During Urban October, a month to exchange on challenges and opportunities created by the fast rate of change in our cities and towns lead by UN-Habitat, the World Urban Campaign partners have intensified the global dialogue through a series of Urban Thinkers Campus sessions. In this critical month on the lead to COP26, some seven Urban Thinkers Campuses (UTCs) have been organized by key partners of the WUC: Urban Economy Forum, Strelka KB, ISOCARP Institute, NUIA, Compass Housing Services Co Ltd, Sheher Saaz, Huairou Commission and Polycom Development Project bringing other key organizations and networks on board such as CIFAL, Habitat Professionals Forum, Newcastle University and UNDRR. Focused on urbanization and climate action, UTCs held this month have gathered some 5,000 participants aware of the urgency of climate action and the need to promote the key role of cities in accelerating the implementation of effective solutions.
The Canada Climate Action Foyer (CAF) led by the Urban Economy Forum (UEF) and hosted by the city of Brampton held the first UTC of the month on the 4th of October. The focus of the campus was on housing as one of the key elements for urban equality and as a practical arena for shifting societal behavior in a world affected by climate change and pandemics. It discussed good practices for effective and scalable solutions being adopted by the people most impacted by COVID-19, who are least likely to have a steady place to call home and most affected by climate change. Key initiatives were presented with a focus on the circular economy and impact investments for good quality of life and an urban transformation to the City We Need.
On the 6th of October Compass Housing Services Co Ltd together with Newcastle University and CIFAL held their UTC to build on the platform of the Hunter Region SDG Taskforce and develop an overall approach to the localization agenda. The primary outcome for the event was the development of partnerships and a platform to produce a Voluntary Local Review. The concern was to understand and develop the interaction between local, national and international climate action which is a key focus of the program components. The campus tested the Hunter Regional SDG Taskforce model as an exemplar of local partnership that addresses the NUA and SDGs to exert local influence but also to participate in national and international debates. The further development of the model will be of global interest in the task of NUA and SDG localization. The campus addressed the objective of making the City of Newcastle and the surrounding Hunter region a regenerative, inclusive, safe, and healthy community led by effective planning and governance for climate change mitigation.
On the 7th of October, the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) and ISOCARP held their UTC on mainstreaming climate actions in Indian cities. The UTC brought together ideas for taking forward climate actions at local levels by leveraging on global and national frameworks and guidelines for climate actions and urban resilience. The aim of the UTC was to foster a discourse to bring together ideas for driving local climate actions in Indian cities by building on the outcomes of the international and national level policies and guidelines, based on the benchmarking of cities done as a part of CSCAF 2.0. The UTC aimed to mainstream climate actions in cities to achieve improved quality of life and a resilience to tackle the extreme weather events triggered by climate change. Discussions strived to create cities that will be equipped with the knowledge, technical skills, and stakeholder expertise to become climate resilient.
UTC sessions continued from the 18th - 20th of October with Strelka KB and ISOCARP Institute holding their event on the challenges and solutions to mass housing and climate change. The campus was aimed at fostering discussion on new regenerative approaches to existing mass housing stock that helps cities become more resilient and energy efficient. It would also contribute to levelling up the quality of low-income and affordable housing, stimulating better accessibility of services in residential areas due to the intensification of existing land-use. The campus initiated a momentum to regenerate mass housing, by highlighting both their specificity and their universality. Representatives of five cities and one association put forward the challenges of mass housing and discussed the solutions that can be found to address them. The campus will lead several months later, in a second stage, to more practical workshops.
On the 28th of October, Sheher Saaz and UNDRR will held their UTC on Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience and Amplifying Pakistan’s Efforts and Young Voices to Echo at COP26. The purpose of the campus was to outreach the youth and put a gender lens on how they foresee the future of their cities. The focus was on the role of the youth in rejuvenating urban areas and creating awareness among citizens while involving decision makers into the process to address issues at the policy level. Activities captured youth voices through artwork, single interviews and public discussions on what types of cities we need. The campus represented the voices of all relevant government agencies with the aim that they will incorporate new urban planning and policies at the community level as well.
The last UTC of the month was held on the 29th of October by the the Huairou Commission and the Polycom Development Project on the resilience and power of women in dealing with climate change. The campus explained that Wamama Tunauwezo is a brand by and for women living in various slum communities across the country and it is very important because it creates an equal platform for reflection, monitoring and planning with the community in mind. The campus shared successful climate action initiatives from different actors under the SDG Forum Kenya and the Kenyan Government. It looked to develop joint strategies between the urban poor and the government towards building resilience to climate change aligned to the City We Need. The UTC specifically focused on establishing a partnership platform between Kisumu Municipality and grassroots-women led organizations in preparing it as a Covid-19 Compliant City ahead of the Africities Sum strategies to ensure implementation of the NUA at the AfriCities Summit 2021 as well as ensure Kenyan grassroots women participation.
Along with all the UTCs held this month, the Habitat professional Forum (HPF) with co-organizers UIA, ISOCARP, GPN, EAROPH, CAP, CSU, IFLA, ICOMOS and CNJUR have published a Covid-19 RoadMap document. The objective from this publication is that Habitat Professionals Forum (HPF) stands for advocacy and knowledge exchange, raising awareness, solidarity and support among professionals in this difficult time. It is deeply concerned by the growing impacts and unintended social and economic consequences of COVID-19 pandemic crisis. The webinar held was key in disseminating messages and solutions through the professional and international networks regarding the impacts of the epidemic and effective response and recovery. It will also serve to invite international networks of public health professionals and of epidemiologists, and organizations of the urban poor and related networks to join the HPF. The proposal was to lead a task force by Habitat Professionals that will provide both high-level and context-specific recommendations to city managers, regions and state governments regarding city resilience in the age of epidemics and climate emergencies.