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The Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC) is an initiative of the UN-Habitat World Urban Campaign that serves as a knowledge-sharing platform that brings together diverse professionals, researchers, experts, academics, community leaders, and other stakeholders to discuss and address the contemporary urban challenges in the face of climate change.

This Urban Thinkers Campus seeks to foster collaboration and co-creation of solutions related to sustainable urban development following the New Urban Agenda. In that sense, the manifesto "The City We Need" advocates the construction of inclusive, equitable, safe, and sustainable cities. It seeks to raise awareness and promote positive changes to obtain green, healthy, well-planned projects to achieve SDG 11. Urban Thinkers Campus is integral to this process, providing a space for reflection and collective action around critical urban issues.

Currently, access to healthy housing has become an emergency and its lack is putting the lives of millions of people at risk. Sustainable housing is the first defense against climate change and health risks. Efficient design and sustainable buildings, using low-carbon materials, reuse, and zero-waste approaches can dramatically reduce carbon emissions and environmental impacts.

Thus, last October 2023, at the UTC Transforming the Urban Future: Urban Thinkers Campus on Sustainability in the Built Environment was announced the Living Lab Sustainable Building Project (LLES), which was carried out in the Galapagos archipelago. This project's main objective is to transform a public building, housing, and a hotel modifying the architectural paradigm through sustainable construction that improves the quality of life of people and their environment.

The replication of this project in other places through the commitment and financing of the public and private government sectors will enable sustainable urban development, which strengthens the local regulatory framework, the development of technical solutions, and energy efficiency.

In continuity with the previous UTC and the face of the current climate and energy crisis, we must debate sustainability, forms of construction, and urban planning. Through UTC Galapagos 2024, we seek to foster the commitment of participants to develop and replicate sustainable construction practices. Through various Urban Labs, different experiences from the municipal authorities of Galapagos will be exchanged, as well as from the replica locations in Mexico and Colombia. There will also be sessions with technical visits to the rehabilitations developed within the framework of the project, the consolidation of the Regional Sustainable Building Network, and the signing of a commitment document for the transition towards sustainable building and implementation of the project mentioned in the municipalities of the region.


Day 1: Thursday 21:

❖    Inauguration and welcome

-       Humberto Plaza - Minister of Urban Development and Housing of Ecuador

-       Sade Fritschi - Minister of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition

-       Mgs. Edwin Altamirano - President of the Governing Council of the Special Regime of Galápagos (CGREG)

-       Analia Pastran - Co-Chair of the UN-Habitat World Urban Campaign

-       Pablo Lloret - Executive director Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano

-       MD.Ishtiaque Zahir - UIA Representative. Former Co-Chair, PCG Professionals, World Urban Campaign (WUC), UN-Habitat

-       Anthony Boanada-Fuchs - Representative of St Gallen University (video)


❖    Urban Lab 1:  Sustainable Building Experience in Galapagos.

Around 40% of greenhouse gas emissions are related to the construction sector. Galapagos being a territory with a highly vulnerable ecosystem, the Living Lab Sustainable Building Project promotes the transformation of the conventional construction industry, incorporating sustainability strategies in buildings to reduce their environmental impact.

Conference: Living Lab Sustainable Building Project in Galapagos

-       José Galindo - Mentefactura

-       Jean Phillipe Berthelemy - Deputy Director of the AFD Office in Ecuador

-       Gabriela Jaramillo - Presidente del Consejo de Gobierno del Régimen Especial de Galápagos (CGREG)

Conversation: The scalability of the Living Lab Project

-       Mariana Granda - Living Lab Project coordinator

-       Paola Valencia - Sustainable construction technique at EBP Chile

❖    Action Day: Technical visit to Living Lab in Santa Cruz, Galapagos.

Visit the rehabilitation of public buildings with an educational program: Galo Plaza Lasso School on Santa Cruz Island. Through the design, it seeks to improve the environmental comfort of the spaces and offer quality of life to students and teachers in addition to optimizing the demands of energy and water consumption.

-       Virginijus Sinkevičius - Commissioner for the Environment European Union

-       Mentefactura

-       Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano

-       Governing Council of the Special Regime of Galápagos (CGREG)

-       Director of Galo Plaza Lasso School - to be confirmed                                            

❖    Closing 

Day 2: Friday 22:

❖    Urban Lab 2: Governance, policies, and parliament

Global panorama of the climate crisis and commitment of countries through international agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the environment.

The importance of lobbying and advocacy and sustainable building as a response strategy for the construction of sustainable cities.

-       Paola Valencia - Sustainable construction technique at EBP Chile.

-       Md. Ishtiaque Zahir - UIA Representative. Former Co-Chair, PCG Professionals, World Urban Campaign (WUC), UN-Habitat

❖    Urban Lab 3: Experiences of international cooperation in energy and sustainable building.

International technical cooperation is essential in Latin America and the Caribbean to strengthen national and subnational governments regarding the change of construction paradigm. The sum of efforts channels learning that can be institutionalized for future actions. Presentation of projects aimed at satisfying local needs taking into consideration climate change and environmental impact.

-       Helmer Acevedo - SETEC AFD

-       Jiri Petrzelka - Society of Czech Architects

-       AECID - to be confirmed

❖    Urban Lab 4: Importance of the replicability of sustainable initiatives in similar contexts.

The transfer of knowledge through the replication of the Living Lab Galapagos in other places with similar contexts enables and promotes sustainable urban development. The generation of technical and energy efficiency solutions offers concrete solutions to improve people's quality of life. Presentation of proposals for replication of the Living Lab Project in Mexico and Colombia.

-       Atenea Gómez - Mayor of Municipality of Isla Mujeres, México

-       Orlando Bello - Mayor of Municipality of Lázaro Cárdenas, México

-       Juanita Alonso - Mayor of Municipality of Cozumel, México

-       Fanny Uribe - Mayor of Municipality of Santa Cruz, Galápagos - to be confirmed

-       Alfredo Morocho - Mayor of Municipality of Isabela, Galápagos - to be confirmed

-       Rolando Caiza - Mayor of Municipality of San Cristóbal - Galápagos - to be confirmed

-       Analia Pastran - Co-Chair of the UN-Habitat World Urban Campaign

-       Representative of Colombia - to be confirmed

❖    Closing

-       Mgs. Edwin Altamirano - President of the Governing Council of the Special Regime of Galápagos (CGREG)

-       Mariana Granda - Coordinadora del Proyecto Living Lab de Edificación Sostenible en Mentefactura

-        Pablo Lloret - Director Ejecutivo Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano

-        Analía Pastran - Co Presidenta de la Campaña Urbana Mundial de ONU Hábitat

-        Ishtaque Zahir - UIA Representative. Former Co-Chair, PCG Professionals, World Urban Campaign (WUC), UN Hábitat


World Urban Campaign of UN-Habitat

WUC Organizers:

Smartly Social Enterprise on the SDGs - UIA Region VI - St Gallen University


Project LivingLab Galápagos, Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano y EBP Chile

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