Knowledge for cities at WUF7

Better knowledge for cities features highly at the 7th Session of the World Urban Forum.

At the Evidence based framework contributing to just cities for children discussion organized by World Vision International, attended by around 100 participants, presenters highlighted the importance of knowledge about cities’ urban contexts for appropriate solutions.

Based on their 5-year experience in urban contexts in Beirut, Soweto, Surabaya, Phnom Penh, among others, World Vision researchers estimate that while 30% of issues across cities are common across cities, it is the 70% that are unique to a city because of each city’s historical, social, political and cultural context that enables the design of relevant solutions to address specific problems facing each city. 

The event focused on building better cities for children and youth.  Using knowledge about the unique context of each city, in Beirut interventions focused on bringing youth together to focus on the common cause of peace building against a context of conflict, segregation, and political and religious diversity in the city.

In Soweto, the main barrier to economic development was slow and complex registration of businesses and access to finance arising from a historical context of apartheid.  In Surabaya, India, a fast growing hub linking villages to mega cities, economic opportunities are emerging against growing problems of injustice and child trafficking.  Meanwhile, in Phnom Penh, land rights poses the main challenge to overcoming poverty. 

The main discussion focused on the roles of NGOs in providing knowledge to address city problems.  This includes training for communities to navigate complex bureaucracies to access services, engaging communities to exploit assets and rally around common causes, providing local authorities with relevant knowledge on the most pressing issues to better target local government resources, building partnerships with local, central and multilateral partners to address problems at scale, and expanding solutions from the individual to the community level through better advocacy based on evidence of the unique contexts of different cities.

NB: Press Cutting Service

This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat