the city or the country intending to replicate it considering the political and economic situation.

Tech Justice

At the digital level, all the master plans can be viewed and are accessible to the service points throughout the territory. Regarding other residents who might not have smartphones to access the information about the project online, they can also receive information in the form of an SMS. This way, the project is said to take into consideration the city residents who might not have a higher level of computer literacy given that the level of education in Kigali is still considered as low. Therefore, there is a moderate level of tech justice in the project.


Ismaila Saidykhan