World Urban Forum

The World Urban Forum (WUF) was established by the UN in 2001 to examine rapid urbanization and its impacts on cities, economies, climate change, and policies. This premier conference on urban issues is held every two years for participants to share practices and knowledge on how cities are built, planned, and managed. The objectives of the World Urban Forum include increasing awareness of sustainable urbanization, improving collective knowledge of inclusive sustainable urban development, and increasing coordination and cooperation to advance and implement sustainable urbanization. Continue reading

Inclusive Smart Cities

The Asian Development Bank defined making a city more “inclusive” as: “ensuring the poor and vulnerable have access to the services they need to better their quality of life.” With the onset of rapid urbanization and growing inequality, cities and governments have taken notice and decided to make infrastructural changes that will help improve quality of life for all. The ADB lists its key elements of creating this inclusive city: urban environmental infrastructure development, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and poverty reduction measures. While these are all broad, their goals reflect those of cities around the world. Continue reading

World Urban Forum (WUF9)

The World Urban Forum is a global conference that is dedicated to addressing urban issues. This was a forum that was founded by the United Nations under the UN Habitat and is set to host its 10th session in 2020 in Abu Dhabi. The objectives of the World Urban Forum (WUF) as noted by the UN are to:


  • Raise awareness of sustainable urbanization among stakeholders and constituencies, including the general public.
  • Improve the collective knowledge of sustainable urban development through inclusive open debates, sharing of lessons learned and the exchange of best practices and good policies.
  • Increase coordination and cooperation between different stakeholders and constituencies for the advancement and implementation of sustainable urbanization.[1]


One of the major contributions that WUF9 has made is the creation of the Kuala-Lumpur Declaration on Cities 2030. The Kuala-Lumpur Declaration is a comprehensive document that contains thorough recommendations on how to ensure that moving forward, “Cities are for all ensuring that all inhabitants, of present and future generations, without discrimination of any kind, are able to inhabit and produce just, safe, healthy, accessible, affordable, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements to foster prosperity and quality of life for all.[2] Many different actors created the Kuala Lumpur document, ranging from national governments, to private sector, to local communities. This was done purposefully because only through collaboration will the building of inclusive cities be possible.


One entity that stuck out to me in the WUF was the inclusion of local governments. Many of the United Nation’s forums are filled with high-ranking officials and while that often is a great way to effect change at a high level, inclusive cities need a more refined approach. The session at the WUF9 that included mayors of cities was an important way for local officials to share ideas and challenges with each other. Implementing sustainable inclusive cities is an area in which local governments can really thrive. Mayors and local city counsels live and work in the same cities that they are trying to improve. The inclusion of a multitude of actors is part of what makes the WUF and the Kuala Lumpur Declaration different and more effective.


[1] UN Habitat for a Better Urban Future. “World Urban Forum.” 2012. Retrieved at

[2] UN Habitat for a Better Urban Future. “Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Cities 2030.” WUF9. February 2018. Retrieved at

WUF and inclusive, sustainable cities

More than half of the world’s population is living in urban centers. By 2050, this figure is expected to go up to 66%. The majority of this growth will take place in Asia and Africa, especially India, China, and Nigeria. Cities are growing bigger and bigger, but as they do so, they become more of a burden to the environment. In order to support growing populations as well as support the diverse populations already residing in cities, governments must make efforts to make cities inclusive, sustainable, and ready to support the influx of people coming their way. Continue reading

WUF9: A Success for Now and Later

Established in 2001 by the United Nations (UN), the World Urban Forum (WUF) is the global conference on urban issues. Convening every two years, the WUF brings together thousands of high-level political leaders (HPLF), urban development researches and professionals, expertise, activists, stakeholders, and members of the Major Groups to take on the major challenges of the world’s increasing urban population. These challenges cover a vast array of areas from communities, cities, economies, climate change, and politics.

Continue reading

The World Urban Forum

The World Urban Forum (WUF), established by the UN General Assembly in 2001 as a bi-annual event, examines pressing issues facing the world today regarding human settlements and the impact that rapid urbanization has on cities, communities, economics, and climate change.  According to the UNDP, by 2050 more than two-thirds of the world’s population is projected to be living in urban areas. Building sustainable and inclusive cities is one of the world’s most pertinent issues. Continue reading