SDI Attends Launch of World Urban Campaign’s “The City We Need”

by James Tayler


While cities are increasingly central to global development agendas, the precise strategies of city development remain contested. In almost all cities in Africa and Asia, the allocation of resources and political will towards provision of land, services, and shelter for the poor is woefully inadequate. Dominant methods of delivery through “public-private partnerships” and centrally planned strategies have made little impact on the lives of the poor. SDI has inserted a clear voice into this debate to build the voice of the poor to influence more inclusive city development processes. 

On 4 March 2014 at Ford Foundation’s headquarters in New York was the official launch of The City We Need, a key event leading up to the 7th World Urban Forum to be held in Medellin, Colombia this April. The City We Need is a multi-stakeholder, collective contribution to the urban agenda created by World Urban Campaign partners, which have been engaging the international community, public, private, and civil society actors.

Last year SDI officially joined the World Urban Campaign – a lobby and advocacy platform on sustainable urbanization coordinated by UN-Habitat. The World Urban Campaign brings together various urban development stakeholders in an advocacy and partnership platform to dialogue, learn, and share solutions to create a new urban agenda for the Habitat III conference. 

SDI President Jockin Arputham and Rose Molokoane, SDI Coordinator from South Africa, participated in the launch event and emphasized the importance of creating partnerships between government and the urban poor to find solutions to sustainable urban development. To create solutions, one must “Know Your City,” the name of the SDI campaign that aims to address the lack of data on informal settlements. There can be no inclusive or equitable development planning and investment, nor effective city governance if the majority of the residents of informal settlements remain unaccounted for. SDI has demonstrated that cities have to work with urban poor communities to collect baseline data and maps of all informal settlements in the city. Helping the poor to create a voice, a collective identity, and possibilities to participate in transformation and change is an integral aspect of what we all seek in the future of cities. 

SDI will be participating in the World Urban Campaign Special Session at the World Urban Forum in Medellin, Colombia on Wednesday, 9 April at 2:00pm. This event will bring members of the World Urban Campaign together to discuss the new urban paradigm following the theme: The Future We Want, The City We Need. This event constitutes an opportunity to focus new partners around a common objective in order to create concrete goals for the achievement of sustainable urbanization and to mobilize in preparation for Habitat III.

Click here to read the full report of The City We Need launch event.