Smart Cities, Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda

Smart Cities, Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda by Ines Renique

Urbanization has been growing at exponential speeds, and Habitat III was a recent conference that addressed just that. Cities are growing and changing at levels that often states cannot keep up with. And considering cities make up about half of the worlds population, maintaining quality infrastructure, services and order is fundamental. Moreover a major issue needed to be addressed in order to create smart cities, is that of slums as well. I was recently in Sao Paolo, Brazil, the largest metropolitan city in the world. And there it was shocking to see the stark differences in society. As for example, right next to the most expensive and luxurious shopping mall filled with handbags and shoes costing thousands of dollars, was one of the largest “favelas” in the city.

Situations like these are exactly what was addressed in Habitat III and in the development of smart cities.Habitat III was an inclusive conference that allowed for people from around the world to participate virtually, even though the conference was in Quito, Ecuador. The deliverables from Habitat III would then be the New Urban Agenda.

Furthermore, the representation of many groups is imperative, since all have the “Right to the City”, as cities need to be inclusive. That is why Habitat III sets the agenda for 20 years on inclusive sustainable development of housing/infrastructure. And when doing so, includes major groups in the decision making process, such as indigenous people, local authorities, trade unions, women, children, aging and the elderly, among others. Furthermore, the New Urban Agenda makes 15 references to people with disabilities. And new technologies, such as the app piloted by the IDPP, work to further the inclusion of people with disabilities in new, smart cities.