Making Cities Inclusive

This week’s readings focused on inclusive smart cities, Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda. The New Urban Agenda, or NUA, was a document adopted at the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, or Habitat III (Habitat III). Habitat III took place in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016. Some of the main highlights in the document include readdressing the way cities and human settlements are planned, designed, and financed. It highlights a saying called “right to the city”, meaning that all inhabitants have a right to the public goods, facilities, and resources where they live. There should be equal means of access and opportunity. The document then lists several different paragraphs affirming their commitments and implementations, such as supporting local governments to determine their management structures in line with national policies. The US can take NUA and integrate its goals with US cities. An article by Matthew Cohen and Geoffrey Habron suggested that NUA can be incorporated into existing frameworks like the Sustainability Tools for Assessing and Rating Communities (STAR) to help improve areas such as equity. I think looking into how NUA has been applied to other cities in the US would be beneficial to understand our progress on inclusion in the last three years.

In conjunction with NUA is Victor Pineda’s article on Enabling Justice, and he argues that disability is a function of an individual in an environment and existing models of disability do not account for the disabling role of the built environment (Pineda 111). He explains the two current models used on viewing disability: the charity model and the medical model. The charity model perceives people with disabilities as dependent and therefore in need of benevolence. The medical model views disability as a medical defect not connected to space and can perpetuate a fear of human difference, causing stigmatization and marginalization for those who are disabled. Pineda then furthers his argument to propose the socio-spatial model, where a disabled person has a right to their body, difference, using their body in space and using space to adapt to their body (Pineda 117). Pineda makes a fair point that is not often considered when we are are working to include all people, including those with disabilities. We have socially constructed environments where space is distributed differently, so if we have created such spatial differences, we need to take that into account to realize justice for disabled people.

The last reading was a comprehensive diagnostic study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on urban renewal and slum rehabilitation with a focus on including slum rehabilitation in ADB operations. Some of their goals aligned with what NUA had stated, such as a “multi sector approach to slum rehabilitation combining water management, solid waste management, urban transportation,” and whatever necessary “to achieve the livable cities goal” (Steinberg 12). Three countries they highlighted were India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. I have gone to Indonesia nearly every summer to see my family in Jakarta. There, the presence of slums is such a distinct and present contrast to the rest of the buildings. There is a divide between these two parts of the city, and I absolutely agree that their needs to be redevelopment and rehabilitation so that all the people have a right to the city and a decent standard of living.


Works Cited

Pineda, Victor Santiago. “Enabling Justice: Spatializing Disability in the Built    Environment .” Critical Planning, 2008.

Steinberg, Florian. “Inclusive Cities.” ADB Urban Development Series, Asian Development Bank, Apr. 2011,

“The New Urban Agenda.” Habitat III, The United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, 2016,