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26-27 November 2013Brussels - Tour & Taxis

The value of culture and creativity in urban development

Auditorium B Tuesday 26 November 2013 - 18:00 PM - 19:30 PM

The World Bank has described urbanization as ‘the defining phenomenon of the 21st century’. 90% of urban growth is happening in the developing world and over 50% of urban dwellers are youth. Two billion new urban inhabitants are expected in the next 20 years.

In the face of such an evolution and the potential risk of alienation of a growing number of urban populations, new models for viable, diverse, peaceful, creative and vibrant cities are needed in the developing world.

Studies already highlight the link between cities’ development and health, safety, food security, access to services or environmental control, however more is to be done to...

The World Bank has described urbanization as ‘the defining phenomenon of the 21st century’. 90% of urban growth is happening in the developing world and over 50% of urban dwellers are youth. Two billion new urban inhabitants are expected in the next 20 years.

In the face of such an evolution and the potential risk of alienation of a growing number of urban populations, new models for viable, diverse, peaceful, creative and vibrant cities are needed in the developing world.

Studies already highlight the link between cities’ development and health, safety, food security, access to services or environmental control, however more is to be done to encourage local and inclusive urban solutions in fast-growing cities and engage citizens’ ownership.

Cultural dynamism and public spaces as well as civil society’s participation play a key role for ensuring a sustainable and business friendly urban development.

Representatives from local governments, academia, the corporate world, urban planning and culture will address the issue from their own perspective.

More informations
  • The populations of cities in developing counties are exploding.
  • Culture and creativity must be considered in urban planning.
  • Public spaces and the arts create social cohesion.
  • Involving citizens and communities in creative urban planning helps avoid exclusion.

 

Approximately 80 % of the population in the developing world will live in cities by 2030. Most of these cities are ill equipped to cope with rapid growth. Urbanisation brings benefits, but it also brings problems and challenges, including slums, poverty, inequality, sprawl, overcrowding and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

How can creativity in its widest sense be used to make cities more sustainable and liveable?

People ‘cannot live on bread alone’. They also need ‘food for the soul’, which is provided by art in all its manifestations, including performing and visual arts, literature, architecture and music. Appreciation of art and culture should be fostered by education systems. Appreciation of the arts also creates more tolerant and cohesive societies.

Public spaces are extremely important – they can give shape and form to a city and help to define the quality of life for its citizens. Roads, parks, plazas, beaches, waterways and government buildings that are open to the public, such as public libraries, are considered public spaces and are important for social cohesion. Planners should ensure that cities are inclusionary, not exclusionary. There should be some public multi-use spaces and some collaboratively owned spaces that people can use in a variety of different ways and for different purposes.

Speakers presented two examples of creative thinking about public spaces and direct citizen engagement.

The GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi collaborated with a Swedish architectural firm on a project to influence the transformation of a large urban area around the godown (warehouse district) and central railway station. Through workshops with residents, businesses, artists, urban development professionals and city officials, the workshops sought to understand what people wished to see in this area.

One major theme from the workshops was the question of the relationship of residents to the city. Through a three-month project, Nai ni who? (Who is Nairobi?), neighbourhoods held concerts, parades, sports, charity events, walking tours, picnics, film screenings, churches, community clean-ups and tree planting. A number of these activities took place in privately-owned spaces – an indication of the shortage of public space. At the end of the project, residents came up with an answer to the question: Nai ni sis (Nairobi is us). Much goodwill came out of the project because everyone was able to participate and play a role. The community began to look at their city in a different way and to take ownership and pride in where they live.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Medellín, Colombia, was a city of corruption and gun and drug violence. In the mid-1990s, city officials held workshops with communities to identify their hopes for their city. Over the next decade the government worked to gain the public’s trust. It developed peace agreements with gang members, provided free water, kindergartens and food supplements for children, created new programmes to prevent teen pregnancy, built health centres and sports and cultural clubs, and implemented what is widely considered to be a world-class, innovative public transport systems. Direct citizen engagement helped make Medellín a less violent and much safer city.

 

Before the speakers began their presentations, the audience watched Nai no who? (Who is Nairobi), a short film showcasing Kenya’s capital city as a metropolis of diverse cultures. Watch the three-minute film and learn more about the project here: www.nainiwho.com

 

Quotes

Muchadeyi Ashton Masunda

Former Mayor of Harare, Zimbabwe

Years of participation : 2013, 2008

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‘In a city you have to make sure it is inclusive. You must adopt a bottom-up approach and not impose solutions.’

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Session: The value of culture and creativity in urban development


‘To make cities liveable, inclusive and able to cater for the motley mixture of people who gravitate there in search of the proverbial pot of gold […] you have to consult widely with all the key players […] to make sure we don’t lose the pot and end up with slums.’

