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know working paper series

Institutional Capabilities towards urban equality: Reflections from the KNOW Programme in Bangalore, Kampala and Havana 

KNOW Working Paper No. 4 | September 2020

This Working Paper is a collection of reflections to explore the notion of ‘institutional capabilities’, and its possibilities to advance the urban equality agenda. KNOW partners from Bangalore, Kampala and Havana reflect on how their research activities are interrogating the capabilities of institutions to translate knowledge into practices, and potential implications for building pathways to urban equality.


The document starts with an introduction by Alexandre Apsan Frediani and Camila Cociña, which frames the notion of institutional capabilities. Then, reflections from three KNOW Investigators are presented: Gautam Bhan from the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) in Bangalore, India, reflects on institutional capabilities within education institutions in the piece “Notes from Bangalore: Reflections on teaching urban practices”. Shuaib Lwasa from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, discusses “Scalable solutions for social inclusiveness and embracing of informality: Waste economies to enhance urban livelihoods in informal settlements in Kampala”; and Jorge Peña Díaz from the Technological University of Havana (CUJAE), Cuba, discusses “Urban equality in Havana: The role of research networks in increasing state capabilities”. The Working Paper concludes with reflections by Caren Levy on how these cases talk to questions of urban equality. Apart from enabling comparative thinking and reflections across these three contexts, the different sections of this Working Paper aim to explore the usefulness of the concept ‘institutional capabilities’ as a framework for the implementation of global urban agendas.

Key words: Institutional capabilities, human development, capability approach, Havana, Kampala, India

For more information about this working paper please contact

ISSN 2632-7562

KNOW Working Papers are produced online by KNOW and may be downloaded and used, subject to the usual rules governing academic acknowledgement at: under the ISSN 2632-7562


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