On the 20th October 2016, at the United Nations Habitat III conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, held in Quito, Ecuador, the New Urban Agenda (NUA) was adopted, providing a 20-year framework on how cities should be planned and managed to best promote sustainable urbanization globally. The document, as reported by Dr. Joan Clos, Secretary-General of the conference and Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), should be seen as an extension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, agreed by 193 Member States of the United Nations in September 2015.
After the first conference in Vancouver (1976) and the second in Istanbul (1996), the third Habitat major summit to discuss the future of cities was attended by around 36.000 people from 167 different countries.
We officially launched The Journal of Public Space at the Habitat III Urban Library on the 19th October 2016, during a talk with our partners from UN Habitat Public Space Programme, Laura Petrella and Cecilia Andersson, and with our supporting partner at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hendrik Tieben. The talk was very well received and was attended by more than 90 people. Interest in our new journal was high, many attendees have voiced the need of an independent, free and accessible platform to share ideas, researches, experiences and strategies to design, manage and appropriate public spaces.
Public space, as a topic of research, still fascinates and challenges several academics, but often bottom-up tactics by community groups are the most incredible example of how people are always passionate about their cities and their environment. What was evident in Quito, is how academia, industry and community groups would highly benefit in working together and discussing together about public spaces.
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