The rapidly growing urban centres in East Africa are facing major problems in clean water provision, sanitation and solid waste management, as also has been acknowledged in formulating the Millennium Development Goals. Solving this challenge requires an integrated approach that deviates both from the well-known western large-scale high-technological grid-based systems, as well as from the familiar small-scale, lowtech, decentralized technologies. Such a modernized mixtures approach combines (eco)technological, economic, social and governance dimensions of new environmental infrastructures, simultaneously developed at different scales, against the background of the specific context of East African cities. This paper will present the conceptual framework for such an approach which forms the basis of the academic research programme, PROVIDE, that is currently being undertaken in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda (2006-2011). This conceptual framework will constitute the basis for an integrated approach for sanitation and solid waste management developed in collaboration with and responding to the needs of the urban poor.
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