The City We Need


The City We Need

Towards a New Urban Paradigm

Cities are either helpful or unhelpful in achieving sustainable development. As the World Urban Campaign (WUC) partners declared in the 2012 Manifesto for Cities 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 now will determine the outcome of our efforts to achieve a sustainable and harmonious development tomorrow. Well-planned cities afford all residents the opportunity to lead safe, healthy, and productive lives. Well-designed cities present nations with major opportunities to promote social inclusion, resilience, and prosperity. The WUC provides the framework for a movement with a collective contribution of committed partners united by shared goals and a common vision for the cities of the future of the city for the 21st century. It sets key principles and establishes essential paths for building a New Urban Agenda towards the Habitat III Conference.

What is The City We Need?

In March 2014, The City We Need (TCWN) 1.0 was launched in New York City/USA, prior to the Seventh Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF7). TCWN 1.0 was a manifesto of nine principles suggesting concrete ways on how to achieve sustainable urban development. It was conceived, designed and written by the partners of the World Urban Campaign.

In October 2014, at the first Urban Thinkers Campus was held in Caserta/Italy, where partners reiterated the importance of TCWN 1.0 in the engagement process towards Habitat III. Simultaneously, the WUC initiated the General Assembly of Partners (GAP). The GAP was established as an interim deliberative devise for partners to contribute to Habitat III's New Urban Agenda

Following the success of the first Urban Thinkers Campus, the WUC Steering Committee at its 11th Meeting in Caserta in October 2014 requested the WUC Secretariat to open a call for proposals for partners to host further Urban Thinkers Campuses (UTCs).  

Following three Calls for Proposals to host Urban Thinkers Campuses, a total of 28 UTCs were approved by the WUC Standing Committee and took place between the end of June 2015 up to February 2016. Over time, 2 UTCs were cancelled by the organizing partners, which left the total number at 26. The main aim of the selected UTCs was to solicit input to The City We Need 2.0, through the unique and participatory UTC model, involving 14 partner constituent groups. 

As decided during the first meeting of the General Assembly of Partners (GAP) held in Nairobi/Kenya on 13 April 2015 and during the 13th WUC Steering Committee Meeting held on 3 October 2015 in New York City/USA, the outcomes of these 26 Urban Thinkers Campuses are the basis for The City We Need 2.0, and will then feed into the Zero Draft of the New Urban Agenda via the GAP. 

In October 2015, the WUC partners also decided upon new working groups at the 13th WUC Steering Committee Meeting. Amongst others, the working group 1 "The City We Need (TCWN) 2.0 Drafting Committee" was formed (see more information HERE). This Drafting Committee, consisting of WUC partner representatives, was tasked with the compilation of the 26 Urban Thinkers Campus reports, as well as the actual drafting of TCWN 2.0. 

After a series of telephone conferences, the Drafting Committee held its final meeting from 29 February to 2 March 2016 in Nairobi/Kenya and virtually via Webex, involving 25 members of the group, to finalize the final draft of The City We Need 2.0, based on the UTC reports submitted to the WUC Secretariat.

The final draft was adopted unanimously by the World Urban Campaign Steering Committee on 16 March 2016 in Prague/Czech Republic.
The City We Need 2.0 will be made available in all 6 United Nations languages, to be disseminated widely and to be used as a reference document for all stakeholders and governments dealing with housing and sustainable urban development.

On 21 May 2016, the World Urban Campaign started the countdown to the 3rd Preparatory Committee for the Habitat III Conference (PrepCom3) - 10 weeks to Surabaya – calling on the public to:

Read The City We Need which is currently available in 3 UN languages (more languages to follow soon!):
Hear what others say about TCWN - watch the #UrbanThinkers Voices 

PROMOTE #TheCityWeNeed
Share The City We Need with your network and publish it on your website. Download it HERE
Use the The City We Need campaign kit materials (
Participate in the Habitat III processes
Attend the informal hearings with stakeholders on 6-7 June, to be held in New York City/USA. More details are on the Habitat III website.
Submit your comments on the Zero Draft of the New Urban Agenda via the Urban Dialogue

In the next 10 weeks leading up to PrepCom3, we call on you to engage with The City We Need, by discussing it’s 10 principles for a new urban paradigm on social media using the Hashtag #TheCityWeNeed. Starting with Principle 1 this last week of May 2016, we ask you to share your views with us on what YOU think a socially inclusive and engaging city is.
Share a video or photo with us on social media, showing us The City We Need on your or with your hand(s), using the hashtag #TheCityWeNeed

Read #TheCityWeNeed Campaign launch story: Here

Read the THE CITY WE NEED 2.0
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