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Green Seeds: A Grassroots Approach to Sustainable Urbanization

The 10th annual GPPN Conference, hosted by the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs, featured students' solution oriented ideas and prototypes to address public policy challenges identified by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To participate, each GPPN member school carefully selected up to five student teams to present their projects and compete for the GPPN prize. The result: 32 teams from around the world met in Paris to showcase their ideas on how to solve some of the most pressing global challenges of today.


Across the world, city governments fail to keep up with the pace of rapid urbanization, leaving informal settlements marginalized and left behind. Pursuing a grassroots approach, this project contributes to achieving SDG 11 by enabling small-scale sustainable urbanization in the slums of selected C40 cities. Working towards three sub-targets of goal 11, it aims to facilitate local ownership, create greener communities and establish self-managed public spaces. Built upon three pillars of engagement, education and empowerment, the project will be piloted in five cities initially and replicated in more places in a second phase. Ultimately, it will enable slum dwellers to develop their own local solutions to local challenges, improving the livelihoods of their communities and creating a more sustainable living environment.

Meet the team

Fritz Finne is a Master of Public Policy candidate at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and currently works in the German Ministry of Environment’s department for international urbanisation policies. He holds a BA in Political Science and Law from the Westfälische-Wilhelms University of Münster and spent two semesters at Tel Aviv University on a scholarship by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). He has gained work experience as an intern with Amnesty International and the German Society for the United Nations (DGVN).

Ingrid Schulte is a Master of Public Policy candidate at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and currently works as a land use consultant for Climate Focus, an international think tank. She holds a BSc in Biology and Anthropology from Brandeis University and recently spent a semester at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Previously she worked with the Charles River Watershed Association in Boston on community engagement and river conservation efforts, the U.S. Peace Corps in Swaziland, Africa as a community health specialist, and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) China on their Green Shift Initiative program.

Matthias Kaspers is a MPP candidate at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. He holds a BA in International Relations from the Dresden University of Technology and spent a semester each at Sciences Po Bordeaux and Georgetown University in Washington DC. He has worked in management consulting for McKinsey and BCG as well as for the German Embassy in Tel Aviv and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Morocco. Generally, he is passionate about development issues with a regional focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and a topical focus on education and private sector development.

Interested in learning more about the GPPN programs and degrees? Find out here!


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