UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development

In Brief

Habitat III, Quito, 2016, for a New Urban Agenda; Habitat I was in Vancouver, 1976; Habitat II in Istanbul, 1996


(2016, Quito; unhabitat.org/habitat-iii-conference).

A massive, long term undertaking: “The UN-Habitat envisions well-planned, well-governed, and efficient cities and other human settlements, with adequate housing, infrastructure, and universal access to employment and basic services such as water, energy, and sanitation.” To achieve these goals, derived from the Habitat Agenda of 1996, UN-Habitat established a medium-term strategy approach for each successive six-year period. The current strategic plan spans from 2014 to 2019 and focuses on 7 strategic issues: 1) Urban legislation, land, and governance; 2) Urban planning and design;3) Urban economy; 4) Basic urban services; 5) Housing and slum upgrading; 6) Risk reduction and rehabilitation; 7) Research and capacity development.

Habitat III will take place in Quito, Ecuador, from 17 – 20 October, 2016 to discuss a New Urban Agenda designed to: 1) Rethink the Urban Agenda, by embracing urbanization at all levels of human settlements, across physical space, bridging urban, peri-urban and rural areas, and assisting governments in addressing challenges through national and local development policy frameworks; 2) Integrate Equity to the Development Agenda, to ensures access to the public sphere, extend opportunities and increase the commons; 3) Foster national urban planning and planned city extensions; 4) Decide how relevant sustainable development goals will be supported through sustainable urbanization; 5) Ensure effective delivery of the New Urban Agenda.

         Key ingredients contributing to the design of the program: 1) Urban Rules and Regulations (outcomes in terms of urban quality depend on the set of rules and regulations and its implementation; proper urbanization requires the rule of law); 2) Urban Planning and Design (the vision of the city, its physical configuration, the definition of technical solutions, and environmental considerations are all determined through urban/regional planning; a reinvigorated urban planning will optimize economies of agglomeration, promote sustainable density, encourage social diversity and mixed land uses, foster inclusiveness, maximize heterogeneity, promote liveable public spaces and vibrant streets, make the city more functional, and maintain environmental balances); 3) Local Fiscal Systems (should move from mere instruments of revenue generation and budget management to vectors of change that generate real development outcomes); 4) Investment In Basic Services (planning to achieve less costly provision of basic services such as water and sanitation, higher resilience, climate change mitigation and adaptation, poverty reduction and pro – poor policies0. National and regional reports, issue papers, policy unit meetings, high level regional and thematic meetings, general assembly of partners meetings, preparatory discussions and debates, a global report and a zero draft document will all be developed in advance of the 2016 meeting. A wide range of supporting documents and a calendar of many preparatory events are available on the website. General Assembly of Partners President, Eugenie L. Birch (New York) gappresident@gmail.com).

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