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World Urban Forum 10

Soft-power in the governance of urban design: a new approach for achieving quality in cities

10 Feb. 2020

Abu Dhabi

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Good urban design is a crucial ingredient to promote quality of life in cities, economic prosperity, social cohesion, environmental responsibility and cultural values.

The session “Soft-power in the governance of urban design: a new approach for achieving quality in cities” of URBAN MAESTRO project has explored innovative ways of generating urban spatial quality by focusing on the “soft power” modalities of urban design governance: those approaches where public authorities act in a semi-formal or informal capacity as enablers or brokers rather than through regulatory or direct investment powers. It showcased examples of applied soft-power strategies in countries of the European Union, Colombia, Rwanda and South Africa, and engaged a structured dialogue with the audience, questioning the effectiveness of informal urban design governance tools in shaping urban places through enhancing a collective culture of good urban design.


Welcome & introduction
Cecilia Bertozzi, UN-Habitat

Urban Maestro: new governance strategies for urban design in Europe
How do cities generate urban spatial quality by using the “soft power” modalities of urban design governance?
• Kristiaan Borret, Brussels bouwmeester maitre architecte(BMA) – BE
• Matthew Carmona, University College of London (UCL) – UK
• Tommaso Gabrieli, University College of London (UCL) – UK

Exploring urban design governance approach in other contexts
• Evolving public space in South Africa-Karina Landman, University of Pretoria, South Africa
• The Green Kigali experience-Liliane Uwanziga Mupende, Kigali, Rwanda
• The Medellin model – Alejandro Restrepo Montoya, former City Architect, Medellín, Colombia
• The SDG project assessment tool in Asian cities-Pinar Caglin, UN-Habitat

Panel debate with speakers and audience
How relevant is urban design governance to emerging economies, developing countries and humanitarian crisis areas, with which tools (formal or informal) and which means of finance?
• Moderated by Frédéric Saliez, UN-Habitat

Urban Design Governance from the perspective of the European Commission
• Arnoldas Milukas, Head of Unit “Horizon 2020 Environment & Resources” Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), European Commission
• Philippe Froissard, deputy head of Unit, European Commission, DG Research & Innovation, Unit RTD D2. “Future urban and mobility systems”

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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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A moment from Urban Maestro's session at WUF 10. (c) Urban Maestro