Josephine d'Allant's blog

A safe city as a just and equitable city

The sixth dialogue started off, appropriately, with a discussion of Medellin's transformation from the "Murder Capital of the World" to the vibrant and much safer city it is today. The importance of citizen's "eyes" in helping the police's work was emphasized, as was the military police's infrastructure development work, including building schools, roads, and aqueducts. Moderator Edwin Heathcote shared an anecdote from his recent travels to explain why this topic is so near to his heart: in a South African slum he visited, young girls have a 60 percent chance of being raped sometime over the course of their schooling. His next stop was Copenhagen, where — in an "edgier" neighborhood — he saw mothers leaving their babies outside unattended while they went to the movies. Read more.

Urban Talks: Richard Florida and Brent Toderian

Thursday night's urban talk was between Richard Florida, a professor at the University of Toronto and at New York University and Senior Editor at the Atlantic, and Brent Toderian, city planner and urbanist, founder of Toderian Urban Works, and former Vancouver Chief Planner. On the idea that the "struggle for global sustainability will be won or lost in cities," as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said, Mr. Toderian noted that cities are not only our greatest challenge, but also our great success and opportunity. Read more.

Urban Researchers Roundtable: Urban Equity in a Post-2015 Development Framework

The Urban Researchers Roundtable sought to answer questions on how the research agenda can mainstream equity, what current research tells us about successful practices, and what the vectors of change are. Julio D. Davila, Professor of Urban Policy and International Development and Director of the Development Planning Unit at University College, London, started by thinking about who produces research report: generally, universities in the global North. Read more.

Basic Services: Local Businesses for Equitable Cities

Mathieu Lefevre, Executive Director of the New Cities Foundation, opened the session by noting that half of all urban dwellers lack access to basic services. Colombia's Vice Minister of Water, Natalia Trujillo Moreno, described some of the Colombia's recent innovations regarding basic services, including an important law and the "Connect to Water" program, which ensures that low-income homes are properly outfitted to receive public services, like having full bathrooms. She noted the three biggest remaining challenges for her country in terms of basic services: managing residual wastewater, analyzing and preventing risk, and solid waste management. Read more.

A Tale of 10 Cities: Findings from the Informal Economy Monitoring Study

The global policy-research network Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) and the Inclusive Cities project presented the results of their impressive Informal Economy Monitoring Study. The analysis was conducted in ten cities in the global South to answer the question "How do urban policies and practices, economic trends and value chain dynamics impact informal employment in the global South, and how can urban policies and practices respond effectively to the growing informal workforce?" Read more.

Q & A with Joseph Stiglitz

Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate in Economics and Professor at Columbia University, addressed a small group of reporters at the World Urban Forum 7. The following notes summarize Dr. Stiglitz's answers to a series of questions on inequality, education, youth unemployment, China's role in development, and his advice for Colombia as well as Latin America. Read more.

Mayor's Roundtable: Urban Equity and the New Urban Agenda

Cheikh Gueye, the Deputy Mayor, Dakar, Senegal, opened the roundtable by emphasizing the impact that being a mayor has on transforming leaders: "it’s so demanding, so complex, and yet so fulfilling." She also asked the other mayors whether they have a "Medellin urban forum," or a "Nairobi, or Dakar urban forum" — a space in which local actors can share and learn from each other, just like we're doing here at WUF7. The Mayor of Medellin, Aníbal Gaviria Correa, called for strengthening the role of mayors: mayors should be part of the main institutions that guide and manage nations, especially considering that urbanization rates will reach 75 percent in just a few years. Read more.

World Urban Forum 7 Opening Ceremony

The World Urban Forum in Medellin officially started on Monday night with an exciting opening ceremony. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon kicked off the evening with a video address in which he emphasized rising inequality in cities: "We need inclusive development to eradicate extreme poverty." Medellin's mayor, Aníbal Gaviria Correa, described his city as an example of resiliency, and explained that effective solutions come from a combination of effective government and strong civil society. The governor of Antioquia, Sergio Fajardo, emphasized his goal of human dignity, and welcomed all WUF7 participants, mentioning that nice weather had been planned for us! Read more.

Medellín Urban Lab Tour

On Monday, had the opportunity to participate in a guided tour of urban transformation projects in the city of Medellín. The tour took place in Comuna 13, once an epicenter of crime and violence. Today, in part thanks to these initiatives — all of them aspects of the Proyecto Urbano Integral (PUI—Integral Urban Project) — the neighborhood has been transformed. Read more.