Francis Koti

FDI Scholar in the Department of Geography and Regional Planning

Born sixth in a family of seven as Tama Koti, in Mithumo village of Machakos District in the Eastern Province of Kenya, he later (1980) adopted Francis as his first name after baptism. In 1998, he wedded Margaret Koki, and they are the proud parents of Milton Koti.

He holds a Bachelor of Education (Hons) degree from Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya, with specialized training to teach Geography and History, which he did at the Aga Khan High School, Nairobi, between 1991 and 1996. He then moved to the United States for further studies and acquired a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Geography from West Virginia University (WVU) in 1999. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Geography at WVU. His research interests are African Peri-Urbanization, African Urban Management and Planning, Third World Development, and GIS and Society issues. His dissertation research examines how the introduction of geographic information systems (GIS) in African urban geographic research is impacting the way peri-urban landscapes are understood and conceptualized. Using a GIS and Socitey framework, the study also examines how the integration of community local knowledge into a conventional GIS for (uneven) residential development in Athi River town, Kenya, might augment such spatial databases, rendering them more place-based and robust for use in policy evaluation and planning. Towards the end of this summer, he will leave for Kenya to conduct fieldwork, and he hopes to complete his Ph.D. Program in the summer of 2003.

Besides teaching High Schol in Kenya, he has acquired college teaching experience at MVU as a graduate instructor with full teaching responsibility for Physical Geography (Spring 2001) and Urban Geography (Spring 2002). He has also served as a graduate teaching assistant in courses such as Physical Geography, World Regional Geography, Human Geography, and Introduction to GIS. This spring, he was named the graduate teaching assistant for the Geography program for 2002. In the past year, he has been a graduate research assistant for the UCGIS-HUD sponsored project at WVU, where they are developing a quantitative baseline of spatial data for the City of Beira, Mozambique, using geographic urban indicators, a United Nations initiative for cities of developing countries.

He is a holder of the 1999 Eberly College of Arts and Sciences (WVU) Endowed Doctoral Teaching Supplemental Fellowship. He is affiliated to the association of American Geographers (AAG), the UCGIS-HUD sponsored Urban Indicators Project at WVU, the WVU Appalacia-Southern Afric Research and Development Collaboratory (ASARD), and the WVU African Students Association (ASA), where he served as vice president in the 2000-2001 academic year.