Peter Elmlund
Tigran Haas
Michael W. Mehaffy


The New Urban Agenda – the landmark 2016 agreement for sustainable urban development that has now been adopted by consensus by 193 nations – contains no fewer than nine paragraphs extensively discussing the importance of public space.  Among other things, the document describes public spaces as “drivers of social and economic development,” “enhancing safety and security, favoring social and inter-generational interaction and the appreciation of diversity” and “promoting walkability and cycling towards improving health and well-being.” There is also language on the role of public space in enhancing ecological sustainability and resilience, on equity and opportunity, on connectivity and social inclusion, on cultural expression and dialogue, and on broader human development (United Nations, 2017).


How to Cite
Elmlund, P., Haas, T. and Mehaffy, M. W. (2018) “Public Space in the New Urban Agenda. The Challenge of Implementation”, The Journal of Public Space, 3(1), pp. 165–170. doi: 10.5204/jps.v3i1.324.
Reports from 9th World Urban Forum
Author Biographies

Peter Elmlund, Ax:son Johnson Foundation

Peter Elmlund is an economist specialized on urban issues. He is since 2002 the Director of the urban program at Ax:son Johnson Foundation in Stockholm. He has in this capacity arranged many international conferences and seminars about urban issues. He was during the years 2012-2016, the director for the Future of Places-project, which was a collaboration between the foundation, UN-Habitat and PPS, New York.
Today his program finances a research center around public space at Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (Center for the Future of Places) where he also is a Guest Researcher in Residence. His program also finances two master programs in urban design (Royal Institute of Technology and School of Architecture in Lund).

Tigran Haas, KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Tiran Haas, BArch/MArch, MSc., Ph.D. (SAR/MSA, UHA/DAZ, APA, CNU, ULI) is the Associate Professor, Reader - Tenured (Docent, Lektor) of Urban Planning + Urban Design, Former Director of Civitas Athenaeum Laboratory (CAL) http://cal.abe.kth.se, Current Director of the Centre for the Future of Places (CFP) and the Director of the Graduate Program in Urbanism at the School of Architecture and the Built Environment at KTH. He has studied in the USA, Former Yugoslavia (BiH and Croatia) and Sweden and also done Pot-Doc Fellowships at MIT, Boston, UC Berkeley and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Tigran Haas holds advanced degrees in Architecture, Urban Planning and Design, Environmental Science and Regional Planning. He has written over 50 scholarly articles, 35 Conference Papers, 5 books, 4 Research Anthologies, and has been involved in teaching in International educational programs. Tigran Haas currently supervises five PhD Students as well as five Masters of Science Students.

Michael W. Mehaffy, KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Michael W. Mehaffy, Ph.D. is Director of the Future of Places Research Network, and Senior Researcher at the Centre for the Future of Places at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. He is also a noted author, educator, speaker, strategic consultant, planner and designer, working on leading projects in the USA, Latin America, Europe and Asia. He has held teaching and/or research appointments in architecture, urban planning and philosophy at seven universities in six countries, and he in on the editorial boards of two internal journals of urban design. He is known for his publications on the work of Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander, architecture, software, complexity science, and related themes. He has consulted to NGOs, private developers, governments, and most recently, UN-Habitat on its formulation of the “New Urban Agenda,” a policy framework now adopted by consensus by 193 nations. Michael is the author or contributing author of over 20 books, and he is a frequent contributor to professional journals and other publications. He is also a frequent interviewee of trade and popular publications including Scientific American, Voice of America, The Guardian, Newsweek, and many others. He received his Ph.D. in architecture from Delft University of Technology.


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UN Habitat (2015). Key Messages from the Future of Places [https://unhabitat.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Key-Messages-from-the-Future-of-Places.pdf] Accessed on April 30, 2018.

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United Nations (2017). Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 23 December 2016: 71/256, “New Urban Agenda.” New York: United Nations (25 January 2017).