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Matilda Gennvi Gustafsson

Sustainability Director, Sustainability Director, Ericsson

Years of participation : 2013

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‘ICT businesses can use their employee engagement programmes to help artists reach out to the community, to share, collaborate and even sell their work.’

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‘The use of mobile broadband can reduce one of the everyday frustrations of city living – commuting. The next step is to reduce the need for commuting altogether with improved communications networks.’

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Carlos H. Jamarillo

Architect, Former Head of Planning, Medellin, Colombia

Years of participation : 2013

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‘When it comes to city planning in cities affected by high levels of crime, the opposite of insecurity is not security but co-existence. ’

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Joy Mboya

Director, Godown Arts Centre, Kenya

Years of participation : 2013

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‘A key question is the relationship of the residents to a city. This idea of whether they belong to the city or not, whether they felt they have ownership or not. ’

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Session: The value of culture and creativity in urban development




Years of participation :

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‘The question to all of us is whether culture in cities costs too much? Is indifference in an urban no-man’s land sustainable? ’

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Thomas Melin

Head of External Relations, United Nations Human Settlements Programme

Years of participation : 2013

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‘The post-2015 era will look very different – it will be more city focused. ’

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‘We can all participate in the post-2015 debate. It is the world's future. We must ensure that arts and culture make it into the debate. Anything else is failure. ’

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Session: The value of culture and creativity in urban development


Luis Riera Figueras

Director, Human and Society Development, Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation - EuropeAid

Years of participation : 2013

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‘In addition to ensuring that cities function as a vector of growth, they should also function as a base for social growth and well-being for the citizens living there. ’

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Session: The value of culture and creativity in urban development


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Speakers

Muchadeyi Ashton Masunda

Former Mayor of Harare, Zimbabwe

Year(s) of participation:
2013, 2008

Chris Burns

Journalist, Euronews - Moderator

Year(s) of participation:
2013

Paul Dujardin

Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels - BOZAR

Year(s) of participation:
2013

Matilda Gennvi Gustafsson

Sustainability Director, Sustainability Director, Ericsson

Year(s) of participation:
2013

Carlos H. Jamarillo

Architect, Former Head of Planning, Medellin, Colombia

Year(s) of participation:
2013

Joy Mboya

Director, Godown Arts Centre, Kenya

Year(s) of participation:
2013

Thomas Melin

Head of External Relations, United Nations Human Settlements Programme

Year(s) of participation:
2013

Luis Riera Figueras

Director, Human and Society Development, Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation - EuropeAid

Year(s) of participation:
2013

Shipra Narang Suri

Vice President, International Society of City and Regional Planners

Year(s) of participation:
2013

Videos

Post-2015 agenda

The eradication of poverty and ensuring that prosperity and wellbeing are sustainable are two of the most pressing challenges facing the world today. These challenges are universal, interrelated and need to be addressed together by all countries.

The European Union (EU) is involved in global discussions on the development agenda after 2015 – the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – placing particular emphasis on building towards an intensive exchange with non-state actors.

Public consultations, dialogue with strategic partners and wide-ranging research have fed into the EU position on an overarching framework. Through its February 2013 Communication ‘A Decent Life for All’ and the ensuing Council Conclusions, the EU states five building blocks for a post-2015 agenda:

  • Basic, universal living standards under which no-one should fall. Even if all MDGs are reached, much unfinished business will remain to eradicate poverty and further human development.
  • The promotion of ‘drivers’ of inclusive, sustainable growth. Investing in infrastructure or energy, for example, creates growth and decent jobs, whilst boosting human development.
  • Sustainable management of natural resources. This is vital if we are to halt environmental degradation.
  • Equality, equity and justice. Not only are these values in themselves, but also fundamental for sustainable development.
  • Tackling insecurity and state fragility, which impede sustainable development.

Several international processes relevant to the post-2015 agenda are ongoing. Commitments made at the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012 initiated work to develop Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); a High Level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda recently published its recommendations for the post-2015 agenda; and a broad United Nations-led consultation process is ongoing. Recently, the UN Secretary-General published his report ‘A life of dignity for all’, which builds on these inputs. In addition, an MDG Special Event will take place in New York, USA on 25 September, which will also give recommendations on the way forward towards a post-2015 agreement. 

This work will provide further impetus for the development of a framework that would offer a coherent and comprehensive response to the universal challenges of poverty eradication and sustainable development in its economic, social and environmental dimensions.

Against this backdrop, the eighth edition of European Development Days will discuss, debate and foster consensus on the EU’s objective to set a globally-agreed, ambitious framework that addresses poverty eradication and sustainable development, and ensures a decent life for all by 2030.

Under the thread of this year’s edition – ‘A vision for the post-2015 agenda’this year’s forum is structured around four themes. Each theme will be composed of three topics and each topic will be highlighted by an auditorium panel and a series of lab sessions.

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