Collaborate Groups, projects & programmes, discussions, Q&A

Posted on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - 11:12
Six months have passed since 167 countries adopted the 20-year urbanization strategy known as the New Urban Agenda at last year’s United Nations Habitat III summit in Quito, Ecuador. That the world made it to that milestone is due in no small part to the efforts of Joan Clos, executive director of UN-Habitat, the U. N.’s lead agency on urban issues. The indefatigable former mayor of Barcelona traveled to over 40 countries on the road to Habitat III, drumming up interest and support from heads of state, housing ministers, big-city mayors and civil society activists. Since the summit, Clos has... Read more
Posted on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 - 16:27
In low-income neighborhoods, even the best-designed parks and community centers go to waste if no one uses them. The nonprofit Kounkuey Design Initiative is taking that challenge head-on. The late urbanist William H. Whyte famously observed the designs that ruin public spaces, from excluding places to sit and gather to creating dead zones. But even the best-designed public spaces can be a waste if no one uses them. This is especially true in low-income communities. “A pitfall is thinking that design can solve all the problems,” says Chelina Odbert, the cofounder of the nonprofit Kounkuey... Read more
Posted on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 10:42
DUBAI — Dubai is taking data seriously, having embraced the value of urban data in particular as a strategy to maintain a competitive edge in the global city arena. It’s investing in its “smart city” capacities, having launched 121 such services and more than 1,100 initiatives over the past three years. That has saved the government more than USD 1 billion dollars, according to government figures. Dubai was also among the first cities to adopt a global standard for measuring urban performance, and has since embedded that into its city reporting framework. It was one of the first to be... Read more
Posted on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 10:56
Miami—Live-work-play environments are becoming a necessity in urban areas to create the all-in-one experience for today’s residents. Gone are the days of living in isolation, as more renters are looking for that community feel to provide them with top amenities, easy access to office, entertainment, dining and green space both in and around their neighborhood. The trend of these “mini cities” is increasing in popularity and Multi-Housing News sat down with Ana-Marie Codina Barlick, CEO of Codina Partners, to discuss this growing trend of urbanization, the company’s newest project Downtown... Read more
Posted on Monday, March 20, 2017 - 13:11
In December, Mexico City became the first city in Latin America to issue a “green bond”. The USD 50 million issuance will pay for energy-efficient lighting, transit upgrades and water infrastructure. The bond was “oversubscribed” two-and-a-half times over, meaning that investors were willing to buy more of these bonds than Mexico City had to sell. Mexico City’s success is receiving attention in cities around the world. Last week, Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera flew to London to accept an award from the Climate Bonds Initiative, a research group that tracks the green-bond market. The achievement... Read more
Posted on Monday, March 20, 2017 - 11:32
Let’s face it, municipal finance is not very exciting. When it comes to urbanization and smart city planning, talk of government bonds and regulatory frameworks isn’t nearly as captivating as smartphone apps that ease urban transport headaches or drone technologies to deliver goods to your doorstep. But regardless of how mundane, public finance is a fundamental component of any city’s planning because it pays for the spaces and services that can allow private innovations to thrive. Municipal finance can itself be innovative. Perhaps the most creative component to it is the idea that cities... Read more
Posted on Friday, March 17, 2017 - 14:01
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF AFRICA’S FAST-GROWING URBANIZATION, AND SHOULD AFRICA CONTROL THIS PHENOMENON? The share of the population living in African urban areas now is about 30%, but will rise to 50% in a very short period of time. That will present several challenges in both governance and the capacity of cities or even national government to react. It’s important to have a national urban policy which can be transformed into local initiatives. Urbanization is more of an opportunity than a challenge because it goes in parallel with development. If governments plan and design urbanization... Read more
Posted on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 16:23
Why did you become mayor? I always dreamed of working in the public sector and working as mayor gives you the great opportunity to solve people’s everyday problems. What is your favourite part of the job? Being in permanent contact with people. Everyday we visit neighbourhoods all over the city. This gives us the opportunity to listen to people’s needs and dreams. Having the capacity and tools to actually fulfil those dreams is what I enjoy the most. What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced in being a mayor? Our country suffered a terrible earthquake in April 2016. Even though Quito... Read more
Posted on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 15:18
GENEVA — The world’s real estate is worth an estimated USD 217 trillion. That staggering sum, almost three times the gross world product, accounts for nearly 60 percent of all global assets. Residential real estate, meanwhile, is responsible for three-quarters of this total. Given this vast value, homes are increasingly treated like commodities by wealthy investors and multinational corporations. This “financialization of housing” is the subject of a new report by Leilani Farha, the United Nations’ top expert on the right to adequate housing. The Ottawa-based lawyer, who has held the post... Read more
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2017 - 10:32
The archeologist and author Brenna Hassett explains how cities shaped our skeletons. By 2030, humans will be a predominantly urban species, with 60 percent living in cities, according to a prediction from the United Nations Human Settlement Programme. To get to this point, evolution of both human species and our lifestyles has changed rapidly over time. A shift in habitat, the birth of modern cities, and our continuous urban experiment has left, in archeological terms, piles and piles of bones that tell us a lot about our problems, both past and present. In her new book, Built on Bones: 15,... Read more