Wednesday, December 28, 2016

THE CITY WE NEED


We, Urban Thinkers of the World Urban Campaign, here present a new urban paradigm for the 21st century. Committed to sustainable urbanization for a better future, we share our vision with the world before the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III). This vision builds on the Habitat Agenda, the 2030 Development Agenda, and the outcomes of COP 21, in which we have participated actively.

The City We Need (TCWN) 2.0 is a manifesto prepared through the contributions of more than 7596 men and women from 113 countries and 2251 organizations1, representing fourteen (14) constituent groups: Local and subnational authorities, Research and Academia, Civil Society Organizations, Grassroots organizations, Women, Parliamentarians, Children and youth, Business and industries, Foundations and philanthropies, Professionals, Trade Unions and Workers, Farmers, Indigenous people and the Media.2

This global consultation and consensus building process has been made possible through a series of 26 Urban Thinkers Campuses organized by the World Urban Campaign3 from 29 June 2015 to 20 February 2016.

The recommendations made by the Urban Thinkers Campuses were compiled and distilled by a Drafting Committee which concluded its work on 12 March 2016.

This document was then adopted unanimously by the World Urban Campaign Steering Committee on 16 March 2016 in Prague/Czech Republic.

We, the partners of the World Urban Campaign acknowledge the Urban Thinkers Campus as an unprecedented consensus-building process. This process was designed to give a voice to the above mentioned representative groups through a decentralized model in order to define a joint position towards a United Nations Conference.

We request member states and the international community to consider our common vision driven by principles and drivers of change in order to craft the New Urban Agenda to be delivered at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III).

Introduction

As we declared in the 2012 Manifesto for Cities4 and further reiterate here: “the battle for a more sustainable future will be won or lost in cities.”

How we plan, build, and manage our cities today will determine the outcome of our efforts to achieve a sustainable and harmonious development tomorrow. Well-planned cities allow all residents the opportunity to have safe, healthy, and productive lives. Well-designed cities present nations with major opportunities to promote social inclusion, resilience, and prosperity.

The world is at a crossroads. In the next few decades, urban dwellers will double in number, reaching nearly three-quarters of world’s population. More than 60 percent of the built environment needed to accommodate these new urban dwellers by 2030 has yet to be constructed.

KEY CHALLENGES/LESSONS LEARNED

So what will our cities be like? Past and current trends provide some important lessons about what to avoid:

● Outdated and poorly defined roles, responsibilities and mandates between different tiers of government and different public agencies leading to unhealthy competition for resources, overlapping jurisdictions and uncoordinated regulatory frameworks;

● Poor planning, often using outdated and rigid planning approaches that are surpassed by reality leading to urban sprawl, congestion, pollution and the wasteful use of land, water and energy exacerbating climate change;

● Lack of transparency and accountability in city planning and decision making leading to lack of trust on behalf of civil society and business in the leadership of local authorities and public agencies;

● Unsustainable pressures on the carrying capacity of natural supporting systems leading to destruction of ecosystems and vulnerability

● Exclusionary approaches to urban development causing the formation of slums and informal settlements and the lack of access by the urban poor to public goods and services;

● Irresponsible land use and construction that increase vulnerability to natural and humanmade disasters causing loss of life and assets and damage to public and private property;

● Poorly regulated real estate markets that create speculative bubbles and financial crises and further exacerbate lack of security of tenure and access to affordable housing;

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