LSE Cities at Habitat III

Conference hosted by UN-Habitat

Exhibition stand (09:00-18:00; 15-20 October; Stand 33)
Dialogue (15:00-18:00; 18 October; R1/ Cine “Alfredo Pareja”)
Side event (11.00-12.00; 19 October; R13)
Urban Talk (19:00-20:30; 19 October; Teatro Nacional)

Exhibition stand
LSE Cities and Urban Age
15-20 October
09:00-18:00 (Open daily to all delegates and the general public)
Venue: 33 (Area B), National Assembly (300 meters from the main conference venue, La Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana “Benjamin Carrion”)

The LSE Cities exhibit included data and research from the Urban Age Programme, which has investigated rapidly urbanising regions in Africa and Asia, as well as in mature urban regions in the Americas and Europe to explore how the physical and social are interconnected in cities. Other research from LSE Cities was also presented.

Habitat III Policy Unit 4 ‘Urban Governance and the New Urban Agenda’
Tuesday 18 October
Venue: R1/ Cine “Alfredo Pareja” at the venue of the Habitat III Conference, Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana “Benjamin Carrion”

Organised by the Co-Leads of the Habitat III Policy Unit 4, LSE Cities and UCLG, this three hour session consisted of two panels which discussed the implications of the New Urban Agenda for different aspects of urban governance. The session, Chaired by Emilia Saiz, Deputy Secretary General, UCLG, acted as an inaugural forum interpreting the high-level governance ambitions of the NUA for different contexts, spheres of governments, private and third sector organisations and actors. Philipp Rode, Executive Director of LSE Cities, presented an overview of Policy Unit 4 and its relationship to the New Urban Agenda.

Panel 1
Urban Governance and the NUA: Implications for Governments
The first panel focused on the principal ambition of the NUA affecting the formal structures and operations of government. Unpacking the NUA’s ambition for decentralisation and the strengthening of regional and local governments, it identified priority actions that national governments may need to take and city-level institutional responses. Speakers included: Mónica Fein, Mayor of Rosario (Argentina); Parks Tau, President of South African Local Governments Association; Ian Klaus, US Department of State; Ilmar Reepalu, Councilor of Malmö (Sweden); Dieudonne Maurice Bonanet, Minister of Urbanization and Habitat, Burkina Faso.

Panel 2
Urban Governance and the NUA: Implications for Decision Making
The second panel extended the debate on implications of the NUA beyond the sphere of governments and engages with the roles and relationships between public, private and third sector actors. It centrally addressed questions of newer forms of network governance to support a participatory approach and how deliberation, decision making and delivery can more effectively involve multiple actors and stakeholders. Panellists included: Mercè Conesa, President of the Province of Barcelona (Spain); Denis Simonneau,Director of European and International Relations, ENGIE (previously GDF-SUEZ); Sandra Vermuyten, Head of Campaigns Public Sector International (PSI); Joanna Drake, Deputy Director General – DG Environment, European Commission; and Soledad Núñez, Minister of Housing and Habitat, Paraguay.

Side event
Conflicts of an Urban Age: expansion or redevelopment
Wednesday 19 October
Venue: R13 at the venue of the Habitat III Conference, Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana “Benjamin Carrion”

While urban populations have doubled in recent years, their footprint has increased nearly five-fold and density levels dropped. Despite the popularity of the compact city model among policymakers, academics and planners, cities across the world continue to sprawl with little control. This panel discussion examined whether spatial planning policy can tame urban growth and what the impacts of urban form are, if any, on productivity, the environment and social inclusion.

Chaired by Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the discussion drew on Urban Age research. Panellists included Shlomo Angel, Head of Urban Expansion Program, New York University; Karen Seto, Professor of Geography and Urbanization Science, Yale University; Edgar Pieterse, Director of the African Centre for Cities; and Somik Lall, Urban and Territorial Development, Disaster Risk Management and Resilience, World Bank.

The Urban Age Programme, jointly organised by LSE Cities at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft, is an international investigation of the spatial and social dynamics of cities centred on an annual conference, research initiative and publication.

Urban Talk

Organised by the Urban Age
Date: 19 October
Venue: Teatro Nacional at the venue of the Habitat III Conference, Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana “Benjamin Carrion”

Joan Clos, Director of UN-Habitat; Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies at the LSE; Richard Sennett, Professor of Sociology, LSE and NYU; and Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University delivered one of three evening Urban Talks, which were central to the official Habitat lll programme.

Related content and events

Mapping urban governance
Urban Governance Survey

12 October, 5th UCLG Congress: The World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders, Bogotá
Venue: Network Hub

Global comparative research on urban governance is confronted with a substantial data challenge. The global Urban Governance Survey – undertaken by LSE Cities in partnership with UN-Habitat and UCLG, and supported by the MacArthur Foundation – addresses this data challenge and explores new ways of communicating and ‘mapping’ urban governance for public dissemination, comparative policy and research analysis. Building a global database for current models of urban governance already includes over 120 cities. Local governments all around the world continue to face critical decisions about how to face current demands and plan for their immediate urban future. The session will be a perfect opportunity to present the results of the urban governance survey and the features and usefulness of the platform, as well as to offer a space for cities to engage and discuss about current urban governance trends and challenges.

The Urban Governance Survey is also part of the larger LSE Cities New Urban Governance research and engagement project.

Conflicts of an Urban Age exhibition
28 May–27 November 2016, 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
Venue: Sala d’Armi, Arsenale, Venice

A Special Project of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition realised by La Biennale di Venezia. Curated by LSE Cities, it is part of the Urban Age programme (jointly organised by the London School of Economics and Political Science and Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft). The exhibition has been developed in the context of Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development that will be held in Quito, Ecuador on 17-20 October 2016.

Urban Age ‘Shaping Cities’ conference
14–15 July 2016, 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
Venue: Teatro Alle Tese, Arsenale, Venice

Hosted by La Biennale di Venezia in the context of the Special Project “Report from Cities: Conflicts of an Urban Age” and in partnership with United Nations Habitat III, the conference investigated how people, institutions, policymakers, investors and designers affect the physical form of cities, and how this impacts on the way we live in them.

Habitat III Policy Unit 4: Urban Governance, Capacity and Institutional Development
In 2015 and early 2016, LSE Cities co-led jointly with UCLG a group of twenty global experts as part of the preparatory process for the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III). Incorporating the feedback of UN member states and accredited stakeholders on the draft policy paper, Policy Unit 4’s final document, now an official UN General Assembly document, begins by arguing that a new urban governance must be based on aspirations for the right to the city, sustainable development and territorial equity. Based on these, the paper outlines its key recommendations. These include the creation of strong multi-level governance frameworks, strengthening of decentralisation processes, promotion of integrated national urban and territorial policies, reinforcing metropolitan governance, promoting a new culture of participation and equity, strengthening capacity-building for urban governance, and enabling digital era governance.