Gerald Shelton

WELCOME TO URBAN CO-LAB!

WELCOME TO URBAN CO-LAB!

Who we are

Urban Co-Lab is a think tank for programs and projects that would facilitate community development. We are committed to our social mission of enacting change in our society, one community at a time. We believe in empowering the citizens so that they can work towards their development. We are ordinary citizens with a passion to help. We respond to different issues and challenges that affect our urban communities. We initially started thinking of community projects from our garage doors in Florida and in a span of one year, we were able to spearhead many programs and events that were directed to uplift the lives of our urban poor communities in different parts of America.

What urban issues and challenges are we talking about?

America

We studied the profiles of different towns and cities all over America and one thing is clear: poverty is still a glaring reality. And with this comes a whole lot of issues and challenges that need to be addressed. There is the housing problem. Look around you and you can still see people spending the night in the streets because they have no homes to go to. Families are also facing challenges in food, income, health, education, and peace and order.

How do you plan to solve the issues and problems of urban communities?

We are no Superman. We know that we cannot solve these problems on our own. But here is our plan. Today urban communities are faced with numerous concerns.  Our group at Urban Co-Lab presents an alternative and flexible paradigm that can guide urban development planning.  Our goals are high but they are realistic, grounded in practices and technologies that are available now.  We have different entry points, depending on our assessment of the appropriateness of the approach. We plan to involve different stakeholders to ensure the success of the community programs and projects.

Solve the issues and problems of urban communities

What community programs and projects have you done so far?

Urban Co-Lab is active in giving seminars and training to educate communities about different social issues. We believe that we have to make them aware of their situation so that they can begin to take ownership of the responsibility to take control of their lives. Start where the people are. Know their strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and challenges that they are dealing with on a day to day basis. Then, we give capability training to improve their capacities in fighting poverty. We have discussed Social Entrepreneurship, Disaster Risk and Management, alternative learning, community policing, among others. We make sure to partner with different government agencies, humanitarian organizations, businesses, community groups, and other stakeholders. It takes the cooperation of everyone to uplift the lives of other people. It is a collaboration among different players to solve the different urban problems.

What else can we expect from Urban Co-Lab?

Expect Urban Co-Lab to be more passionate in our commitment to serve the people and to resolve the urban issues that plague our communities. We will continue to partner with concerned groups and agencies to achieve our vision of uplifting the lives of the poor.

THE USEFULNESS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORY OF DEVELOPMENT IN COMMUNITY BUILDING

THE USEFULNESS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORY OF DEVELOPMENT IN COMMUNITY BUILDING

The Psychological Theory of Development is basically an economic theory that aims for modernization, industrialization and economic development. The psychological aspect about this theory is its recognition of the importance of people’s motivations, values and feelings behind that drive to succeed or to pursue economic growth. It puts emphasis on the human being not merely as objects but as subjects. Human beings are the prime movers of our social technology needed to address our social problems. We can use their motivation not just for economic growth but for the betterment of the whole community. Achievement is not just measured by one’s economic status in life. It encompasses the whole range of human conditions.

PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORY OF DEVELOPMENT IN COMMUNITY BUILDING

Humans have a built-in design to express their overflowing emotions. People have so much more to offer. For example, they can volunteer their time, energy and pour out their emotions to do work for causes close to their hearts. Their overflowing feelings can be channeled to other outlets. We have to create positive venues or outlets for these emotions. We can mobilize volunteer groups in the community catering to different issues and concerns and each person can donate his time, skills and energy to a cause he or she believes in. There can be counseling, teaching, environmental and cultural groups. There can also be programs for individual wellness. The psychological theory of development embraces diversity and works toward collaboration and community strengths. It is where people get to do things they love and enjoy doing and they are relieved of the stresses of everyday life. People see their worth and see the goodness around them. It is about spreading the positive energy around. From here on, we can also make use of the psycho-social approach as one of the means to address other problems in the community. Thus in caring and nurturing for others and the environment, we ourselves are also healed. Together we can bring about social transformation and development in the community.

MAKING AFFORDABLE HOUSING A REALITY

MAKING AFFORDABLE HOUSING A REALITY

After studying the market for the most part of this year, this time is a good opportunity for stakeholders to come together and share their thoughts, practices, and concerns regarding the housing situation among the urban poor so that ultimately, we can make decent and affordable housing a reality.  Although we have seen from some organizations that this is already being done, we want to give the target consumers more options and informed choices to make their investment worthwhile and also uplift their conditions as they move to formal settlements.

For affordable housing to become a reality, different agencies must work together. It involves the government units, housing agencies, service providers, businessmen, developers, architects, engineers, construction suppliers, financing institutions, non-government organizations, and community organizations. Each one has a part to play to make affordable housing a reality.

MAKING AFFORDABLE HOUSING A REALITY

Before anything else, it is important to come up with a realistic definition of affordable housing. Check the average family monthly income and see how they can manage to pay the amortization or be encouraged to buy a house without compromising the needs of their family. Aside from this, it is important to define the issues and challenges that the housing sector faces and what they entail to each sector – public or private alike.  Issues such as laws and policies, architectural design, pricing of construction materials, financing among others need to be discussed.  There are also cross-cutting issues that need to be considered such as disaster risk reduction and management, age and gender sensitivity, environmental concerns, and holistic community development. Public-private partnerships will be more fruitful if each stakeholder is part of the whole process – from definition and planning up to implementation, monitoring and evaluation. It is expected that engagement of different stakeholders will prove to be fertile ground for the progress of housing and urban development in our society.  Sharing of best practices from local and international organizations will be helpful. This is how we can make  affordable housing a reality.