The City We Need 2.0

"The battle for a more sustainable future will be won or lost in cities," has been a repeated manifesto of Urban Thinkers engaged in the World Urban Campaign, a project of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, working towards the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, this October.

Through 26 Urban Thinkers Campuses that were organized around the world, "more than 7596 men and women from 113 countries and 2251 organizations, representing fourteen (14) constituent groups" have participated in open and participatory dialogues aimed to build consensus within the international community for "a new paradigm for the 21st century." The product of their two-year process is reflected in their document, The City We Need 2.0: Towards a New Urban Paradigm.

The outcome of Habitat III will be the New Urban Agenda, an inter-governmentally negotiated document that will lead global action on sustainable urbanization for the next twenty years. To aid UN Member States in this process, The City We Need 2.0 synthesizes ideas and best practices among variegated stakeholder groups and will become a dynamic tool to influence global thinking on urbanization.

The City We Need 2.0
outlined ten principles on sustainable urban development:
  1. The City We Need is socially inclusive and engaging
  2. The City We Need is affordable, accessible and equitable
  3. The City We Need is economically vibrant and inclusive
  4. The City We Need is collectively managed and democratically governed
  5. The City We Need fosters cohesive territorial development
  6. The City We Need is regenerative and resilient
  7. The City We Need has shared identities and sense of place
  8. The City We Need is well planned, walkable, and transit-friendly
  9. The City We Need is safe, healthy and promotes well-being
  10. The City We Need learns and innovates

Nicholas You, Founder and Honorary Chair of the World Urban Campaign Steering Committee, says "The City We Need 2.0 is the first time that so many different stakeholder groups have come together to produce a single document and speak with one voice. This is not only unprecedented, it represents the coming of age of "sustainable urbanisation" in terms of all actors prepared to work together to make it happen."

At their 14th Steering Committee Meeting in Prague, the day before the start of the regional European Habitat Conference, partners involved with the drafting of The City We Need 2.0 emphasized the need to mobilize and have UN Member States become aware of this document and to have them incorporate these principles and positions in negotiations processes leading up to and in Quito.

While the importance of The City We Need 2.0 on the New Urban Agenda should not be missed, this document also encapsulates the promises the various members of the World Urban Campaign made to achieve in their own capacities. Organizations interested in joining this global movement of actors committed to achieving sustainable urban development can still do so, by inquiring with the World Urban Campaign.