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Time for action. Implementing the New Urban Agenda in public spaces for health and wellbeing

Abstract

Urban Agendas are important guiding tools that frame thinking and point to major directions and changes needed. The dominant planning and city development practices in the 20th century resulted in the proliferation of modern cities that brought numerous problems that urban planners and designers are still dealing with. Do we have the capacity and appropriate tools to change the cities of tomorrow to make them more liveable places?
The challenges may seem overwhelming. However, there are advantages in strategies that combine acting locally and synergising with other places. Using insights from the Urban Synergies Group this paper represents a summary of initial pathways that may effectively implement the NUA (New Urban Agenda) – a collective vision for sustainable and healthy cities. To address the main issues of the NUA we discuss five key themes. First, we consider the level of commitment to achieve healthier cities for all during the 9th World Urban Forum (WUF 9). Second, we narrow our focus to examine child health and well-being. Third, we introduce an exemplary collaboration that harnesses collective wisdom through empowerment of participants. Fourth, we provide the rationale for the focus on public space. Within the fifth point we summarise tangible actions within the nexus of child health and public space that help to implement the NUA on the ground.

Published:
Pages:193 to 202
Section: Reports from 9th World Urban Forum
How to Cite
Mews, G., Muminovic, M. and Tranter, P. (2018) “Time for action. Implementing the New Urban Agenda in public spaces for health and wellbeing”, The Journal of Public Space, 3(1), pp. 193-202. doi: 10.5204/jps.v3i1.330.

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Author Biographies

Urban Synergies Group
Australia Australia

Gregor H Mews is an internationally recognized urban planner and designer. In order to enable meaningful change he founded in 2013 the international „Think and Do” Tank Urban Synergies Group. Greg utilizes skills in integrated urban design and sustainable transport to facilitate and integrate healthier and climate resilient environments that promote interaction and well‐being. In the role of the Director, Greg provides strategic policy advice in international context and advocates for better design outcomes in urban systems for example as a Steering Committee member of UN-Habitats World Urban Campaign.

Assistant professor Milica Muminović is an architect in the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Canberra. She gained her PhD from Keio University, Japan. Dr Muminović was part of the team which developed the winning design for the ‘Next Generation Sustainable House’ in Japan. Milica has international background in teaching and researching within the profession of architecture and urban design in Serbia, Japan and Australia. Milica held roles of research assistant at Global COE Program in Japan and interdisciplinary urban and architectural research project ‘Measuring the Non-measurable’ and of teaching assistant at Keio University in Japan. Milica belongs to Centre for Research and Action in Public Health at UC, is associate at Urban Synergies group and member of steering committee for Making Space Initiative. Dr Milica Muminović’s research investigates the transformations of built environments, which maintain their identities, taking a case study approach, coupled with lived experience from Europe to South East Asia. Dr Muminović aims to understand degrees and types of change, through a study of successful examples, to inform the design of better places.

Dr Paul Tranter is a geographer at UNSW Canberra (the Australian Defence Force Academy), where his research focuses on two critical and related issues for modern cities: children’s well-being and the dominance of speed and mobility in urban planning and society. In 2011, Paul co-authored Children and their Urban Environment: Changing Worlds, with Claire Freeman, placing children’s well-being within the context of global concerns about health and well-being for all citizens. The book argues that child-centred adaptations to cities need to be made if the world is to have a sustainable future. Paul’s research demonstrates that child-friendly modes (walking, cycling and public transport) are also the modes that (paradoxically) reduce time pressure for urban residents. He is currently working, with Dr Rodney Tolley, on a new book to be published by Elsevier in 2019 with the working title of Slowing City Transportation: Creating healthier places to live, work and play.

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