Elizabeth McKeon: Planning Injustice

Elizabeth McKeon is on the board of The Rules, a new technology-driven global movement intent on reframing typical approaches to thinking about poverty and how to  take action to end it. Throughout her career, she has wrestled with economic and social justice issues through a variety of roles in philanthropy, government, and nonprofit organizations including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the International Research and Exchanges Board. From 2008 to 2011, she held senior positions at the Ford Foundation, as director of a special initiative on urban poverty in developing countries. McKeon holds an M.P.P. from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a B.S. in languages from Georgetown University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

McKeon’s lecture will examine the approaches taken by two ongoing projects — Sabarmati Riverfront project in Ahmedabad and the Kenyan Railway Relocation Action Plan (RAP) — addressing informality with a view towards their impact on the lives of the poor. The Sabarmati Riverfront project is touted as a model of business, government, and community cooperation by the global accounting firm KPMG. By contrast, the RAP is criticized in the Kibera and Mukuru slums of Nairobi for having a clunky path of stops and starts. McKeon will answer the question: “Is political will the most critical factor in slum upgrading?”

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