Pictures clockwise from top left: one of thousands volunteers; Sello Mphala, Tshwane, South Africa, and Carina Borgström Hansson, WWF Earth Hour City Challenge at Swedish Pavilion event; book launching panel; and David Simon and Rose Molokoane, Slum Dwellers International, new chair of World Urban Campaign. Photo: Jan Riise
Mistra Urban Futures at Habitat III
Mistra Urban Futures took part in Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador, last week. The most visible outcome of the conference was of course the adoption of the New Urban Agenda, but there were of course also numerous other opportunities and potential new actions and collaborations that were discussed.
More than 40,000 delegates registered for the event which included plenaries, a wide range of parallel networking and side events, as well as an exhibition area where countries, universities and other stakeholders introduced themselves.
Mistra Urban Futures was represented by Director David Simon, chair Thomas Rosswall and the manager for engagement, Jan Riise, who all took part in a wide range of events – as speaker or moderator, or as participant and visitor. A conference like Habitat, that only takes places every 20 years, also provides a vast range of opportunities for formal or informal meetings with partners and stakeholders, existing and potential.
First meetings were with the World Urban Campaign, a project launched by UN-Habitat to act as advisors to the Director of the organisation. Mistra Urban Futures is a relatively new ‘associate partner’ to the WUC. Two main outcomes of the Steering Committee meetings were the election of Rose Molokoane, of the Slum Dwellers International, as the new chair, and the decision to call for proposals for a new round of Urban Thinkers Campuses around the globe later this autumn.
Mistra Urban Futures’ Director took part in several events, including book launches and project presentations. The two recent books of Mistra Urban Futures (both available for free download as Open Access - follow the links), ‘Rethinking Sustainable Cities’ and ‘Co-Production in Action’ were introduced at several occasions.
The Centre was also a partner in the Swedish Pavilion, opened by the Minister for Housing, Peter Eriksson. Mistra Urban Futures presented some of the findings of the data collection for the testing of indicators for the Urban Sustainable Development Goal and arranged an event on collaborative data collection and analysis.
Articles and media
Prior to the Habitat meeting, an international group of researchers including David Simon published a comment in Nature: Scientists must have a say in the future of cities.
The comment in Nature was discussed in the Guardian, 'Science, cities and innovation in the human age', in CityLab, 'Visualizing the Toughest Challenges Facing Global Cities', in Citiscope, 'Platform needed to provide scientific input on New Urban Agenda implementation, researchers say', and on Medium, Wicked Habitat! Where are the urban scientists?.
David Simon is also one of the contributors to a global roundtable of researchers asked by The Nature of Cities about the most important outcome of Habitat III.
David Simon is one of the contributors to Building Urban Science to Achieve the New Urban Agenda, in The Nature of Cities