Ten concise points respond to the current draft of Habitat III’s New Urban Agenda which is lengthy, dense and gives too little attention to the key roles of local government and civil society.
Habitat III will seek global political commitment to making urban centres more sustainable, inclusive and resilient. But the latest draft of the New Urban Agenda – to be agreed at the summit – is long, impenetrable and gives little attention to urban governance. Frustrated by this unwieldy document, we have developed an alternative version of the New Urban Agenda – in one page.
Borrowing the format of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction’s Ten Essentials for Making Cities Resilient (PDF) these short and practical points provide national governments with clear direction for a workable outcome from Habitat III.
The text does not include many important goals. It seeks instead to push attention away from long lists that repeat commitments already made to the means by which these can be met.
Ahead of the last negotiation meeting before the summit we share these guidelines and are keen to hear comments.
Dr Felipe Hernández was born and raised in Cali, Colombia’s third-biggest city and one of the country’s most dangerous – riven by fighting between drug trafficking gangs and the grinding poverty of its shanty towns.
One of the most violent neighbourhoods is Potrero Grande along the Cauca River. “When I was a child I never went to the settlements along the bank, although they were only nine or 10 miles away,” Hernández said. “They had a reputation for being dangerous. It took several years and some geographical distance for me to see how deeply divided Cali was then and remains today. As recently as 1997, the city’s most prestigious club denied membership to black people.”
Various schemes have been initiated to regulate the development of Cali and address the levels of violence in its notorious poorer districts. Although these schemes have commendable objectives, and valuable aspects, they fail to take people’s lived experiences, especially their social networks and productive capacity, into account
“Teaching music to poor children is useful because it gets them off the streets,” Hernández said. “But what happens when they grow up and need to earn a living? How many children have the opportunity to follow a career in music?”
Read more: http://scroll.in/researchers-in-colombia
What if things we throw away could be put right in a block maker, and turned into bricks? That’s beginning to happen in multiple ways! From plastic bricks made of recycle waste to machines that crush boulders and rocks into liquid cement, and make bricks, there are great things on the horizon!
These blocks can be made in the same size as standard concrete blocks, though don’t have the same weight-bearing capabilities. The blocks do have good acoustic and thermal insulation properties, which ByFusion says makes them ideal for use in road projects or fill-in building frames.
Our Work on sustainable, inclusive, safe, and resilient urbanization:
More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas. By 2050, that figure will have risen to 6.5 billion people – two-thirds of humanity. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces.
The rapid growth of cities in the developing world, coupled with increasing rural to urban migration, has led to a boom in mega-cities. In 1950, only 30 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas. In 2014, 54 percent was urban, with the proportion being far higher in developed countries. By 2020, however, the majority of people in developing countries will live in cities, with Africa and Asia urbanizing faster than other regions. Together with Latin America, they collectively account for more than 90 percent of global urban growth.
Many national, regional and local governments have struggled to create and implement policies that tackle the growing challenges faced by population growth in urban centers. Making cities safe and sustainable means ensuring access to safe and affordable housing, as well as improving slum and informal housing settlements. City leaders must invest in public transport, create and regenerate new public spaces for all urban residents, and improve urban planning and management in a way that is both participatory and inclusive. Sustainable city life is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.
UNDP’s policy and programme support focuses on supporting countries (and cities) to implement policies and initiatives for achieving SDG 11 and the New Urban Agenda. Given the scope of urban challenges, UNDP will continue to work with a diverse set of partners and stakeholders—as part of a ‘coalition’—in addressing challenges to urbanization at the local, regional and national levels.
Urban residents in well-planned cities enjoy better access to employment opportunities, healthcare, education and public services compared to their rural counterparts. This is an opportunity to ensure that the urban infrastructure being built is climate resilient  and provides a better quality of life for the people who will live there. Better governance, planning and management mechanisms and access to affordable financing will be critical determinants of the sustainability, resilience, and inclusiveness of future urban centers.
It’s quite amazing how cities can change over time. It doesn’t even have to be that much time, you can literally leave your city for only a few years and when you come back, you’ll be baffled with the changes that occurred in your absence. Now imagine how some cities can change after ten, twenty or even one hundred years. The most drastic example is probably the beautiful city of Dubai, but we also prepared many “before and after” photographs so you could see how some of the biggest cities on the planet have changed throughout history.
Urbanisation is one of the defining processes of modern times, with more than half of the world’s population now living in cities, and new mega-metropolises mushrooming in Asia, Latin America and Africa. But a comprehensive, digitised database of city populations through world history has been lacking, with the United Nations’ dataset only extending as far back as 1950.
That was until recent research, published in the journal Scientific Data, transcribed and geocoded nearly 6,000 years of data (from 3700BC to AD2000). The report produced a gargantuan resource for scholars hoping to better understand how and why cities rise and fall – and allowed blogger Max Galka to produce a striking visualisation on his site Metrocosm.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/rise-fall