Urban planning and development is one of the most crucial processes that guides orderly development in urban and rural areas. One of the individuals who has and continues to play a significant role in this field is Edward Frank, a senior institutional development expert who has worked for more than 30 years with planning and implementation of large infrastructure investment programs, project monitoring, as well as with the development of the local government. Since last year, Edward has joined the IHS Alumni Network as an Honorary Board Member. After interviewing him, I discovered a bit more about his work in the urban sector, his favourite project to date and his role within IHS.
His first interest for the urban sector started while researching for his thesis on slum developments in Karachi in the 1970s, which pushed him further from his initial background in Economics. From that time onwards, he maintained interest in urban development issues. Despite being involved in numerous urban development project, he recalls his favourite to be the Ghana Urban Management Pilot Project (GUMPP) a few years ago, where he was responsible for drafting the preparatory phase. During that project, Edward was working for the international branch of the Dutch Association of Municipalities (VNGI) on an assignment for the Ministry of Local Government in Ghana. The most remarkable thing from this project was the focus on sustaining investments in four cities by measures and operation- and maintenance arrangements for the infrastructure developed.
His link to the IHS goes back to 1992, when he joined the institution with the main responsibility of conducting the regular post-graduate course. The idea of teaching this course for 5 weeks intimidated him and presented a new challenge before his eyes. However, after discovering that he would in fact teach the course for 5 months instead, the reality kicked in. Despite the rough start and the huge change of expectations, this extended length made him somehow feel more accustomed with the teaching environment and with IHS as an institution. Those 5 months led to unforgettable warm experiences, as well as new friends in Edward’s life.
The greatest part of working at the IHS has been meeting former participants who deal with urban issues professionally in almost every corner of the world. A specific memory that Edward recalls is working on a programme in Ethiopia and having difficulties in getting permission to collect data for the development of study materials. However, to his positive astonishment, he met an urban planner from a small town who had also previously been part of the IHS. This led to the creation of a common ground, which made his work much easier and efficient.
Since leaving IHS in 2003, Edward has set up his own consultancy firm, while doing work for third parties. He is regularly involved with assignments within the IHS, which currently involve the supervision of three MSc participants within the institution. Edward is also cooperating as a Local Government Expert with Athena Infonomics, Chennai and India for the development of an Innovative Data Tootkit for UNOPS/Cities Alliance for Improved Resilience Planning and Policy Making for African Cities.
About the author: Eni Bejko is a Marketing and Communications Intern at IHS, who is passionate about urban development. She has graduated in Economics from Bristol University (UK) and is currently following a masters at Erasmus University. She is currently working with Alumni Relations and hopes to contribute to reinforcing the impact of IHS on urban development, as well as the links of IHS with its alumni and partners.