Dr Ramin Keivani and Dr Andrea Colantonio (both of the International Land Markets Group in OISD) and David Sanderson from CENDEP were invited to present at the fourth World Urban Forum on harmonious urbanisation, which took place in Nanjing, China, 3-6 November 2008. The World Urban Forum is a biennial gathering established by the UN Habitat, which is attended by a wide range of partners, ranging from non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, urban professionals and academics to governments, local authorities and national and international associations of local governments.
The Forum was set up in 2002 to examine the issue of rapid urbanisation and its impact on communities, cities, economies and policies. The number of people attending this event has risen sharply from 1,200 at the first World Urban Forum in Nairobi in 2002, to 11,400 at the third session of the World Urban Forum in Vancouver in 2006 and around 8000 people in Nanjing. These figures highlight the importance of the event in the urban affairs arena.
Dr Keivani participated in two events in Nanjing. The first event was organised by the International Labour Organisation and focused on green jobs, urban sustainability and construction. Dr Keivani was invited by the ILO to present the results of a recent research carried out by the OISD-ILM on the scope for green job creation through green refurbishment in developing countries. The second event was organised by UN-Habitat as a special session on private sector consultation with a focus on corporate responsibility towards harmonious cities. Specifically this session aimed to bring together businesses and experts for a discussion on the role of private sector in pro-poor urban development. In addition the session provided a launch pad for the UN-Habitat Business Forum and Habitat Business Award both of which will formally commence in New Delhi in July 2009. Dr Keivani contributed to this session by his talk on the role of private sector in low-income housing provision in developing countries. Additional information is provided in the attached PDF file on private sector consultation.
Dr Colantonio took part in the session focusing on the linkages between sustainable development theory and urban policy hosted by Network-Association of European Researchers on Urbanisation in the South (N-AERUS). He discussed how approaches to urban social sustainability have been linked to the promotion of urban policies geared towards the promotion of social capital, citizens’ participation, capacity building, and more recently, city liveability strategies. He noted that diverging themes are currently dominating urban social sustainability discourses in the cities of the North and the South, and reviewed future challenges for social sustainability research and policy.
David Sanderson was invited by the NGO Practical Action to participate in two events. In the first event he made a presentation on urban governance and facilitate the final wrap up comments as part of a half day training event on participation. In the second event he chaired a panel discussion on turning commitments to participation into reality.
Forbes Davidson, Senior specialist, Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS), Rotterdam, The Netherlands said:
"The N-Aerus meeting at the World Urban Forum in Nanjing was important as it is the most significant link between researchers in Europe and developing countries, and was an input into the key UN-HABITAT meeting on research. The paper presented by Dr Colantonio gave a clear view on the significance of measuring urban social sustainability, balancing the more developed areas in the environmental and economic fields. He also made a useful comparison between issues in northern and southern cities, linking the European base research to the international debate."
Low income housing provision in developing countries: a role for CSR and BOP approaches? (Ramin Keivani) [PDF]
Green Jobs through sustainable refurbishment (Ramin Keivani) [PDF]
Urban social sustainability: North - South perspectives (Dr Andrea Colantonio and Prof. Tim Dixon) [PDF]