The World Urban Forum

Last week, we discussed the World Urban Forum (WUF). The World Economic Forum was a conference established in 2001 in order to examine the rapid rate of urbanization throughout the world, and its impact on global communities, on national, subnational and local levels. Although the World Economic Forum focuses on rapid urbanization it also concerns itself with the consequences of urbanization such as climate change, and ways in order to mitigate these grand challenges through policy change.

The most recent WUF took place in 2018 and was the ninth conference, taking place in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. What makes the WUF truly remarkable is not only its attendance rate which was over 20,000 participants in 2018 but the fact that it is recognized as one of the most inclusive high level political forum. The objective of the forum is to raise awareness about sustainable urbanization among stakeholders, constituents and the general public, as well as improve the collective knowledge on sustainable urbanization. As a result of the WUF’s nature of being inclusive, one of its main priorities is also increasing the coordination and cooperation between stakeholders which is a common theme and requirement when tackling grand challenges.

The lecture was particularly interesting because of its relations to my research, in sense that it gave me more to reflect on. I recently altered my research question to: “How to make Miami more inclusively sustainable?”. I posed this research question due to the imminent threat of climate change poses on locals, as well as making sure vulnerable groups such as those from low-socio economic backgrounds, people with disabilities and other marginalized communities are not excluded from public spaces because of limitations caused by their surroundings. The WUF has fortified the legitimacy of my research question, and has allowed me to think of  the following steps I want to take in regards to the implementation of smart city initiatives.