The HealthBridge Livable Cities Program joined the Tenth World Urban Forum of UN Habitat
From 8-13 February UN Habitat convened the Tenth World Urban Forum (WUF10) in Abu Dhabi. The event attracted over 13,000 attendees attending more than 540 official events. Our HealthBridge Livable Cities program and its partners participated in this global assembly to share their ongoing projects and forge new alliances that can help improve health and health equity through policy, research and action. Here is what the team around HealthBridge Livable Cities Program Director Kristie Daniel experienced in Abu Dhabi.
WUF10 was a huge success for HealthBridge and a chance for us to catch up with old friends and make new friends. We hosted a great networking session “Launching a Market Cities Network” about public markets with our friends from Project for Public Spaces, Slow Food International, Public Spaces Research Group (PSRG), and International Labour Office. We learned that there is great enthusiasm for developing a Market Cities approach to supporting local public markets and we now have many new members for our “Market Cities Network”.
Throughout WUF10 HealthBridge staff from India, Vietnam, and Canada gave 16 presentations at 11 different sessions and we discussed our important work in the area of public spaces: streets that support walking and cycling, open public spaces such a parks, playgrounds, and plazas, as well as, local public markets.
However, WUF10 was also a chance for us to learn new things. Some key highlights for us included:
- In a specific Training Event, Setha Low from the Public Space Research Group at the City University of New York introduced our team to the Toolkit for the Ethnographic Study of Space (TESS). TESS is an in-depth qualitative method for studying the everyday life of a particular public space. The HealthBridge teams in both India and Vietnam were so impressed by that methodology that they will be integrating TESS into their research and share it with their colleagues.
- We were attending the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP)’s networking event on their new Global Planning Aid. There we found new partners to make sure the planning skills needed at the community level are more widely available by connecting volunteer professionals to those for whom that expertise can make a difference.
- An inspiring Training Event hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) focussed on the importance of integrating the food system into local planning mechanisms. The training introduced the essential enabling element of this approach, which is the presence of effective food governance mechanisms that mobilize multiple actors who represent the diversity of culture, geography, religion and economy of the cities and territories involved. We see strong links between FAO’s work on food systems and our Market Cities Network.
- During WUF10 we were made aware that the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN-Habitat have collaborated on a book titled “Integrating Health into Urban and Territorial Planning”. The book will be ready soon and is a source book designed as a tool to help improve planning frameworks and practice through the incorporation of health considerations, at all levels of governance, and across the spatial planning continuum. The source book is not available yet but it is definitely one we’ll be watching out for.
WUF10 was a wonderful opportunity for HealthBridge to discuss our role in implementing SDG 11 and the New Urban Agenda and we are already looking forward to WUF11 in Katowice, Poland.