Mark Durham's blog

Forging a New Global Partnership for Cities in the Post-2015 and Climate Agenda

The clock is ticking for the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, a set of eight global development targets whose expiration date hits in 2015. What will replace those targets, processes and priorities as the global development community moves into the critical decades ahead? The so-called Post-2015 Development Agenda is the process — already well underway — by which a vast array of stakeholders, led by the UN and its associated agencies and partners, has set out to define the global development framework that will succeed the MDGs and guide international efforts to cope with an array of interrelated crises, from urban poverty to climate change. Read more.

Michael Berkowitz of 100 Resilient Cities on the social side of the 'resilience dividend'

At the announcement at WUF7 this week of Santiago Uribe Rocha's appointment as Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) for the city of Medellín, Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin spoke of a "resilience dividend," which she described as a set of economic benefits tied to the development of urban resilience. We asked Michael Berkowitz, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities initiative, what the social component of such a resilience dividend might be. Read more.

Building equitable and resilient cities: a dialogue with three foundations

Those who work on issues related to urban sustainability, resilience, and inclusion know that despite their similarities, every city is unique, with its own history, its own culture, and its own way of doing things. The same is true of the many foundations and other funders working in the urban space. At the World Urban Forum 7 networking event "Building Equitable and Resilient Cities – Join a Dialogue with Foundations," conference attendees got a closer look at three of them: the Ford Foundation, the Fundación Avina, and the Fondation Charles-Léopold Mayer pour le Progrès de l’Homme. Read more.

Medellín appoints first Chief Resilience Officer in Rockefeller Foundation's "100 Resilient Cities" initiative

Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, and Mayor Aníbal Gaviria Correa of Medellín announced this morning the appointment of Santiago Uribe Rocha as Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) of the city of Medellín — making him one of the world's first CROs, and making Medellín the first city in the Rockefeller Foundation's "100 Resilient Cities" initiative to appoint someone to this role. The selection of a Chief Resilience Officer — who will work "across silos, including work with both formal and informal leadership," said Rodin — is the first of several steps for Medellín as a member of the 100 Resilient Cities initiative. It will be followed by the development of "an overall resilience strategy," supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, for which an initial session was held in Medellín at the end of January. Read more.

Promoting urban equity in South-South and triangular cooperation: 'How do we do that?'

Tuesday's extremely rich special session on "Promoting Urban Equity in South-South and Triangular Cooperation" was a cornucopia of insights, both strategic and practical. One especially useful moment came during the panelists' introductory remarks, when Ford Foundation Vice President Xavier de Souza Briggs replied to the deceptively simple question "How do we do that?" with a survey of various mechanisms of cooperation — in effect, a typology of networks — and what functions each of them serves. His reply deserves close consideration, and so we provide it here. Read more.

Slum and Shack Dwellers International (SDI) launches Know Your City Campaign for gathering citywide data on slums

At a World Urban Forum 7 networking event this afternoon in Medellín, Slum and Shack Dwellers International (SDI) officially launched its Know Your City Campaign — a global campaign for gathering citywide data on slums as the basis for inclusive partnerships betwen the urban poor and local governments. The Know Your City Campaign is "aimed at the development of protocols for cities to map slums across the city," the official announcement explains. "Every household, every neighborhood and every informal settlement has to be counted. There can be no inclusive or equitable development planning and investment, nor effective city governance if the increasing majority of the residents of informal settlements remain unaccounted for." Read more.

A talk with architect and urbanist Léon Krier

Renowned architect, architectural theorist and urban planner Léon Krier, known worldwide as the godfather of the New Urbanism movement, is one of four luminaries slated to give an Urban Talk at World Urban Forum 7. As a prelude to his Wednesday evening event, Krier spoke to a rapt audience this afternoon, detailing the theory and practice informing his most recent projects and dispensing abundant wit and wisdom along the way. Read more.

WUF7: Building alliances, beating climate change, and disrupting 'the tyranny of experts'

This morning's WUF7 Business Assembly featured four powerhouse speakers from the world of urban development: Medellín Mayor Anibal Gaviria Correa; Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation; Michael Bloomberg, three-term Mayor of New York City and UN Special Envoy on Cities and Climate Change; and Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, the United Nations organization behind the World Urban Forum. Read more.

Welcome to WUF7

Hello from the World Urban Forum 7 (WUF7) conference in Medellín, Colombia! All this week, the team — Jorge Bela, Josephine d'Allant, and Mark Durham — will be blogging live from Medellín to bring you the latest from WUF7, the world's premier conference on cities, which runs from 5-11 April. has also partnered with UN-HABITAT, the organizer of the WUF7 conference, to bring you a series of e-Debates related to the themes of this year's conference. Watch this space all this week for dispatches, reports, ideas, and insights from the sessions here in Medellín!