'Once you join IHS, you immediately belong to a huge worldwide family of urban professionals'

Tannya Pico is an urbanist and architect currently enrolled in the Urban Development and Governance PhD programme at IHS. Before coming to the Netherlands, Tannya had extensive experience in Latin America, the United States and Europe in architecture, environmental sciences, construction management and academia. Now she is exploring nature-based solutions in her hometown Quito, Ecuador, as part of her research. 

Starting the PhD

As Tannya was involved in an important project by HABITAT III in Ecuador, she received a scholarship to join a PhD programme in the Netherlands at IHS. When Tannya met her supervisor Alexander Jachow, by coincidence, he was starting a project in Ecuador where they found common ground immediately.  

"When I started my research, I wanted to know what could benefit my city, Quito."

Together with her promoter, Tannya and Alexander started to look into nature-based solutions because it was a new concept in Europe. At the same time, on the concept's basis, it is generally practised in Ecuador. Nature-based solutions are also connected to climate change adaptation, which is crucial for the Global South. Hence, Tannya decided to explore the absorptive capacities of Quito's local stakeholders for the concept of nature-based solutions.

The idea behind the research

Tannya's thesis aims to raise awareness about communities from Ecuadorian cities that have been working with urban nature for more than 20 years and have contributed to the main goal of urban agriculture and stream restoration for recreation and city adaptation to climate change. This acknowledgement is as important for the citizens in Quito as it is for further developing sustainable management of natural resources. It empowers them and broadens their horizons regarding scaling their projects and funding opportunities. 

 "I feel that the main outcome of my research is not only getting a title but also contributing to making a change in my hometown."

Why nature-based solutions

Tannya chose to explore the concept of nature-based solutions because it serves as an integrative concept for approaches studied by different disciplines and presents a holistic view of climate adaptation. Including nature in the decision-making of urban planning to prepare for the effects of climate change has a lot of value.

Experience at IHS

During the interview, Tannya also drew attention to her enriching experience at IHS. Because of her background in academia, she got the opportunity to collaborate in teaching students of the Urban Management & Development Master programme. It was especially interesting for her to notice the profound effects of cultural differences on city planning, urban design, and one's personality. Certainly, it was an unforgettable feeling to have people from all over the world in one classroom. 

"I greatly value that once you join IHS, you immediately belong to a huge worldwide family of urban professionals."

Recently, Tannya has also been invited by IHS to contribute to short courses happening in Latin America and South East Asia to share the knowledge she gained during her PhD on nature-based solutions in Quito, Ecuador. 

Graduation ceremony of the IHS PhD candidate Hung Viet Ngo

Related programme

The PhD on Urban Development & Governance is a 4-year flexible trajectory programme that fuses urban management with governance. 

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