The Un-Habitat or the United Nations agency for human settlements and sustainable urban development, whose primary focus is to deal with the challenges of rapid urbanization, has been developing innovative approaches in the urban design field, centered on the active participation of the community. ArchDaily has teamed up with UN-Habitat to bring you weekly news, article, and interviews that highlight this work, with content straight from the source, developed by our editors.
Around 440 fast-growing cities in emerging economies will contribute by 2025, to nearly half of global economic growth. If given the right planning and management tools, this urbanization “can be transformative, creating jobs, reducing poverty, and improving citizens’ quality of life”. As a matter of fact, the Global Future Cities Programme (GFCP) aims to deliver this required support. Based on urban planning, transport, and resilience principles, the program provides “technical assistance for a set of targeted interventions to encourage sustainable development and increase prosperity while alleviating high levels of urban poverty”.
Many developing cities around the world are faced with extensive challenges that prevent them from leading sustainable future developments. The Global Future Cities Programme (GFCP), part of the Prosperity Fund established by the UK Government in 2015 to help promote economic growth in developing countries, seeks to aid fast-growing cities in emerging economies such as Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, and Turkey. The Program includes 30 projects distributed over 19 cities in 10 countries. Focused on providing technical and strategic assistance to cities, the GFCP will help these urban agglomerations with “spatial and strategic planning and urban design, the development of integrated transport systems and better urban mobility, and improved strategies for dealing with climate change and environmental risks”. Check some of the involved cities below.
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- Federative Republic of Brazil: Belo Horizonte/ Recife
- Republic of Indonesia: Bandung/ Surabaya
- Malaysia: Iskandar / Melaka
- Federal Republic of Nigeria: Abeokuta/ Lagos
- Republic of the Philippines: Cebu/ New Clark City
- Republic of South Africa: Cape Town/ Durban/ Johannesburg
- Kingdom of Thailand: Bangkok
- Republic of Turkey: Ankara/ Bursa/ Istanbul
- Socialist Republic of Viet Nam: Ho Chi Minh City
Preparing them to reach their full potential, the program tailored to every context embraces different types of urban entities: from megacities to intermediate cities, from ancient civilization to unbuilt master plans. Following the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, namely the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Paris Agreement on climate change, Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, and New Urban Agenda, its purpose is to provide cities with tools to overcome obstacles and address challenges like educational opportunities, wealth, job creation, eliminating inequality, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, eliminating poverty and ensuring preparedness in the face of natural disasters, etc. For example, in Yangon, Myanmar, the project “Sustainable Public Space Revitalization through Participatory Design” aims to unlock the potential of Yangon City’s latent assets by developing learning-by-doing pilot projects. The Program’s Technical Assistance will strengthen the capacity of local governments to deliver concrete projects, and subsequently inform policies, regulations, and methodologies.
Supported by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, the program has different partners in every country. A strategic and capacity building partner, UN-Habitat provides advice and technical recommendations for quality improvement, strengthen the capacity of targeted city authorities to plan and manage the implementation and sustainability of interventions, and increase local and global knowledge about inclusive and sustainable urbanization.
The strategy includes two phases: a Strategic Development Phase, and an Implementation Phase. The first part sets the foundation whereas the second step provides assistance to cities to execute projects. It helped identify and define a wide range of strategic interventions in 19 cities across 10 countries. 30 Projects are currently on-going, ranging from urban strategies and plans, flood management and systems, public space heritage, etc. Moreover, UN-Habitat's engagement was focused mainly on the Strategic Development Phase of Projects, “part of laying the foundation for implementation, achieving the Programme objectives and ultimately, contributing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.More information on the process and methodologies applied during the Strategic Development Phase, in the UN-Habitat's report.
In order to encourage knowledge exchange and city-to-city learning, the "knowledge management platform" is a web-based tool developed for circulating information between the multiple partners and stakeholders of the Global Future Cities Program. In fact, “the platform will facilitate the way information is collected, stored and accessed, and function as a repository of curated reports and background information”. Launched in early July, it is currently being tested out by the cities and partners. Promoting inclusive and sustainable urban development, it supports cities to implement the SDGs and New Urban Agenda, links global expertise on urbanization with local experiences, builds a community of urban practitioners, and offers a variety of resources to support planning and management of cities.
Info Via UN-Habitat.
This article is part of the ArchDaily Topic: The Future of Cities. Every month we explore a topic in-depth through articles, interviews, news, and projects. Learn more about our monthly topics. As always, at ArchDaily we welcome the contributions of our readers; if you want to submit an article or project, contact us.