An important point that came out of the discussion on smart cities, Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda was the concept of the “Right to the City”. The Right to the City is a concept that works to ensure that each inhabitant of the city space should have equal access to what the city has to offer, and prevent the leaving of people behind.
In the Habitat III New Urban Agenda Draft Outcome Document there is one explicit mention of the right to the city that comes in the first paragraph under the subheading of “Our Shared Vision”. The paragraph tells of a “vision of cities for all, referring to the equal use and enjoyment of cities and human settlements, seeking to promote inclusivity and ensure that all inhabitants, without discrimination of any kind, are able to inhabit and produce just, safe, healthy, accessible, affordable, resilient, and sustainable cities, to foster prosperity and quality of life for all.” The paragraph concludes by noting the efforts of some national and local governments to enshrine the aforementioned vision, referred to as right to the city, in legislations, political declarations and charters.
During the October 15th meeting of Habitat III General Assembly of Partners in 2015, Aromar Revi, co-chair of SDSN Thematic Group 9 offered interesting remarks on the the right to the city in relation to the SDGs. He mentioned the importance of cities and the intersectionality in the SDGs, highlighting Goal 11. He emphasized that fact that sustainable urbanization in all its complexity offers multiple opportunities for partnerships. In looking at SDG 11, Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, there are two targets that speak for the right to the city of persons with disabilities. Target 11.2 aims to provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities by the year 2030. Similarly, target 11.7 aims to provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities by 2030. The language in these specific targets in SDG 11 represent a tremendous achievement for persons with disabilities, as does the addition of persons with disabilities GAP Partner Constituent Group, highlighting the progress this stakeholder group has made moving forward with Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda.