During the weeks leading up to this year’s World Urban Forum (known as WUF7), URB.im—a global community working for just and inclusive cities—is hosting three online conversations on topics closely aligned with the conference’s theme, “Urban Equity in Development: Cities for Life.” Conclusions from these discussions will feed into WUF7’s final Concept Paper, which will be a basis for further global discussion about urban equity and development. These “e-debates” are made possible by a partnership between the Ford Foundation and UN-Habitat.

Presented by UN-HABITAT, WUF7 will take place in Medellín, Colombia on April 5 – 11, 2014. Urb.im will be on the ground covering the proceedings.

March 3 – 13

Urban Planning and Design: Laws, Regulations and the Informal City

How can existing institutional, legislative and financial mechanisms be applied or adapted to bring informal communities into the framework of urban planning and design — and do so in a way that recognizes the legitimacy of those communities and builds on their dynamism, culture, and history? This discussion will consider how cities can use spatial planning as a means to social integration, and how legal and policy frameworks can make justice and inclusion integral to urban planning and the housing development process.

Jorge Bela Bogotá and Cali Community Manager, URB.im
Widya Anggraini Jakarta Community Manager, URB.im
Carlin Carr Mumbai and Bangalore Community Manager, URB.im
Mar&#237a Fernanda Carvallo Mexico City Community Manager, URB.im
Eliana Barbosa São Paulo Community Manager, URB.im
Jaap de Visser Director, Community Law Centre, Cape Town, South Africa

March 14 – 24

Retooling “Cities for Life”: New Approaches to Urban Infrastructure and Service Provision

What would an equity-driven approach to urban infrastructure development look like? Who should participate and what part should they play in order to bring about a sustainable approach that will deliver the desired results in terms of inclusiveness as well as delivery of services? How can players of various types complement one another and coordinate their contributions to produce a coherent, effective whole? How might new technologies and service models transform the array of possible infrastructure solutions? This discussion will examine all these elements and explore ways of integrating them into an urban infrastructure matrix that delivers the goods while serving the goals of justice, inclusion, and urban sustainability.

Clarisse Linke Country Director, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
Nithya Raman Director, Transparent Chennai
John Taylor Founder and Director, Yayasan Kota Kita
Charlton Ziervogel CORC/SDI Secretariat
Wura Ladipo-Ajayi Lagos Community Manager, URB.im
Tariq Toffa Cape Town and Johannesburg Community Manager, URB.im

March 25 – April 4

Adversity and Urban Planning: Designing Safer, More Resilient Cities

Beyond such relatively static elements as street grids, height limits, and land use designations, effective urban planners must find ways to weigh competing interests, include diverse participants, and prepare for an array of dangers and disasters, both natural and human-made. This conversation will explore the specific risks and conflicts urban planners confront, how they are meeting those demands in ways that are both effective and inclusive, and what else they need to close gaps and scale solutions to benefit the full range of city residents.

Jorge Bela Bogotá and Cali Community Manager, URB.im
Kathryn Ewing Urban Designer and Architect, SUN Development
Neil Kleiman Director, NYU Wagner Innovation Labs
Priyanka Jain Delhi Community Manager, URB.im
Saima Sultana Jaba Dhaka Community Manager, URB.im

The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent organization working to address inequality and build a future grounded in justice. For more than 85 years, it has supported visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Today, with an endowment of $16 billion, the foundation has headquarters in New York and 10 regional offices across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

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