Urban Thinkers Campus

The Urban Thinkers Campus is an initiative of UN-Habitat conceived as an open space for critical exchange among urban constituents, visionaries, leaders, stakeholders, and thinkers who believe that urbanization is an opportunity and can lead to positive urban transformations. It is also intended as a platform to build consensus between partners engaged in addressing urbanization challenges and proposing solutions to urban futures.

The first Urban ThinkersCampus was organized last year in Caserta, Italy, on the theme ‘The City We Need’, and brought together urban thinkers and established UN-Habitat partner organizations and constituencies to reflect on current urban challenges and trends and to propose a new paradigm. The new paradigm will be a contribution to the New Urban Agenda, which will be delivered at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urba n Development (Habitat III) in 2016.

The Joslyn Institute's Urban Thinkers Campus “The Role and Opportunities in Urban Sustainability for Small and Mid-Size Cities” is intended to contribute to the ‘The City We Need’ by focusing particularly on two principles:
  •  The city we need has a unique identity and sense of place.
  •  The city we need is well planned, financed and governed at all levels.

These principles will be addressed within the context of mid-size and small cities of fewer than 3 million inhabitants, and the rural areas wtih which they have critical interdependencies.

The City We Need

The World Urban Campaign partners agreed to contribute to the Habitat III Conference by engaging the international community, public, private, and civil society partners to contribute to the new Global Urban Agenda through a consensus document that describes The City We Need.

The document will be a collective contribution of committed partners united by shared goals and a common vision of the city for the 21st century, including the Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities. It sets key principles and establishes essential paths for building a New Urban Agenda towards the Habitat III Conference.

The Campaign partners are questioning what direction global urban development will take in the coming 20 years, and what shall guide governments, their partners, and the international community to prepare for the urban future.

They need to provide pertinent answers as the 20-year anniversary of the Habitat Agenda looms, and while critical urban trends lead to increased segregation, inequality, and environmental degradation, making the urban agenda a global priority. Among the guiding priciples of the World Urban Campaign's The City We Need initiative are: The city we need is inclusive; it has a human scale and is well-planning, providing acess, affordable mobility, walkabilityto all; it is resilient; it is economically vibrant and inclusive; it is safe and healthy; it has a unique identity and sense of place; it is well planned, financed and governed at all levels; and it is affordable and promotes the right to the city for all.

Habitat III

Habitat III is the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development to take place in Quito, Ecuador, from 17–20 October 2016. In line with the bi-decennial cycle, the United Nations General Assembly decided to convene, the Habitat III Conference to reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable urbanization, to focus on the implementation of a “New Urban Agenda”, building on the Habitat Agenda of Istanbul in 1996.

The objective of the Conference is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable urban development, assess accomplishments to date, address poverty and identify and address new and emerging challenges. The conference isexpected to result in a concise, focused, forward-looking and action-oriented outcome document.

HABITAT III will be one of the first United Nations global summits after the adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and, hopefully, a new climate change agreement. It offers a unique opportunity to discuss the important challenge of how cities, towns and villages are planned and managed, in order to fulfi ll their role as drivers of sustainable development, and hence shape the implementation of new global development and climate change goals.

Further information on Habitat III, The City We Need, and more can be found on our Resources page here.

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